How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

Development

STUDY
PLAY
developmental psychologists
a branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span
zygotes
a fertilized egg
embryo
the developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization through the second month.
fetus
the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth
teratogens
agents, such as chemicals and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm
fetal alcohol syndrome
a medical condition in which body deformation or facial development or mental ability of a fetus is impaired because the mother drank alcohol while pregnant
rooting reflex
a newborns automatic response, when touched on the lips or cheeks, of turning toward the touch and beginning to suck
habituation
a general accommodation to unchanging environmental conditions
maturation
biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience.
Jean Piaget
pioneer in the study of developmental psychology who introduced a stage theory of cognitive development that led to a better understanding of children's thought processes
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
schemas
conceptual frameworks a person uses to make sense of the world
assimilate
take things from the outside world and make it fit into the internal world
accommodate
adjust ideas internally to let the external ideas fit
object permanence
the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived
conservation
the principle that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects
egocentric
a young child's inability to understand another person's perspective
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
stranger anxiety
the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age
attachment
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
imprinting
the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life
Mary Ainsworth
Studied attachment in infants using the "strange situation" model. Label infants "secure", "insecure" (etc.) in 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
Ainsworth's method for assessing infant attachment to the mother, based on a series of brief separations and reunions with the mother in a playoom situation
gender roles
roles assigned by society to people of each gender
gender identity
one's sense of being male or female
gender-typed
the acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role
social learning theory
the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished
gender schema theory
the theory that children learn from their cultures a concept of what it means to be male and female and that they adjust their behavior accordingly
adolescence
the time period between the beginning of puberty and adulthood
puberty
the time of life when sex glands become functional
primary sex characteristic
the body structures (ovaries, testes, and external genitalia) that make sexual reproduction possible
secondary sex characteristic
the genetically determined sex characteristics that are not functionally necessary for reproduction (pitch of the voice and body hair and musculature)
menarche
the first occurrence of menstruation in a woman
Lawrence Kohlberg
contends that moral thinking progresses through a series of stages: Preconventional, Conventional, Postconventional
preconventional morality
kohlberg's term for the practice of defining right and wrong according to the consequence of the action being judged
conventional morality
A type of morality that is characterized by the obedience of laws and rules for the simple reason that they are rules.
postconventional morality
third level of Kohlberg's stages of moral development in which the person's behavior is governed by moral principles that have been decided on by the individual and that may be in disagreement with accepted social norms
cross-sectional studies
A type of research design that compares individuals of different ages to determine how they differ
longitudinal studies
Research method in which data are collected about a group of participants over a number of years to assess how certain characteristics change or remain the same during development.
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