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an organized pattern of functioning that adapts and changes during development


the process in which people understand an experience in terms of their current stage of cognitive development and way of thinking


changes in existing ways of thinking that occur in response to encounters with new sitmuli or events

sensorimotor stage (or cognitive development)

piaget's initial major stage of cognitive development, which can be broken down into six substages

goal-directed behavior

behavior in which several schemes are combined and coordinated to generate a single act to solve a problem

object permanence

the realization that people and objects exist even when they cannot be seen

mental representation

an internal image of a past event or object

deferred imitation

an act in which a person which is no longer present is imitated by children who have witnessed a similar act

information-processing approach

the model that seeks to identify the way that individuals take in, use, and store information


the process by which information is initially recorded, stored, and retrieved

infantile amnesia

the lack of memory for experiences prior to 3 years of age

developmental quotient

an overall developmental score that lates to performance in four domains: motor skills, language use, adaptive behavior,and personal-social

bayley scales of infant development

a measure that evaluates an infant's development fron 2 to 42 months


the systematic, meaningful arrangement of symbols, whic provides the basis for communication


making speechlike but meaningless sounds


one-word utterances that stand for a whole phrase, whose meaning depends on the particular context in which they are used

telegraphic speech

speech in which words not critical to the message are left out


the overly restrictive use of words, common among children just mastering spoken language


the overly broad use of words, overgeneralizing their meaning

referential style

a style of language use in which language is used primarily to label objects

expressive style

a style of language use in which language is used primarily to express feelings and needs about oneself and others

learning theory approach

the theory that language acquisition follows the basic laws of reinforcement and conditioning

nativist approach

the theory that a genetically determined, innate mechanism directs language development

universal grammar

noam chomsky's theory that all the world's languages share a similar underlying structure

language-acquisition device

a neural system of the brain hypothesized to permit understanding of language

infant-directed speech

a type of speech directed toward infants, characterized by short, simple sentences

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