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Flashcards in Development Psychology Deck (38):

The study of the processes which underlie growth and change in behavior over time

Developmental Psychology


A research design in which a group of individuals are studied over a period of time

Longitudinal Study


A research design based on selecting representative groups who vary on a particular characteristic; when the characteristic is age, this design provides a means of making developmental comparisons

Cross-Sectional Study


A factor in research which varies jointly with a variable of interest, making it impossible to properly identify the role each variable has in affecting behavior; typically, it represents something which has been overlooked in planning the research, and is only identified after the data have been collected

Confounding Variable


A research design which combines features of both longitudinal and cross-sectional studies by selecting groups of different ages (like a cross-sectional design), and then following them over a period of time (like a longitudinal study) sufficient to create overlap in the ages represented by different groups

Sequential Design


The view that changes in development occur through a continuous, gradual process, rather than as a series of discrete stages; it is an assertion about the processes which underlie development, as well as the changes observed in behavior

Continuity (synonymous to gradualism)


The belief that development is based on distinct periods with clear boundaries, with behavior at each stage governed by different underlying processes

Stages (synonymous to discontinuity)


A theory which attempts to account for many aspects of behavior in terms of a single set of principles

Domain-General Model


A theory which focuses on only a single aspect of behavior in the belief that different aspects of behavior involve different processes, and therefore theoretical explanations

Domain-Specific Model


Piaget's term for the process of maintaining balance between our environment and the mental structures which we use to represent that environment



A process of integrating new knowledge or experience into our existing cognitive schemata

Introduced by Piaget in his theory of cognitive development


A process of modifying our cognitive schemata in response to new knowledge or experience

Introduced by Piaget in his theory of cognitive development


Four basic stages of cognitive development according to Jean Piaget

Sensorimotor (egocentric thinking and object permanence)
Pre-operational (development of language skills)
Concrete Operations (conservation)
Formal Operations (abstract thinking)


Two substages in Piaget's theory of cognitive development

Preconceptual (use of symbols - using words as category labels)
Intuitive (using concepts - sorting objects by size, shape or color)


In genetics, the limits on the variability of a phenotype (observed characteristic) determined by the genotype; in essence, the limits set by the genes on how environmental influences (whether deprivation or enrichment) can affect the trait

Reaction Range
(e.x. heredity determine a range for the person's height, with actual height determined by the nutritional environment)


A term to describe processes whereby stable changes in the expression of genes occur during development; such changes can be transmitted during cell division, but do not involve mutations of DNA itself

Epigenetic Effects
While specific examples related to behavior have not yet been identified, it appears that dietary influences on risk of cancer reflect this type of process.


A term referring to processes in development which seem to be relatively independent of environmental influences, such as depth perception and walking; implied in the term is the assumption that the characteristics are governed by heredity



Patterns of behavior which are characteristic of an individual and which tend to be consistent across situations and over time



A behavior pattern which occurs consistently across a range of situations; a specific personality characteristic



A general cognitive schema about human behavior which is used in making interpretations of the behavior of other people

Implicit Personality Theory


Behavioral tendencies which are believed to be determined by heredity; examples include emotionality, sociability and fearfulness



3 major issues which arise when considering theories of development

1. The role of heredity vs. environment
2. Whether development is continuous or based on discrete stages
3. Whether development involves a single process that can be understood in terms of a single model (domain-general), or involves different processes that require separate models (domain-specific)


Describe the biological approach's position on personality development considering the 3 major issues

1. Emphasizes on role of heredity and physiological structure
2. Believes in the idea of critical periods for development (discontinuity/stages) for social attachment and language learning; however for temperament, continuity is considered
3.Favor domain-specific model


Describe the behaviorist approach's position on personality development considering the 3 major issues

1. All behavior is seen as determined by experience (environment)
2. Views behavioral change/development as a continuous process
3. Represents a domain-general model


In operant conditioning, the sum of all prior reinforcement for a particular behavior' it is considered as more important than any single reinforcement in determining behavior

History of Reinforcement


Describe the cognitive approach's position on personality development considering the 3 major issues

1. Strongly environmentalist (cognitive social learning theory and the construction of schematas)
2. Favors continuity (not consistent with Piaget's theory)
3. Domain-general


Describe the psychodynamic approach's position on personality development considering the 3 major issues

1. Interactionist view (believes in innate drives and the importance of early experiences)
2. Discontinuity - Viewed development in stages (psychosexual stages of development)
3. Domain-general (all behavior could be understood in terms of the same basic processes)


Describe the humanistic approach's position on personality development considering the 3 major issues

1. Interactionist (heredity: actualizing tendency; environment: ideal self is strongly influenced by experience)
2. Continuity (healthy development is an ongoing process)
3. Domain-general


Patterns of behavior which culture defines as being appropriate for each gender

Gender Roles


Hormones whose functions are related to masculine characteristics

The most important is testosterone


An individual's belief about whether they are male or female

Gender Identity


A cognitive representation which organizes an individual's knowledge of cultural norms for male or female behavior

Gender Schema


___ is concerned with understanding the changes that occur over the course of human life, and the processes which govern the changes.

Developmental Psychology


The biological approach emphasizes the role of __ in personality development, as being based on heredity.



The cognitive approach interprets development in terms of cognitive social learning theory, which emphasizes the role of __ in learning and the importance of __ in structuring behavior.

Imitation; Cognitive Schemata


The psychodynamic approach, as represented by Freud's psychoanalytic theory, favors an interactionist interpretation of development. His theory explains personality in terms of physiologically-based __ and the role of __

Psychosexual stages of development; Early experience


The humanistic approach offers the least detailed analysis of development. Partly this is because it emphasizes __ and __, while developmental researchers favor the search for common principles based on objective observation. To the extent that it can be evaluated, Rogers's theory seems to favor ___ interpretation of development.

Individual experience; Subjective perceptions; Interactionist


In the study of gender role development, no one approach seems to offer a fully satisfactory model of the origin of gender roles or gender identity, though a model combining the __ and __ approaches might have significant value.

Biological; Cognitive