Psychology 2103: Essentials of lifespan development /by Verna

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The pattern of movement or change that starts at conception and continues through the human life span.


Life-span perspective

The perspective that development is lifelong, multidimensional, multidirectional, plastic, multidisciplinary, and contextual; involves growth, maintenance, and regulation; and is constructed through biological, sociocultural, and individual factors working together.



The setting in which development occurs that is influenced by historical, economic, social, and cultural factors.


Normative age-graded influences

Biological and environmental influences that are similar for individuals in a particular age group.


Normative history-graded influences

Biological and environmental influences that are associated with history. These influences are common to people of a particular generation.


Nonnormative life events

Unusual occurrences that have a major impact on a person's life. The occurrence, pattern, and sequence of these events are not applicable to many individuals.



The behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a group that are passed on from generation to generation.


Cross-cultural studies

Comparisons of one culture with one or more other cultures. These provide information about the degree to which children's development is similar or universal, across cultures, and to the degree to which it is culture-specific.



A range of characteristics rooted in cultural heritage, including nationality, race religion, and language.


Socioeconomic status

Refers to the conceptual grouping of people with similar occupational, educational, and economic characteristics.



The psychological and sociocultural dimensions of being female or male


Social policy

A national government's course of action designed to promote the welfare of citizens.


biological processes

Changes in individual's physical nature.


Cognitive processes

Changes in individual's thought, intelligence and language.


Socioemotional processes

Changes in an individual's relationships with other people, emotions, and personality.


Nature-nature issue

The debate about the extent to which development is influenced by nature and by nature. Nature refers to an organism's biological inheritance, nurture to its environmental experiences.


Stability-change issue

The debate about the degree to which early traits and characteristics persist through life or change.


Continuity-discontinuity issue

The debate about the extent to which development involves gradual, cumulative change(continuity) or distinct stages (discontinuity).



A coherent a set of ideas that helps to explain data and to make predictions.



A structure in the higher portion of the brain that monitors eating and sex.


Psychoanalytic theories

Theories that hold that development depends primarily on the unconscious mind is heavily couched in emotion, that behavior is merely a surface characteristic, that it is important to analyze the symbolic meanings of behavior, and that early experiences are important in development.


Erikson's Theory

A psychoanalytic theory in which eight stages of psychosocial development unfold throughout the human life span. Each stage consists of a unique developmental task that confronts individuals with a crisis that must be faced.


Piaget's theory

The theory that children construct their understanding of the world and go through four stages of cognitive development.


Vygotsky's theory

A sociocultural cognitive theory that emphasizes how culture and social interaction guide cognitive development.


Information-processing theory

A theory that emphasizes that individuals manipulate information monitor it, and strategize about it. The processes of memory and thinking are central.


Behavioral and social cognitive theories

Theories that hold that development can be described in terms of the behaviors learned through interactions with the environment.



An approach that stresses that behavior is strongly influenced by biology, tied to evolution, and characterized by critical or sensitive periods.


Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory

Environmental systems theory that focuses on five environmental systems: micro-system, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem.


eclectic theoretical orientation

An approach that selects and uses what ever is considered the best in may theories.



A control setting


Naturalistic observation

Observation that occurs in a real-world setting without an attempt to manipulate the situation.


Standardized test

A test that is given with uniform procedures for administration and scoring.


case study

An in-depth examination of an individual.


descriptive research

All of the data collection methods that we have discussed can be used in descriptive research, which aims to observe and record behavior.


Correlational research

A number based on statistical analysis that is used to describe the degree of association between two variables.


Correlation coefficient

A number based on statistical analysis that is used to describe the degree of association between two variables.



A carefully regulated procedure in which one or more of the factors believed to influence the behavior being studied is manipulated and all other factors are held constant. Experimental research permits the determination of cause.


Cross-sectional approach

A research strategy in which individuals of different ages are compared at one time.


Longitudinal approach

A research strategy in which the same individuals are studied over a period of time, usually several years or more.


Cohort effects

That are due to a subject's time of birth or generation but not age.

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