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Chapter 3&4 55 vocab terms


The presence of desirable masculine and feminine characteristics in one individual

Behavior Genetics

Studies the role played by our genes and our environment in mental ability, emotional stability, temperament, personality, interests, etc.; they look at the causes of our individual differences


Giving priority to the goals of one's group (often one's extended family or work group) and defining one's identity according to those goals


Giving priority to one's own goals over group goals and defining one's identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identification

dyzygotic twins

Fraternal twins; siblings share about half of the same genes because the develop from 2 different zygotes

monozygotic twins

Identical Twins; individuals who share all of the same genes/heredity because they develop from the same zygote


Every non-genetic influence, from prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us

Evolutionary Psychology

studies how natural selection favored behaviors that contributed to survival and spread of our ancestors' genes; evolutionary psychologists look at universal behaviors by all people

gender consistency

Child's understanding that his/her sex won't change even if s/he acts like the opposite sex

gender stability

Child's understanding that sex identity is stable over time

gender role stereotypes

Broad categories that reflect our impressions and beliefs about males and females

Gender Schema Theory

Mental set of what society considers appropriate behavior for each of the sexes - idea that children learn from their cultures what it means to be male and female and that they adjust their behavior accordingly


The acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role


The genetic make-up of an individual


The amount of variation/difference among a group of individuals that is due to genetic causes, not environmental causes - IS NOT THE SAME THING AS INHERITED!


when the genes for a trait are different - hetero = different


when both genes for a trait are the same - homo = same


A random error in gene replication that leads to change

Down's Syndrome

Usually have 3 copies of chromosome-21 in their cells, are typically cognitively impaired and poor muscle tone and coordination

Huntington's Disease

Dominant gene defect that involves degeneration of the nervous system, characterized by tremors, jerky motions, blindness, and death

Tay-Sachs Syndrome

Recessive trait that produces progressive loss of nervous function and death in a baby

Turner's Syndrome

Females with only one X sex chromosome; causes some physical characteristic like shortness, webbed necks, and differences in physical sexual development

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

results in slow mental and physical growth in children whose mothers consumed large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy - low IQ, a small head w/ a flat face, misshapen eyes, a flat nose, & thin upper lip


An infant's natural disposition to show a particular mood at a particular intensity for a specific period


belief that all things are living, or contain a living spirit (preoperational stage)


belief that all objects are made by people (preoperational stage)


constantly seeing the world from your own viewpoint - believing that it's "all about you" (preoperational stage)

object permanence

the concepts that babies believe objects continue to exist even when they are out of sight

conservation concepts

changes in the form of an object do not alter physical properties of mass, volume, and number

social referencing

observing the behavior of others in social situations to obtain information or guidance (skills develops between ages 1 & 2)

secure attachment

after absence, a baby is happy to see mom - receptive to contact

insecure attachment

after absence of mom, baby is angry and rejects, avoids, ignores her, or behaves inconsistently

authoritarian parents

set up strict, expect children to follow them, and punish wrongdoing

authoritative parents

democratic style - set limits, but explain the reasons for rules with their children, and make exceptions when appropriate

permissive parents

tend not to set firm guidelines, if they set any at all - some let children do whatever they want, & others tend to ignore their children

longitudinal study

conducted over a long period of time using the same subjects - allows researchers to study the effects of early experiences on later life development

cross-sectional studies

conducted over a short time using subjects of different age groups

cohort-sequential studies

cross-sectional groups who are assessed at least 2 or 3 times over a span of months or years, rather than just once. Results from one cohort are compared with other cohorts at the same age to evaluate their similarity

cohort effect

differences among a cohort found during a cohort sequential study - are used to identify age related changes

Continuity versus Discontinuity

another major controversy in psychology - deals with the question of whether development is a gradual, cumulative change from conception to death (continuity), or a sequence of distinct stages (discontinuity)

Stability versus Change

another big controversy in psychology - deals with the issue of whether or not personality traits present during infancy endure throughout the lifespan

critical period

a time interval during which specific stimuli have a major effect on development (stimuli do not have this dramatic effect during other times - only at this specific time)


harmful substance (drugs or viruses( during prenatal period that can cause birth defects)

crystallized intelligence

learned knowledge & skills such as vocabulary (generally improves with age)

fluid intelligence

those abilities requiring speed or rapid learning (generally diminishes with aging)


study of the behavior of organisms in their natural habitat

gene therapy

offers the possibility of correcting genetic defects by introducing healthy cells into existing cells

moro reflex

(startle reflex) - loud noise or sudden drop causes neonate to automatically arch his/her back, fling his/her limbs out, and quickly retracts them

rooting reflex

neonate's (newborn's) response of turning his or her head when touched on the cheek and then trying to put the stimulus into his or her mouth


decreasing responsiveness with repeated presentation of the same stimulus (not responding to something after you have experienced it over and over and over) classic example: the little boy who cried wolf


an example of an instinct that involves some learning - ex: many birds, such as ducklings, will follow moving objects soon after hatching...usually this is the mother. If the mother is not present the ducklings will follow other moving objects, such as a researcher

information-processing approach

alternative idea regarding cognitive development - emphasizes continual change in the efficiency of processing information rather than a fixed sequence of stages of development


biological growth processes that bring about orderly changes in behavior, thought, or physical growth - is relatively unaffected by experience


kind, structure, organization


measurable number or amount

Pheylketonuria (PKU)

Recessive trait that results in severe, irreversible brain damage unless the baby is fed a special diet low in phenylalanine.

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