Chapter 12 Term Sheet

Developmental psychology

the area of specialization that documents the course and causes of people's social, emotional, moral, and intellectual development throughout the life span


any development process that is guided by biological or genetic factors (nature). These processes occur in a fixed sequence and are usually unaffected by environmental conditions (nurture)


the cell that results from the merging of the father's sperm and the mother's ovum


part of the zygote that will mature into an infant


changes from embryo in the third prenatal stage (third month of pregnancy until birth)


external substances that when introduced into the womb can cause defects in the developing baby

critical period

refers to any time period during which some developmental process must occur; if it doesn't occur then, it never will

fetal alcohol syndrome

occurs in infants born to mothers who consumed heavy-sometimes even moderate-amounts of alcohol during pregnancy. The resulting defects include physical malformations of the face and mental retardation.


the process of taking in information that adds to an existing schema


the process of taking in information that causes a person to modify an existing schema

sensorimotor period

Piaget's first stage of cognitive development. the infant's mental activity is confined to sensory and motor functions such as looking and reaching.

object permanence

Acquired during the sensorimotor period. because children form mental representations of object and actions, they do not have to rely on sensory information to know that an object exists even when they cannot see or touch it.

pre operational period

Piaget's second stage of cognitive development, lasting from age two to age seven. children learn to use symbols allowing them to talk pretend, and draw. thinking is intuitive.


The knowledge that a substance's number or amount does not change even when its shape or form does. this skill is first accomplished during the concrete operational stage.

concrete operations

Piaget's third stage of cognitive development, occurring approximately between the ages of seven and eleven. during this stage, children can perform such operations as addition, subtraction, and conservation, and visual appearances no longer dominate thin


the style of emotional reactivity that an infant displays in response to the environment. it is the basic, natural disposition of an individual.


the close emotional relationship between an infant and his or her caregiver. for a secure attachment to develop, the caregiver must not only provide adequate, consistent care, but must also be loving, supportive, helpful, sensitive, and responsive. if the

authoritarian parents

firm, punitive, unsympathetic. they demand children's obedience and value being authority figures. they do not encourage independence and seldom offer praise.

permissive parents

give their children complete freedom, and their use of discipline is lax.

authoritative parents

reason with their children,, are firm but understanding, and encourage give-and-take. as the children get older, the parents allow them increasing responsibility. these parents set limits, but they also encourage independence.


the ability to control one's emotions and behavior

gender roles

the general patterns of work, appearance, and behavior associated with being male or female

gender schemas

the generalizations children develop about what toys and activities are appropriate for boys versus girls and what jobs are meant for men versus women


the phenomenon that permits successful development in the face of significant challenge


the condition of being able for the first time to reproduce. its onset is characterized by menstruation in females and sperm production in males.

ethnic identity

that part of a person's identity that reflects the racial, religious, or cultural group to which he or she belongs

formal operational period

Piaget's fourth stage of cognitive development; on average, it begins at age eleven. during this stage, children can think and reason about abstract concepts, generate hypotheses, and think logically.

per conventional moral reasoning

according to Kohlberg's theory, is typical of children younger than 9. moral reasoning during this period is directed toward avoiding punishment and following rules to one's own advantage.

conventional moral reasoning

concern for other people due to social obligations such as caring for one's spouse and family

postconventional moral reasoning

justice, equality, respect for human life


the natural shut-down of reproductive capability experienced by women in their late forties or early fifties

terminal drop

the decline in mental functioning that occurs in the months or years preceding death