Unit 6: Developmental Psychology

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Psychology

60 Terms

1

developmental psychology

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

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zygote

the fertilized egg; it enters a 2-week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo

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3

embryo

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

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fetus

the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth

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5

teratogens

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

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6

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

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habituation

decreasing responsiveness with repeated stimulation. As infants gain familiarity with repeated exposure to a stimulus, their interest wanes and they look away sooner

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8

maturation

biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior; relatively uninfluenced by experience

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9

cognition

all the mental activities associated with thinking; knowing, remembering, and communicating

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10

schema

a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information

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11

assimilation

interpreting our new experiences in terms of our existing schemas

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12

accommodation

adapting our current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information

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13

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

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14

object permanence

the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived

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15

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

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conservation

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

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egocentrism

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

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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

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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

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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

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scaffold

a framework that offers children temporary support as they develop higher levels of thinking

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22

stranger anxiety

the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age

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23

attachment

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

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critical period

an optimal period early in the life of an organism when exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces normal development

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25

imprinting

the process by which certain animals form strong attachments during early life

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26

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

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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

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insecure attachment

demonstrated by infants who display either a clinging, anxious attachment or an avoidant attachment that resists closeness

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temperament

a person's characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity

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30

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

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31

self-concept

all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves in answer to the question, "Who am I?"

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32

sex

in psychology, the biologically influenced characteristics by which people define male and female

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gender

in psychology, the socially influenced characteristics by which people define boy, girl, man, and woman

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34

aggression

any physical or verbal behavior intended to harm someone physically or emotionally

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role

a set of expectations (norms) about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave

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gender role

a set of expected behaviors, attitudes, and traits for males or for females

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gender identity

our sense of being male, female, or some combination of the two

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social learning theory

the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished

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gender typing

the acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role

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40

androgyny

displaying both traditional masculine and feminine psychological characteristics

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41

transgender

an umbrella term describing people whose gender identity or expression differs from that associated with their birth-designated sex

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42

adolescence

the transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence

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43

puberty

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

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identity

our sense of self; according to Erikson, the adolescent's task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles

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social identity

the "we" aspect of our self-concept; the part of our answer to "Who am I?" that comes from our group memberships

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46

intimacy

in Erikson's theory, the ability to form close loving relationships; a primary developmental task in young adulthood

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47

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

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48

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

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Y chromosome

the sex chromosome typically found only in males. When paired with an X chromosome from the mother, it produces a male child

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testosterone

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.

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primary sex characteristics

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

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secondary sex characteristics

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

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intersex

a condition present at birth due to unusual combinations male and female chromosomes, hormones, and anatomy; possessing biological sexual characteristics of both sexes

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sexual orientation

our enduring sexual attraction to others

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55

menopause

the time of natural cessation of menstruation; also refers to the biological changes a woman experiences as her ability to reproduce declines

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cross-sectional study

research that compares people of different ages at the same point in time

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longitudinal study

research that follows and retests the same people over time

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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

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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

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60

social clock

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

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