Unit 10: Development

Developmental Psychology: the study of the physical, cognitive, and social changes throughout the lifespan.
                         THREE BIG ISSUES
1. Nature/Nurture: How do our genetic inheritance (our nature) and our experience in our environment (the nurture we receive) affect our development?
2. Continuity/Stages: Is development a gradual continuous process like riding an escalator, or does it proceed through a sequence of separate stages, like climbing a staircase?
3. Stability/Change: Do our early personality traits persist through life, or do they change significantly as we age?
the fertilized egg; it enters a 2-week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo.
Embryo: the developing person from about 2 weeks following conception through the 2nd month.
Fetus: the developing person from 9 weeks after conception to birth.
Neonate: A newborn infant.
Teratogens: chemicals or viruses that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman's drinking.
                     INFANCY & CHILDHOOD
sucking, grasping, & rooting (a baby's tendency when touched on the cheek, to open it's mouth and search for a nipple).
Maturation: biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relative uninfluenced by the environment.

Cognition: refers to all mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering, and communicating.
Schema: according to Piaget, a Concept or framework that organizes and interprets information.  The lens through which we see and interpret the world around us.
Assimilation: Interpreting one's new experiences in terms of one's existing schemas.
Accommodation: changing or adapting one's current schemas to incorporate new information and experiences.
                         Piaget's Stages of
            Cognitive Development (see Handout)

1. Sensorimotor Stage: (birth to 2 yrs) stage during which infants know the world through their senses and motor activities.
       *Object Permanence: the awareness that things continue to exist even when they cannot be perceived.
       *Stranger Anxiety: the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age.
2. Preoperational Stage: (2-7 yrs) stage during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend concrete logic.
        *Egocentrism: the inability of the preoperational child to take another person's perspective or point of view.
        *Theory of Mind: peoples ideas about their own and other peoples' mental states.
3. Concrete Operational Stage: (7-11 yrs) stage during which children gain the mental operations that allow them to logically about concrete events.
        *Conservation: the principle that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects.
4. Formal Operational Stage: (begins about 12 yrs) stage during which people begin to think logically about abstract events and develop the capacity for moral reasoning. NEXT PAGE

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