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lifespan development

changes that humans have through infancy to old age


developmental psychology

the study of physical changes commonly associated with the different stages of our life


what is the cross sectional design and longitudinal design

cross-sectional: used to measure and compare samples of people at different ages at a given point
longitudinal: follows the development of the same set of people over a period of time.



the lose of participants in a study for what ever reason


developmental stages

lifespan changes proceed through patterns of stability followed by periods of more rapid transition


sensitive periods

a window of time during which exposure to a specific type (language) of environmental stimulation is needed for normal development for a specific ability


the germinal stage (2 weeks)

once the sperm has entered the ovum, the egg is sealed from invasion from other sperms, creating a zygote


what forms the embryo

the inner cluster of cells


what forms the placenta

the outer ring of cells


the embryonic stage (2-8 weeks)

the embryo beings to develop major physical structures such as the heart and nervous system


the fetal stage (8 weeks to birth)

skeletal organ and nervous systems become more developed and specialized muscles develop.


maternal malnourishment

increases the risk of giving birth to lower weight newborns that are more prone to illness and deficits in the mental functioning



substances such as drugs or environmental toxins that impair the process of development. ex: alcohol and tabacco



caused severe birth defects, including blindness, deafness limb deformities called phocomlia


fetal alcohol syndrome

a mothers regular consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to FAS which the infant is born with many implications


smoking and pregnancy

lowers the amount of much needed oxygen needed for the fetus to consume. it also adds foreign chemicals like nicotine carbon monoxide. this can lead to miscarriage, infant mortality


premature infants

born earlier than 36 weeks have underdeveloped brain and lungs. born 30 weeks have a good chance of survival, born 25 weeks or less can survive just with defects.


sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

a syndrome in which infants die because they stop breathing. infants and particularly preterm ones have very vulnerable respiratory systems. exposure to 2nd hand smoking triple the risk that the baby will die of SIDS


visual systems of infants

not as well developed as auditory, can only see 1/40th compared to adults, around 30cm in front of them.
colour discrimination at 2 months
depth perception at 2 months



creation of neural connections


synaptic pruning

deleting unnecessary or weak neural connections


Jean Piaget

psychologist childhood cognitive development



acquiring new knowledge by relating it to what they already know



learning by adjusting old knowledge in the face of new information


what are Piaget's cognitive stages of development

1. he sensorimotor stage - birth to age 2
- all the childs awareness its tied to their sensory experience and they are not yet capable of any thoughts that are separate from what they can directly see


what are Piaget's cognitive stages of development

1. he sensorimotor stage - birth to age 2
- all the childs awareness its tied to their sensory experience and they are not yet capable of any thoughts that are separate from what they can directly see
2. the preoperational stage age 2-7
- accomplishments include language acquisitions and being able to think in other symbolic ways, such as numbers. children acquire an increasing ability to use their imagination
3. the concrete operations stage age 7-11
- children acquire skills of thinking logically, mentally performing operations with numbers and learn how to classify objects according size shape or colour
4. the formal operation stage ae 11-adulthood
- children experience an increasing complexity of reasoning capacity and the ability to think about abstract concepts. the ability to adopt a scientific approach to problems also emerges


object permanence

an awareness that objects continue to exist when we are unable to directly perceive them



an accomplishment of this stage that involves learning that changes in the perceptional features of a substance doesn't change the substance volume of quantity


scale errors

early in the preoperational stage, children confuse scale models of objects with the real thing


what are some problems of john Piaget's theory

- most young infants can observe the world which john didn't think of since he relied on children's behavior or verbal expressions
- infants are born into the world with some knowledge about the world, which John Piaget thought they would have to learn through experience


core knowledge hypothesis

the idea that infants are born with some knowledge about the world,



infants do not spend as much time looking at visual stimuli or event they already know about



surprising and unfamiliar visual stimuli or events tend to capture an infants attention


Renee Baillargeon

conducted a study with 3 year old infants to measure how long they looked at an object or an event


Lev Vygotsky

Russian Psychologist
- idea that child cognitive development proceeds most efficiently when children make an attempt at acquiring skills that are just beyond what they can accomplish on their own



the enduring emotional bond formed between people


Harry Harlow

-studied baby recess monkeys and noticed that when they were under stress they would seek something soft to bond to such as a cloth and when the cloth wasn't there they would be more stressed.


John Watson stated

-never hug and kiss your child, never let them sit on your lap if you must give them a kiss goodnight. shake hands with them in the morning and give them a pat on the head when they have don't something good.


Mary Ainsworth

-have taken advantage on how children react to the presence of strangers when their caregiver is absent
- young children discomfort and emotional distress in the presence of strangers this is called stranger anxiety


insecure attachment patterns

1. the child mildly distressed when their caregiver
2. the child keeps a calm distance from the stranger
3. when the caregiver returns, the child seeks comfort from the caregiver and they become happy and relaxed


anxious/resistant attachment patterns

1. the child clings tightly to the caregiver before they leave the room
2. the child is very upset when they are alone with the stranger
3. when the caregiver returns the child rushes for comfort but also seems to push the caregiver away.


avoidant attachment pattern

1. the child doesn't seem very close to the caregiver when they enter the room
2. the child is not at all concerned when the caregiver leaves them alone with the stranger
3. the child ignores the caregiver when they return into the room


disorganized attachment pattern

children behave as though they cant decide whether to seek comfort from their caregiver or avoid contact with their caregiver



the ability to recognize ones individuality



lacking the capacity to understand that other people have perspectives thoughts and feelings that differ than ones own


theory of mind

the capacity to understand that other people have their own minds with thoughts feelings and perceptions that differ from ones own


false belief task

these tasks test whether children will understand that another person holds a false belief because that person has not been provided with the information that the child knows that would allow them to avoid the false belief


pro-social behavior

-behavior that Is respectful to others needs and involves efforts to help them while also ensuring that we are treated with respect and that we get our own needs met in ways that are fair


instrumental helping

by age 1 children will provide assistance with anothers efforts to complete a task


empathic helping

by age 2 children will act to help someone who is in distress feel better


what are the two systems underlying prosocial behavior

1. attachment behavioral system
- achieving personal comfort
2. caregiver behavioral system
- helping others
- only be active if the attachment behavioral system is satisfied


conditional approach to parenting

-relying on rewards and punishments to motivate children to engage in positive behaviors.



occurs when people rely on others views of them as the basis for feeling good or bad about themselves



-the signature achievement of this stage is reproductive maturity
-controlled by the release of hormones, testosterone, estrogen stim. by hypothalamus
-boys=age 11
-girls=age 7


what two characteristics are developed through the release of these hormones?

1.primary sex traits
2. secondary sex traits


primary sex traits

-physical changes
- girls: menstruation signals the onset of primary sex traits
- boys: first ejaculation signals the onset of primary sex traits, ~age 14


secondary sex traits

-changes not directly related to reproductive ability
- girls: acne, underarm hair, pubic hairs
boys: acne, beard, voice change, muscle development


adolescence comes earlier nowadays why ?

-100 years ago the average age of puberty was 16 or 17
- higher rates of childhood obesity, puberty now commonly occurs as early as age 9


early development of sexual maturity can be problematic

- physical objectification of young girls seems to be occurring earlier and earlier
- early developing girls are more likely to participate in intimate relationships before they are mentally and emotionally ready


important brain development processes are still underway during adolescence

- frontal lobe: in charge of impulses and emotional reactions, logical decisions and reasoning
- underdeveloped frontal love wiring account for risky adolescent behavior such as over drinking and over consumption of drugs


emotional reframing

- the tendency to interpret setbacks and disappointments from a positive perspective
- changing your perspective, changes your experience


delaying gratification

-setting aside short-term pleasures in the interest of achieving longer-term goals
- across multiple domains, the capacity distinguishes adolescence who succeed from those who struggle


Lawrence Kohlberg

created the theory of the development on moral reasoning.
three general stages


what are Kohlbergs three general stages of moral development

1. preconventional morality:
- seeking reward or avoiding punishment
2. conventional morality
- guides for appropriate moral behavior
3. postconventional morality
- considers rules and laws as relative