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Developmental psychology

The psychological specialty that studies how organisms change over time as the result of biological and environmental influences.

"Who we are". Gradual milestones in a human's lifespan

Nature-nurture issue

The long-standing discussion over the relative importance of nature (heredity) and nurture (environment) in their influence on behavior and mental processes.

Eye color, height, ethnicity= Nature
How your parents raise you, what you observe from other children/books/tv shows/movies= nurture


A process by which forces work together or influence each other - as in the interaction between the forces of heredity and environment.

Interaction between the speaker and the audience [games, questions]

Identical twins

A pair who started life as a single fertilized egg, which later split into two distinct individuals. Identical twins have exactly the same genes.

"The Parent Trap"

Fraternal twins

A pair who started life as two separate fertilized eggs that happened to share the same womb. Fraternal twins, on the average, have about 50% of their genetic material in common.

Tia and Tamera "Sister Sister"

Continuity view

The perspective that development is gradual and continuous - as opposed to the discontinuity (stage) view.

Learning to walk or eat with a spoon = same as getting taller [gradual]

Discontinuity view

The perspective that development proceeds in an uneven (discontinuous) fashion - as opposed to the continuity view.

Discovering the connection between letters and sounds

Developmental stages

Periods of life initiated by significant transitions or changes in physical or psychological functioning.

Walking, talking, abstract reasoning

Prenatal period

The developmental period before birth

Nine months between conception and birth


A fertilized egg.

Filipino delicacy: Balut


In humans, the name for the developing organism during the first eight weeks after conception.

Millions of specialized cells for tissues and organs in the embryos body


In humans, the term for the developing organism between the embryonic stage and birth.

Spontaneous movements after the 16th week from conception


The organ interface between the embryo or fetus and the mother. The placenta separates the bloodstreams, but allows the exchange of nutrients and waste products.

Vitamins=gives human the added nutrients that they need


Substances from the environment, including viruses, drugs, and other chemicals, that can damage the developing organism during the prenatal period.

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Neonatal period

In humans, the neonatal (newborn) period extends through the first month after birth.

When newborn babies turn their heads when towards anything that strokes their cheeks


In humans, infancy spans the time between the end of the neonatal period and the establishment of language - usually about 18 months to 2 years.

Speech is well developed in the child


The enduring social emotional relationship between a child and a parent or other regular caregiver.

When a child cries during their first day of kindergarten because they are so attached to their parents


A primitive form of learning in which some young animals follow and form an attachment to the first moving object they see and hear.

When Jacob imprinted on Edward and Bella's baby in "Breaking Dawn"

Contact comfort

Stimulation and reassurance derived from the physical touch of a caregiver.

When my mom used to lightly stroke the bottom of my feet to help me fall asleep


The process by which the genetic program manifests itself over time.

Growing out of childhood and experiencing puberty


In Piaget's theory, mental structures or programs that guide a developing child's thought.

Concepts such as "dog" and "development"


A mental process that modifies new information to fit it into existing schemas.

Child may use a new word such as "pepperoni" to describe a favorite kind of pizza


A mental process that restructures existing schemas so that new information is better understood.

Schema about newborn children may change to accommodate your knew knowledge

Sensorimotor stage

The first stage in Piaget's theory, during which the child relies heavily on innate motor responses to stimuli.

Learning to recognize people a child sees frequently

Mental representation

The ability to form internal images of objects and events.

Objects continue to exist even when they are out of sight

Object permanence

The knowledge that objects exist independently of one's own actions or awareness.

Playing peekaboo with a baby

Preoperatjional stage

The second stage in Piaget's theory, marked by well-developed mental representation and the use of language.

Searching different places for a lost toy


In Piaget's theory, the self-centered inability to realize that there are other viewpoints beside one's own.

Child assumes that others see the world the same way they do

Animistic thinking

A preoperational mode of thought in which inanimate objects are imagined to have life and mental processes.

If a child slips and bangs her head on the table, she might complain about the "bad table", blaming it for hurting her


A preoperational thought pattern involving the inability to take into account more than one factor at a time.

Child prefers to drink out of a tall glass instead of a short glass because he/she thinks that it has more water


The inability, in the preoperational child, to think through a series of events or mental operations and then mentally reverse the steps.

Sam might see Mary spill a box of raisins on the table and think, "Wow! Mary has lots more raisins than I have in my little box."

Concrete operational stage

The third of Piaget's stages, when a child understands conservation but still is incapable of abstract thought.

Child understands that a short, wide glass can hold as much juice as a tall, narrow on or that the spilled raisins must fit back in the box


The understanding that the physical properties of an object or substance do not change when appearances change but nothing is added or taken away.

Child realizes that beads may look different in their grouping, but does not mean that they are different in number

Mental operations

Solving problems by manipulating images in one's mind.
Child is less gullible and does not believe in Santa Claus anymore

Theory of mind

An awareness that other people's behavior may be influenced by beliefs, desires, and emotions that differ from one's own.

Expectations of how people will react in certain situations


An individual's characteristic manner of behavior or reaction - assumed to have a strong genetic basis.

The saying that shy babies are more easily frightened

Zone of proximal development

The difference between what a child can do with help and what the child can do without any help or guidance.

Child can talk on their own without help, though they may need some help with tying their shoe laces

Psychosocial stages

In Erikson's theory, the developmental stages refer to eight major challenges, that appear successively across the lifespan, which require an individual to rethink his or her goals and relationships with others.

Trust vs. Mistrust


In industrial societies, a developmental period beginning at puberty and ending (less clearly) at adulthood.

Intermediate school through Highschool

Rites of Passage

Social rituals that mark the transition between developmental stages, especially between childhood and adulthood.

Graduation. Moving out of your house and living on your own, independently


The onset of sexual maturity.

When a guys voice gets lower/deeper

Primary sex characteristics

The sex organs and genitals.

Vagina, penis, uterus

Secondary sex characteristics

Gender-related physical features that develop during puberty.

Widening of hips in girls

Formal operational stage

The last of Piaget's stages, during which abstract thought appears.

Individual begins to ponder ways that he/she could become better accepted by peers


In Erikson's theory, a process of making a commitment beyond oneself to family, work, society, or future generations.

Volunteering in a community service group

Alzheimer's disease

A degenerative brain disease usually noticed first by its debilitating effects on memory.

"The Notebook"- Aly forgets her entire life, which is why her husband Noah reads to her and helps her remember what happened

Selective social interaction

Choosing to restrict the number of one's social contacts to those who are the most gratifying

Realizing who your "true" friends are


Refusing to believe the individual is sick.

When you don't want to admit that you ate all of the cookies your mom made for dessert


Patient displays anger that they are sick, "why me?!"

The rush of frustration you get when you fail a test you studied hard for!


Making a deal, in return for a cure, they will fulfill promises.
Asking a bag seller at the swap meet to sell the bag for 10 dollars instead of 20


Generally depressed affect includes sleep, loss of appetite, etc.

Depressed over a recent break-up with someone you truly loved


Patient realizes death is inevitable and accepts faith.

Understanding yourself and your actions. When you feel satisfied and "accept" yourself or whatever situation you are facing

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