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developmental psychologists

a branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span

zygotes

a fertilized egg

embryo

the developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization through the second month.

fetus

the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth

teratogens

agents, such as chemicals and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm

fetal alcohol syndrome

a medical condition in which body deformation or facial development or mental ability of a fetus is impaired because the mother drank alcohol while pregnant

rooting reflex

a newborns automatic response, when touched on the lips or cheeks, of turning toward the touch and beginning to suck

habituation

a general accommodation to unchanging environmental conditions

maturation

biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience.

Jean Piaget

pioneer in the study of developmental psychology who introduced a stage theory of cognitive development that led to a better understanding of children's thought processes

sensorimotor stage

in Piaget's theory, the stage (from birth to about 2 years of age) during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities

preoperational stage

in Piaget's theory, the stage (from about 2 to 6 or 7 years of age) during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic

concrete operational stage

in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (from about 6 or 7 to 11 years of age) during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events

formal operational stage

in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (normally beginning about age 12) during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts

schemas

conceptual frameworks a person uses to make sense of the world

assimilate

take things from the outside world and make it fit into the internal world

accommodate

adjust ideas internally to let the external ideas fit

object permanence

the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived

conservation

the principle that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects

egocentric

a young child's inability to understand another person's perspective

theory of mind

people's ideas about their own and others' mental states -- about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts and the behavior these might predict

stranger anxiety

the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age

attachment

an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation

Harry Harlow

development, contact comfort, attachment; experimented with baby rhesus monkeys and presented them with cloth or wire "mothers;" showed that the monkeys became attached to the cloth mothers because of contact comfort

critical period

an optimal period shortly after birth when an organism's exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development

imprinting

the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life

Mary Ainsworth

Studied attachment in infants using the "strange situation" model. Label infants "secure", "insecure" (etc.) in attachment

Erik Erikson

neo-Freudian, humanistic; 8 psychosocial stages of development: theory shows how people evolve through the life span. Each stage is marked by a psychological crisis that involves confronting "Who am I?"

basic trust

according to Erik Erikson, a sense that the world is predictable and trustworthy; said to be formed during infancy by appropriate experiences with responsive caregivers

self concept

a sense of one's identity and personal worth

strange situation

Ainsworth's method for assessing infant attachment to the mother, based on a series of brief separations and reunions with the mother in a playoom situation

gender roles

roles assigned by society to people of each gender

gender identity

one's sense of being male or female

gender-typed

the acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role

social learning theory

the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished

gender schema theory

the theory that children learn from their cultures a concept of what it means to be male and female and that they adjust their behavior accordingly

adolescence

the time period between the beginning of puberty and adulthood

puberty

the time of life when sex glands become functional

primary sex characteristic

the body structures (ovaries, testes, and external genitalia) that make sexual reproduction possible

secondary sex characteristic

the genetically determined sex characteristics that are not functionally necessary for reproduction (pitch of the voice and body hair and musculature)

menarche

the first occurrence of menstruation in a woman

Lawrence Kohlberg

contends that moral thinking progresses through a series of stages: Preconventional, Conventional, Postconventional

preconventional morality

kohlberg's term for the practice of defining right and wrong according to the consequence of the action being judged

conventional morality

A type of morality that is characterized by the obedience of laws and rules for the simple reason that they are rules.

postconventional morality

third level of Kohlberg's stages of moral development in which the person's behavior is governed by moral principles that have been decided on by the individual and that may be in disagreement with accepted social norms

cross-sectional studies

A type of research design that compares individuals of different ages to determine how they differ

longitudinal studies

Research method in which data are collected about a group of participants over a number of years to assess how certain characteristics change or remain the same during development.

fluid intelligence

one's ability to reason speedily and abstractly; tends to decrease during late adulthood

social clock

the culturally preferred timing of social events such as marriage, parenthood, and retirement

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