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a branch of psychology that studies human development including physical, cognitive and social change throughout the life span

Developmental Psychology


aka identical twins, one egg fertilized by one sperm splits into two, leading to two embryos that develop as separate fetuses of the same sex with practically identical genes.

Monozygotic twins


aka fraternal twins, occur when two eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm, leading to two separate zygotes. They do not share the same genes. Genetically, they are like siblings.

Dizygotic twins


agents, such as chemicals and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm



1. Zygote: From fertilized egg to 2 weeks after
2. Embryo: from 2 weeks through 2nd month
3.Fetus: from 9 weeks after conception to birth

Stages of Prenatal Development in order


-fertilized egg
-enters a 2 week period of rapid cell division
-develops into an embryo



Responsible for the Theory of cognitive development,

Jean Piaget


Comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence. Believes we all build and modify a schema.

Piaget's theory of cognitive development


Assimilation is interpreting one’s new experience in terms of one’s existing schemas. Accommodation is adapting one’s current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information.

Schema Assimilation v. Accommodation


1st. Birth to nearly 2 years
2nd. About 2 to 6/7 years
3rd. About 7 to 11 years
4th. About 12 through adulthood

Stages of Cognitive Development Ages


Sensorimotor Experiencing the world through senses and actions (looking, touching, mouthing)

1st Stage of Cognitive Development


Preoperational Representing things with words and images but lacking logical reasoning

2nd Stage of Cognitive Development


Concrete operational Thinking logically about concrete events; grasping concrete analogies and performing arithmetical operations

3rd Stage of Cognitive Development


Formal operational. Abstract reasoning.

4th Stage of Cognitive Development


-Children explore using senses & motor skills
-Object permanence: the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived
-Stranger anxiety
-First words

1st Stage of Cognitive Development features and phenomena


-Centration: focus on only one aspect
-Conservation issues: not understanding how mass, volume can be represented
-Language development
-Theory of mind:believe others think the same as they do, know what they know

2nd Stage of Cognitive Development features and phenomena


-Concrete logic
-Understands conservation
-Mathematical transformations

3rd Stage of Cognitive Development features and phenomena


-Abstract logic
-Potential for moral reasoning

4th Stage of Cognitive Development features and phenomena


-an emotional tie with another person
-if these needs are met they form a Secure attachment
-shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation
-if they are ignored or emotional needs not met they can form Insecure attachment



the period of sexual maturation when a person becomes capable of reproduction



type of thought common to adolescents in which young people believe themselves to be unique and protected from harm.

Personal fable


type of thought common to adolescents in which young people believe that other people are just as concerned about their adolescent’s thoughts and characteristics as they themselves are.

Imaginary audience


known for his theory on psychosocial development of human beings.

Erik Erikson


1st. Adolescence(teens in early 20's)
2nd. Young Adult (20's to ealy 40's)
3rd. Middle Adult(40's to 60's)
4th. Late Adult (60's and up)

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development Ages


Identity vs. role confusion - Teenagers work at refining a sense of self by testing roles and then integrating them to form a single identity, or they become confused about who they are. self confidence = identity.

1st Stage of Psychosocial Development


Intimacy vs. isolation - Young adults struggle to form close relationships and to gain the capacity for intimate love, or they feel socially isolated.

2nd Stage of Psychosocial Development


Generativity vs. stagnation - The middle-aged discover a sense of contributing to the world, usually through family and work, or they may feel a lack of purpose.

3rd Stage of Psychosocial Development


Integrity vs. despair - When reflecting on his or her life, the older adult may feel a sense of satisfaction or failure.

4th Stage of Psychosocial Development


(ages 18 – 25)
-Continuing tasks of adolescence – identity
-Working to form close relationships, intimate love

Emerging Adulthood


Came up with the Four Identity Statuses of psychological identity development that center around the questions: Have you explored? Have you decided?

John (James) Marcia


Identity Achieved - Moratorium
Foreclosed - Diffused

Marcia's Four Identity Statuses


attainment of identity: self-understanding in accord with past experiences and future plans.
willing to reconsider values and goals of parents and culture, accepting some, rejecting others

Identity achievement status


Experimenting with alternative identities to try them out; not ready to make commitment to particular future goal

Identity Moratorium status


Adopts values and goals of parents and culture without questioning
-closes out process before it begins

Identity Foreclosure status


has few commitments to goals or values, and apathetic about taking on any role

Identity Diffusion status


-one’s accumulated knowledge and verbal skills
-tends to increase with age

Crystallized Intelligence(Gc)


-ones ability to reason speedily and abstractly
-tends to decrease during late adulthood

Fluid Intelligence(Gf)


relatively permanent change in an organism’s behavior due to experience.



1. Classical conditioning
2. Operant conditioning
3. Observational learning

Three major types of learning


Father of Classical Conditioning aka Pavlovian Conditioning.

Ivan Pavlov


organism comes to associate two stimuli
- a neutral stimulus that signals an unconditioned stimulus begins to produce a response that anticipates and prepares for the unconditioned stimulus

Classical Conditioning


stimulus that unconditionally--automatically and naturally--triggers a response.
Example: food is an unconditioned stimulus to a dog as it may salivate automatically when it is in his mouth.

Unconditioned stimulus (US)


unlearned, naturally occurring response to the unconditioned stimulus
Example: salivating of a dog when food is in his mouth is an automatic response.

Unconditioned response (UR)


Any stimuli which prior to conditioning has no response.

Neutral Stimulus


originally irrelevant stimulus that, after association with an unconditioned stimulus, comes to trigger a conditioned response.
Example: a bell may come to be associate to a dog from being programmed and have a response to it such as salivating.

Conditioned Stimulus (CS)


learned response to a previously neutral conditioned stimulus.
Example: salivating by a dog from the sound of a bell.

Conditioned Response (CR)


1. CS must come before the UCS.
2. CS and UCS must come very close together in time.
3. Neutral stimulus must be paired several times before conditioning occurs
4. CS is usually some stimulus that is distinctive or stands out from competing stimuli

Basic Principles of Classical Conditioning


the initial stage in classical conditioning
the phase associating a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus so that the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a conditioned response



diminishing of a CR
-in classical conditioning, when a UCS does not follow a CS



-Reappearance, after a rest period, of an extinguished CR

Spontaneous Recovery


tendency for stimuli similar to CS to elicit similar responses
-has survival value
-maybe explains deja vu

Stimulus generalization


in classical conditioning, the learned ability to distinguish between a CS and other stimuli that do not signal a UCS
-allows us to discriminate between threatening & non-threatening stimuli

Stimulus discrimination


Development of a nausea or aversive response to a particular taste because that taste was followed by a nausea reaction, occurring after only one association

Conditioned taste aversion


elaborated Thorndike’s Law of Effect
-developed behavioral technology

B.F. Skinner


Thorndike’s principle that behaviors followed by favorable consequences become more likely, and behaviors followed by unfavorable consequences become less likely

Law of Effect


type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by reinforcement or diminished if followed by punishment

Operant conditioning


reinforce by adding something pleasant (reward)
Example: if a parent gives a child a reward when he earns high grades.

Positive reinforecment


reinforce by removing something unpleasant or aversive
Example: If you have a headache and you take an aspirin, the headache disappearing is the negative reinforcement.

Negative reinforcement


aversive event that decreases the behavior that it follows
-powerful controller of unwanted behavior
Example: If a dog is yelled at when he does something wrong.



reinforcing the desired response each time it occurs

Continuous Reinforcement


reinforcing a response only part of the time
-results in slower acquisition
-greater resistance to extinction

Partial (Intermittent) Reinforcement


a response only after a specified number of responses
- the faster you respond the more rewards you get
-very high rate of responding
-like piecework pay

Fixed Ratio (FR)


reinforces a response only after a specified time has elapsed
-response occurs more frequently as the anticipated time for reward draws near

Fixed interval (FI)


reinforces a response after an unpredictable number of responses
- like gambling, fishing
- very hard to extinguish because of unpredictability

Variable Ratio (VR)


reinforces a response at unpredictable time intervals
- produces slow steady responding
- like pop quiz

Variable Interval (VI)


learning by observing others

Observational learning