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Developmental psychology

believes development happens from birth to death
studies changes that occur in people's abilities and behaviors as they age

lifespan vs. child psychologists

child one focuses only on particular earlier portion of the typical life span

Erik Erikson's belief

development occurs across an entire lifetime

normative development

typical sequence of developmental changes for a group of people

cross-sectional method

seeks to compare groups of people of various ages on similar tasks

longitudinal method

involves following a small group of people over a long portion of their lives (more difficult and expensive)


emphasize role of genetically programmed growth and development on the body


believe nature shapes personality and mind

tabula rasa

founded by Locke, means babies are born with a blank slate

continuous vs. discontinuous development

development occurs gradually, consistently, or through growth spurts and leaps of cognition support

critical period

refers to a time d which a skill or ability must develop

collectivist culture

one in which the needs of society are placed before individual needs

individualist cultures

promote personal needs above needs of socity


patterns of behavior that occur in a fixed sequence

Dimensions of Development

physical, cognitive, social development

Physical development

starts at conception, zygote goes through germinal (cell division) stage, embryonic stage (organ formation), fetal stage (sex difference)


various harmful environmental agents that may affect fetal development


new born baby, nearly helpless

palmar reflex

automatic grabbing of anything within reach

Babinski reflex

toes splaying out when bottom of foot is stroked

heat-turning/ rooting reflex

touching the baby's cheek causes head to turn

Moro reflex

splaying out of the limbs when a loud noise occurs

orienting reflex

orienting themselves to sudden changes in their surroundings

Stereotyped ingestive responses

sucking and smacking lips if given sugar water, will start crying if you give them something sour

Development of nervous system depends on

environmental interaction

Cognitive development

development of learning, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and related skills

Jean PIaget

proposed influential theory of cognitive development of children, based on Equilibration


child's attempt to reach a balance between what the child sees around them and what cognitive structures bring into situation


incorporating new ideas into existing schemas


mental representational model


modifying shcema to include new information

Piaget's developmental stages (Cognitive)

Sensorimotor, Preoperational, concrete operational, and Formal Operational stage

Sensorimotor Stage

first 2 years of life, reflexive reactions, circular reactions (repeated behaviors)

Object Permanence

objects continue to exist when they are outside field of vision

Preoperational Stage

2-7 years using words, lack of logical reasoning
-symbolic thinking (words sub. for objects)
-egocentrism (looking from 1 POV)
-artificial ism (all things are human made)
-Animism (all things are living)

Concrete Operational Stage

7-12, understanding and thinking logically about concrete things
conservation of quantity and volume

Formal Operational

12-adulthood abstract reasoning
metacognition: ability to recognize one's own cognitive processes and adapt when they aren't successful.

Criticisms of Piaget

-studied his own three kids
-underestimated kids' abilities at 4-5 age, some aren't so egocentric
-failure to recognize environmental factors

Vygotsky theory

believed much of development occurs by internalization (gaining knowledge through surrounding contexts)

observed level of ability vs. latent level of capacity

Observed ability rarely lives up to maximum latent potential because ability depends on environmental input which is rarely optimal

Fluid vs. Crystallized intelligence

Fluid: able to think in abstract and symbolic relationships (decreases in adults)
Crystallized: specific knowledge of facts and info (Increases in adults)


form of insight into life situations that results in good judgments about difficult life problems

social development

development of ability to interact with others in social structures

Erik Erikson (psychosocial development)

-Trust vs. Mistrust (0-1 year)
-Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (1-2)
-Initiative vs. Guilt (3-6)
-Industry vs. Inferiority (6-12)
-Identity vs. Role Confusion (teens)
-Intimacy vs. Isolation (20 to 30s)
Generativity vs. Stagnation (30s to death)


truthfulness to one's self


be productive in both career and home



Harry Harlow

social development theory
rhesus monkey infants need comfort and security as much food


tendency to prefer specific familiar individuals over others

Mary Ainsworth

studied human infant attachment, saw when parents left and returned most hcildren used parents for support, 7-15% were insecure, acted erratically, and rarely, some did not use parent for support

Authoritarian parenting

-command obedience without debate
-support corporal punishment
kids socially withdrawn, lack decision making skills, and curiosity


-expect compliance to rules but encourage discussion and responsibility
-kids have high self-esteem, independent, articulate


-few expectations, non-demanding
kids are irresponsible, impulsive, and generous in social relationships

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

identified steps people have when they accept death
denial -> anger -> bargaining -> depression -> acceptance

Lawrence Kohlberg

moral development theory
has 3 levels, each has 2 distinct stages

Level I

preconventional morality: (7-10)
1st: avoid punishment, receive rewards
2nd: make judgments that benefit themselves

Level 2

Conventional morality: (10-16)
1st: right and wrong based on approval
2nd: development of conscience

Level 3

Post conventional morality: (16--)
1st: internal morals more important than society
2nd: look at abstract ethical principles

Carol Gilligan

developed a revised version of Kohlberg theory stressing caring relationships as central to moral progress

Psychosexual development

development of awareness of one's own sexuality

gender typing

(2-7) acquisition of sex-related roles

gender constancy

gender is a fixed, unchangeable characteristic

Oedipal vs. Electra conflict

Oedipal: boys likes moms, fears dads
Electra: girls like ddads, fear moms

Albert Bandura

sexual roles could be acquired through social or vicairous learing

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