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Vocab words from Psychology A Framework for Everyday Thinking, by Lilienfeld/Lynn/Namy/Woolf


fertilized egg

Developmental Psychology

study of how behavior changes over time

Post Hoc Fallacy

false assumption that because one event occurred before another event, it must have caused that event

Cross-sectional Design

research design that examines people of different ages at a single point in time

Longitudinal Design

research design that examines development in the same group of people on multiple occasions over time

Gene-environment Interaction

situation in which the effects of genes depend on the environment in which they are expressed


prior to birth


Ball of identical cells early in pregancy that haven't yet begun to take on any specific function in a body part


Second to eight week of prenatal development, during which limbs, facial features, and major organs of the body take form


period of prenatal development from the ninth week until birth after all major organs are established and physical maturation is the primary change


environmental factors that can exert a negative impact on prenatal development

Motor Behavior

bodily motion that occurs as a result of self-initiated force that moves the bones and muscles

Cognitive Development

study of how children learn, think, reason, communicated, and remember


Piagetian process of absorbing new experience into current knowledge structures


Piagetian process of altering a belief to make it more compatible with experience

Sensorimoter Stage

stage in Piaget's theory characterized by a focus on the here and now without the ability to represent experiences mentally

Object Permanence

the understanding that objects continue to exist even when out of view

Preoperational Stage

stage in Piaget's theory characterized by the ability to construct mental representations of experience, but not yet perform operations on them


inability to see the world from others' perspectives


Piagetian task requiring children to understand that despite a transformation in the physical presentation of an amount, the amount remains the same

Concrete Operations Stage

stage in Piaget's theory characterized by the ability to perform mental operations on physical events only

Formal Operations Stage

stage in Piaget's theory characterized by the ability to perform hypothetical reasoning beyond the here and now


Vygotskian learning process in which parents provide initial assistance in children's learning but gradually remove structure as children become more competent

Zone of Proximal Development

phase of learning during which children can benefit from instruction

Theory of Mind

ability to reason about what other people know or believe

Stranger Anxiety

a fear of strangers developing at 8 or 9 months of age


the strong emotional connection we share with those to whom we feel closest


phenomenon observed in which baby birds begin to follow around and attach themselves to any large moving object they see in the hours immediately after hatching

Contact Comfort

positive emotions resulting from touch


basic emotional state that appears early in development and is largely genetic in origin

Average Expectable Environment

environment that provides children with basic needs for affection and discipline

Gender Identity

individuals' sense of being male or female

Gender Role

behaviors that tend to be associated with being male or female


the transition between childhood and adulthood commonly associated with the teenage years

Primary Sex Characteristics

the reproductive organs and genitals that distinguish the sexes

Secondary Sex Characteristics

sex-differentiating characteristics that don't relate directly to reproduction, such as breast enlargement in woman and deepening voices in men


start of menstruation


boys' first ejaculation


our sense of who we are and our life goals and priorities

Psychological Crisis

dilemma concerning an individual's relations to other people

Midlife Crisis

supposed phase of adulthood characterized by emotional distress about the aging process and an attempt to regain youth

Empty-nest Syndrome

alleged period of depression in mothers following the departure of their grown children from home


the termination of menstruation, marking the end of a woman's reproductive potential

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