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Shineka  During adolescents the brain begins to form new neural connections, thus, casting off unused neurons (Open.lib.umn.edu, 2018). As teenagers begin to mature, they begin to do more reasoning, planning, and problem solving. This is a responsibility of the brain in which it relates to cognitive development. During early childhood, cognitive changes occur most rapidly. However, the brain continues to develop throughout adolescence, and often into mid 20’s (Open.lib.umn.edu, 2018).  Children who are raise in the same environment may often show similar resemblance physically but behave differently. According to Blume & Zembar (2007), both genetic inheritance and environmental experience play a critical role in brain development. For example, children’s height and motor milestones, and brain characteristics are largely determined by genetic codes passed down through the chromosomes of their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on (Blume & Zembar, 2007).  References:  Open.lib.umn.edu. (2018). 6.3 Adolescence: Developing Independence and Identity | Introduction to Psychology. [online] Available at: https://allaplusessays.com/order [Accessed 6 Mar. 2018]. Blume, L. B., & Zembar, M. J. (2007). Middle childhood to middle adolescence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson [Vital Source e-reader] Stephanie   The relationship between brain development and cognitive development in middle childhood is intricately intertwined, much like other aspects of child development that we read about in this course (i.e., nature/nurture). During middle childhood, defined in our textbook as ages 8 to 12, children undergo many physical and cognitive changes (Blume 2007). Weight gain, growing taller, increase in bone density, facial structure, and body proportions are just a few examples of these changes. It is vital for one’s cognitive development that they’re physical development remains on a healthy track. Proper nutrition and exercise are a few ways to accomplish this.  With healthy physical growth, the brain will receive the nourishment required for healthy cognitive growth to follow. I see it as the brain is the mechanism in which the cognitive development dwells. With a healthy brain, functioning neurons, dendrites, and axons, a growing child can make connections to things they’ve learned and gain an improved ability to better understand the world around them.       The culture and socioeconomic standing of a child’s family can drastically influence their development. For example, if a child’s family struggles to afford groceries, their child may not get the nourishment required for growth. Alternatively, if a young girl aspires to be a model, she may skip meals to appear thin like those she sees in magazines (Hellmich 2006). These examples are what Vygotsky referred to in his theory of sociocultural cognitive development. Vygotsky’s theory suggests that growth come majorly from one’s “individual sociocultural histories and interactional contexts “(Blume 2007). This means that an individual’s “culture does not merely contribute to development. Rather, it is the context that is necessary for development to take place” (Blume 2007). Unlike Piaget, who listed several stages of cognitive development and at what age they take place, Vygotsky emphasized the importance of guidance from outside sources such as peers, teachers, and family. This is referred to as “guided participation” (Blume 2007). For example, when I was a toddler, I would observe my father at work as a contractor/handyman. He would fix sprinklers, paint cabinets, build houses, etc. Then when I was around 5, he started involving me in projects around the house, like helping him move sand into our new sandbox or ride along on the lawnmower. Around 7 I got to paint the dresser in my room with his help, then around 10 I painted the walls of my room alone. This is an example of guided participation, whereas I got older and more capable, I was given more responsibility and ended up succeeding at the tasks given to me. Around ages 4 to 10, the left temporal lobe is developing. This allows for “increased proficiency in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing language” (Blume 2007). This development paves the way for learning via guided participation. With increased skills in speaking and understanding language, learning from participating gets easier.  

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