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developmental psychology

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

zygote

the fertilized egg

embryo

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

fetus

the developing human organism from 9 week after conception to birth

teratogens

agents that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm

fetal alcohol syndrome

physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman's heavy drinking

habituation

decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation

maturation

biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior relatively influenced by experience

cognition

all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating

schema

a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information

assimilation

interpreting our new experiences in terms of our existing schemas

accommodation

adapting our current understandings to incorporate new information

sensorimotor stage

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

object permanence

the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived

preoperational stage

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

conservation

the principle that properties remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects

egocentrism

in Piaget's theory, the preoperational child's difficulty taking another's point of view

theory of mind

people's ideas about their own and other's mental states

concrete operational stage

in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (6-11) 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 (starting at 12) during which people begin to think logically about abstract concepts

autism

a disorder that appears in childhood and is marked by deficient communication, social interaction, and understanding of others' states of mind

stranger anxiety

the fear of strangers that infants commonly display

attachment

an emotional tie with another person

critical period

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

imprinting

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

temperament

a person's characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity

basic trust

a sense that the world is predictable and trustworthy

self-concept

our understanding and evaluation of who we are

gender

the biologically influenced characteristics by which people define male/female

aggression

physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt someone

X chromosome

the chromosome found in both men and women

Y chromosome

the sex chromosome found only in men

testosterone

the most important of the male sex hormones

role

a set of expectations about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave

gender role

a set of expected behaviors for males or for females

gender identity

our sense of being male or female

gender typing

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

adolescence

the transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence

puberty

the period of sexual maturation, during which a person becomes capable of reproducing

primary sex characteristics

the body structures that make sexual reproduction possible

secondary sex characteristics

nonreproductive sexual characteristics

menarche

the first menstrual period

identity

our sense of self

social identity

the "we" aspect of our self-concept

intimacy

in Erikson's theory, the ability to form close, loving relationships

emerging adulthood

for some period in modern cultures, a period from the late teens to mid-twenties bridging the gap between adolescent dependence and full independence and responsible adulthood

menopause

the time of natural cessation of menstration

cross sectional study

a study in which people of different ages are compared with one another

longitudinal study

research in which the same people are restudied and retested over a long period

crystallized intelligence

our accumulated knowledge and verbal skills

fluid intelligence

our intelligence to reason speedily and abstractly

social clock

the culturally preferred timing of social events

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