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the changes that are associated with increasing physiological maturity, experience, or an interaction of psychological changes and experiences with the environment

cognitive development

the process by which people's thinking changes across the life span

socioemotional development

the process by which people learn about themselves as human beings, as well as the process by which they learn to interact with each other, across the life span; may be viewed as including emotional, personality, interpersonal, and moral development


to become more highly specialized into distinct parts or types

nature-nurture controversy

a debate regarding whether our psychological makeup arises from our inherited characteristics or from our interactions with the environment


any relatively permanent change in an individual that occurs strictly as a result of the biological processes of getting older


the process of trying to restore cognitive equilibrium by incorporating new information into existing schemas


the process of trying to restore cognitive equilibrium by modifying existing schemas or even creating new ones to fit new information


focused on one's own views without being able to see how others may view a situation


the process of absorbing knowledge from a given social environmental context

zone of proximal development

a range between the developed abilities that a child clearly shows and the latent capacities that the child might be able to show, given the appropriate environment in which to do so


an individual in the first three stages of prenatal development


a protective membrane containing a dense network of blood vessels through which the mother's bodu supplies needed resources and removes waste products


an individual in the second stage of the three stages of prenatal development; the individual undergoes tremendous differentiation and rapid growth and is easily influenced by the maternal environment

critical period

a time of rapid growth and development, during which particular changes typically occur if they are ever to occur; that is, such changes typically do not occur after


an individual in the third of three stages of prenatal development; a time during which the individual develops enough sophistication to be able to survive outside the mother's uterus




related to moving the muscles

sensorimotor stage

piaget's first stage of development, during which the child builds on reflexes and develops the first mental representations of things that are not being sensed at the moment

object permanence

the cognitive realization that objects may continue to exist even when they are not currently being sensed


a strong and relatively long lasting emotional tie between people

separation anxiety

the fear of being separated from a primary caregiver, such as a parent

strange situation

an experimental technique for observing attachement in young children

avoidant-attachment pattern

a pattern in which a child generally ignores the mother while she is present and in which the child shows minimal distress when the mother leaves; one of the three attachment patterns observed in the strange situation

secure-attachement pattern

a pattern in which a child generally shows preferential interest in, but not excessive dependence on, the attention of the mother while she is present and in which the child shows some distress when the mother leaves but can be calmed and reassured by her when she returns

resistant-attachement pattern

a pattern in which a child generally shows ambivalence toward the mother while she is present, seeking both to gain and to resist physical contact with her when the mother returns after being gone a short period of time


a person's distinctive tendency to show a particular mood and a particular intensity and duration of emotions

person-environment interaction

the distinctive fit between a given person and his or her environment

preoperational stage

Piaget's second stage of development, during which the child develops language and concepts about physical objects

representational thought

the thinking that involves mental images, such as images of tangible objects

conservation of quantity

the principle that the quantity of something remains the same as long as nothing is removed or added, even if the appearance of the substance changes in form

concrete-operational stage

Piaget's third stage of development, during which the child can mentally manipulate images of concrete objects


an individual's beliefs, understandings, and self judgements

gender typing

the process of acquiring gender-related roles for a given society

interpersonal development

the process by which people change across the life span in the way they relate to other people


the period of physiological development during which males and females develop primary and secondary sex characteristics and thereby reach sexual maturity


the stage of psychological development between the start of puberty and the time the individual accepts the full responsibilities of being an adult in a given society

formal-operational stage

Piaget's fourth stage of development during which the child becomes able to manipulate abstract ideas and formal relationships

imaginary audience

an adolescent's unfounded belief that other people are constantly observing, paying attention to, and judging the adolescent

life-span development

the changes that occur within a person over the life span

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