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Prenatal Development

Choose one of the following essays below to submit for your final” exam.
Must cite one point from the textbook below

  1. Discuss the course of prenatal development and the destructive impact of teratogens.
    Describe 3 abilities of healthy newborns.
  2. Explain Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development and comment upon psychologists’
    current thinking regarding cognitive stages.
  3. Psychologists now recognize that change and growth occur throughout adulthood.
    Discuss the cognitive and social development that occur in adulthood.
    Remember – Write so that you fully and clearly answer the entire question.
    Some essays have several parts. Be sure to clearly read and understand the essay
    question(s) and answer all its parts.
    You must use the textbook as your source and clearly cite the textbook chapter and pages
    where you found the information.
    You may also use one website to obtain information. You must provide the actual name of
    the website (e.g., an organization, a university, etc) and the web address (URL).
    Clearly identify the essay choice in your submission.
    Textbook: Myers, D.G. Psychology in Everyday Life.
    New York: Worth Publishers, Paperback, 2nd edition, 2012.
    It is available as a used book at the FIT bookstore and through many online sources.
    The book is also available as an ebook through

Prenatal Development

The Course of Prenatal Development and the Destructive Impact of Teratogens
The changes which take place from the time of concept to the time of death of an individual
is studied by developmental psychologists. They usually study changes in the physical condition,

mental condition and socially as well. About half of the fertilized eggs, normally called zygotes,
survive. In the first week of development, cell division usually produces a zygote from around
100 cells (Myers 2012, p. 66). These cells are already in the first stages of structure and
functional specialization. At around 10 days after conception, the outer parts of the zygote
attaches itself to the walls of the uterus and slowly develop to become the placenta, a very
essential part as it enhances nourishment to the fetus (Myers 2012, p. 66). The inner cells are
then further developed into an embryo.
The next six weeks will feature the development of body organs and some of these begin to
function at this time. For example, the heart starts beating and the liver also starts producing red
blood cells. Nine weeks after conception, the embryo is transformed into a fetus as it has most of
the body parts similar to that of a fully grown human being. Internal organs, such as the stomach,
become fully formed by the end of the sixth month. At each stage of prenatal development,
genetic and environmental factors will impact the process of development. The placenta plays
more roles than just transfer nutrients from the mother to the fetus. It also screens many harmful
substances and prevents them from reaching the fetus; unfortunately there are some which pass
by unnoticed such as teratogens (Myers 2012, p. 66). These are the environmental agents which
have a diverse effect on the normal growth of a fetus as they result in physical defects (Myers
2012, p.66). This is one reason why pregnant mothers are advised to avoid alcohol as much as
possible. If the mother is a heavy drinker, the effect may be noted as fetal alcohol syndrome
(FAS) whereby the fetus suffers from a disproportioned head and lifelong brain damages (Myers
2012, p. 66).
The Abilities of a Healthy Newborn

Newborns are very competent beings. They are born when already equipped with sensory
nerves and reflexes which act as the means through which they are able to interact with adults
and also secure nourishment when need arises (Myers 2012, p. 67). When a baby is touched on
the cheeks, it will open its mouth and start searching for a nipple. This is a result of the rooting
reflex (Myers 2012, p. 67). When they hear human voices, they turn their heads towards that
direction. They tend to gaze longer at a human face drawing than at any other object. Within a
few days of birth, the baby can tell its mother by distinguishing the odor and voice.


Myers, D. G. (2012). Psychology in Everyday Life. New York: Worth Publishers.

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