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developemental psychology

a branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span


the fetilized egg; it enters a two week period of rapid cell division and developes into an embryo


the developing human organism from about 2 weeks after fertilization through the second month


the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth


agents, such as chemicals and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal developement and cause harm

fetal alcohol syndrom

physical and cognative abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman's heavy drinking. In severe cases, symptoms include noticable facial misproportions.


the biological growth processes hat enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience.


all thee mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating


a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information.


interpreting one's new experience in terms of one's existing schemas


adapting one's current understandings to incorporate new information.

sensorimotor stage

in Piaget's theory, the stage (from birth to about 2 years) during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities

object permanence

the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived

preoperational stage

in Piaget's Theory, the stage (from about age 2 to 7) during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic


a disorder that appears in childhood and is marked by deficient communication, social interaction, and understanding of others' state of mind

stranger anxiety

the fear of strangers that infants commonly display begining by about 8 months of age.


an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the cargiver and showing distress on separation.

critical period

an optimal period shortly after birth when an organism's exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper developement


the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life.

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.


the transition period from childhood, extending from childhood to adulted, extending from puberty to independence.


the period of sexual maturation, during which a person becomes capable of reproducing

primary sex charateristics

the body structures (ovaries, testes, and external genitalia) that make sexual reproduction possible.

secondary sex characteristics

nonreproductive sexual characteristics , such as female breasts and hips, male voice quality, and body hair


the first menstrual period


one's sense of self, the adolescent's task is to do this


in Erikson's theory, the ability to form close, loving relationships.


the time of natural cessation of menstruation

crystallized intelligence

one's accumulated knowlege and verbal skills, tends to increase with age

social clock

the culturally prefered timing of social events such as marriage, parenthood, and retirement


the principle (which Piaget believed to be part of concrete operational reasoning) that properties such as mass, volume, and numbers remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects.


in Piaget's therory, the preoperational child's difficulty taking another's point of view.

theory of the mind

people's ideas about their own and others' mental states--about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, and the behavior these might predict.

concrete operational stage

in Piaget's theory, the stage od cognative developement (from about 7 to 11 years old) 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 began to think logically about abstract concepts

fluid inteligence

one's ability to reason speedily and abstractyl; tends to decrease during late adulthood

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