Fetal Development: A Psychobiological Perspective

Fetal Development: A Psychobiological Perspective

Fetal Development: A Psychobiological Perspective

Fetal Development: A Psychobiological Perspective

Synopsis

Based on the presentations given by well-known specialists at a recent multidisciplinary conference of developmental psychobiologists, obstetricians, and physiologists, this book is the first exhaustive attempt to synthesize the present scientific knowledge on fetal behavior. Utilizing a psychobiological analytic approach, it provides the reader with an overview of the perspectives, hypotheses, and experimental results from a group of basic scientists and clinicians who conduct research to elucidate the role of fetal behavior in development. Experimental and clinical as well as human and animal data are explored via comparative developmental analysis. The ontogeny of fetal spontaneous activity -- via the maturation of "behavioral states" -- and of fetal responsiveness to sensory stimulation is studied in detail. Results are provided from studies of embryonic/fetal and newborn behavior in chicks, rats, sheep, primates, and humans. Knowledge of fetal behavior is crucial to the obstetrician, neonatologist, developmental psychologist, and even the future parents, in order to follow and assess the gradual development of spontaneous responsive movements of the fetus. While assessing this important information, this text also examines the neuro-behavioral events taking place during the fetal period as an aid to understanding normal and pathological life span development.

Excerpt

This volume consists of 24 chapters that focus on prenatal behavioral development. This work is set apart from others by its emphasis on a psychobiological analysis of fetal behavior. The chapters provide a discussion of new methodologies and data that elucidate the normative behavioral repertoire of human and animal fetuses and how the expression of behavior by the fetus relates to the postnatal adaptation of the newborn. A second feature of the book is the emphasis on a comparative developmental approach. Results are provided from studies of embryonic/fetal and newborn behavior in chicks, rats, sheep, primates, and humans. The book also affords the reader an overview of perspectives, hypotheses, and experimental results from a group of basic scientists and clinicians who conduct research to elucidate the role of fetal behavior in development.

This book should be of interest to developmental psychologists, developmental neurobiologists, and those researchers interested in sensory capacity, learning, motor development, and state development. Clinicians and researchers working in the fields of obstetrics, fetomaternal medicine, and neonatology should similarly find the book of interest. Many chapters have implications for understanding linkages between behavioral and biological mechanisms that may be relevant to the diagnosis of fetal wellbeing and treatment of the premature infant. The work is also of direct relevance to the emerging field of behavioral perinatology. The book could be of immediate use in medical school curricula in obstetrics and pediatrics and doctoral level courses such as behavioral pediatrics, behavioral medicine, developmental psychobiology, and developmental psychology.

The book was inspired by a conference jointly sponsored by the Human . . .

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