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longitudinal method

measures a single individual or group of individuals over an extended period of time

cross-sectional method

compares individuals of various ages at one point in time


a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information


the process of absorbing new information into an existing schema


the process of adjusting old schemas or developing new ones to incorporate new information

object permanence

an infant's understanding that objects or people continue to exist even when they cannot be directly seen, heard, or touched


the child's inability to mentally reverse a sequence of events or logical operations


understanding that certain physical characteristics (such as volume) remain unchanged, even when their outward appearance changes

permissive style of parenting

parents set few rules, make minimal demands, and allow their children to reach their own conclusions

authoritative style of parenting

parents set firms rules, make reasonable demands, and listen to their child's viewpoint while still insisting on responsible behavior

authoritarian style of parenting

parents set rigid rules, enforce strict punishments, and rarely listen to their child's point of view

psychosocial stages

Erik Erikson's theory that individuals pass through eight developmental stages, each involving a crisis that must be successfully resolved

the id

consists of innate sexual and aggressive instincts and drives. The id is compulsive, irrational, and immature. It operates on a pleasure principle, seeking to achieve immediate gratification and avoid discomfort (completely unconscious)

the superego

consists of internalized parental and societal standards. It operates on a morality principle, seeking to enforce ethical conduct (partly conscious)

the ego

resides in the conscious and preconscious levels of awareness. ego is rational and practical. operates on a reality principle

defense mechanisms

the ego's protective method of reducing anxiety and distorting reality


Freud's first and most basic defense mechanism that prevents unacceptable impulses from coming into conscious awareness


the feelings of self-confidence or self-doubt that people bring to a specific situation

locus of control

individuals who accept personal responsibility for their life experiences have an internal locus of control

five-factor model

trait theory of personality that includes openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism

g factor

the notion, proposed by Charles Spearman, of a general intelligence factor that is responsible for a person's overall performance on tests of mental ability

fluid intelligence

aspects of innate intelligence, including reasoning abilities, memory, and speed of information processing, that are relatively independent of education and tend to decline as people age

crystallized intelligence

knowledge and skills gained through experience and education that tend to increase over the life span


establishment of norms and uniform procedures for giving and scoring a test


measure of consistency and reproducibility of test scores during repeated administrations of a test


the ability of a test to meausre what it is designed to measure

self-fulfilling prophecy

observations or behaviors that result primarily from expectation

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