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the fertilized human egg, contain 23 chromosomes from the father and 23 from the mother

germinal period

the period in prenatal development from conception to implantation of the fertilized egg in the wall of the uterus

embryonic period

the period of prenatal development lasting from implantation to the end of development

fetal period

the period in prenatal development lasting from the 9th week until birth


environmental agents- such as disease organisms or drugs- that can potentially damage the developing embryo or fetus


the period during which a woman's menstrual cycle slows down and finally stops


physically based losses in mental functioning

longitudinal design

a research design in which the same people are studied or tested repeatedly over time

cross-sectional design

a research design in which people of different ages are compared at the same time


the decline in responsiveness to a stimulus that is repeatedly presented


the process through which we fit- or assimilate- new experiences into existing schemata


the process through which we change or modify existing schemata to accommodate new experiences

sensorimotor period

Piaget's first stage of cognitive development lasting from birth to about 2 years old, schemata revolve around sensory and motor abilities

object permanence

The ability to recognize that objects still exist when they're no longer in sight

Preoperational period

Piaget's second stage of cognitive development, lasting from ages 2-7; children begin to think symbolically but often lack the ability to perform mental operations such as conversation

principle of conservation

The ability to recognize that the physical properties of an object remain the same despite superficial changes in the objects appearance


the tendency to see the world from one's own unique perspective only; a characteristic of thinking in preoperational period of development

concrete operational period

Piaget's third stage of development. lasting from 7-11. Children acquire the capacity to perform a number of mental operations but still lact the ability for abstract reasoning

formal operational period

Piget's last stage of cognitive development; thought processes become adultlike and people gain mastery over abstract thinking


the ability to distinguish between apporopriate and inappropriate actions

Preconventional level

in Kohlberg's theory, the lowest level of moral development, in which decisions about right and wrong are made primarily in terms of external consequences

conventional level

in Kohlberg's theory of moral development, the stage in which actions are judged to be right or wrong are made primarily in terms of external consequences

Conventional level

The stage in which actions are judged to be right or wrong based on whether they maintain or disrupt the social order

postconverstaional level

the stage in which moral actions are judged on basis of a personal code of ethics that is general and abstract and that may not agree with societal norms


strong emotional ties formed to one or more intimate companions


A child's general level of emotional reactivity

Strange situation test

Gradually subjecting a child to a stressful situation and observing his or her behavior toward the parent or the caregiver- used to classify children according to type of attachment - secure, resistant, avoidant, or disorganized/ disoriented

personal identity

A sense of who is an individual and how one measures up against peers

gender roles

specific patterns of behavior that are consistent with how society dictates males and females should act

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