Chapter 1

development science
the field of study that focuses on the range of children’s physical, intellectual, social, and emotional developments.
What are some domains of development?
5 periods of development
1. pre-natal
2. infancy
3. early childhood
4. middle childhood
5. adolescence
the belief that adultlike capacities, desires, interests, and emotions are present in early childhood
inherited biological predispositions of the individual
the influences exerted on development by the individual’s social and cultural environment and personal experiences
the degree to which, and the conditions under which, development is open to change and intervention
critical period
a period during which specific biological or environmental events are required for normal development to occur
sensitive period
a time in an organism’s development when a particular experience has an especially profound effect
addresses the extent to which development tends to be continuous, consisting of the gradual accumulation of small changes, and the extent to which it is discontinuous, involving a series of abrupt, radical transformations
development stage
a qualitatively distinctive, coherent pattern of behavior that emerges during the course of development
Psychodynamic theories
Theories such as those of Freud and Erikson, that explore the influence on development and developmental stages of universal biological drives and the life experiences of individuals
theories that focus on development as the result of learning, and on changes in behavior as a result of forming associations between behavior and its consequences
law of effect
Thorndike’s notion that behaviors that produce a satisfying effect in a given situation are likely to be repeated in the same situation or similar situation, whereas behaviors that produce an uncomfortable effect are less likely to be repeated
constructivist theory
Piaget’s theory, in which cognitive development results from children’s active construction of of reality, based on their experiences with the world.
Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development
1.sensorimotor (birth to 2)
2. preoperational (2-6)
3. concrete operational (6-12)
4. formal operational (12-19)
the main source of development, consisting of a process of achieving a balance between the child’s present understanding and the child’s new experiences
sociocultural theory
the theory associated with Vygotsky that emphasizes the influence of culture on development
zone of proximal development
for Vygotsky, the gap between what children can accomplish independently and what they can accomplish when interacting with others who are more competent
evolutionary theories
theories that explain human behavior in terms of how it contributes to the survival of the species and that look at how our evolutionary past influences individual development
an interdisciplinary science that studies the biological and evolutionary foundations of behavior
social learning theories
theories that emphasize the behavior-consequences associations that children learn by observing and interacting with others in social situations
information-processing theories
theories that look at cognitive development in terms of how children came to process, store, organize, retrieve, and manipulate information in increasingly efficient ways
systems theories
theories that envision development in terms of complex wholes made up of parts and that explore how these wholes and their parts are organized and interact and change over time
dynamic systems theory
a theory that address how new, complex systems of behavior develop from the interaction of less complex parts
ecological systems theory
a theory focusing on the organization and interactions of the multiple environmental contexts within which children develop
1. mircosystem: face-to-face settings of home, school, and peer groups
2. mesosystem: connective tissue that links the face-to-face settings to one another such as parental involvement in the kid’s school
3. exosystem: settings that affect but do not include the child; ex. parent’s workplace
4. macrosystem: the values, customs, hazards, and resources of the larger culture that shape what happens in all settings of the systems nested within it
naturalistic observation
observation of the actual behavior of people in the course of their everyday lives
the study of the cultural organization of behavior
longitudinal design
a research design in which date are gathered about the same group of people as they grow older over an extended period of time
microgenetic design
a research design in which individuals’ development is studied intensely over a relatively short period of time
sensorimotor stage
(birth to 2)
infant’s achievments consist largely of coordinating their sensory perceptions and dimple motor behaviors. As they move through the 6 substages of this period, infants come to recognize the existence of a world outside themselves and begin to interact with it in deliberate ways
peroperational stage
(2-6 years)
Young children can represent reality to themselves with the use of symbols, including mental images, words, and gestures. Still, children often fail to distinguish their point of view from that of others, become easily captured by surface appearances, and are often confused about causal relationships
concrete operational stage
as they enter middle school, children become capable of mental operations, internalized actions that fit into a logical system. Operational thinking allows children to mentally combine, separate, order, and transform objects and actions. Such operations are considered concrete because they are carried out in the presence of the objects and events being thought about
formal operational
(12-19 years)
In adolescence, the developing person acquires the ability to think systematically about all logical relations within a problem. Adolescents display keen interest in abstract ideas and in the process of thinking itself.