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?
Zygote: 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
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
Reflexes: 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
|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
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
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
*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
*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