A view of human development as always changing. Life is the product of ongoing interaction between the physical and emotional well being and between the person and every aspect of his or her environment, including the family and society. Flux is constant, and each change affects all the others
ecological systems approach
A vision of how human development should be studied, with the person considered in all the contexts and interactions that constitue a life.
interactions among a number of overlapping systems which provide the context of development. Ex: family, peer groups, classroom, neighborhoods, house of worship-intimately and immediately shape human development.
influencing all the other systems and includes cultural values, political philosophies, economic patterns, and social conditions.
surrounds and supports the microsystems and include all the external networks, such as community structures and educational, medical, employment and communication systems that influence the microsystems.
a fifth system later added by Bronfenbrenner, to emphasize the importance of historical time.
a leader in understanding levels of development who recommended an ecological-systems approach to development study. he believed that developmentalists need to examine all the systems that surround the development of each person.
one of the five characteristics of development - Every individual, and every trait within each individual, can be altered at any point in the life span. Change is ongoing, although neither random nor easy
socioeconomic status (SES)
a person's position in society as determined by income, wealth, occupation, education, place of residence, and other factors
an idea that is built more on shared perceptions than on objective reality. Ex: childhood, adolescence, yuppies, and senior citizens.
in an experiment, the variable that is introduced to see what effect it has on the dependent variable. (Also called the experimental variable).
in an experiment, the variable that may change as a result of whatever new condition or situation the experimenter adds.
A group of participants in a research study who experience some special treatment or condition (the independent variable).
a group of participants in a rearch study who are similar to the experimental group in all relevant ways but who do not experience the experimental condition (the independent variable).
a research design in which the same individuals are followed over time and their development is repeatedly assessed.
a research design that compares groups of people who differ in age but are similar in other important characteristics.
a number indicating the degree of relationship between two variables, expressed in terms of the likelihood that one variable will (or will not) occur when the other variable does (or does not). NOT an indication that one variable causes the other, ONLY that the two variables are related to the indicated degree.
A group of ideas, assumptions, and generalizations that interpet and illuminate the thousands of observations that have been made about human growth. provides a framework for explaining the patterns and problems of development.
Comprehensive theories of psychology, which have tradionally inspired and directed psychologists' thinking about child development. (psychoanalytic theory, behaviorism, and cognitive theory).
Theories that bring together information from many disciplines in addition to psychology and that are becoming comprehensive and systematic in their interpretations of development but are not yet established and detailed enough to be considered grand theories.
A grand theory of human development that holds that irrational, unconcious drives and motives, often originating in childhood, underlie human behaviour
a grand theory of human development that studies observable behavior. Also called learning theory because it desrcibes the laws and processes by which behavior is learned.
The learning process by which a particular action is followed by something desired (which makes the person or animal more likely to repeat the action) or by something unwanted (which makes the action less likely to be repeated). Also called instrumental conditioning.
The learning process that connects a meaningful stimulus (such as the sound of a bell) that had no special meaning before conditioning. Also called respondent conditioning.
A psychologist who studied learning in monkeys and concluded from the experiments in which he raised monkeys with "surrogate mother" (one made of barb wire and one made of terrycloth), that monkeys and presumably all primate infants, need "contact comfort," the warm and soft reassurance of a mother's touch.
social learning theory
An extention of behaviorism that emphasizes the influence that other people have over a person's behavior. Even without specific reinforcement, every individual learns many things via observation and imitation of other people.
The central process of social learning, by which a person observes the actions of others and then copies them.
In social learning theory, the belief of some people that they are able to change themselves and effectively alter the social context
A grand theory of human development that focuses on changes in how people think over time. According to this theory, our thoughts shape our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
Interpret new experiences through the lens of preexisting ideas.
Old ideas are restructured to include, or accommodate, new experiences. Requires more mental energy than assimilation. Produces significant intellectual growth, including advancement to the next stage of cognitive development.
An emergent theory that holds that development results from the dynamic interaction between each person and the surrounding social and cultural forces.
founder of sociocultural theory. Now recognized as a seminal thinker whose ideas are revolutionalizing education and the study of development
zone of proximal development
In sociocultural theory, a metaphorical area, or "zone," surrounding a learner that includes all the skills, knowledge, and concepts that the person is close ("proximal") to acquiring but cannot yet master without help.
An emergent theory of development that considers both the genetic orgins of behavior (within each person and within each species) and the direct, systemactic influence that environmental forces have, have time, on genes.
The process by which humans and other organisms gradually adjust to their environment. Specifically, the frequency of a particular genetic trait contributes to the survival and reproductive ability of members of the population.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
The molecule that contains the chemical instructions for cells to manufacture various proteins.
One of the 46 molecules of DNA (in 23 pairs) that each cell of the human body contains and that, together, contain all the genes. Other species have more or fewer of them.
A section of chromosome and the basic unit for transmission of heredity, consisting of a string of chemicals that code for the manufacture of certain proteins.
The full set of genes that are the instructions to make an individual member of a certain species.
A reproductive cell, that is, a sperm or ovum that can produce a new individual if it combines with a gamete from the other sex to make a zygote.
The single cell formed from the fusing of two gametes, a sperm and an ovum
An organism's entire genetic inheritance, or genetic potential
The observable characteristics of a person, including appearance, personality, intelligence, and all other traits.
A slight, normal variation of a particular gene
Referring to a trait that is influenced by many genes.
Human Genome Project
An international effort to map the complete human genetic code. This effort was essentially completed in 2001, though analysis is ongoing.
A gene that has several alleles, each of which contributes to the final phenotype (such as skin color or height).
The interaction of a pair of alleles in such a way that the phenotype reveals the influence of one allele (the dominant gene) more than that of the other (the recessive gene).
Referring to a gene carried on the X chromosome. If a boy inherits an X-linked recessive trait from his mother, he expresses that trait, since the Y from his father has no counteracting gene. Girls are more likely to be carriers of X-linked traits but are less likely to express them
Twins who orginate from one zygote that splits apart very early in devlopment. (Also called identical twins.) Other monozygotic multiple births can occur as well.
Twins who are formed with two seperate ova are fertilized by two seperate sperm at roughly the same time. (Also called fraternal twins.)
An organism that is produced from another organism through artificial replication of cells and is genetically identical to that organism.
A person whose geneotype includes a gene that is not expressed in the phenotype. Such an unexpressed gene occurs in half of the carrier's gametes and thus is passed on to half of the carrier's children, who will most likely be carriers, too. Generally, only when the gene is inherited from both parents does the characteristic appear in the phenotype.
Having a condition (mosaicism) that involves having a mixture of cells, some normal and some with an odd number of chromosomes or a series of missing genes.
A fatal central nervous system disorder caused by a genetic miscode. Unlike most dominant traits, the effects of this allele do not begin until middle adulthood.
A disorder, which is probably dominant where about 30 percent of those who inherit the syndrome exhibit recurrent, uncontrollable tics and explosive verbal outbursts, usually beginning at about age 6. The remaining 70 percent have milder symptoms, such as an occasional twitch that is barely noticeable or a postponable impulse to clear their throat.
fragile X syndrome
A genetic disorder in which part of the X chromosome seems to be attached to the rest of it by a very thin string of molecules. The actual cause is too many repetitions of a particular part of a gene's code.
If there are three sex chromosomes instead of two, a child may seem normal until puberty, particularily if he is a male with this syndrome, XXY. Such a boy will be a little slow in elementary school, but not until age 12 or so-when the double X keeps his penis from growing and fat begins to accumulate around his breasts.
The only condition in which a person with 45 chromosomes can survive. A girl with only one X, which results in underdeveloped female organs and other anomalies
Passed by a recessive gene. Abnormal digestion of protein. Mental retardation, preventable by diet begun by 10 days after birth.
Refer to interactions among microsystems, as when parents coordinate their efforts with teachers to educate the child.