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developmental psychology
the study of biological, social, and personality development across our life span.
the fertilized egg that is formed from the union of the sperm and egg cells
the basic unit of genetic instruction
we have 23 of these. molecules of DNA that hold the genetic instructions for every cell in our body. the 23rd determines a person's sex. 
identical (monozygotic) twins
twins that come from the same zygote
fraternal (dizygote) twins
twins that come from two eggs at the same time.
environmental agents, such as drugs, viruses, diseases, that impair prenatal development and lead to birth defects.
fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
a syndrome affecting infants whose mothers consumed lots of alcohol during pregnancy
stages of our life span
  1. prenatal (conception - birth)
  2. infancy (birth - 2 years)
  3. childhood (2-12 years)
  4. adolescence (12-18)
  5. young adulthood (18-40)
  6. middle adulthood (40-65)
  7. late adulthood (65+)
prenatal development stages
  1. germinal (formation of zygote: 2 weeks)
  2. embryonic (organs develop: 2 weeks to 2 months)
  3. fetal stage (2-9 months)
sucking reflex
a reflex that leads infants to suck anything that touches their lips
rooting reflex
a reflex that leads infants to turn their mouth toward anything that touches their cheeks and search for something to suck on
when a response due to a stimulus decreases after it becomes familiar
the smallest distinctive speech sounds in a language
baby talk (motherese)
the type of speech adults use when talking with babies, which involves shorter sentences and higher pitches.
the rhythmic repetition of different syllables
a word infants use that expresses a whole idea ex: infants going to the door and saying "bye-bye"
the application of a newly learned word to objects that are not included in the meaning of the word ex: an infant calling any male "dada"
the failure to apply a new word more generally to objects that are included within the meaning of the word ex: children defining only their pets as cats and dogs and not others.
telegraphic speech
using two-word sentences with mainly nouns and verbs ex: "throw ball"
frameworks for our knowledge about people, things, places and events that allow us to organize and interpret information about our world.
Piaget's term for the interpretation of new experiences in terms of present schemas. infants calling all men 'dada' is an example.
Piaget's term for the modification of present schemas to fit with new experiences. children would have to do this to realize that there is only one 'dada'
Jean Piaget
a psychologist who studied how children think. He is famous for his theory of cognitive development
sensori-motor stage
the first stage of Piaget's theory of cognitive development, from birth to age 2, when infants learn about the world through their sensory and motor interactions with it and develop object permanence.
object permanences
knowing that something exists independent of perceptual contact with it.
preoperational stage
the second stage of Piaget's theory of cognitive development, from age 2 to 6, when a child's thinking becomes more symbolic and language based but stays egocentric and lacks logical thinking. children can imagine and pretend that a broom is a horse ride.
not being able to distinguish one's own perceptions, though, and feelings from those of others
knowing that quantitative properties of things (mass and number) stay the same despite changes in appearance preoperational children lack this.
the knowledge that reversing a transformation brings about the conditions that existed before the change preoperational children lack this
focusing on only one aspect of a problem at a time
concrete operational stage
the third stage in Piaget's theory of cognitive development, from age 6 to 12, when children gain more understanding of conservation and other logical problems, but only about concrete events.
formal operational stage
the last stage in Piaget's theory of cognitive development, age 12 and up, when a child gains the capacity for hypothetical-deductive thought and scientific thinking.
what are the four stages of Piaget's theory of cognitive development?
  1. sensorimotor
  2. preoperational
  3. concrete operational
  4. formal operational
zone of proximal development
the difference between what a child can do alone and what the child could do with the help of others
Vygotsky's theory
He believed that society impacts our developmental cognitive abilities
a style of teaching in which the teacher changes how much to help a child according to a child's level of performance.
cross-sectional study
a study where people of different ages are studied and compared with one another
longitudinal study
a study where people's performances are studied for a long time.
cohort effects
people are affected by factors unique to their generation, leading to differences in performance between generations
longitudinal study vs. cross-sectional study
one study is more expensive and takes longer than the other
Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoning (three levels)
He used stories that involved moral dilemmas to assess a person's level of moral reasoning. He split up these levels into 3 categories (what are they?)
preconventional level of moral reasoning (first)
where moral reasoning is based on avoiding punishment and looking out for your own welfare and needs
conventional level of moral reasoning (second)
where moral reasoning is based on social rules and laws.
postconventional level of moral reasoning (third)
where moral reasoning is based on self-chosen universal ethical principles (human rights over laws) and avoiding self-condemnation for violating the principles
what are the 6 stages of Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoning?
  1. (pre-conv) punishment: obeying rules to avoid punishment
  2. (pre-conv) reward: obeying rules to obtain reward.
  3. (conv) good-girl/boy: behaves to get approval of others
  4. (conv) law and order: behaves to abide by laws
  5. (post-conv) social contract: obeys rules for social order
  6. (post-conv) universal ethical principles: concerned about self-condemnation for violating these human rights principles.
the lifelong emotional bond between infants and their mothers, formed during the first 6 months of life.
secure attachment
when the mother leaves, the baby cries. when the mother returns, the baby responds enthusiastically.
insecure-avoidant attachment
when the mother leaves, the baby barely cries. when the mother returns, the baby avoids the mother.
insecure-ambivalent attachment
when the mother leaves, the baby cries. when the mother returns, the baby goes to the mother but often pushes her away.
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