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76 Cards in this Set

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Developmental psychologists

Study age-related changes that occur throughout the life span, from conception until death.

Nature vs. nurture

Debate has motivated the study of development. That is a person's development determined by heredity or by environment. Psychologists today recognize that both nature and nurture interact to influence the developmental process.


Is the transmission of ancestral characteristics from parents to offspring through the genes.


Determine hereditary characteristics and are the chemical blueprints of all living things. They are made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and possess the information that determines the makeup of every cell in our body. They lie along chromosomes, bodies that are in the nucleus of each cell in our body. Every cell (except sex cells) contain 46 chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs. Sex cells only contain 23 single chromosomes.


Female sex cell. Contains an X chromosome.


Male sex cell. Contains either and X or Y chromosome.


Is a term used to refer to an individual's genetic makeup.


Refers to how a given genotype is expressed. Phenotype occurs as a result of an interaction between genotype and environment.

Dominant genes

Are expressed in an individual's phenotype whenever they are present in the genotype.

Recessive genes

Are expressed in an individual's phenotype only when they are paired with a similar recessive gene.

Prenatal development

Refers to the period of development from conception to birth. The average pregnancy lasts 270 days or 40 weeks.

The three stages of prenatal development are

Ovum/Germinal, embryonic, and fetal.


The first two weeks after conception. Is a microscopic mass of multiplying cells.


Second to eighth week after conception. Only about one inch long by end of this stage. Most vital organs and bodily systems begin to form. Major birth defects are often due to problems that occur during this stage.


From two months after conception until birth. Muscles and bones form. Vital organs continue to grow and begin to function. During last three months, brain develops rapidly.

Outline of what happens when in prenatal development

App. week Development

2 week Implantation on uterine wall

3-4 week Heart begins to pump

4 week Digestive system begins to form, eyes begin to form

5 week Ears begin to form

6 week Arms and legs begin to appear

7-8 week Male sex organs form, fingers form.

8 week Bones begin to form, legs and arms move, toes form.

10-11 week Female sex organs form.

12 week Fetus weighs about one ounce, fetal movement can occur, fingerprints form.

20 week Mother feels movement, reflexes (sucking, swallowing, and hiccuping) occur, nails, sweat glands and soft hair develop.

27 week Fetus weighs about two pounds.

38 week Fetus weighs about seven pounds.

40 week Full-term baby born.


Any agents that may cross the placental barrier from mother to embryo/fetus causing abnormalities. What abnormalities occur depend on what is developing prenatally as well as what the harmful agent is.

Possible teratogens

maternal diseases (viruses), diet, drug use (alcohol and nicotine), exposure to x-rays, medications (hormones), and other environmental influences.

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Flattened nose, underdeveloped upper lip, widely spaced eyes, small head, mental retardation can occur as a result of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Critical period

Any time during development that some developmental process must occur or it never will.


Infants can hear as early as seven weeks before delivery. Shortly after birth, newborn infants appear capable of discriminating between sounds of different duration, loudness and pitch.


Infants can smell the difference between their mothers and strangers by six weeks of age.


Infants respond to the four basic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, and bitter), but they usually prefer sweet.


Infants can see at birth. Although their visual acuity is very poor.


A term used to describe a genetically programmed biological plan of development that is relatively independent of experence.

Proximodistal principle

Of development describes the center-outward direction of motor development. For instance, children gain control of their torso before their extremities.

Cephalocaudal principle

Describes the head-to-foot direction of motor development. That is, children tend to gain control over the upper portions of their bodies before the lower part.

Developmental norms

Describe the average age that children display various abilities.

Developmental norms for motor development are

0-2 months infants (while prone on stomach) can lift head. 2-4 months (while prone) can hold chest up. 2-5 months can roll from side to back. 3-4 months will reach for objects. 5-8 months sits without support. 5-10 months stands holding objects. 8-10 months crawls. 6-10 months pulls self up to stand. 7-13 months "cruises" walks by holding on to objects. 11-14 months walks alone. 14-22 months walks up stairs.


Refers to a child's characteristic mood and activity level. Even young infants are temperamentally different from one another.

Longitudinal study

One that repeatedly observes and follows up the same group of individuals as they mature.


Studies different groups of individuals who are at different ages at the same point in time.

Gender roles

Are our set of expectations about appropriate activities for females and males.

Social learning theories about gender roles

Proposes that children learn gender roles because they are rewarded for appropriate behavior and punished for appropriate gender role behaviors. Children also watch and imitate the behaviors of others.

Cognitive theory of gender roles

Kohlberg argued that children learn about gender the same way that they acquire other cognitive concepts. In the gender labeling (2 - 3 1/2 years) stage, the child slowly becomes aware that he or she is part of a particular sex group. At this point the knowledge is little more than a label, like a personal name. In the gender stability ( 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 years) stage, children become more aware of the durability of their gender and can predict stereotypical roles later in life. However, children are still focused on the physical aspects of gender and believe that a physical change - such as donning the clothes of the opposite sex - can lead to a change in gender. Finally, between 4 1/2 and 7 years, gender consistency develops. In this stage children come to understand the permanency of gender.

Psychoanalytic theory of gender roles

Freud's theory proposes that children establish their gender-role identity as a result of identification with their same-sex parent during the phallic stage.

Piaget's four stages of cognitive development

Sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operations, and formal operations.

Sensorimotor stage

Birth to approximately two years of age. Children "think" during this stage as a result of coordination of sensory input and motor responses.

Preoperational stage

Two to seven years of age. Divided into two categories: Preconceptual and Intuitive thought. Thinkers in this stage can now symbolize or mentally represent their world. They can now think about objects that they are not interacting with at the present time.


18 months to 4 years. First such use of representational thought and symbols, such as words, for objects; classification of objects.

Intuitive thought

4 to 7 years. Beginning of reasoning, but thinking is fragmented, centered on parts of things, rigid, and based wholly on appearance.

Concrete operations

7 to 11 years. Can preform mental operations and reverse them. Can add up "all the marbles." Operations are however confined to concrete and tangible objects that are immediately present.

Formal operations

12 to 15 years. Can form hypothesis, can go beyond appearances to deal with the truth or falsity of propositions.


Piagetian term. The inability to mentally reverse a physical action to return an object to its original state.


Piagetian term. The tendency to focus on one detail in a situation to the neglect of other important features.


Piagetian term. Inability to consider another's viewpoint.


Piagetian term. The understanding that when something takes a different shape it still contains the same amount (i.e. water poured from a tall skinny glass has the same amount when it is poured into a short fat glass).

Scheme or Schema

Piagetian term. Basic thought structures about what the world, objects, events, etc. are like.


Piagetian term. Combining and integrating simple schemes.


Piagetian term. The process by which a person changes to function more effectively in a given situation. Consists of assimilation and accommodation.


Piagetian term. The process of applying an existing motor or mental scheme to various situations. Interpreting an even or experience based on our current scheme or thought structure.


Piagetian term. An ongoing process of refining motor or mental schema to fit the continually changing circumstances of one's environment. Changing or adjusting a scheme based on experience, understanding, etc.

Erik Erikson

Proposed eight stages of social-emotional/personality development. He believed that personality continues to develop over the entire life span. He believed that events that occur early in development can leave a permanent mark on one's later social-emotional development.

Erikson's eight stages of psychosocial development are

Trust/mistrust, autonomy/shame and doubt, initiative/guilt, industry/inferiority, identity/role confusion, intimacy/isolation, generativity/stagnation, integrity/despair.

Trust vs. mistrust

First year of life. Infant's needs must be met by responsive, sensitive caretakers. If this occurs, a basic sense of trust and optimism develops. If not, mistrust and fear of the future results.

Autonomy vs Shame and doubt

1-3 years. Children begin to express self-control by climbing, exploring, touching, and toilet training. Parents can foster a sense of autonomy by encouraging children to try new things. If restrained or punished too harshly, shame and doubt can develop.

Initiative vs. guilt

4-5 years. Children are asked to assume more responsibility. Through play, children learn to plan, undertake, and carry out a task. Parent can encourage initiative by giving children the freedom to play, to use their imagination, etc. Children who are criticized or discouraged from taking the initiative, learn to feel guilty.

Industry vs. inferiority

6-12 years. In elementary school, children learn skills that are valued by society. Success or failure while learning these skills can have lasting effects on a child's feelings of adequacy.

Identity vs. role confusion

Adolescence. The development of identity involves finding out who we are, what we value, and where we are headed in life. In their search for identity, adolescents experiment with different roles. If we establish an integrated image of ourselves as a unique person, then we establish a sense of identity. If not, role confusion results and can be expressed by individuals withdrawing and isolating themselves from family and friends or by losing themselves in the crowd.

Intimacy vs. isolation

Young adulthood. After establishing an identity, a person is prepared to form deep, intimate relationships with others. Failure to establish intimacy with others leads to a deep sense of isolation.

Generativity vs. stagnation

Middle adulthood. An interest in guiding the next generation is the main task of middle adulthood. This can be accomplished through one's creative or productive work or through caring for children. If adults do not feel that they have assisted the younger generation, a sense of stagnation will result.

Integrity vs. despair

Late adulthood. This is a time of looking back at our lives, If we believe, overall, out lives have been well spent, a sense of integrity develops. If not, a sense of despair over the value of one's life will result.

Kohlberg's theory of moral development

Model of moral development based on an individual's responses to moral questions called moral dilemmas. Describe how individual's pass through a series of three levels of moral development, each of which can be broken into two sublevels, resulting in a total of six stages.

Six stages of Kohlberg's theory of moral development

Level 1: Preconventional morality - Punishment orientation, reward orientation. Level 2: Conventional morality - Good-boy/good-girl orientation, authority orientation. Level 3: Postconventional morality - Social contract orientation, Morality of individual principles orientation.

Punishment orientation

Stage 1. A person complies with rules during this stage in order to avoid punishment.

Reward orientation

Stage 2. An action is determined by one's own needs.

Good-boy/good-girl orientation

Stage 3. Good behavior is that which pleases others and gets their approval.

Authority orientation

Stage 4. Emphasis is on upholding the law, order, and authority and doing one's duty by following societal rules.

Social contract orientation

Stage 5. Flexible understanding that people obey rules because they are necessary for the social order but that rules can change if there are good reasons and better alternatives.

Morality of individual principles orientation

Behavior is direction by self-chosen ethical principles. High value is placed on justice, dignity, and equality.


Is that time in development that occurs between childhood and adulthood.

Psychological moratorium

Refers to the gap between the security of childhood and the autonomy of adulthood, where a person is free from responsibilities and can experiment with different roles.

Early adulthood

Extends from approximately 20 to 40 years of age.

Middle adulthood

Lasts from approximately 40 to 65 years of age.


Study aging.


Refers to prejudice against older people