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Adult Development
1. MID-LIFE TRANSITION: For Levinson, the period between ages 40 and 45, which is characterized by a questioning of one's life structure. This period may involve a "mid-life crisis," precipitated by a revaluation of one's past and an awareness of one's mortality. This period is also characterized by a shift in time perspective from "time-from-birth" to "time-left-to-die."
2. RETIREMENT: The "final chapter" in the work cycle. Retirement involves several predictable stages (pre-retirement, honeymoon, disenchantment and reorientation). Successful retirement is associated with the ability to maintain a lifestyle consistent with one's personality, having good health and having an adequate income and with doing adequate planning prior to retirement.
Age/Gender and Cognition
1. AGE AND COGNITION: Although IQ test scores remain fairly stable over the life span, differences do appear on measures of learning and memory. Young children appear to have difficulty with memory tasks because they do not use rehearsal strategies, and older adults show deficits for several reasons, including a general slowing down of CNS
processes and a lack of motivation and interest in memory tasks. Some research suggests that differences in the ways that younger and older children think are due, in part, to improvements in metacognition, or the ability to "think about thinking."
2. GENDER DIFFERENCES IN COGNITION: Males and females do not differ significantly
in cognitive ability. The only consistent finding is that, beginning in adolescence, females
outperform males on measures of verbal ability and males outperform females on measures of math ability and visual/spatial skills. Some investigators attribute these differences to
cultural and social factors and others to biological ones (e.g., differences in brain structure or brain maturation).
Attachment Phenomena
1. CONTACT COMFORT: Pleasurable tactile sensations provided by a caretaker, which are believed by Harlow and others to be a causal factor in the development of attachment between an infant and his caretaker.
2. STRANGE SITUATION: Ainsworth's technique for assessing the quality of attachment between an infant and his/her mother. Research has identified four basic attachment patterns: secure attachment; insecure (anxious)/ambivalent attachment; and insecure (anxious)/avoidant attachment; disorganized/disoriented attchment.
3. ANACLITIC DEPRESSION: Withdrawal, depression and developmental delays resulting from the loss of an attachment figure during infancy, especially during the second half of the first year.
4. SEPARATION ANXIETY: A normal fear response exhibited by a baby when he/she is separated from a primary caretaker. Separation anxiety begins at about 6 to 8 months, increases in intensity at about 14 to 18 months and then declines.
5. STRANGER ANXIETY: A normal fear response to strangers exhibited by babies. Stranger anxiety begins at about 8 months of age and declines during the second year. The "discrepancy hypothesis" proposes that stranger anxiety results when the infant develops object permanence and can detect a discrepancy between the known (caretaker) and unknown (stranger).
Buffering Hypothesis
Proposes that lower susceptibility to stress, greater life satisfaction and other positive
outcomes are associated with a perceived sense of social support.
Critical Period and Imprinting
1. CRITICAL PERIOD: A definite stage during which an organism is especially susceptible to positive and negative environmental influences. As an example, some investigators
propose that children are most likely to exhibit severe emotional reactions to adoption when it occurs between three and twelve months of age.
2. IMPRINTING: Much of our understanding of critical periods comes from the work of ethologists who study the behavior of animals in their natural habitats. Lorenz (1965), for example, found that the critical period for imprinting in geese occurs during the first two or
three days after birth.
Effects of Daycare
Overall, quality day care (i.e., day care that provides responsive alternative caretakers)
does not seem to have substantial effects (positive or negative) on the cognitive, social or linguistic development of children.
Effects of Divorce
Several longitudinal studies have shown that the period following divorce (especially the first two years) is unpleasant for all parties.
1. DIMINISHED CAPACITY TO PARENT: According to J. Wallerstein, the deterioration in the relationships between children and their parents following divorce. Following divorce, mothers and fathers spend less time with their children, are less sensitive to their children, have trouble separating their own needs from the needs of the children and are often inconsistent, but more restrictive and demanding, in terms of control and punishment.
2. EFFECT ON CHILDREN: Children exhibit a variety of behavioral, emotional and social problems following divorce. Boys seem to suffer most and for the longest period; they typically exhibit aggressive and other acting-out behaviors. The negative consequences are reduced when the parents do not argue openly in front of their children and do not
experience significant financial problems, and when the children are able to maintain positive contact with both parents.
Effects of Maternal Employment
Research investigating the effects of maternal employment has found it to be associated with greater personal satisfaction and, in terms of the children, with fewer sex-role stereotypes. Husbands of working women are somewhat more involved in household and child rearing tasks.
Effects of School
1. ABILITY TRACKING: The practice of placing students into groups or classes on the basis of current achievement levels. Research suggests that ability tracking is associated with negative effects, especially for children of lower ability levels, who do better in heterogeneous groups.
2. COOPERATIVE LEARNING: Students of different races/cultures and ability levels work together to complete school assignments. Cooperative learning has been associated with a number of positive effects including higher levels of achievement in low-ability students, higher self-esteem and reduced prejudice and stereotyping.
3. HEADSTART/COMPENSATORY EDUCATION: Longitudinal studies suggest that
compensatory education programs have positive effects on measures of reading, language and mathematics achievement and attitudes toward achievement and are associated with lower rates of placement in special education classes and lower high school dropout rates.
4. TEACHER EXPECTATIONS: Research on teacher expectations has fairly consistently shown that they have a "self-fulfilling prophecy" effect on the academic performance, motivation and self-esteem of students.
Environmental Influences on Development
1. SOCIAL INFLUENCES: Include societal, family, peer, community, cultural, school and media factors. For example, birth order has been associated with certain cognitive and personality traits: First-borns tend to be more achievement-oriented and to get better grades and higher IQ test scores than their siblings and later-borns tend to display better social skills.
2. PHYSICAL INFLUENCES: Include maternal diet, health, emotional state and substance use during pregnancy. For example, fetal alcohol syndrome results when the mother drinks excessive amounts of alcohol during pregnancy. In addition, if the mother experiences prolonged and severe emotional stress during pregnancy, her baby may be hyperactive and irritable and have irregular feeding, sleeping and bowel habits.
Erikson and Psychosocial Development
According to Erikson's theory of personality development, the individual faces different social crises at different periods during the life span. These crises involve a conflict between the individual and society. They are: trust vs. mistrust; autonomy vs. shame and doubt; initiative vs. guilt; industry vs. inferiority; ego identity vs. role confusion; intimacy vs. isolation; generativity vs. stagnation; and integrity vs. despair.
Freud and Psychosexual Development
According to Freud, personality development involves five invariant stages (oral, anal,
phallic, latency and genital), in which sexual gratification shifts from one area of the body
to another.
Gender Typing (Gender Role Development)
The process of becoming aware of one's gender and acquiring motives, values,
behaviors, etc. of that gender; i.e., of acquiring a gender identity and adopting gender-role behaviors.
sequence of stages that parallel the child's cognitive development: (a) By age 2 or 3, children become aware that they are male or female; i.e., develop GENDER IDENTITY.
(b) Soon after, children realize that gender is stable over time; i.e., acquire GENDER STABILITY. (c) By age 6 or 7, children realize that sex is constant across situations; i.e., develop GENDER CONSTANCY (CONSISTENCY).
2. GENDER-ROLE STEREOTYPES: Gender role development also seems to entail acquiring gender-role stereotypes, which are overgeneralized, oversimplified and fixed beliefs about the characteristics typical of each gender; e.g., "boys are aggressive and dominant," while "girls are non-aggressive and submissive."
Genotype and Phenotype
1. GENOTYPE: Characteristics that are genetically inherited.
2. PHENOTYPE: Characteristics that are measurable and observable. Phenotype may be due to genotype and/or environmental factors; e.g., eye color is the result of genotype and weight is usually due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors.
Kohlberg and Moral Development
Kohlberg believes that children's moral judgments reflect their level of cognitive competence. His theory predicts a universal and invariant sequence of stages:
1. PRECONVENTIONAL MORALITY: The first level of moral development in which
judgments of right and wrong are based on consequences and personal needs. It includes the punishment-obedience and instrumental hedonism stages, and is characteristic of childhood.
2. CONVENTIONAL MORALITY: The stage of moral development in which moral
judgments are based on adherence to authority. Conventional morality includes the "good boy/good girl" and "law and order" stages, and is characteristic of most adolescents and adults.
3. POSTCONVENTIONAL MORALITY: The final level of moral development. At this level, moral judgments are independent of personal consequences and social convention and are based on social contracts, democratically-determined laws and universal principles. Many adults do not reach this stage of moral development.
Language Development
1. NATIVIST AND INTERACTIONIST APPROACH: A nativist approach attributes physical, mental and behavioral changes to nature (inheritance); e.g., Chomsky's view of language as attributable to an innate LANGUAGE ACQUISITION DEVICE. Interactionists regard language development as the result of a combination of biological and environmental factors; e.g., social-communications approach, which stresses the impact of social interactions.
2. BABBLING: Prelinguistic speech, which includes the repetition of consonant and vowel sounds, begins at about 4 months of age and initially includes sounds of all languages.
3. FIRST WORDS: Usually uttered at about 12 months of age. First words usually refer to familiar objects or actions on those objects.
4. BILINGUALISM: Some evidence suggests that bilingualism is associated with linguistic and cognitive advantages (e.g., greater cognitive flexibility).
5. GENDER DIFFERENCES: Early studies found that girls speak earlier, articulate better and have fewer speech defects. This was first attributed to biological factors; later studies suggest that it is more likely due to social and cultural influences. Also, in conversations, males talk for longer periods and are more likely to interrupt and females are more likely to ask questions.
Nature vs. Nuture Controversy
The controversy regarding the relative contributions of nature (heredity) and nurture (environment) to development. Many contemporary theorists view nature and nurture as interacting bi-directionally; that is, nature affects nurture and vice versa. With regard to
language, for example, biological maturation is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition. When an infant is maturationally ready to acquire language, he/she will not do so without
adequate environmental stimulation; however, no amount of stimulation will make a 2-month old infant (who is not biologically ready for language) talk.
Parenting Styles and Personality Development
"Parenting styles" are basic tendencies in parenting, which are believed to be an important influence on a child's personality and behavior. Many authorities distinguish between two basic dimensions of parenting: warmth/hostility and
permissiveness/restrictiveness. Others distinguish between authoritarian, authoritative and permissive styles. In general, parental warmth, mixed with moderate control (i.e, an authoritative style) is associated with the best outcomes; children of authoritative parents are independent, assertive, self-confident and socially responsible, and they tend to do better in school.
Piaget and Cognitive Development
1. CONSTRUCTIVISM: For Piaget, most knowledge is constructed during the course of interactions with the environment. He views development as an interaction between biological maturity and experience.
2. EQUILIBRATION: The tendency toward biological and psychological balance, which, according to Piaget, underlies cognitive development.
3. ADAPTATION: Entails two complementary processes: (a) ASSIMILATION: Incorporating new objects, information and experiences into existing cognitive structures or schemes.
(b) ACCOMMODATION: Changes made to existing cognitive structures or schemes in order to understand new information or experiences.
4. OBJECT PERMANENCE: The understanding that objects continue to exist when they are no longer detectable by the senses. Object permanence (the object concept) emerges at the end of the sensorimotor stage.
5. CONSERVATION: The ability to recognize that certain properties of an object/substance do not change when its appearance is altered in a superficial way. Conservation develops gradually during the concrete operational stage.
6. SYMBOLIC FUNCTION: The ability to use words, actions and other symbols to
represent objects and experiences. The symbolic function emerges at the end of the sensorimotor stage.
Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development
1. SENSORIMOTOR: Piaget's first stage, which spans the first two years of life. During the sensorimotor stage, knowledge is acquired through the senses and motor behaviors. The end of this stage is marked by the emergence of symbolic thought and object
2. PREOPERATIONAL: Piaget's second stage, which spans ages 2 through 7. Children at
this age can think symbolically, but haven't mastered logical operations (e.g., mental addition, classification, conservation).
3. CONCRETE OPERATIONAL: Piaget's third stage, which spans ages 7 to 11 years.
During the concrete operational stage, children acquire logical operations and use logic to reason about concrete events or situations. Children at this stage can "conserve."
4. FORMAL OPERATIONAL: Piaget's last stage, which begins at about age 11 or 12.
Individuals at the formal operational stage are aware of their own thought processes and can think more systematically about abstract and hypothetical concepts and ideas.
Kubler-Ross' Stages of Dying
Kubler-Ross developed a five-stage model of adjustment to the idea of one's own death:
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
1. DISPOSITIONAL ATTRIBUTION: A person is making a dispositional attribution when he/she concludes that a behavior is due to characteristics or traits of the person.
2. SITUATIONAL ATTRIBUTION: A person is making a situational attribution when he/she decides that a behavior is due to characteristics of the task or the environment.
Forced Compliance Situations
Situations in which people are required to behave in ways that are counter to their private attitudes. In these situations, people change either their behavior or their attitude in order
to reduce dissonance.
We often form impressions of others on the basis of limited information.
1. CENTRAL TRAITS: Traits that influence the impressions made about a person who has those traits.
2. PRIMACY EFFECT: Information presented first usually has a greater impact on impression formation.
3. RECENCY EFFECT: The more recent information may have a greater impact when an irrelevant activity occurs between presentation of two conflicting descriptions or a person is warned not to make a quick judgment.
4. HEURISTICS: (a) REPRESENTATIVE HEURISTICS: The tendency to consider some events, traits, etc. to be more representative of the population than they are. (b) AVAILABILITY HEURISTICS: The tendency to use information that is most readily retrievable from memory.
5. ATTRACTIVENESS: Physically attractive people are often assumed to have other positive, unrelated traits.
6. FALSE CONSENSUS BIAS: The tendency to overestimate the degree to which we believe others think and act like us.
7. ROSENHAHN'S PSEUDOPATIENT STUDY: Demonstrated the roles of social context and labeling on impression formation. Even though the pseudopatients did not exhibit abnormal behaviors, when in a mental hospital, they were viewed as mental patients.

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