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developmental psychology

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


fertilized egg


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


the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth.


agents, such as chemicals and viruses, 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

rooting reflex

a baby's tendency, when touched on the cheek, to turn toward the touch, open the mouth, and search for the nipple


decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation


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

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


concepts or mental frameworks that organize and interpret information


interpret one's new experience in terms of one's existing schemas


adapt one's current understandings to incorporate new info

object permanence

the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived


the principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 150)


The thinking in the preoperational stage of cognitive development where children believe everyone sees the world fro the same perspective as he or she does.

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. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 151)

stranger anxiety

the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 155)


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


the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 156)

Mary Ainsworth

developmental psychology; compared effects of maternal separation, devised patterns of attachment; "The Strange Situation": observation of parent/child 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

a procedure used to assess infants' attachment behavior under conditions of increasing stress due to separations from caregivers and strangers

x chromosome

the sex chromosome found in both men and women. females have two of these; males have one. one from each parent produces a female child

y chromosome

the sex chromosome found only in males. When paired with an X chromosome from the mother, it produces a male child.


the most important of the male sex hormones. Both males and females have it, but the additional in males stimulates the growth of the male sex organs in the fetus and the development of the male sex characteristics during puberty

gender roles

expectations on how to act as a man or woman

gender identity

one's sense of being male or female

gender typed

following and identify with traditional male or female roles

Jean Piaget

cognitive psychology; created a 4-stage theory of cognitive development, said that two basic processes work in tandem to achieve cognitive growth (assimilation and accommodation)

social learning theory

the theory that we learn gender roles by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished

gender schema theory

combo with slt. a view of the world through a gender specific lens


The transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence.


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, such as female breasts and hips, male voice quality, and body hair


the first menstrual period

Lawrence Kohlberg

developmental psychologist kown for his theory on the development of moral reasoning

preconventional morality

first level of Kohlberg's stages of moral development in which the child's behavior is governed by the consequences of the behavior, right vs wrong

conventional morality

By early adolescence, morality focuses on caring for others and on upholding laws and social rules, simply because they are the laws and rules

postconventional morality

some of those who develop to formal operational thought may come to a third level. This affirms people's agreed-upon rights ("people have a right to live" or following what one personally perceives as basic ethical principles ("If you steal the drug, you won't have lived up to your own ideals")


one's sense of self; according to Erikson, the adolescent's task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles


in Erikson's theory, the ability to form close, loving relationships; a primary developmental task in late adolescence and early adulthood


the time of natural cessation of menstruation; also refers to the biological changes a woman experiences as her ability to reproduce declines

Alzheimer's disease

an irreversible, progressive brain disorder, characterized by the deterioration of memory, language, and eventually, physical functioning

cross sectional studies

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

longitudinal studies

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

crystallized intelligence

one's accumulated knowledge and verbal skills; tends to increase with age

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


in Erikson's theory, the ability to form close, loving relationships; a primary developmental task in late adolescence and early adulthood


the desire, in middle age, to use one's accumulated wisdom to guide future generations


to have a connection or relation to something


the action of accomplishing something


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


the ability of being productive, , the quality of being productive or having the power to produce


a decision adhered to for the long term; a promise kept, staying with your husband/boyfriend for ex..long term relationship


the ability to do what is needed


spoken, written, words and ways we combine them to communicate meaning


in a language, the smallest distinctive sound unit


smallest unit that carries meaning--prefix, suffix


system of rules that enables us to communicate with and understand others


set of rules we derive meaning from morphemes, a given language


rules for sentence structure, rules for combining words and sentences

babbling stage

begins usually at 4 months, infant spontaneously utters sounds at first unrelated to language

one-word stage

1-2 years only speak in single words

two-word stage

2 years, 2 words in speech

telegraphic speech

early stage child speaks in only nouns and verbs


inborn universal grammar--believes our brains are wired to process vocab w/o effort, predisposition to language, nature comes out with proper nurture


nurture plays a large role, operant learning, we learn language like we learn anything else

linguistic determination

language determines the way we think

authoritarian parents

impose rules and expect obedience

permissive parents

submit to kids' desires and make few demands

authoritative parents

demanding and responsive-=

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