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human developmemt

a field of study devoted to understanding constancy and change throughout the llifespan


an orderly, integrated set of statements that describes, explains, and predicts behavior

continuous development

a process of gradually augmenting the same types of skills that were there to begin with

discontinuous development

a process in which new and different ways of interpreting and responding to the world emerge at particular time periods


qualitative changes in thinking, feeling, and behaving that characterize specifice periods of development


Unique combinations of personal and environmental circumstances that can result in different paths of change.

nature-nurture controversy

inborn biological givens vs. complex forces of the physical and social world that influence our biological makeup and psychological experiences before and after birth

life expectancy

The average number of years an individual can be expected to live, given current social, economic, and medical conditions. Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years a newborn infant can expect to live.

lifespan perspective

(1) development as lifelong (2) development as multidimensional and multidirectional (3) development as highly plastic (4) development as embedded in multiple contexts

age-graded influences

events that are strongly related to age and therefore fairly predictable in whwen they occur and how long they last

history-graded influences

forces unique to a particular historic era that explain why people born around the same time tend to be alike in ways that set them apart from people born at other times


in medieval Europe once children emerged from infancy ther were regarded as miniature already-formed adults

John Locke

"tabula rasa" (blank slate) children in the beginning are nothing at all and all kinds of experiences can shape their character. Nurture to shape a child

Jean Jacques Rousseau

children were noble savages, naturally endowed with a sense of right and wrong. Adult training would only harm children.


older people can compensate for intellectual declines that, at times, may reflect hidden gains


four periods of life: childhood, youth, adulthood, senescence

Charles Darwin

natural selection and survival of the fittest

normative approach

measures of behaviour are taken on large numbers of individuals, age-related averages are computed to represent typical development

Alfred Binet

first successful intelligence test (Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale)


Austrian-born British psychoanalyst noted for her application of psychoanalysis to child therapy.


largest portion of the mind; basic biological needs and desires


conscious, rational part ofo personality; emerges in early infancy, ensures that the id is redirected property


conscience; develops from interaction with parents

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?"

Jean Piaget

1896-1980; swiss developmental psychologist who proposed a four-stage theory of cognitive development based on the concept of mental operations


concerned with adaptive, or survival, value of behavior and its evolutionary history

sensitive period

a time that is optimal for certain capacities to emerge and in which the individual is especially responsive to environment influences

ecological systems theory

views the person as developing with a complex system of relationships affected by multiple levels of the surrounding environment


innermost level of the environment which consists of activities and interaction patterns in the person's immediate surroundings


connections between microsystems


social settings that do not contain the developing person but nevertheless affect experiences in immediate settings


consists of cultural values, laws, customs, and resources

naturalistic observation

Observing and recording behavior in naturally occurring situations without trying to manipulate and control the situation.

structured observation

investigator sets up a lab situation that evoke the behavior of interest so that every particpant has equal opportuniity to display responce.

clinical interview

researchers use a flexible, conversational style to probe for the participant's point of view

structured interview

Selection technique that involves asking all applicants the same questions and comparing their responses to a standardized set of answers.

clinical/case study method

brings together a wide range of information on one person, including interviews, observations, and sometimes test scores


directed toward understanding a culture or a distinct social group, achieving its goals through participant observation

correlational design

researchers gather information on already-existing groups of individuals, generally in natural life circumstances, and make no effort to alter their experiences

longitudinal design

group of participants studied repeatedly at different ages, and changes are noted as the participants mature

cohort effects

individuals born in the same period are influenced by a particular set of historical and cultural conditions

cross-sectional design

groups of people differing in age are studied at the same point in time

longitudinal-sequential design

a sequence of samples are followed for a number of years


a pattern of inheritance in which both genes influence the person's characteristics

genetic imprinting

genes are chemically marked in such a way that one member of the pair is activated, regardless of its makeup


groups of people with beliefs and customs that differ from those of the larger culture

collectivist societies

people define themselves as part of a group and stress group goals over individual goals

individualistic societies

people think of themselves as separate entities and are largely concerned with their own personal needs

heritability estimates

measure the extent to which individual differences in complex traits in a specific population are due to genetic factors.

kinship studies

compare characteristics of family members

concordance rate

percentage of instances in which both twins show a trait when it is present in one twin

range of reaction

each person's unique, genetically determined response to a range of environmental conditions


the tendency of heredity to restrict the development of some characteristics to just one or a few outcomes

genetic-environmental correlation

our genes influence the environments to which we are exposed


the tendency to actively choose and environment that complements our heredity


development resulting from ongoing, bidirectional exchanges between heredity and all levels of the environment


wasted condition of the body caused by diet low in nutrients


unbalanced diet very low in protein


gradual reduction in the strength of a response due to repetitive stimulation

mental strategies

to operate on and transform information, increasing the chances that we will retain information, use it effectively and think flexibly, adapting the information to changing circumstances

sensory register

sights and sounds are represented directly and stored briefly

working/short-term memory

where we actively work on a limited amount of information, applying mental strategies

central execute

directs the flow of information

long-term memory

permanent knowledge base


remembering something in the absence of perceptual support

social smile

a smile evoked by a human face, normally evident in infants about 6 weeks after birth

stranger anxiety

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

social referencing

reading emotional cues in others to help determine how to act in a particular situation


awareness that the self is separate from the surrounding world and can control its own thoughts and actions


all the qualities that make the self unique


aids in balance and control of body movement

reticular formation

structure of the brain that maintains alertness and consciousness

corpus callosum

large bundle of fibers that connects two cortical hemispheres


the understanding that the physical properties of an object or substance do not change when appearances change but nothing is added or taken away ex:they know that a string of beads do not have more than a string where the beads are not spread out.


centered understanding; focusing on one aspect of a situation, neglecting other important features


an inability to mentally go through a series of steps in a problem and then reverse direction , returning to the starting point

hierarchial classification

the organization of objects into classes and subclasses on the basis of similarities and differences

private speech

self-directed speech (once called egocentric speech)


adjusting the support offered during a teaching session to fit the child's current level of performance

memory strategies

deliberate mental activities that improve our chances of remembering


general descriptions of what occurs and when it occurs in a particular situation


thinking about thought


order relationships between quantities


the last number in a counting sequence

perspective talking

the capacity to imagine what other people may be thinking and feeling

distributive justice

beliefs about how to divide material goods fairly

peer groups

collectives that generate unique values and standards for behavior and a social structure of leaders and followers

peer acceptance

refers to likeability

rejected-aggressive children

show high rates of conflict, hostility, and hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive behavior

rejected-withdrawn children

passive and socially awkward


a transitional form of supervision in which they exercise general oversight while permitting children to be in charge of moment-by-moment decision making


the transition between childhood and adulthood


a flood of biological events leading to an adult-sized body and sexual maturity

anorexia nervosa

a tragic eating disturbance in which young people starve themselves because of a compulsive fear of getting fat

bulimia nervosa

eating disorder in which young people engage in strict dieting and excessive exercise accompanied by binge eating, often followed by deliberate vomiting and purging with laxatives

imaginary audience

adolescents' belief that they are the focus of everyone else's attention and concern

personal fable

development of an inflated opinion of self importance

heteronomous morality

rules handed down by authority have a permanent existence, as unchangeable, and as requiring strict obedience

autonomous morality

no longer viewing rules as fixed but seeing them as socially agreed on principles that can be revised when there is a need to do so

gender intensification

increased gender stereotyping of attitudes and behavior, and movement toward a more traditional gender identity


small groups of about five to seven members who are good friends and, therefore, resemble one another in family background, attitudes, and values


several cliques with similar values forming a loosely organized group

cross-linkage theory of aging

loss of elasticity in the body's connective tissue

basal metabolic rate

the amount of energy the body uses at complete rest

pragmatic thought

a structural advance in which logic becomes a tool for solving real-world problems

triangular theory of love

intimacy, passion, and commitment--shifts in emphasis as romantic relationships develop


midlife transition in which fertility declines

Type A behavior pattern

extreme competitiveness, ambition, impatience, hostility, angry outbursts and a sense of time pressure


control, commitment, and challenge

crystallized intelligence

skills that depend on accumulated knowledge and experience, good judgement, and mastery of social conventions

fluid intelligence

depends more heavily on basic information-processing skills

possible selves

future-oriented representations of what one hopes to become and what one is afraid of becoming

parental imperative theory

identification with traditional gender roles is maintained during the active parenting years to help ensure the survival of children

"big five" personality traits

neuroticism, extroversion, openess to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness

feminization of poverty

a trend in which women who support themselves or their families become the majority of the adult poverty population, regardless of age and ethnic group


gathering the family for the celebrations and making sure everyone stays in touch

functional age

actual competence and performance

young-old elderly

appear physically young for their advanced years

old-old elderly

appear frail and show signs of decline

active lifespan

the number of years of vigorous, healthy life an individual born in a particular year can expect

maximum lifespan

the genetic limit to length of life for a person free of external risk factors

implicit memory

memory without conscious awareness

remote memory

very long-term recall

prospective memory

refers to remembering to engage in planned actions in the future

terminal decline

refers to a steady, marked decrease in cognitive functioning prior to death

disengagement theory

mutual withdrawal between elders and society takes place in anticipation of death

activity theory

social barriers to engagement, not the desires of elders, cause declining rates of interaction

social convoy

an influential model of changes in our social networks as we move through life

passive euthanasia

life-sustaining treatment is withheld or withdrawn, permitting patient to die naturally


the practice of ending the life of a person suffering from an incurable condition

advanced medical directive

a written statement of desired medical treatment shoud they become incurably ill

living will

specification of treatments they do or do not want in case of a terminal illness, coma, or other near death situation

durable power of attorney

authorizes appointment of another person to make health care decision

voluntary active euthanasia

doctors or others act directly, at a patient's request, to end suffering before a natural end to life

anticipatory grieving

acknowledging that the loss in inevitable and preparing emotionally for it

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