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Activity-Passivity issue

focuses on whether people are active in their own development or passively shaped by forces outside themselves.

tabula rasae

John Locke, infants are "blank slates" waiting to be written on by their experiences. Children are neither innately good nor innately bad but could develop in any direction depending on their experiences.

Continuity-discontinuity issue

focuses on whether the changes people undergo over the life span are gradual or abrupt.

Universality-context-specificity issue

the extent to which development changes are common to all humans (universal_ or different from person to person (context specific).

Developmental stages

A distinct phase of the life cycle characterized by a particular set of abilities.

psychoanalytic theory

people are driven by motives and emotional conflicts of which they are largely unaware and that they are shaped by their earliest experiences in life.


inborn biological forces that motivate behavior

unconscious motivation

the power of instincts and other inner forces to influence behavior without awareness.


impulsive, irrational part of the personality whose mission is to satisfy the instincts. Acts on the pleasure principle. All psychic energy resides in the ( ).


rational side of the individual that tries to find the realistic way of gratifying the instincts.


individual's internalized moral standards.


the psychic energy of the sex instinct

psychosexual stages

as a child matures biologically, the psychic energy of the sex instinct shift from one part of the body to another, seeking to gratify biological needs.

defense mechanism

unconscious coping devices that the ego adopts to defend itself against anxiety


arrested development in which part of the libido remains tied to an early stage


involves retreating to an earlier, less traumatic stage of development.

oral stage

birth to 1 year, libido focused on the mouth as a source of pleasure

anal stage

1-3 years, libido is focused on the anus, and toilet training creates conflicts between the child's biological urges and the society's demans.

Phallic stage

3-6 years, libido centers on the genitals.

Latent stage

6-12 years, libido is quiet;psychic energy is invested in schoolwork and play with same sex friends

Genital stage

12+ years, Puberty reawakens the sexual instincts as youths seek to establish mature sexual relationships and pursue the biological goal of reproduction.

Trust vs. mistrust

birth to 1 year, infants must learn to trust their care givers to meet their need.

Autonomy vs. shame and doubt

1-3 years, Children must learn to autonomous or they will doubt their abilities.

Initiative vs. guilt

3-6 years, Preschoolers develop initiative by devising and carrying out bold plans, but they must learn not to infringe on the rights of others.

Industry vs. inferiority

6-12 years, Children must master important social and academic skills and keep up with their peers; otherwise they will feel inferior.

Identity vs. role confusion

12-20 year, adolescent ask who they are and must establish social and vocational identities; otherwise, they will remain confused about the roles they should play as adults.

Intimacy vs. isolation

20-40 years, young adults seek to form a shared identity with another person, but may fear intimacy and experience loneliness and isolation.

Generativity vs. stagnation

40-65 years, middle-aged adults must feel that they are producing something that will outlive them, either as parents or as workers; otherwise they will become stagnant and self-centered.

Integrity vs. despair

65+ years, older adults must come to view their lives as meaningful to face death without worries and regrets


conclusion about human development and functioning should be based on observations of overt behavior rather than on speculation about unobservable cognitive and emotional processes.

classical conditioning

simple form of learning in which a stimulus that initially had no effect on the individual comes to elicit a response through its association with a stimulus that already elicits a response.

unconditioned stimulus

an unlearned stimulus

unconditioned response

automatic, unlearned response

conditioned stimulus

a learned stimulus

conditioned response

a learned response

Operant conditioning

a learner's behavior becomes either more or less probable depending on the consequences it produces

positive reinforcement

something has been added to strengthen a behavior

negative reinforcement

something is taken away to strengthen a behavior

positive punishment

something is added to decrease a behavior

negative punishment

something is taken away to decrease a behavior.


behavior that is ignored, or no longer reinforced becomes ( ).

social cognitive theory

humans are cognitive beings whose active processing of information plays a critical role in their learning, behavior, and development.

vicarious reinforcement

learners become more or less likely to perform a behavior based on the consequences experienced by the model they observe.


the beliefs that one can effectively produce desired outcomes in a particular area of life.

human agency

ways in which people deliberately exercise cognitive control over themselves, their environments, and their lives.


children actively construct new understandings of the world based on their experiences


birth to 2 years, infants use their senses and motor actions to explore and understand the world.


2-7 years, preschoolers use their capacity for symbolic thought to develop language, engage in pretend play, and solve problems

Concrete operations

7-11 years, school-age children acquire concrete logical operations that allow them to mentally classify, add, and otherwise act on concrete objects in their heads

Formal operations

11-12 years, adolescents can think about abstract concepts and purely hypothetical possibilities and can trace the long-range consequences of possible actions.

sociocultural perspective

shaped by the sociocultural context in which it occurs and grows out of children's interactions with members of their culture.

information-processing approach

likens the human mind to a computer with hardware and software and emphasizes fundamental mental processes such as attention, memory, decision making, and the like.


study of the evolved behavior of various species in their natural environment.

epigenetic psychobiological systems perspective

development is the product of interacting biological and environment forces that form a larger system


the process through which nature and nurture, genes and environment, jointly bring forth particular developmental outcomes.

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