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749 Cards in this Set

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academic self-concept
one of two divisions of children's general self-concept, referring to sense of self as an achiever in school subjects. Can be further divided into specific school subject areas sucha s math, science, English, and social studies
A reaction to impending death that is characterized by a sense of peace and relative tranquility, suggesting that one has come to terms with the inevitable.
acceptance factor
An aspect of parental responsiveness that includes being affectionate, praising the child, being involved in the child's life, and showing concern for the child's needs; correlated with children's self-esteem and social adjustment.
In Piaget's theory of cognitive development, the adaptation process by which existing knowledge structures are modified somewhat when an individual is exposed to new information
One of Marcia's four identy status categories characterizing individuals whose development has been marked by exploration and then commitment to certain alternatives. Persons in this category have constructed their identity by their own efforts to shape and transform their earlier selves.
achieving commitment
An alternative name for Marcia's "achievement" that is used by Meeus and colleagues, because it emphasizes the dynamic linkage between high levels of commitment and high levels of exploration.
achieving stage
In Schaie's theory, the stage of cognitive development when a young adult must apply her intellectual skills to the achievement of long-term goals, carefully attending to the consequences of the problem-solving process.
acquisition stage
In Schaie's theory, the time in cognitive development (during childhood and adolescence) when an individual is sheltered from the majority of life's responsibilities and can learn a skill or a body of knowledge regardless of whether it has any practical goal or social implications.
active euthanasia
Injection of a medication by someone else that causes immediate death.
active gene effects
the influence of genes on an individual's choice of environments, companions, and activities. People choose environments that are compatible with their interests, and those interests may be influenced by genes.
activity level
The intensity and quantity of movement an individual displays; one aspect of infant temperament.
actuarial prediction
Predicting an individual's outcome based on group characteristics, such as predicting how likely an individual is to suffer a heart attack based on the frequency of heart attacks in large samples of people with similar characteristics (same age, gender, socio-economic status, etc.)
In Piaget's theory of cognitive development, the process by which the human mind constructs its knowledge, both assimilating new information to existing knowledge structures or understandings, and accommodating those structures to create a better fit to what is new.
adolescence-limited antisocial pattern
A developmental pattern of adolescent antisocial behavior that develops in adolescence and usually ends shortly thereafter.
adolescent growth spurt
Corresponding with puberty, a rapid increase in size accompanied by changes in the shape and proportions of the body.
adolescent-onset or late-starter model
A developmental pathway of antisocial behavior that begins in adolescence and is not likely to result in adult criminality. Although serious, it seems to be reflective of a difficult or exaggerated reaction to the adolescent period.
The process of advancing with age, improving or growing.
The point just before puberty when the adrenal gland increases its activity and children begin to show sexual attraction.
adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
A hormone, released into the bloodstream during the body's response to stress, which prompts the adrenal glands to release "stress hormones."
Adult Attachment Inventory (AAI)
A structured interview in which adults describe their memories of the parenting they received and their evaluation of whether and how that parenting influenced their own development. Based on coding of the verbatim transcripts, adults are categorized as having one of four attachment styles: autonomous (secure), dismissing (insecure), preoccupied (insecure), and unresolved (insecure). The security of an adult's attachment style tends to be correlated with the attachment security of their own infants.
advance directives (living wills)
Statements, typically in writing that describe a person's wishes regarding treatment in the event of incurable illness.
age-graded changes
Changes to which a person must adapt that are strongly age determined, such as physical changes.
In cognitive functioning, the ability to act without an external trigger or to engage in self-motivated behavior. In social-emotional functioning, a constituent of generativity that involves generating, creating, and producing things, ideas, people, events, and so on as powerful extensions of the self.
agreeableness (A)
One of the Big 5 personality traits that is described using synonyms including: warm, sympathetic, generous, forgiving, kind, and affectionate.
alarm phase
The first phase in the body's reaction to a stressor, during which the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands increases in preparation for flight or fight.
Different forms of the same gene, such as the many forms of the eye color gene.
allostatic load
The physiological wear and tear on the body that results from ongoing adaptive efforts to maintain stability (homeostasis) in response to stressors.
Alzheimer's disease (AD)
A brain disease that leads to dementia. Becomes more prevalent with age. Extensive brain changes including the development of plaques and tangles lead to the common symptom characteristics of the disease including absentmindedness, confusion, language and memory problems, disorientation, and problems with physical coordination. The eventual outcome is death.
A medical procedure that can be done during a woman's pregnancy, usually at about the 16th week. A small amount of amniotic fluid is extracted from the uterus with a special syringe. Cells from the fluid have the same genetic makeup as the fetus and can be used to identify chromosomal and other abnormalities in the fetus.
amniotic fluid
A watery substance that surrounds a fetus, protecting the fetus from bumps and helping it maintain a constant temperature.
amniotic sac
A membrane that surrounds the fetus and contains anmiotic fluid, providing a protective buffer from outside influences.
A brain structure that influences motivation, emotional control, fear responses, and interpretation of nonverbal, emotional expressions.
anal fixation
In Freud's personality theory, the result of an unsatisfactory experience at the anal stage that can include being whithholding (of mental and emotional resources), being compulsively cautious about keeping things clean and in order, or being overly messy and disorganized.
anal personality
In Freud's personality theory, a person who has an anal fixation.
anal stage
In Freud's theory, the second of psychosexual stage, beginning in the 2nd year of life, when the anal area of the body becomes the focus of greatest pleasure. During this stage, parenting practices associated with toilet training that are either overcontrolling or overindulgent could have long-lasting effects on personality development.
Male hormones, produced in the testes that contribute to the develpment of male reproductive organs and may affect some aspects of brain development.
A type of coping mechanism experienced by one nearing death that is a normal reaction to separation and loss. May be directed toward God, toward others, or toward the disease itself.
antisocial behavior
Behavior characterized by the presence of aggression or the intent to harm another person. More broadly may include such acts as risky sexual activity, substance abuse, defiance, cheating, lying, and vandalism.
antisocial personality disorder
A disorder characterized by antisocial behavior, with conduct problems typically beginning in early childhood.
An attachment category describing babies who show a great deal of distress on separation from their mothers, and who may act angry when reunited with the mother, alternately approaching and resisting her, or who may respond listlessly to her efforts to comfort. They seem preoccupied with their mothers and rarely return to exploration after a separation.
anxious arousal
A state that children are thought to experience when parents discipline them. Hoffman proposed that mild forms help a child pay attention to the parent's socialization message, but more intense arousal attracts the child's attention to other concerns, like their own fear.
applied developmental science
An emerging field that has begun to synthesize and apply the findings of developmental psychology to the solution of real-world problems.
A debilitating disease common in the elderly that is characterized by the onset of pain, stiffness, and swelling of joints and surrounding tissues.
In Piaget's theory of cognitive development, the process of interpreting new stimulation or information as fitting with what one already knows, sometimes distorting the new information as a result.
Association area
A part of the cortex that is not a "primary" area involved in vision, hearing, sensory, or motor functions. Integrates information coming from the various primary cortical areas and appears to be important for complex cognitive functioning.
attachment theory
According to Bowlby, the infant and his primary caregiver(s) participate in an interactive system that has evolved to keep the infant safe and ensure survival. As the infant changes cognitively and emotionally, an affectional bond with the caregiver emerges in stages, with a full-fledged attachment likely by about 7 or 8 months.
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
A disability marked by the following features: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
Length of uninterrupted orienting or attention to a single activity and tendency to return to a task after interruption; an aspect of infant temperament.
attribute substitution
A process involving imitation and identification in which adolescents need to borrow and "try on" various behaviors and attributes that they observe in others, because the state of frameworklessness leaves them without clearly defined ways of behaving and thinking.
authoritarian style
An interactive parenting style that combines low levels of warmth (cold emotional climate) with high levels of control of demandingness. Associated with negative emotional tone, poor social skills, and other negative outcomes in children.
authoritative style
An interactive parenting style that combines high levels or warmth (affection, sensitivity and responsivity) with moderate to high levels of control or demandingness. Associated with many positive child outcomes.
autobiographical memory
What we remember of our own history of experiences, including representations of who we have been at various points in the past. Largely synonymous with episodic memory.
autonomic functions
A set of bodily functions, such as those involving the organ systems, that is outside an individual's conscious control.
autonomous (secure)
An attachment category characterizing adults who provide an Adult Attachment Inventory transcript that is coherent and collaborative. They integrate and monitor their thinking, summarize answers, return the conversation to the interviewer, demonstrate good perspective-taking skills, acknowledge the importance of attachment-related experiences in their development, and tend to have children who are securely attached.
autonomous stage
Stage of moral development described by Piaget that begins in middle childhood. Children now understand that rules are based on social agreements and can be changed.
In Ryan and Deci's self-determination theory, one of three basic or universal needs. Being in control of oneself, or feeling that one's behavior is congruent with one's "true self", meaning that it is intrinsically motivated.
autonomy versus shame and doubt
The crisis faced in the second of Erikson's "Eight Stages of Man," in which the 1- to 3-year old child may develop feelings of autonomy ("I can do things myself") or of shame and self-doubt, depending on whether his caregive strikes the right balance between exercising control and being sensitive to the child's new need for independence
The 22 of 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans that are matched (they look and function alike).
A sociometric category that includes those children who receive an average number of positive and negative nominations from their peers (near the mean for the group on social preference and social impact).
An attachment category describing babies who typically fail to cry when separated from their mothers in a strange situation test. They actively avoid or ignore her when she returns, sometimes combining proximity seeking and moving away, but mostly turning away and often appearing unemotional. In Bartholomew's typology of adult attachments, a category that is subdivided into two types (dismissing and fearful) based on the individual's reports of felt distress.
A long extension, projecting from the cell body of a neuron, which is like a cable attached to a piece of electronic equipment. Electrical impulses travel from the cell body through the axon toward synapses with other neurons.
axon terminals
Structure found at the ends of axons, which contain tiny sacs of neuro-transmitters.
Infant vocal sounds, usually beginning around 6 months of age, consisting of repeated consonant-vowel-consonant sequences such as "bababa" or "doodoodoo". By 9 months of age, they tend to be limited to the sounds permissible in the baby's native language.
A reaction to impending death that serves as an attempt to postpone an inevitable death by making promises, usually to a divine other, or trying to delay death until some memorable event has taken place.
basic trust
In Erikson's theory of personality development, an infant's ability to see others as dependable and trustworthy as a result of care-giving that is timely, sensitive to the infant's needs, and consistently available.
behavioral facilitation system
Neural system that regulates approach behaviors, response to incentives, positive affect, and psychomotor activity.
behavioral inhibition
In late infancy and childhood, a tendency toward shyness, manifested as avoidance or distress in new situations. This trait is linked to high reactivity (including irritability in response to new sensory stimulation) in early infancy.
behavioral inhibition system
Neural system that regulates withdrawal and avoidance behaviors.
behavior genetics
The field of quantitative genetics that explores the extent to which behavioral differences among individuals may be related to genetic influences.
behaviorist tradition
Approaches to explaining learning in which behavioral change is seen as a function of chains of specific environmental events, such as those that occur in classical and operant conditioning.
binge drinking
Drinking many drinks in a row.
bidirectional processes
Reciprocal relationships between causal mechanisms. Factors that result in developmental change often moderate each others' influence. For example, genetic influences are moderated by environmental processes and vice versa.
bipolar disorder
An affective disorder that is generally characterized by episodes of mania or hypomania, sometimes alternating with episodes of depression.
A characteristic of individulas who have interest in sexual relations with partners of both sexes.
body image
The concept of, and attitude toward one's physical appearance.
Interactions between boys and girls during middle childhood when there appear to be unwritten rules governing when and how the two genders will interact.
A set of lower brain structures that include the medulla, pons, and midbrain.
broad socialization
Socialization that permits and encourages high levels of individual freedom of expression, has few social constraints, expects less community responsibility, and thus tolerates a wide variety of socially deviant behaviors.
Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory
A comprehensive developmental model proposed by Bronfenbrenner that takes into account the many levels of influence the environmnet can have on an individual. The interacting systems in this model are the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, and the macrosystem.
"the bump"
A salient feature of self-memories. Regardless of age, adults' cue-prompted memories of the self from the young adult period (ages 18-22) are slightly but reliably overproduced.
cannot classify
An attachment category characterizing adults who may have psychiatric disorders and who do not fit in any of the other four attachment style categories.
career consolidation (vs. self-absorption)
A life stage that Vaillant added to Erikson's sequence of stages, characterizing the mid-20s, when in addition to ongoing intimacy concerns, one becomes concerned with making a commitment to work that brings personal satisfaction, regardless of its other rewards, rather than just having a job.
Someone with a gene that is unexpressed in his phenotype but can be passed on to offspring.
causal variable
The postulated cause of a given phenomenon.
central sulcus
A fissure in the cerebrum that is used to locate the parietal lobe, which sits behind this fissure.
A characteristic of preoperational thought in which the child tends to focus on one salient feature of an experience or event at a time.
The central location where duplicate chromosomes remain joined during cell division.
Describes the "head to tail" direction of prenatal development.
A brain structure located in the hindbrain that is involved in the planning, coordination, and smooth operation of complex motor activities.
cerebral cortex
The outer layer of the gray matter of the cerebrum, which is the highest and most recently evolved portion of the brain.
cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
A cardio-vascular problem in which an artery serving the brain is either clogged or bursts.
The highest brain structure, comprising two thirds of the forebrain, and coordinating most other brain activity. Involved in higher brain processes like thinking, language, decision making, and so on.
child centered
Describes caregivers who set aside their own needs (for time and convenience) to meet a child's developmental needs.
Forty-six tiny strands of DNA, found in the nucleus of each cell of the body, which are the source of biological inheritance.
The cognitive process of linking several pieces of information together into a single meaningful unit, such as remembering the digits 1, 7, 7, and 6 by thinking of the year 1776.
Series of neurons that are joined via their synaptic connections into groups and are part of larger organizations of neurons.
Series of neurons that are joined via their synaptic connections into groups and are part of larger organizations of neurons.
classical conditioning
A process by which a change in behavior takes place when a neutral event of stimulus is associated with a stimulus that causes an automatic response. As a result the neutral stimulus causes the person to make the same automatic response in the future.
The gradual reduction of reproductive ability in women usually beginning in their late 30s when the menstrual cycle begins to shorten and become somewhat more erratic as a result of a reduction in the amount of circulating estradiol.
clinical-developmental psychology
A therapeutic approach, developed by Noam that blends developmental knowledge with clinical practice.
Voluntary social or friendship groups of three to nine members characterizing children in early to middle adolescence.
closed commitment
Meeus and colleagues' alternative name for Marcia's "foreclosure". It signifies an identity with a high level of present commitment and low levels of coexisting exploration.
closed identity domains
Areas of identity in which individuals tend toward foreclosure because they have little control over them.
The intricate pattern by which genes and environmnet mutually influence one another. The activity of the genes is affected by the environment of the cell that is affected by other levels of the environment including the outside world. One result is that the same complement of genes produces different outcomes in different environments. Also, the same environment can have different effects on outcomes when interacting with different genes.
code switching
Shifting from one form or style of speech to another depending on context, such as shifting from using slang with friends to using more polite forms with authority figures.
A type of relationship between two alleles of the same gene (located at matching sites on a pair of chromosomes) in which neither allele is suppressed., producing a blended outcome.
coercive family interaction
Patterson's description of how children learn to act aggressively. Aggressive children respond to parental demands by behaving aversively (whining, etc), parents retreat, rewarding the child's noncompliance, and parents are reinforced with short-lived peace and quiet. Children are trained in the effectiveness of aggressive noncompliance and learn powerful parent-control strategies.
A group of people who were born in the same historical period and grew up at about the same time.
cohort effects
Also called history-graded events, they are events that provide a context for development and also influence it directly. The year of your birth marks your entry into a cohort of peers who accompany you through age-graded developmental changes within the context of a specific set of historical events.
collaborative or affiliative speech
A type of speech, more often used among girls, in which children's responses are keyed to what someone else has said, expressing agreement or making further suggestions, often in the form of a question rather than declarative or imperative sentences.
collective egocentrism
Peer influences on maintaining risky behavior; each adolescent's illusion of invincibility strengthens that of the other members of the peer group.
An element of love that refers to making a decision to sustain a relationship with a loved one.
commitment foreseen
Position 6 in Perry's model in which thinking incorporates not only respect for diverse ideas and understanding of their rationale, but also the individual's affirmation of what it is she believes in, all the while knowing that reason will never provide absolute proof that her ideas or perspectives are right or better than others.
committed compliance
Describes toddlers' eager and enthusiastic willingness to go along with parental requests. Predicts measures of internalization and conscience in the later pre-school period.
A constituent of generativity that is expressed in the adult's desire to care for the next generation, even to the point of sacrificing her own well-being for the good of those who will follow.
A standard for mate selection in which one chooses a potential mate based on how his or her personality meshes with one's own personality.
compelling circumstances
Conditions that mitigate the guilt of a criminal defendant because he or she faced such pressure when the crime was committed that even an ordinary, reasonable person could be expected to have acted in the same way, such as acting in the face of extreme need or under threat of injury.
A process that contributes to successful development. When a loss of some kind prevents the use of one means to an end, the individual finds another means.
In self-determination theory, feeling effective in one's interactions with the social environment and experiencing opportunities to exercise and express one's capacities.
complicated or abnormal grief
A response to bereavement that is generally accompanied by other disorders such as major depression, substance abuse, or post-traumatic stress disorder that is intense and lasts for an extended period of time, greatly interfering with functioning. Abnormal grief may also be marked by a complete absence of grief and the total inability to experience grief reactions.
compulsive caregiving
Describes a behavioral pattern in which children (usually insecurely attached, avoidant children) take emotional care of their parents.
compulsive self-sufficiency
Describes a behavioral pattern in which children (usually insecurely attached, avoidant children) appear very self-possessed, perhaps related to experiences of shaming for expressions of dependency or needs for closeness.
concrete operational stage
In Piaget's theory of cognitive development, the period from about age 6 to 12 when children begin to think logically but have difficulty applying logical thought to abstract contents.
conditioned stimulus
A formerly neutral stimulus that has become associated with a stimulus that causes an automatic response, thus causing the same automatic response in the future.
conduct disorder (CD)
A pattern of serious behavior problems that violate the basic rights of others, such as stealing, aggression, or property destruction. Presently, this diagnosis requires a persistent pattern of aggression in youth.
conferred identity
The identity attained by those who are foreclosed (individuals who make commitments with little or no exploration of alternatives).
confirmation bias
When a child's peers have already developed schemas or constructions for him that are built on his social reputation, the interactions with the target child that follow are marked by attention to evidence that confirms the target child's characteristics.
congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)
A gender-atypical condition in which biological females with two X chromosomes are exposed to high levels of androgens (male hormones) during prenatal and postnatal development.
An internalized slate of standards and principles that constitutes a person's primary guide to action. May cause feelings of discomfort or distress when the violation of a rule is contemplated or carried out.
conscientiousness (C)
One of the Big 5 personality traits that is described using synonyms including: organized, planful, reliable, responsible, careful, and efficient.
In Super's theory, achievement of advanced status and seniority in the work-place that often accompanies the maintenance stage.
constructed identity
The identity not based upon a predetermined set of expectations, but rather representative either of a personal redefinition of childhood and early adolescent goals and values or perhaps something very different from them.
Rooted in theories such as Piaget's, assumes that individuals are not just passive receptors of information who acquire knowledge via external manipulations. Instead, people actively construct their knowledge by interpreting information in light of prior learning, by actively restructuring prior knowledge, or by co-constructing knowledge in interactions with others.
contextual relativism
Position 5 in Perry's model that represents a major achievement in intellectual development because the student now possesses analytic abilities that allow her to appreciate the merits of diverse perspectives and to find convincing elements in multiple points of view. Thinking relativistically, or thinking about knowledge in context, becomes more habitual.
contingency management system
Presenting and withdrawing reinforcers and punishments in a systematic and consistent way to effect behavioral change.
control dimension (parental demandingness)
One of two major features of parenting style. The degree to which parents impose discipline, requiring their children to curb some of their behaviors and to perform other behaviors that are suitable to their level of maturity.
control group
In experimental design, a group like the experimental group in every way except that the causal variable is not purposely changed.
A sociometric category that identifies a relatively small group of children who receive many positive and many negative nominations from peers (high social impact, average social preference).
conventional morality
Kohlberg's second stage of moral reasoning in which what is right depends on others' approval or on the need to maintain social order.
conventional rules
Social rules of conduct that vary from one culture to another and are a function of social agreement, such as rules about appropriate dress, forms of address, and table manners.
cooperative learning environments
Classrooms or other organizations that encourage children to work in pairs or in groups to solve academic problems and to improve their understanding of concepts or skills.
corpus callosum
A network of fibers that connects the right and left cerebral hemispheres of the brain. Its maturation from early childhood through adolescence contributes to coordination and integration of information and aids in the development of consciousness.
correlational studies
Often utilized when experiments are impractical or unethical, a technique in which both the causal variable and outcome variable are measured or observed, and nothing is actually manipulated by the researcher. Such studies can determine whether changes in the causal variable are matched by predicted changes in the outcome variable, but they cannot determine whether changes in the causal variable caused the changes in the outcome variable.
corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRF)
A hormone produced by the hypothalamus that stimulates the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH).
A hormone, released during the body's response to stress, that increases blood glucose levels and affects the immune response.
counting all strategy
Rudimentary addition strategy of young children. For example, given the problem of adding 2 plus 3, holding up two fingers on one hand, three fingers on the other hand and counting all of them.
counting on strategy
Addition strategy of young children. For example, given the problem of adding 2 plus 3, starting at 2 and counting three more digits on from there.
critical period
A certain time frame in which some developments, such as first language learning, must take place or the opportunity is missed.
cross-sectional studies
A study design in which different ages are represented by different groups of people as opposed to one group of people over time.
Large, reputation-based groups, composed of numerous cliques that form in early to mid-adolescence.
In Super's theory, the formulation of general vocational goals in the early part of the exploratory stage.
crystallized intelligence (pragmatics)
The compilation of skills and information we have acquired in the course of our lives that can be viewed as the software programs of our nervous system.
Shared traditions, attitudes, values, and beliefs handed down from one generation to the next.
Small protein molecules of many different varieties that are secreted by cells of the immune system and that help regulate its functioning.
daily hassles
Category of stressor that is chronic and cumulative in its effect.
day reconstruction method (DRM)
Method of research in which participants revive memories of a previous day, describe the days' experiences, and rate affective valence of experiences.
Within-stage variations in Piaget's cognitive stage theory. Children sometimes show more advanced or less advanced functioning in one or another cognitive domain than is typical of their overall stage of development.
Detaching emotionally from the relationship one had experienced with a loved one prior to their death and reinvesting psychic energy into the formation of new attachments.
A characteristic of concrete and formal operational thought in Piaget's cognitive theory. Attending to multiple pieces of information (or multiple aspects of a situation) at one time; a necessary ingredient in logical thinking.
declarative knowledge
Knowledge about facts (semantic information) and events (episodic information).
decline stage
In Super's theory, just before and after age 65, when one's career winds down, retirement is planned and takes precedence over career advancement and consolidation.
deferred imitation
Imitation in which children observe the actions of another on one occasion, and then imitate those actions sometime later. In order to do so, the child must be able to recall the observed actions.
A general decline in the importance of cliques over the course of the high school years.
delayed phase preference
A shift in sleep patterns characterized by staying up later in the evening and sleeping later in the morning than younger children that has been associated with hormonal changes at puberty.
demand characteristics
Behavioral tendencies that often either encourage or discourage certain kinds of reactions from others.
Cognitive functioning that is so severly impaired that it negatively affects ability to relate to others and to manage one's own daily activities.
democracy factor
An aspect of parental responsiveness. The degree to which parents encourage children's psychological autonomy by soliciting their opinions or encouraging self-expression. Related to children's self-reliance, self-confidence, willingness to work hard, and general competence.
Small projections that grow out from a neuron's cell body; they receive transmissions from other neurons.
A type of defense mechanism for dealing with stressful events, such as approaching death, associated with feelings of numbness or disbelief that buffers the person from the full weight of the threat.
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
A complex organic substance that comprises chromosomes and genes.
depressed mood
A subclinical level of depression.
A pattern of symptoms that include depressed mood, sadness, feelings of hopelessness, and loss of pleasure or interest in formerly pleasurable activities. In clinical usage, various subtypes of depression have been identified and all cause significant impairment in functioning.
The first step in the scientific method, aimed at answering factual questions about a phenomenon, such as who, what, when, where, and with whom.
The third phase in the grieving process characterized by great sadness; social withdrawal; sleeping, eating, or somatic disturbances; and other symptoms of depression or emotional upset.
developmental lines
Two sources or routes of cognitive development according to Vygotsky. One is the "socio-historical" or cultural route, which involves input from other people, and the other is the "natural" route, deriving from the child's own processing of information.
developmental psychopathology
A relatively new and influential field that has applied a developmental focus to the study of abnormal behavior and dysfunction.
Underlying predispositions to some disease or abnormal condition.
Model for the development of psychopathology that assumes a genetic predisposition (diathesis) that confers particular sensitivity to environmental risk (stress).
differential emotions theory
Izard's view that facial expressions in infants are the direct manifestation of underlying neural processes related to the emotion expressed. For example, a sad expression implies the operation of the neural circuitry associated with sadness, so that if a baby looks sad, he is sad.
differential susceptibility
Child temperament moderates the influence of parenting styles and disciplinary strategies.
The process by which a global skill or activity divides into multiple skills or begins to serve multiple functions.
difficult babies
A temperament type described by Thomas and Chess. These babies are fearful, irritable, active, display low levels of positive affect, are irregular in biological rhythms, and so on, making them more challenging to care for than other babies.
One of Marcia's four identity status categories that often describes young adolescents as they embark on the identity development process. The individual is not actively involved in exploring possible life choices, nor has she made any firm commitments to them.
digit span tests
A test of working memory in which a series of digits are presented and the participant must repeat them in the correct order.
diminished capacity
One source of mitigation in adult criminal law. A guilty actor is considered less than fully blameworthy because of some deficiency at the time of the offense. Perhaps he was mentally ill, emotionally distressed, or intellectually impaired.
The tendency of parents to limit or demand behavior by exerting or requiring control.
The second stage of retirement, when people begin to experience an emotional "letdown" as they face the day-to-day realities of the change, such as separation from work colleagues, uncertainties about how to feel competent and in control, a sense of diminished generativity and meaningfulness, new tensions that may arise with one's partner, financial concerns, and perhaps, boredom.
After habituating to one stimulus, an infant may show reinstatement of the orienting response if the stimulus is changed. This response is dishabituation and indicates that the baby has noticed the difference between the original stimulus and the new stimulus.
disillusionment model
The view that posits that overly romantic idealizations of marriage and blissfully optimistic views of one's partner set people up for eventual disappointment.
dismissing (insecure)
An attachment style characterizing adults whose Adult Attachment Inventory transcripts provide little detail and coherence. They may describe their parents positively but provide either no evidence or contradictory evidence. They downplay close relationships and tend to have children who are in the avoidant attachment category. In Bartholomew's typology, these individuals prefer self-sufficiency and maintain a sense of superiority while devaluing the importance of others to their well-being.
dismissive parenting
Also called neglecting, a parenting style that describes parents who are essentially disengaged, scoring low on both responsiveness and demandingness.
An attachment category describing babies who produce contradictory and even bizarre behaviors in the strange situation test, showing both an inclination to approach the mother when stressed and a tendency to avoid her when she approaches.
distal processes
Factors outside the immediate external environment, including internal forces (genes) and external forces (features of the educational system or of the broader culture), which modify the proximal processes in Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model and other multidimensional theories.
A coping style that involves deliberate focusing on neutral or pleasant thoughts or engaging activities that divert attention in more positive directions. Distraction can attenuate depressive episodes.
A form of negative stress that includes the kinds of frustrations, conflicts, pressures, and negative events that people experience in their lives either intermittently or chronically.
domain of knowledge
A specific subject matter, such as mathematics or chess or history.
domain specific
Describing a level of knowledge or skill that has been achieved in one subject area but not in others, such as being able to think logically about math but not about baseball or biology.
A type of relationship between two alleles of the same gene, in which one allele is expressed whereas the other is suppressed.
domineering or power-assertive speech
Discourse containing many commands and restrictions. Tends to be "egotistic," ignoring others' remarks, and often includes threats and interruptions, more typical of males than females.
double effect
Giving medication intended to relieve pain even though there is a chance that death can result.
double standard
The idea that female sexual behavior is judged more harshly than male sexual behavior.
Down syndrome (Trisomy 21)
A disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome number 21 and often characterized by mental retardation, flattened facial features, poor muscle tone, and heart problems.
downward social comparisons
Comparing oneself to less competent or less successful peers when one's own self-esteem is at stake. Such comparisons protect the individual from negative self-evaluations.
dual-process model
The model that proposes that bereaved individuals simultaneously engage in two kinds of coping mechanisms, approach and avoidance, that wax and wane over the course of grieving.
A social unit or "group" that consists of two people.
early-starter model
One developmental pathway to antisocial behavior. Oppositional behavior begins in early childhood, persists and diversifies over time, and becomes increasingly more serious.
earned secure
An attachment style characterizing adults who in Adult Attachment Inventory transcripts reveal experiences of early adversity, describe their painful backgrounds truthfully, acknowledge the stressors their own parents faced, and come to terms with their early experiences. Their children are usually securely attached.
easy babies
A temperament type described by Thomas and Chess. These babies are placid, not very active, show positive affect, and are regular in their rhythms, making them easier to care for than other babies.
effortful control
The inhibition of a compelling response that is "dominant" or preferred (e.g., eating dessert) to perform a response that is less compelling (e.g., complying with a diet). Plays a role in regulating or modulating emotional reactions.
In Freud's personality theory, the second of three aspects of personality, which represents the rational, realistic self that seeks to meet bodily needs in sensible ways that take into account all aspects of a situation.
egocentric speech
Speech for self, a use of language typical of preschoolers that has no apparent communicative function. Piaget suggested that it serves no useful purpose, but Vygotsky argued that it is the precursor of inner speech and important for problem solving, planning, and self-control.
A failure to recognize one's own subjectivity. One fails to see things realistically because one is, in a sense, trapped in one's own perspective, and cannot imagine that others may have a different perspective on the same situation.
ego identity
Includes all the dimensions of self-knowledge and serves as the foundation for the behavioral, affective, and cognitive commitments to career, relationships, and political and religious belief systems that will be made in adulthood.
Ego Identity Interview
A standardized, semi-structured interview designed by Marcia to assess these core domains of identity: vocational choice, religious beliefs, and political ideology, gender-role attitudes, and beliefs about sexual expression through first asking general questions and then following up with more specific probes. Supplemental domains may include hobbies, friendships, dating relationships, role of spouse, role of parent, experiences at school, and issues of work-family balance.
ego integrity (vs. despair)
In Erikson's theory, the result of life review in the elderly. Integrity is a sense that one's own life is "something that had to be", and had order, meaning, and dignity. Despair is a sense of hopelessness that one's life has no coherence or meaning.
elaboration strategy
A memory strategy that requires finding or creating some kind of meaningful link between to-be-remembered items, such as creating a story that includes all the items.
elaborative style
A style that characterizes some adults' conversations with children about past experiences. Adults using this style engage in lengthy discussions providing lots of details, asking questions and encouraging children to provide details as well.
A substance in the cells of the dermis, or middle layer of skin, that allows the skin to stretch and contract as we move.
Electra complex
In Freud's theory, the belief that young girls direct their sexual urges toward their fathers, even thought they are more strongly attached to their mothers, because they experience penis envy. Young girls find themselves in competition with their mothers, although their fear of the mothers' displeasure is not as great as a young boy's because they assume that somehow they have already been castrated. The girl will identify with her mother to make peace and, therefore, become gender typed in her behavior and form a superego.
emerging adulthood
The time period from about 18 to 25, which is characterized by the shift toward increasing independence and autonomy.
emotional intelligence
The ability to perceive emotions, to identify and understand their meaning, to integrate them with other kinds of cognition, and to manage them.
"Feeling with" another person, recognizing her emotional condition and experiencing what she is assumed to be feeling.
end-of-life care
Principles that support more humanistic approaches to aiding individuals nearing death including better pain management, continuity of care, and attention to the psychological dimensions of death and dying.
endocrine system
A system of ductless glands that secrete their hormones directly into the bloodstream; responds to messages from the hypothalamus.
Biochemical substances produced by the body under conditions of stress or vigorous exercise that serve to alleviate pain.
entity theorists
A theory of intelligence usually held by individuals who show a helpless pattern and who see intelligence or ability as a fixed, concrete thing.
Proteinlike substances that facilitate chemical reactions in the body, such as those involved in metabolizing food.
The control of genetic expression by both regulatory DNA and environmental factors.
The full set of factors, from DNA to outside world that controls the expression of coded genes.
epigenetic theory
A type of multidimensional or systems theory which assumes that development is the result of complex interactions between genetic and environmental elements. According to this approach, the effects of developmental changes are bidirectional, influencing both the environment and the biological system.
Also called adrenaline, it is a substance that is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter. One place it is produced is in the adrenal glands as part of the body's response to stress. Among its effects is increased heart rate.
Description of knowledge of the events that one has experienced. This knowledge is organized around time and space.
Erikson's psychosocial stages
Erik Erikson's eight-stage model of personality that focuses on explaining attitudes and feelings toward the self and others. The first five correspond to the age periods in Freud's psychosexual stages, whereas three adult stages suggest that personality development continues until death.
Perry's characterization of the behavior of individuals who revert to relativism when the demands of commitment are too stressful.
establishment stage
In Super's theory, the final stage in the development of vocational self-concept (about 25-44), when work experiences provide the laboratory within which the matching of vocational self-concept and job settings is tried out, sometimes reevaluated, sometimes confirmed, and eventually stabilized.
A form of the primary female hormone, estrogen, produced by the ovaries.
A feminizing hormone that is produced by the ovaries in females and to a lesser extent by the testes in males.
ethnic group
People who share cultural traditions, attitudes, values, and beliefs that have been handed down through generations.
Biologists who do careful observations of animal behavior in natural environments.
eudaemonic well-being
A term synonymous with psychological well-being.
A form of positive stress.
evocative gene effects
One kind of effect that genes can have on the environment. Genes can affect the individual's behavior which in turn can affect the reactions of others.
executive stage
In Schaie's theory, a stage that some middle adults experience who take on executive functions at work and in the community that extends beyond the responsible stage. This stage requires one to focus heavily on learning about complex relationships, multiple perspectives, commitment, and conflict resolution.
exhaustion phase
The final stage in the body's reaction to a stressor, which occurs if the struggles persist to the point that the body's resources are depleted. Depression, illness, or even death can occur after severe, prolonged stress.
In Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model, the level of the environment that children may not directly interact with but that influences them nonetheless.
Describes neural growth that is stimulated by environmental experiences and may vary from one individual to another.
Describes neural growth that requires a certain kind of environmental stimulation that is almost certain to occur in the experience of most members of a species. An example is development of the visual system that requires exposure to light in order to occur.
experience sampling method (ESM)
A research technique in which participants are interrupted at random times during the day and asked to report on what they are doing, thinking, and feeling.
A technique for testing the predictions of a theory in which the researcher purposely manipulates the causal variable to observe the effects of the manipulation on the outcome variable.
The second step in the scientific method, when the researcher frames a theory or set of hypotheses about how the facts gained from descriptive research are related to each other and why they occur.
exploratory stage
In Super's theory, the second life stage in the development of vocational self-concept from about 14 to 24, in which vocational self-concept is tentatively narrowed down, but often career choices are not finalized.
externalizing problems
Problem behavior that involves engaging in inappropriate conduct, especially aggressive acts.
extraversion (E)
One of the big 5 personality traits that is described using synonyms including: outgoing, active, assertive, energetic, talkative, and enthusiastic.
false belief tasks
Tasks in which one person has correct knowledge of a situation, but another person (or the same person at another time) has incorrect knowledge, or a "false belief". Used to test children's theory of mind, specifically their understanding of others' mental states.
family life cycle
A normative, stagelike sequence of traditional family developments in intact marriages as partners become parents, rear and launch their children, become "empty nesters", and subsequently face old age.
fast mapping
The rapidity with which young children add new words to functional vocabulary after only one or two exposures.
In Bartholomew's typology of adult attachment categories, a subcategory of avoidant attachment. Describes individuals who have negative models of both self and others and who see relationships as desirable but out of reach. Their desire for close relationships with others is thwarted by fear of rejection, and ultimately they withdraw. A high level of distress surrounds attachment themes.
fearfulness or reactivity
In infants, proneness to crying or pulling away from new sensory stimuli.
fetal alcohol effects (FAE)
Symptoms, usually in the form of cognitive impairments, affecting babies who do not have the physical or structural problems of fetal alcohol syndrome but who were exposed to small amounts of alcohol prenatally.
fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
A condition found in babies who are exposed to alcohol prenatally. it is characterized by a unique facial configuration (small head, widely spaced eyes, flattened nose) as well as possible mental retardation and behavioral problems.
five factor model of personality (Big 5)
The five most basic dimensions of personality including neuroticism (N), extraversion (E), openness (O), agreeableness (A), and conscientiousness (C).
flashbulb memories
Recollections that are especially vivid and personally relevant because of the emotions associated with them.
fluid intelligence (mechanics)
Basic operational characteristics that seem to directly reflect how well the "hardware" of the nervous system is working. Its functions include such things as processing speed and inhibitory mechanisms.
The largest and most recently evolved portion of a mammalian brain; includes the cerebrum.
One of Marcia's four identity status categories that describes individuals who make commitments with little or no exploration of alternatives. They incorporate the values and goals of significant others without reflection.
forgotten half
The name given to 18- to 24-year-olds who do not go to college.
formal operational stage
In Piaget's theory of cognitive development, a stage that begins at about 11 or 12 years, when children are able to engage in thinking which (1) rises above particular contents and focuses on relationships that govern those contents (abstractions), (2) involves coordinating multiple relationships, and (3) can be difficult even for adults.
"four horsemen of the apocalypse"
The four kinds of negativity that do the most damage to relationships and that are highly predictive of divorce. They are criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling.
fragile X syndrome
A condition caused by a gene mutation on the X chromosome. It is the leading cause of mild to moderate mental retardation.
A state of instability and anxiety unique to adolescents. This state is a result of the body changing in appearance, the emergence of adult sexual needs, hormonal shifts, the expanding capacity to reflect on the future and the self, and increased maturity demands.
fraternal twins (dizygotic)
Twins who develop from two separate zygotes and, like any two siblings, share about 50% of their genes.
Freud's psychosexual stages
The five developmental stages that Freud believed were initiated by changes in the id and its energy levels.
friendship skills
Behavioral skills, such as appropriate assertiveness, good communication, and conflict resolution that maintain and enhance friendships.
friendship understanding
A child's changing knowledge of what friendship implies.
friendship valuing
Emotional attachment or investment that a child makes in a friendship.
frontal lobe
The part of the cerebrum that is situated at the top front part of each hemisphere and controls voluntary muscle movements and higher-level cognitive functions such as planning, goal setting, and decision making.
gender atypical
Individuals who have either ambiguous genitalia or genitalia that is inconsistent with their sex chromosomes.
gender constancy
Recognizing the permanency of one's gender category membership and understanding that it could never change.
gender identity
The awareness of one's own gender assignment and understanding of its meaning.
gender identity disorder (GID)
A disorder seen in children who have early preferences of the toys, clothing, and activities of the opposite sex and who show some identity problems (such as wishing to be the other sex).
gender intensification hypothesis
A hypothesis that suggests that one way young teens cope with the demands of establishing an adult identity is to fall back on stereotyped notions of masculinity or femininity.
gender schema
A network of ideas and expectations of male and female beliefs about male and female characteristis that affect what we pay attention to, what we interpret, and what we remember about events.
gender stability
The understanding that over time, one's gender category stays the same: Boys grow into men, girls grow into women.
gender stereotypes
The beliefs and expectations that individuals have concerning the different behavioral tendencies and distribution of personality traits between the sexes.
gene expression
The process by which DNA information is transmitted and translated to cells.
The process by which learned behaviors may be extended to new events that are very similar to events in the original learning context.
A motive or need that can be filled through one's vocation or avocations, through child rearing, or through community service. It includes productivity and creativity. Generativity also describes people who are contributing members of society.
generativity accomplishment
A sense of satisfaction in making a meaningful contribution.
generativity desire
Expression of generativity goals, such as caring for future generations, wanting to produce something of lasting value, and being concerned about being needed.
Functional units or sections of DNA that provide a blueprint or code to the cell for how to produce proteins and enzymes. Found on chromosomes, they come in matching pairs, one from each parent.
genetic counselors
People who help screen candidates for testing that would help determine the risk of genetic disorders for their offspring. Genetic counselors provide information and support to prospective parents regarding their choices about testing, childbearing, and parenting.
genital stage
The fifth and last of Freud's psychosexual stages, when the changes of puberty mean that id energy is especially invested in adult sexual impulses.
genomic imprinting
A process in which some gene alleles in the sperm or the ovum are deactivated. Imprinted gene alleles do not influence the phenotype of the offspring.
An individual's genetic endowment, including both expressed and unexpressed genes.
germ cells
Special cells located only in the ovaries of females and the testes of males that undergo a special kind of cell division, called meiosis, that produces eggs (ova) in females and sperm in males.
germinal period
The first two weeks of pregnancy, beginning at fertilization and ending at implantation in the uterine lining.
germline gene therapy
An experimental approach to correcting defective genes that involves altering the sperm or egg cells to pass on healthy genes to future generations.
Supporting cells in the central nervous system that provide a type of scaffolding for the neurons.
The process by which, as a result of international communication, transportation, and trade, countries around the world influence one another's lifestyle, economics, and culture, so that similarities among nations increase along with interaction.
Testes in males and ovaries in females. Produce eggs (ova) in females and sperm in males. Increase their hormone production at puberty after being stimulated by hormones released from the pituitary gland in response to the maturing hypothalamus.
goodness of fit model
Thomas and Chess's view that when adults provide care that is adjusted to the temperament of an infant or child, even difficult early temperaments are unlikely to lead to later adjustment problems.
grief work
A process that explicitly encourages bereaved individuals to confront and "work through" their feelings about loss for recovery to take place.
Developmental change or adaptation to the constant flux of influences on our lives that involves adding new characteristics, understandings, skills, and so on to our behavioral repertoire.
growth stage
In Super's theory, the first stage in the development of vocational self-concept lasting until about age 14. Many elements of identity develop in this stage including ideas about their interests, attitudes, skills, and needs.
guided imagery
A technique used to aid memory of an event or person. For example, a child might be asked to pretend that an event occurred, then create a mental picture of the event and its details.
A decrease in an infant's responses to a stimulus over time, including decreased looking, decreased sucking, a return to a resting heart rate, and so on.
habituation paradigm
A research technique which takes advantage of a baby's tendency to orient to new stimulation and to habituate to repeated or old stimulation. Once an infant habituates to one stimulus a new stimulus can be presented. The baby's reorienting to the new stimulus (or failure to do so) reveals whether or not she perceives or notices the differences between the stimuli.
hedonic well-being
A term synonymous with subjective well-being.
Preschool-aged children's tendency to be more concerned about their own needs than those of someone else in need.
helpless pattern
An orientation to failure in which individuals begin to denigrate their abilities when they encounter failure and typically stop applying themselves or trying to improve their performance.
hemispheric specialization
The two symmetrical halves of the cerebrum process information from and control opposite sides of the body. They also control some different higher cognitive functions, with the left hemisphere largely responsible for language and the right hemisphere largely responsible for visual-spatial skills.
The proportion of variation among individuals on a trait may be the result of their having different genes.
heteronomous stage
Stage of moral development described by Piaget characterizes children from about ages 5 through 8, when they regard rules as immutable, existing outside the self, and requiring strict adherence.
A sexual preference for partners of the opposite sex.
hidden object test
A research technique invented by Piaget to assess object permanence in infants from 6 montths old. An interesting object, like a small toy, is placed in front of a baby within her reach. As the baby watches, the experimenter covers the object so that it is out of sight. If the baby searches for the object under the cloth she demonstrates that she has a sense of the continued existence of absent objects.
heirarchical integration
The organization and integration of activities and skills from one stage of development into broader, more complex patterns at the next stage.
The part of the mammalian brain that evolved first. Includes the medulla, pons, cerebellum, and reticular formation.
The region of the forebrain that plays a role in emotions, the ability to remember, and the ability to compare sensory information to expectations.
history-graded changes
Changes in our life experience that are a function of historical circumstance, including events that we share with our whole cohort.
homeostatic steady state
A stable state maintained over time by a couple's unique balance of positive and negative elements in areas of interactive behavior, perception, and physiology.
A standard for mate selection in which one chooses a potential mate based on her or his similarity to oneself in religion, SES, race, education, and so on.
A degree of similarity among members of a peer group on behavior or attitudinal attributes of importance.
A sexual preference for partners of one's own sex.
The earliest stage of retirement, when people focus on the pleasures of being free from the constraints of old schedules, dress codes, and other work demands.
hospice movement
A patient-centered approach for people suffering from terminal illness that emphasizes the importance of giving patients as much knowledge about their condition as possible so that they maintain some control over their care, and focuses not on curing disease but on managing symptoms and pain by means of palliative medicine.
hostile attributional bias
A tendency to interpret or perceive what is neutral behavior as threatening. Often characterizes aggressive individuals.
Human Genome Project
A massive effort in molecular genetics that involved thousands of scientists around the world for 13 years (ending in 2003) and successfully mapped the sequence of chemical bases comprising all human chromosomes.
Huntington's chorea
A lethal genetic disorder, usually beginning between 30 and 40 years of age, that causes the nervous system to deteriorate, leading to uncontrolled movements, increasingly disordered psychological functioning, and eventually death. Because the dominant, defective alleles causing this disorder do not have their effects until after the childbearing years, it continues to be passed from one generation to another.
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
The system involved in the body's physical response to stress. When a person experiences or anticipates stress, the amygdala detects the danger and informs the hypothalamus, which communicates the danger to the pituitary gland, which responds by releasing adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) into the bloodstream. ACTH causes the adrenal glands to release the hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, which travel back to the brain and prepare the body to resist the stressor.
The brain structure that plays a role in emotions, ability to remember, and ability to compare sensory information to expectations.
"I" or self-as-subject
The part of the self that is an active agent or is the knower. The part of the self that experiences a sense of subjective self-awareness.
In Freud's personality theory, one of three aspects of personality. Represents the biological self and its function are to keep the indivdual alive. It is irrational, blindly pursuing the fulfillment of physical needs or "instincts", such as the hunger drive and the sex drive.
Imagined, logically organized, perfect systems (such as political systems or persons) that do not match reality.
identical twins (monozygotic)
Twins who come from a single zygote and have exactly the same genotype.
Trying to become like another person by both imitating the model's behaviors and internalizing her attitudes, standards, and values.
ill-defined or ill-structured problems
Problems faced in adulthood that lack preestablished answers. The "right" answer to an ill-defined problem may be different depending on circumstances and on the perspective of the problem solver.
imaginary audience
An individual's mistaken assumption that others are as intrigued by and concerned about him as he is. A characteristic feature of adolescents' self-focuses.
immanent justice
The expectation that misbehavior will eventually be punished, even if no one knows about it, as though some higher authority is always watching.
Suppressed or weakened state of the immune system.
The process by which a zygote, which has migrated down the mother's fallopian tube into the uterus, becomes attached to the uterine lining.
In Super's theory, completion of education along with entry into full-time employment that is the final step in the exploratory stage.
incremental models
Theoretical models in which change is considered steady and specifiic to particular behaviors or mental activities, rather than being marked by major, sweeping reorganizations that affect many behaviors at once, as in stage theories.
incremental theorists
Usually mastery-oriented people who see intelligence as a dynamic and malleable quality that can be increased by hard work and instruction.
indicated prevention
A category of prevention efforts that address individuals who show subclinical symptoms of disorders.
One method parents use to enforce control of children's behavior. Involves use of explanation, giving reasons for rules and appealing to children's desires to be grown-up. The most effective way to promote the internalization of rules.
indulgent parenting
Also called permissive parenting, it is a parenting style that describes parents who are high on responsiveness but low on demandingness.
In Erikson's theory, as aspect of self-concept that develops as a function of the first work experiences in childhood. A belief in one's ability to master the skills and tools needed to be productive and an expectation of pleasure in completion of challenging work.
infantile amnesia
The difficulty people experience remembering events in their lives before they were 3 or 4 years old.
inferior colliculi
Small structures in the mid-brain involved in receiving sensory input from the ears.
The process by which a peer group can cause an individual to conform to the norms of the group.
information processing theories
Theories that tend to liken human cognitive functioning to computer processing of information.
initial commitment
Position 7 in Perry's model that, taken together with multiple commitments (Position 8) and resolve (Position 9), suggests a flowering of the commitments anticipated in Positions 5 and 6. Changes in thinking are more qualitative than structural.
inner speech
Internal, subvocal dialogue that in Vygotsky's theory facilitates thinking.
instrumental aggression
Using force or threat to obtain possession of a desired object or goal.
A mental state, such as a plan or a desire that is the source of voluntary action.
Shortness of Breath, feeble cough, watery sputum, weak voice, spontaneous sweating, bright white complexion, propensity to catching colds, tiredness, Pale or normal colored, Empty, especially in the right front position.
Si jun zi Tang
Huang qi
wu Wei zi
Yu Ping Feng San (Wei qi Def)
The process by which children adopt adults' standards and rules as their own.
internalizing problems
Problem behavior that involves negative feelings about self and other symptoms of depression.
One of two main types of neurons in systems of neurons. These have short projections (e.g., short axons) and affect other cells relatively close to the circuit of which they are a part.
interpersonal orientation
The way an individual characteristically interacts on a social level.
intersensory integration (or intermodal perception)
The notion that the senses are already somewhat related very early in infancy, perhaps at birth, and that when babies perceive an object in one way, they can construct some notion of the object's other perceptual characteristics.
One or more categories of gender identity along a continuum from "male" to "female", based on subtle physical variations (nondimorphism) in internal and external reproductive organs, sex chromosomes, and hormones.
A quality of interpersonal relating through which partners share personal thoughts, feelings, and other important aspects of themselves with each other. True intimacy is marked by openness, affection, and trust.
intrapersonal models
Drawing on theories of attachment or personality, this model emphasizes the contribution of one's personal history or temperament to the success or failure of relationships.
invincibility fable
A feeling of being invulnerable, or even immortal that can be part of an adolescent's personal fable.
irritability or negative emotionality
The infant's tendency to cry, squirm, and otherwise react with fussiness to negative or frustrating events. An aspect of infant temperament.
just world
Beliefs that the world is fair and that people in it get what they deserve.
A display of the actual chromosomes from human body cells, photographed under a microscope and laid out in matching pairs.
keeper of meaning (vs. rigidity)
A stage of life that Vaillant added to Erikson's sequence of stages, characterizing late middle adulthood when the adult expands his generative concerns beyond just making a productive contribution, to actually preserve something that is part of the culture and, in doing so, establish the meaningfulness of the work or contributions he has made.
kindling-behavioral sensitization
Phenomenon characterized by progressive illness severity or illness incidence following an initial illness episode due to increased sensitivity to stressful triggers.
The person in an extended family who helps the generations maintain contact with one another.
knowledge base
An individual's mentally stored information. Adults generally have a larger base for most domains of knowledge than children do.
A condition occurring in children who suffer severe protein and calorie shortages, which is characterized by stunted growth, a protuberant belly, and extreme apathy. Although therapeutic diets can reverse some effects, cognitive impairments are likely to persist.
An enzyme necessary for digesting milk.
late multiplicity
Position 4 in Perry's model in which students fully realize that even experts differ among themselves in regard to what is true. Students handle this realization by embracing either the oppositional or relative subordinate response to late multiplicity.
latency stage
The fourth of Freud's psychosexual stages, beginning around age 5, during which the id's energy is not especially linked to any particular pleasure or body part, and the potential conflicts among the three aspects of personality are largely latent and unexpressed.
launching period
The time when emerging adults begin to move away from home and become more self-sufficient.
legacy-leaving stage
In Schaie's theory, a late life stage when the mind is sound but fraility signals that life is ending. Individuals often work on establishing a written or oral account of their lives or of the history of their families to pass on to others.
life-course-persistent antisocial pattern
A developmental pattern of adolescent antisocial behavior that begins in early childhood and continues throughout life. This pattern is generally associated with early conduct problems, aggressiveness, and academic difficulties.
life-course perspective
The view that development is influenced by the intersection of chronological age (life time), family-related (family time), and membership in a birth cohort (historical time).
life events
Category of stressor that is discrete, often traumatic, and with a clear onset.
life span development or life span developmental psychology
The study of human development from conception to death.
life span developmental theories or models
A type of multidimensional theory that emphasizes the continuity of developmental processes from birth through death. Developmental change, seen as adaptation, involves proximal interactions between the organism and the immediate context modified by more distal processes both within the individual and in the environment.
life structure
A pattern of relationships between the self and the external world, such as relationships to one's spouse, lover, family, occupation, religion, leisure, and so on.
limbic system
A collection of structures in the brain that includes the hippocampus, amygdala, septum, thalamus, and hypothalamus. These structures produce feelings such as pleasure, pain, anger, sexuality, fear, and affection. Referred to as the "emotional brain" and works in concert with other parts of the brain, such as the frontal lobes.
A study design in which one group of subjects is measured several times as they grow older, eliminating cohort differences.
long-term memory
An almost unlimited mental store of knowledge.
looking-glass self
According to Cooley, a self-concept that develops from the reflected appraisals of others, primarily attachment figures.
loss-focused grief
Confronting the painful reality of death, expressing sadness, and gradually desensitizing oneself to the reminders of loss that can lead to rumination or excessive preoccupation and, often, great distress.
love withdrawal
One method parents use to enforce control of children's behavior. Involves parents withdrawing attention or affection, expressing disappointment or disillusionment with a child, turning away from a child, cutting off verbal or emotional contact, or enforcing separations. Generates high anxiety and elicits immediate compliance.
low birth weight (LBW)
A newborn weight of less than 5.5 lbs, often related to premature birth. Approximately 16% of infants in the United States are born with disorders related to prematurity and LBW, the leading cause of death for neonates. Preterm /LBW infants may have chronic medical problems such as respiratory infections, delays in achievement of developmental milestones, behavioral problems, feeding problems, low IQ, or learning problems.
lowest observable adverse effect level
A level or prenatal alcohol exposure at which a fetus will experience some functional impairment but is not likely to sustain structural malformations.
In Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model, the customs and character of the larger culture that help shape the microsystems.
maintenance hypothesis
The view that couples typically work hard to maintain their favorable beliefs about each other, despite the inevitable challenges of marriage. Positive illusions support the relationship, and people are often reluctant to abandon them to face reality.
maintenance or resilience
In life span developmental theory, a kind of adaptation that involves finding ways to continue functioning at the same level in the face of challenges or to restore one's functioning after suffering some loss.
maintenance stage
In Super's theory, a stage from about age 45 to 64, when an individual makes ongoing adjustments to improve her work situation, often achieveing more advanced status and seniority.
marker events
Events that are used as criteria for adulthood, including completing formal education, entering the adult workforce, leaving the family home, getting married, and becoming a parent.
mastery orientation
An orientation to failure in which individuals move forward optimistically, assuming that they can succeed with further effort. They seem to construe failure as a challenge rather than as an obstacle.
maturity demands
Parents' requirements that children perform behaviors that are suitable to their level of maturity.
maturity gap
A time in adolescence when physical maturity is achieved but social maturity is not. Adolescents may mimic the behavior of more advanced peers to possess the symbolic trappings of adult status (sexual intimacy, material possessions, autonomy, and respect from parents).
means-end behavior
A type of intentional behavior that characterizes infants by 8 to 12 months. Babies divert their attention from a goal, such as grasping a toy, in order to produce another action that will help achieve the goal.
mechanistic view
The perspective that individuals are passively affected by external events. They are thus highly malleable and receptive to outside intervention.
mediated learning
A central concept in Vygotsky's theory. The child's acquisition of knowledge is "mediated" in the sense that it is highly influenced by the surrounding environment and culture.
mediating variables
Intermediate links in a causal chain. For example, if early poverty causes reading problems in school, and reading problems cause later depression, then reading problems serve as a mediating variable.
In Vygotsky's theory, the intermediary role of other people in determining the meaning of signs and symbols, like words, which in turn affect the child's thinking.
A brain structure found in the hind-brain that helps to regulate functions which are basic for survival, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.
A special kind of cell division whereby germ cells located in the ovaries and testes divide and form four new cells, each containing only 23 chromosomes, one member of each pair.
A pigment that affects eye color.
"Me" self-concept
The known part of the self that is the object of one's own or others' observations.
memory strategies
Potentially conscious activities a person may voluntarily carry out to remember something.
A girl's first menstruation.
The cessation of menstruation that usually begins in the 40s and continues for at least 10 years.
In Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model, the network or microsystems that relate with and modify one another.
messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)
The organic compound that cells synthesize by copying strands of DNA. The sequence of bases in a gene is replicated in the mRNA, and then the RNA serves as a "messenger" to the cell from the gene, guiding the cell's construction of a protein.
An analytic tool for assessing the effects of variables in which data from a large number of studies on the same topic are analyzed together to determine which effects are consistent across studies and what the strength of those effects are.
The ability to think about and understand one's own cognitive processes and their effects.
method of control
A technique that parents use to enforce control of their children's behavior. The three primary methods are power assertion, love withdrawal, and induction.
In Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model, the immediate environment where proximal processes are played out.
A set of brain structures that are between hindbrain and forebrain and include the superior colliculi, inferior colliculi, and the substantia nigra.
Intentional, nonjudgemental awareness of the present moment.
minimum sufficiency principle
Long-term internalization of rules in children is best facilitated by mild power assertion, rather than harsh power assertion.
mirror neurons
These neurons are activated both when a person performs a particular action and also when that person observes someone else performing that action. They appear to help with the understanding of others' actions.
When the perpetrator of a crime is guilty and is held responsible for the crime but is considered less than fully blameworthy. Mitigation applies not only to degree of culpability but also to degree of punishment.
A kind of cell division that produces two new cells identical to the original cell.
modal personal orienttion
In Holland's theory, an aspect of personality that is a typical and preferred style or approach to dealing with social and environmental tasks. Most jobs or careers will be compatible with one of the six orientations: realistic, investigative, artistic, social enterprising, and conventional.
Learning by imitation. Occurs when an individual repeats an act or sequence of actions that she has observed another individual (the model) performing.
moderating variables
Causal factors that interact with other causal variables, altering and sometimes even eliminating the effects of other variables altogether.
molecular genetics
The study of what genes do and how their products influence the body and behavior.
morality of caring
A focus on concern for others (as opposed to establishing justice) when making moral evaluations decisions and when evaluating decisions of others.
morality of justice
A focus on establishing justice (as opposed to concern for others) when making moral decisions and when evaluating decisions made by others.
moral rules
The standards used to address fundamental issues of justice, welfare, and rights, such as rules about stealing, hurting others, or sharing. Rules of behavior that are relatively universal as opposed to being culturally based.
One of Marcia's four identity status categories in which individuals are actively involved in exploring possible life choices, but not having made any firm commitments to them.
multidimensional theories
A class of theoretical models in which theorists consider development to be the result of the relationships among many causal components. They generally apply to all domains of development from the cognitive to the social and suggest that there are layers, or levels, of interacting causes for behavioral change: physical/lmolecular, biological, psychological, social, and cultural. These models may also be called transactional, relational, systems, or bioecological models.
multi-infarct dementia
A number of minor strokes that gradually do sufficient damage to cause dementia.
multiple commitments
Position 8 in Perry's model that, taken together with initial commitment (Position 7) and resolve (Position 9), suggests a flowering of the commitments anticipated in Positions 5 and 6. Changes in thinking are more qualitative than structural.
multiplicity (prelegitimate)
Position 2 in Perry's model that is characterized by the student's first encounters with multiplicity, that is, multiple ideas, multiple answers to life's questions, or multiple points of view. Individuals in this stage face confusion, yet maintain the belief that some "authority" possesses the ultimate truth or right answers.
multiplicity (subordinate)
Position 3 in Perry's model in which the individual grudingly acknowledges the reality and legitimacy of multiple perspectives. Individuals in this stage find it more difficult to deny that reasonable people can differ in their perspectives on life, and people who hold different views are not so easily dismissed as being wrong.
A change in the chemical structure of an existing gene, sometimes occurring spontaneously and sometimes occurring due to environmental influences, such as exposure to radiation or toxic chemicals.
The phenomenon in which glial cells wrap themselves around the axons of neurons, providing an insulating sheath that facilitates the conduction of electrical impulses.
A story or event description that conveys the full sense of an experience or gets at the point of an event while taking into account what the listener needs to hear to understand.
narrative skill
The ability to tell a coherent story.
narrow socialization
Socialization more characteristic of nonindustrialized cultures that exert extensive control over the expression of behaviors that violate social standards and expect substantial conformity from young members of the society.
needs-based reasoning
Reasoning about other people's needs in which one must weigh one's own personal needs against those of others.
needs oriented
Describes the understanding that another person's need is a good reason for helping, usually characteristic of children sometime in the elementary school years.
negative affectivity
The state or trait tendency to experience nervousness, fear, anger, sadness, contempt, or guilt.
negative affect reciprocity
A tendency for negative emotions in one partner to follow from the other partner's negativity.
negative correlation
A relationship between variables in which they change together but in opposite directions, so that as one increases, the other decreases.
negative reinforcement
When a behavior is rewarded by the removal of aversive consequences. For example, if a parent insists that a child clean his room, but relents when the child has a temper tantrum, the withdrawal of the aversive demand is a negative reinforcement, rewarding the child's temper tantrum.
A sociometric category that includes those children who receive few nominations, either positive or negative, from their peers. Neglected children are characterized by their low level of social impact.
neglecting-uninvolved style
An interactive parenting style that combines low levels of warmth (emotional distance) and low levels of control or demandingness, so that parents invest very little time or attention in a child. Associated with many negative child outcomes.
Theorists who explain Piaget's stages or revise the stages using many information processing concepts. These theorists attempt to combine the best components of both Piagetian and information processing approaches.
nerve growth factor
A substance found within the brain that is absorbed by neurons and aids in the process of synapse production.
neural pruning
A gradual process in brain development that continues through adolescence into young adulthood in which neurons die off and many synaptic connections are selectively discarded.
neural tube
A structure that represents the first step in the development of an embryo's central nervous system. It is formed when a sheet of cells from the embryo's upper surface turns inward and curls into a tube.
The building blocks of the brain, these nerve cells are specialized for the transmission of electrical impulses.
The malleability of the human brain, its capacity to change and grow especially in response to new environmental input. Includes the capacity of neurons to shift functions to compensate for damage to other cells or because they have been transplanted to a different part of the brain.
neuroticism (N)
One of the Big 5 personality traits that is described using synonyms including: tense, touchy, self-pitying, unstable, anxious, and worrying.
Chemical substances found in the nervous system which communicate messages between neurons when released. The chemical message, once picked up by the dendrites, the cell body or the axon of a neighboring neuron, is read by that cell as a message to "fire" or "stop firing".
The prenatal formation of a neural tube that begins the development of the central nervous system.
niche picking
The process whereby children, as they grow older, are less constrained by their parents' choices and choose environments that are compatible with their interests. These environments then provide support for and probably strengthen those interests.
no observable effect level
The threshold of alcohol ingestion by a pregnant mother above which the fetus will experience some functional impairment.
nonacademic self-concept
One of two major divisions of a child's general self-concept that includes his view of self in the social, emotional, and physical domains.
nondeclarative knowledge
Knowledge that one cannot adequately put into words and might not enter awareness, including procedural knowledge, knowing how to do things.
nonnormative changes
Changes that are expected, such as the death of a family member.
nonshared environment
Different environmental input that is considered to be responsible for the degree to which two individuals differ on a given trait.
Also called noradrenaline, it is one of the stress hormones released by the adrenal glands and has no effects on heart rate and other "fight or flight" responses in the body. Also functions as a neurotransmitter.
nuclear family tradition
A body of work that examines the outcomes of a person's attachment to his primary caregiver in infancy, once the person becomes an adult.
In the brain, a cluster of cells creating a functional structure.
number conservation task
A procedure designed by Piaget to test children's understanding of number. Children must be able to recognize that the number of items in a set does not change when the appearance of the set changes; for example, when a row of buttons is spread out or bunched together.
object concept
Understanding of what an object is, including recognition that an object has properties that can stimulate all of our senses and that an object has "permanence" - it continues to exist even when we do not perceive it.
object permanence
The fact that objects have a separate existence from the perceiver; that is, they continue to exist even when no one perceives them.
observational learning (or modeling)
Learning by imitation. Occurs when an individual repeats an act or sequence of actions that she has observed another individual (the model) performing.
occipital lobe
The part of the cerebrum, located at the back of each hemisphere that processes visual information.
Oedipus complex
In Freud's theory, the belief that young boys direct their sexual urges toward their mothers because they are most strongly attached to their mothers as primary caretakers. This desire for the mother, to usurp her time, to be physically close to her, puts a boy in competititon with his father for her affections. The boy fears that his more powerful father will retaliate with a physical punishment that fits the crime - castration. The boy is so terrified by the prospect of his father's retaliation that he redirects his energy into pleasing his father by identifying with him.
The development of organisms.
open identity domains
Areas, such as those involving personal relationships, in which individuals assert much control and can be successful in achieving commitment.
openness (O)
One of the Big 5 personality traits that is described using synonyms including: creative, artistic, curious, insightful, original, and wide-ranging interests.
An accidental or random action.
operant conditioning
The process by which a person learns to produce a formerly random behavior (or operant) in response to a cue because the behavior was previously reinforced in that situation.
In Perry's theory, a response to late multiplicity characterized by legitimizing multiplicity as one pole of a new kind of dualism and the right-wrong dualism of position 1 (strict dualism) at the other end of the new continuum. Allows individuals to maintain a dualistic either-or structure in their thinking.
oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
A pattern of hostile, negative, or defiant behaviors, such as arguing with adults, spitefulness, or throwing tantrums.
A process of finding ways to enhance the achievement of remaining goals or finding environments that are enhancing that is key to successful development.
oral fixation
In Freud's personality theory, an excessive need for oral pleasures (such as eating or talking) that results from extreme denial or excessive indulgence of them during the oral stage.
oral stage
The first of Freud's psychosexual stage, corresponding to the 1st year of life, when Freud believed that a disproportionate amount of id energy is invested in drives satisfied through the mouth.
organismic theories
A class of theories characterized by the view that human beings are active initiators of their own development.
organization strategy
A memory strategy that involves sorting items to be learned on some meaningful basis, such as grouping the names by region.
orienting response
In infants, a set of behaviors that suggest that the baby is attending to a stimulus. May include head turn toward the stimulus, looking, decreased heart rate, and increased sucking.
orthogenetic principle
The notion that as behavior becomes differentiated or elaborated, the multiple behaviors that develop also are hierarchically organized or controlled by higher levels of functioning. For example, with age the generalized distress of newborns differentiates into several different negative emotions, such as anger and sadness, the expression of which is controlled by higher brain processes.
The most common form of arthritis, which involves the thinning, fraying, and cracking of cartilage at the ends of bones.
other-directed coping behaviors
Efforts to deal with stress that appear to be aimed at changing the behaviors of others, such as when infants use facial expressions, movements, and verbalizations that seem designed to get a caregiver to respond positively in an interaction.
An immature interpersonal style in which an individual tries to dominate or coerce a friend into meeting his needs. Acting to change or transform the other; can involve bullying, aggression, or manipulation.
outcome variable
The variable that is said to be affected by the cause of a given phenomenon.
Female gonads that primarily produce estrogen and progesterone, but also produce lesser amounts of androgens (such as testosterone). Site of egg (ovum) production in females.
Reproductive egg cell, containing only 23 chromosomes, produced in and released by the ovaries of females.
pair therapy
Selman's approach to treating children and adolescents with social interactive difficulties. Two individuals with equally ineffective social styles, such as a controlling child and a fearful one, meet regularly with a helper who encourages them to be effectively assertive and empathic.
palliative care
Comfort care that involves services provided by caregivers from several disciplines embodying a comprehensive approach to care that addresses pain management, emotional and spiritual care, and a psychological support for caregivers and survivors.
parent centered
Describes parents whose interactions with their children are driven by parental needs rather than focusing on children's needs. Parents with this approach may make hostile attributions when children's needs are out of line with their own.
parental monitoring
Consistent parental supervision.
parenting styles
Approaches that characterize parents' typical interactions with and attitudes toward their children. Four styles have been identified, combining and crossing the positive and negative poles of two parenting dimensions - warmth and control. These styles are often predictive of child characteristics.
parietal lobe
A part of the cerebrum located between the frontal lobe (at the front of the cerebrum) and the occipital lobe (at the back of the cerebrum) and above the temporal lobe (on the side of the cerebrum) of each hemisphere. It processes somatosensory information such as touch, temperature, and pain.
An element of love that refers to erotic attraction or feelings.
passive gene effects
The effects of parents' genes on the kind of environment that they create for their children. When these effects are compatible with a child's own hereditary tendencies, the child's genes are a passive source of environmental influence.
peer/romantic partner tradition
A body of work that focuses on the peer attachments of adults by questioning how early attachments impact the quality of romantic and friendship relationships in adulthood.
penis envy
According to Freud's theory, a girl's desire to have what she naively assumes is the greater genital pleasure that must come with having the external genitalia of a man.
period of the embryo
Lasting from the 4th through the 8th week of gestation, the time that most of the body's organ systems and structures are forming.
period of the fetus
Lasting from the 9th week of gestation until birth, the time of rapid growth and further differentiation when the reproductive system forms, gains in body weight occur, and the brain and nervous system continue to develop.
permissive style
An interactive parenting style that combines moderate to high levels of warmth (positive emotional climate, sensitivity and responsivity) with low levels of control or demandingness. Associated with impusive behavior and low levels of self-reliance in children.
personal fable
A distorted view of one's uniqueness that is a feature of adolescents' egocentrism.
personal rules
Rules about areas of functioning that individuals or families might have standards about, such as choices of friends or recreational activities or participation in family life, that are not governed by formal social rules in Western societies.
"the person who" fallacy
Refuting a well-documented finding by calling on knowledge of a person who is an exception.
perspective taking
Consideration of the viewpoints of others; putting oneself, metaphorically, in the shoes of another and seeing self and others from that alternative stance.
phallic stage
The third of Freud's psychosexual stages, lasting from age 3 to about 5, in which id energy is focused primarily in the genital region. This stage draws the greatest parental discipline, leads to feelings of guilt and the development of the superego, and can have long-lasting effects on how a child copes with postpubertal sexual needs.
The aspect of a genetic blueprint that is actually expressed in the physical and behavioral characteristics of an individual.
phenylketonuria (PKU)
A genetic disorder resulting from the absence of an important enzyme, without which the amino acid phenylalanine cannot be metabolized. Unless the victim's diet is severely restricted, phenylalanine soon accumulates in the body and causes mental retardation.
Phineas Gage matrix
Syndrome related to injury of the frontal cortex. Consists of cognitive dysfunctions (such as poor planning, inadequate decision making, inability to take another's perspective, and problems in sustaining employment) and emotional problems (such as shallow affect, lack of an enriched emotional life, lack of passion and initiative, and a diminished sense of pleasure and pain).
The sound system of a language; includes rules for arranging the basic sounds or "phonemes" of the language.
physician-assisted suicide
The prescribing of medicine that enables patients to take their own lives.
Piaget's cognitive development
Jean Piaget's theory of the development of cognition, which outlines four childhood stages in which the capacity to think logically about both concrete and abstract concepts evolves.
placebo effect
Occurs when individuals receiving a placebo (a "dummy" version of a treatment) experience improvement in their symptoms and attribute the improvement to the placebo.
A nourishing barrier that surrounds the developing fetus, allowing nutrients from the mother's blood to pass to the fetus's blood while allowing waste to be removed by the mother's blood. Otherwise, it keeps the two circulatory systems separate.
In the brain, clumps of insoluble protein that are damaging to neurons and associated with Alzheimer's disease.
pleasure principle
The pursuit of gratification, which motivates the id in Freud's personality theory.
Describes traits that are affected by the products of multiple gene pairs, often located on different chromosomes, so that any one pair of gene alleles has only a limited effect on a given trait.
A brain structure located in the hindbrain that is involved in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle.
A sociometric category that includes those children who receive many positive nominations and few negative nominations from their peers (have high social preference and high social impact). Popular children are generally well-liked members of the group and have relatively high visibility among their peers.
positive affect
Tendency to express happy mood states by smiling and laughing especially to social stimuli. An aspect of infant temperament.
positive affectivity
The state or trait tendency to experience enthusiasm, alertness, joy, confidence, and determination.
positive correlation
A relationship between variables in which they change in the same direction, either both increasing or both decreasing.
postconventional morality
Kohlberg's third stage of moral reasoning achieved by some adults in whom what is considered right is defined not by specific rules or laws but by general processes such as democratic principles or individual rights.
postformal or fifth-stage thinking
Characteristic of a stage beyond Piaget's sequence of stages that describes the changes in logical thinking that might occur in the adult years. Characterized by the ability of the problem solver to coordinate contradictory formal operational approaches to the same problem. The postformal thinker can understand the logic of each of the contradictory perspectives and integrate the perspectives into a larger whole.
postrational skepticism
A characterization of postformal thought that suggests that the search for absolute truth gives way to a search for arguably good reasons for choosing one belief or course of action over another; an endorsement of the possibility and practicality of making rational commitments in the face of the clear knowledge that other defensible alternatives to one's views continue to exist.
posttraumatic growth
Positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly stressful or traumatic events.
posttraumatic stress disorder
An anxiety disorder that follows a traumatic event. PTSD is characterized by clinically significant symptoms such as re-experience of the traumatic event, general numbing of responsiveness to others, heightened arousal, disturbed sleep, and so forth.
power assertion
One method parents use to enforce control of children's behavior. Can involve physical punishment or the threat of physical punishment, or it can involve withdrawal of privileges. Effective for the immediate control of behavior, but over the long term, children show higher levels of anger, aggressiveness and anxiety.
One of the aspects of language that children must learn that goes beyond learning semantics and syntax and involves using the language effectively to communicate. Includes skills such as crafting a narrative and "code switching", using different language styles in different contexts.
preconventional morality
Kohlberg's first stage of moral reasoning characterizing middle childhood in which what is right is what avoids punishment, what conforms to the dictates of authority, or what serves one's personal interests.
preferential looking paradigm
A research technique used with infants. Two visual stimuli are presented simultaneously on a split screen and babies' eye movements are recorded to assess their preferences for one stimulus over the other.
premoral stage
In Piaget's theory of moral development, characterizes preschoolers who are unconcerned about established rules or standards.
preoccupied (insecure)
An attachment style classifying adults who provide transcripts in the Adult Attachment Inventory that are not collaborative and that are characterized by very long, incoherent, egocentric responses that shift from topic to topic. They indicate substantial enmeshment or preoccupation with parents, registered by angry, accusatory language or by conflicted descriptions that connote ambivalence and confusion about early relationships. Their children tend to have anxious-ambivalent attachments. In Bartholomew's typology, these individuals are emotionally demanding, anxious about gaining acceptance, fearful of rejections, and preoccupied with relationships.
preoperational egocentrism
The tendency of preschoolers to be aware only of their own perspective. Demonstrated in their expectations that others will know what they know, believe what they believe, and so on.
preoperational stage
In Piaget's theory of cognitive development, the time period from approximately age 2 to 7 when children are capable of representational thought but appear to be prelogical in their thinking.
An infant's early inklings of the permanence of her body, its separateness from others, and the rhythms of interpersonal connections.
prevention science
A new and evolving multidisciplinary mix of human development, psychopathology, epidemiology, education, and criminology that offers us useful guidelines for understanding what constitutes effective prevention.
primary control
Control efforts that are attempts to affect the immediate environment beyond ourselves.
primary prevention
An attempt to forestall the development of problems by promoting health and wellness in the general population through group-oriented interventions.
primary sexual characteristics
The physical traits directly involved in reproduction, such as the genitalia.
principle of equifinality
Many early developmental pathways can produce similar outcomes.
principle of multifinality
The same developmental pathways may result in a wide range of possible outcomes.
procedural knowledge
Describes the often unconscious, nondeclarative knowledge of how to do things that underlies many physical skills.
production deficiency
Failure to use a memory strategy one has knowledge of even in a situation where it is ordinarily helpful.
A fatal genetic disorder that causes rapid aging, so that by late childhood its victims are dying of "old age". Because progeria sufferers do not survive long enough to reproduce, the disease must be caused by a genetic mutation.
A hormone involved in the reproductive cycle, especially in females.
projection neuron
One of two main types of neurons in systems of neurons. These have long projections, especially axons that extend far away from the cell body.
prosocial behavior or altruism
Voluntarily acting in ways that seem intended to benefit someone else.
protective factors
Aspects of the organism or the environment that moderate the negative effects of risk.
The chemical building blocks of the body that are constructed when cells follow the codes provided by genes.
The second phase in the grieving process where bereaved individuals may experience periods of obsessive yearning or searching for the lost loved one as well as bouts of restlessness or irritability.
proximal processes
Reciprocal interactions between a person and her immediate external environment, including other people, the physical environment, or informational sources such as books or movies. In Bronfenbrenner's biological model, all developments are a function of these processes.
proximity maintenance
One of three purposes of the attachment system. Bonds between infant and caregiver encourage and sustain physical closeness.
The "near to far" (or inner to outer) direction of prenatal development.
prudential consequences
Negative effects on an individual's health, safety, or future as a result of an action that violates some social expectation or rule. Getting arrested or having an accident would be a prudential consequence of driving too fast.
psychological well-being
Feeling a sense of purpose, growth, and mastery, or that one is striving for realization of one's true potential.
The study of the interactions between the central nervous system, the immune system, and behavior.
psychosocial development
Change with age in the psychological processes of interpersonal understanding, skills, and values that affect an individual's capacity for interpersonal relationships, including friendships.
A process of sexual maturing in late childhood related to a wide range of emotional, behavioral, and social changes.
qualitative research
Any kind of research that does not use statistical procedures or quantitative methods to arrive at conclusions.
racial group
Groups of people, like Blacks, Whites, and Asians, who have historically been assumed to be genetically different, identifiable by variations in hair, skin color, bone structure, or other physiological markers. Genetic indicators of race have not been found, so that racial groups appear to be a social construction.
reactive attachment disorder (RAD)
A lack of ability to form affectional bonds with other people and a pattern of markedly disturbed social relationships. RAD can result when a child receives grossly neglectful or pathological care in the early years.
reality monitoring
The ability to distinguish what is imagined from what is real.
reality principle
A focus on understanding the world and behavioral consequences that leads to sensible and self-protective behavior. In Freud's personality theory, the ego operates on this principle.
Remembering information or events that are not currently available to the senses. Requires the ability to mentally represent the absent information.
A salient characteristic of self-memories. The tendency to remember something that has happened to us recently better than something that happened in the more distant past.
Remembering in the sense of knowling that information currently available to the senses has been previously experienced.
reflective judgment
In Kitchener's theory of the development of problem solving, the analysis of the elements of a problem and justification of problem solutions.
reflective practice
A method used by counselors that emphasizes careful consideration of theoretical and empirical sources of knowledge, as well as one's own beliefs and assumptions, as a precursor to practice.
refusal of treatment
Patients' refusal of any food, water, or medical treatment that prolongs life.
regulation of loss
In life span developmental theory, a kind of adaptive functioning that involves reorganizing the way we behave by adjusting our expectations and accepting a lower level of functioning.
A strategy for remembering that usually involves continuing to actively process to-be-remembered material, like repeating it to oneself.
An event that an individual experiences as pleasurable or rewarding, which increases the frequency of a behavior that occurred immediately before the pleasurable event.
reintegrative stage
In Schaie's theory, the elder years when individuals do not often need to acquire new domains of knowledge or to figure out new ways of applying what they know. Many are motivated to conserve energy (physical and psychological). Cognitive efforts are aimed at solving immediate, practical problems that seem critically important to daily functioning.
A sociometric category that includes those children who receive many negative nominations and few positive nominations from their peers. Rejected children are typically disliked (low social preference) but have generally high visibility (high social impact).
Describes children who are rejected because they aggress against their peers.
Describes children who are rejected because they withdraw from their peers.
In self-determination theory, one of three basic needs. Feeling that one is important to others and valued enough to be sensitively and reponsively cared for, from infancy onward.
relational aggression
A type of aggression in which relationships are manipulated and/or damaged in order to hurt an individual.
relational theories
Another term for multidimensional models.
relative subordinate
In Perry's theory, a response to late multiplicity in which students (primarily under the guidance of authority) begin to understand that some opinions are more legitimate than others. The value of a perspective is now understood to be related to the supporting arguments and evidence for the position.
relativistic thought
The essence of postformal thought in which several truth systems exist describing the reality of the same event, and they appear to be logically equivalent.
Infant physical characteristics that elicit nurturant responses from adults, such as small body size, large eyes, and large head size relative to the total body size.
The last phase in the grieving process in which the grieving individual discovers ways to hold on to the memory of the deceased and integrate that memory into their current life and new attachments.
reorganizational stage
In Schaie's theory, a stage of early old age, when responsibilities narrow as children grow up and retirement becomes an option. Flexibility in problem solving is needed to create a satisfying, meaningful environment for the rest of life, but the focus tends to narrow to a changed set of personal goals and needs.
The third stage of retirement, which is a time of active trial and error. The retiree seeks solutions to the problems that retirement presents and tries strategies for building a satisfactory life.
representational thought
The capacity to think about things or events that are not currently stimulating one's senses. Utilizes mental images or symbols to "re-present" the absent experience.
representations of interactions (or RIGs)
A kind of sensorimotor or procedural memory or expectation that infants form of how interactions with others are likely to proceed. These representations are based on repeated experiences and are preverbal and unconscious.
resilience (resilient)
The quality that permits developmental success for some individuals despite grave setbacks, early adversity, or other risk factors. (Describes a person who has this quality.)
resistance phase
The second phase in the body's reaction to a stressor, during which the body is moderately aroused, the parasympathetic system takes over, and the body continues to resist the effects of the stressor.
Position 9 in Perry's model that, taken together with initial commitment (Position 7) and multiple commitments (Position 8), suggests a flowering of the commitments anticipated in Positions 5 and 6. Position 9, although placed at the end of the line, does not imply a static resolution of existential conflict; rather, it characterizes a state of courageous resolve to continue the work of reflecting on one's commitments throughout adulthood.
responsible stage
In Schaie's theory, the stage of cognitive development faced during middle adulthood in which ill-defined problems remain the norm, but problem solving must now take into account not only one's own personal needs and goals but also those of others in one's life that have become one's responsibility (spouse, children, coworkers, member of the community).
restoration-focused grief
A type of coping strategy directed toward handling the practical tasks that need to be done to carry on with daily life.
Staying in college long enough to graduate.
reticular activating system
A set of brain structures including the reticular formation located in the brain stem that filters out some of the stimuli we perceive and alerts higher structures to "pay attention" to other stimuli.
reticular formation
A bundle of neural tissue in the brainstem that acts together with other nuclei to form the reticular activating system which affects attention to incoming stimuli.
Perry's characterization of the behavior of individuals who move back to dualistic thinking in times of stress to seek the intellectual security of absolute right and wrong.
What we usually mean by remembering, that is, getting information out of mental storage so we can use it.
retrieval strategy
An approach to finding and recovering information stored in memory. In math, this refers to solving arithmetic problems by recoving a memorized answer (e.g., remembering that 3 plus 2 equals 5 rather than solving the problem).
reversible relationship
A kind of logical relationship in which one change reverses the effects of another change (and also implies the existence of its reverse). For example, in math, subtraction is the reverse of addition.
The predictability of an individual's sleep, feeding, elimination, and other biological cycles. An aspect of infant temperament.
risk factors
Aspects of the organism or the environment that compromise healthy development.
risky behaviors
Behaviors that constitute a departure from socially accepted norms or behaviors that pose a threat to the well-being of individuals or groups.
role buffering
For individuals who participate in multiple roles, such as
"mother", "wife", "caregiver to ailing parent", and "employee", if one role is a source of psychological stress or failure experiences, success and satisfaction in another role may compensate.
role strain
The stress or strain of meeting obligations that are associated with certain roles (e.g., caregiver).
rough-and-tumble play
Good-natured physical roughness that is an almost exclusive property of boys' play with boys.
A stable, emotion-focused coping style that involves responding to problems by directing attention internally toward negative feelings and thoughts. Rumination includes both cognitive (self-focused cognitions) and affective (increased emotional reactivity) elements.
safe haven
One of the three purposes of the attachment system. Bonds between infant and caregiver make the caregiver a source of comfort when distressed.
sandwich generation
Those who carry the double responsibilities of taking care of both an elderly relative and their own children.
In Vygotsky's theory, the process whereby more advanced thinkers or more capable members of a culture provide novice learners with a supportive temporary prop that enables the novice to learn and to reach higher levels