Psychology Chapter 8- Human Development Flashcards

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Refers to the pattern of continuity and change in human capabilities that occurs throughout the course of life.



Refers to a person's biological inheritance, especially his or her genes.



Refers to the individual's environmental and social experiences.



Refers to a person's ability to recover from or adapt to signs of positive functioning.


Physical Processes-

Involve changes in an individual's biological nature. Genes inherited from parents, the hormonal changes of puberty and menopause, and changes throughout life in the brain, height and weight, and motor skills all reflect the developmental role of biological processes.


Cognitive Processes-

Involve changes in an individual's thought, intelligence, and language.

Ex: Observing a colorful mobile as it swings above a crib, constructing a sentence about the future, imagining yourself as the president of the US, memorizing a telephone number.


Socioemotional Processes-

Involve changes in an individual's relationships with other people, changes in emotions, and changes in personality.

Ex: An infant's smile in response to her mother's touch, a girl's development of assertiveness, an adolescent's joy at the senior prom, a young man's aggressiveness in sport, and an older couple's affection for each other.


Germinal Period-

Weeks 1 and 2, begins with conception. After week 1 and many cell divisions, the zygote is made up of 100 to 150 cells. By the end of 2 weeks, the mass of cells has attached to the uterine wall.


Embryonic Period-

Weeks 3-8, the rate of the cell differentiation intensifies, support systems for cells develop, and the beginnings of organs appear. Within the first 28 days, the neural tube is formed and problems with the neural tube such as spinal bifida can occur.


Fetal Period-

Months 2-9; at 2 months, the fetus is the size of a kidney bean and has already started to move around. At 4 months, the fetus is 5 inches long and weighs 5 ounces. At 6 months the fetus has grown to a pound and a half. The last 3 months of pregnancy are the time when organ functioning increases, and the fetus puts on considerable weight and size.



Any agent that causes a birth defect. Include chemical substances ingested by the mother and certain illnesses that the mother can get.

Ex: If the mother smokes or drinks, the baby is more likely to have a birth defect.


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)-

A cluster of abnormalities and problems that appear in the offspring of mothers who drink alcohol heavily during pregnancy.


Preterm Infant-

One who is born prior to 37 weeks after conception, may be at risk for developmental difficulties


Preferential Looking-

Involves giving an infant a choice of what object to look at.

Ex: If an infant shows a reliable preference for one stimulus (say, a picture of a face) over another (a scrambled picture of a face) when these are repeatedly presented in differing locations, we can infer that the infant can tell the two images apart.


Synaptic Connections-

A gap between neurons that is bridged by chemical neurotransmitters.



The developmental period spanning the transition from childhood to adulthood, beginning around 10 to 12 years of age and ending at 18 to 21 years of age.



A period of rapid skeletal and sexual maturation that occurs mainly in early adolescence.


Selective Optimization with Compensation-

Older adults match their goals with their current abilities and compensate for declines by finding other ways to do the things they enjoy

Ex: A 75 year old who can no longer drive because of cataracts might become an expert on her city's train and bus system.


Cellular Clock Theory-

View that cells can divide a maximum of about 100 times and that, as we age, our cells become less capable of dividing.

(Leonard Hayflick, 1977)


Free Radical Theory-

States that people age because unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals are produced inside their cells. The molecules damage DNA and other cellular structures. The damage done may lead to a range of disorders, including cancer and arthritis.


Hormonal Stress Theory-

Argues that aging in the body's hormonal system can lower resistance to stress and increase the likelihood of disease. As individuals age, the hormones stimulated by stress stay in the bloodstream longer than is the case for younger people.



The specialization of function in one hemisphere of the brain or the other.

Ex: When younger adults are given the task of recognizing words they have previously seen, they process the information primarily in the right hemisphere, whereas older adults are more likely to use both hemispheres.


Cognitive Development-

Refers to how thought, intelligence, and language processes change as people mature.



Refers to the operation of thinking and also to our cognitive skills and abilities.



Occurs when individuals incorporate new information into existing knowledge. As a result of assimilation, the person, when faced with a new experience, applies old ways of doing things.

Ex: For infants, this might involve applying the schema of sucking to whatever new object they encounter. For an adult, it might mean solving a conflict with a spouse using ways that worked in the past with friends or previous romantic partners.



Occurs when individuals adjust their schemas to new information. This means that rather than using one's old ways of doing things, a new experience promotes new ways of dealing with experience.

Ex: After several months of experience, the infant who has been sticking everything in her mouth might begin to accommodate the sucking schema by being more selective with it.


Sensorimotor Stage-

Piaget's first stage, lasts from birth to about 2 years of age. In this stage infants construct an understanding of the world by coordinating sensory experiences (such as seeing and hearing) with motor (physical) actions.


Object Permanence-

Piaget's term for the crucial accomplishment of understanding that objects and events continue to exist even when they cannot directly be seen, heard, or touched. "Out of sight" was literally "out of mind" for infants.

Ex: Peek-A-Boo


Preoperational Stage-

Piaget's second stage of cognitive development, lasts from 2 to 7 years of age. More symbolic than Sensorimotor thought. In preschool years, children begin to represent their world with words, images, and drawings. Their thoughts begin to exceed simple connections of Sensorimotor information and physical action.



A belief in the permanence of certain attributes of objects despite superficial changes.


Concrete Operational Stage-

Age 7 to 11 years, involves using operations and replacing intuitive reasoning with logical reasoning in concrete situations. One important skill at this stage of reasoning is the ability to classify or divide things into different sets or subsets and to consider their interrelations.

Ex: When playing with Play-doh the child in concrete operational stage realizes that the amount of play-doh is not changed by changing its shape.


Formal Operational Stage-

Piaget's fourth stage of cognitive development, which begins at age 11 to 15 and continues through adulthood. It features thinking about things that are not concrete, making predictions, and using logic to come up with hypothesis about the future.

Ex: Unlike elementary school children, adolescents can conceive of hypothetical, purely abstract possibilities.



Involves comparing how things are to how they might be.


Hypothetical-Deductive Reasoning-

Adolescents begin to think more like a scientist thinks, devising plans to solve problems and systematically testing solutions.



Allows a child's cognitive abilities to be built higher and higher. A way of learning that we use throughout life.

Ex: Whenever we interact with someone who has more expertise, we have a new scaffold to climb.


Crystallized Intelligence-

An individual's accumulated information and verbal skills. Higher in middle adulthood compared to early adulthood.


Fluid Intelligence-

The ability to reason abstractly. Higher in early adulthood compared to middle adulthood.



Expert knowledge about the practical aspects of life.



Refers to an individual's behavioral style and characteristic ways of responding. For infants, temperament centers on their emotionality and ways of reacting to stimuli in the environment.



Being shy and showing distress in an unfamiliar situation.


Infant Attachment-

The close emotional bond between an infant and his or her caregiver.


Secure Attachment-

The ways that infants use their caregiver, usually their mother, as a secure base from which to explore the environment.


Authoritarian Parenting-

A strict punitive style. The authoritarian parent firmly limits and controls the child with little verbal exchange.

Ex: Parent may say, "You do it my way or else".

Children of authoritarian parents sometimes lack social skills, show poor initiative, and compare themselves with others.


Authoritative Parenting-

Encourages child to be independent but still places limits and controls on behavior. This parenting style is more collaborative. Extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed, and parents are warm and nurturing toward the child.

Ex: Father might put his arm around the child in a comforting way and say, "You know you should not have done that; let's talk about how you can handle the situation better next time."

Children of authoritative parents tend to be socially competent, self reliant, and socially responsible.


Neglectful Parenting-

Distinguished by a lack of parental involvement in the child's life. Children of neglectful parents might develop a sense that other aspects of the parents lives are more important than they are. These children tend to be less competent socially, to handle independence poorly, and show poor self control.


Permissive Parenting-

Places few limits on the child's behavior. A permissive parent lets the child do what he or she wants. Some parents deliberately rear their children this way because they believe that the combination of warm involvement and few limits will produce a creative, confident child. However, these children are typically poor in social competence and expect to get their own way.


Identity Diffusion-

The adolescent has neither explored nor committed to an identity. Adolescents experiencing identity diffusion may describe themselves as not caring much about the world. They are overwhelmed by the challenge of answering the question, "Who am I?"


Identity Moratorium-

The adolescent is actively exploring and trying on new roles but has not committed to a particular identity.

Ex: An adolescent who passionately throws himself into a variety of internship opportunities to see what different jobs might be like, or the first-year college student who takes a range of different classes to explore potential careers.


Identity Foreclosure-

The adolescent has committed to a particular identity but has done so without actually exploring his or her options.

Ex: A girl who decides to pursue accounting as a major in college because everyone in her family is an accountant.


Identity Achievement-

After exploring the options and committing to an identity, the adolescent emerges with a sense of his or her own values and principles, a sense of the kind of person he or she wishes to be.



Identifying in some ways with their ethnic minority group and in other ways with the majority culture.


Emerging Adulthood-

The transitional period from adolescence to adulthood, spanning approximately 18 to 25 years of age.



Refers to the broad set of characteristics of people as males and females.


Gender Schema-

A mental framework for understanding what it means to be male or female in one's culture.


Gender Roles-

Roles that reflect the individual's expectations for how females and males should think, act, and feel.


Gender Similarities Hypothesis-

Hyde's proposition that men and women are much more similar than they are different.



The individual's moral reasoning is based primarily on the consequences of a behavior and on punishments and rewards from the external world.



The individual abides by standards learned from parents or society's laws.



The individual recognizes alternative moral courses, explores the options, and then develops an increasingly personal moral code.


Justice Perspective-

Emphasizes the rights of the individual as key to sound moral reasoning.


Care Perspective-

Views people in terms of their connectedness with others and stresses interpersonal communication, relationships, and concern for others.


Prosocial Behavior-

Behavior that is intended to benefit other people.


Kubler-Ross Stages of Dying-

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance


Bonnano's Theory of Grief-

  • Resilient
  • Recovery
  • Chronic Dysfunction
  • Delayed Grief or Trauma