Unit 6: Developmental Psychology

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developmental psychology
a branch of psychology that studies physical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span
the fertilized egg; it enters a 2-week period of rapid cell division and develops 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 development and cause harm
fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman's heavy drinking. In severe cases, signs include a small, out-of-proportion head and abnormal facial features
decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation. As infants gain familiarity with repeated exposure to a stimulus, their interest wanes and they look away sooner
biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior; relatively uninfluenced by experience
all the mental activities associated with thinking; knowing, remembering, and communicating
a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information
interpreting our new experiences in terms of our existing schemas
adapting our current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information
sensorimotor stage
In Piaget's theory, the stage (from birth to nearly 2 years of age) 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 2 to 6 or 7 years of age) during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic
the principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects
in Piaget's theory, the preoperational child's difficulty taking another's point of view
theory of mind
people's ideas about their own and other's mental states--about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts, and the behaviors these might predict
concrete operational stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (from about 7 to 11 years of age) 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 begin to think logically about abstract concepts
a framework that offers children temporary support as they develop higher levels of thinking
stranger anxiety
the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age
an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to their caregiver and showing distress on separation
critical period
an optimal period early in the life of an organism when exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces normal development
the process by which certain animals form strong attachments during early life
strange situation
a procedure for studying child-caregiver attachment; a child is placed in an unfamiliar environment while their caregiver leaves and then returns, and the child's reactions are observed
secure attachment
demonstrated by infants who comfortably explore environments in the presence of their caregiver, show only temporary distress when the caregiver leaves, and find comfort in the caregiver's return
insecure attachment
demonstrated by infants who display either a clinging, anxious attachment or an avoidant attachment that resists closeness
a person's characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity
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
all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves in answer to the question, "Who am I?"
in psychology, the biologically influenced characteristics by which people define male and female
in psychology, the socially influenced characteristics by which people define boy, girl, man, and woman
any physical or verbal behavior intended to harm someone physically or emotionally
a set of expectations (norms) about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave
gender role
a set of expected behaviors, attitudes, and traits for males or for females
gender identity
our sense of being male, female, or some combination of the two
social learning theory
the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished
gender typing
the acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role
displaying both traditional masculine and feminine psychological characteristics
an umbrella term describing people whose gender identity or expression differs from that associated with their birth-designated sex
the transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence
the period of sexual maturation, during which a person becomes capable of reproducing
our sense of self; according to Erikson, the adolescent's task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles
social identity
the "we" aspect of our self-concept; the part of our answer to "Who am I?" that comes from our group memberships
in Erikson's theory, the ability to form close loving relationships; a primary developmental task in young adulthood
emerging adulthood
a period from about age 18 to the mid-twenties, when many in Western cultures are no longer adolescents but have not yet achieved full independence as adults
X chromosome
the sex chromosome found in both males and females. Females typically have two X chromosomes; males typically have one. An X chromosome from each parent produces a female child
Y chromosome
the sex chromosome typically found only in males. When paired with an X chromosome from the mother, it produces a male child
the most important male sex hormone. Both males and females have it, but the additional testosterone in males stimulates growth of the male sex organs during the fetal period, and the development of the male sex characteristics during puberty.
primary sex characteristics
the body structures (ovaries, testes, and external genitalia) that make sexual reproduction possible
secondary sex characteristics
nonreproductive sexual traits, such as female breasts and hips, male voice quality, and body hair
a condition present at birth due to unusual combinations male and female chromosomes, hormones, and anatomy; possessing biological sexual characteristics of both sexes
sexual orientation
our enduring sexual attraction to others
the time of natural cessation of menstruation; also refers to the biological changes a woman experiences as her ability to reproduce declines
cross-sectional study
research that compares people of different ages at the same point in time
longitudinal study
research that follows and retests the same people over time
neurocognitive disorders (NCDs)
acquired (not lifelong) disorders marked by cognitive deficits; often related to Alzheimer's disease, brain injury or disease, or substance abuse. In older adults, neurocognitive disorders were formerly called dementia
Alzheimer's disease
a neurocognitive disorder marked by neural plaques, often with onset after age 80, and entailing a progressive decline in memory and other cognitive abilities
social clock
the culturally preferred timing of social events such as marriage, parenthood, and retirement