Chapter 2

puberty
A period of rapid physical maturation involving hormonal and bodily changes that take place primarily in early adolescence.
hormones
Powerful chemical secreted by the endocrine glands and carried through the body by the bloodstream.
androgens
The main class of male sex hormones.
estrogens
The main class of female sex hormones.
adrenarche
Puberty phase involving hormonal changes in the adrenal glands, located just above the kidneys.

These changes occur from about 6 to 9 years of age in girls and about one year later in boys, before what is generally considered the beginning of puberty.

gondarche
Puberty phase involving the maturation of primary sexual characteristics (ovaries in females, testes in males) and secondary sexual characteristics (pubic hair, breast, and genital development). This period follows adrenarche by about two years and is what most people think of as puberty.
menarche
A girl’s first menstrual period.
spermarche
A boy’s first ejaculation of semen.

secular trends
Patterns of onset of puberty over historical time, especially across generations.
female athlete triad
A combination of disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis that may develop in female adolescents and college students.
adaptive behavior
A modification of behavior that promotes an organism’s survival in the natural habitat.
evolutionary psychology
An approach that emphasizes the importance of adaptation, reproduction, and survival of the fittest in explaining behavior.
chromosomes
Threadlike structures that contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
DNA
A complex molecule that contains genetic information.

genes
The units of hereditary information, which are short segments composed of DNA.
genotype
A person’s genetic heritage; the actual genetic material.
phenotype
The way an individual’s genotype is expressed in observed and measurable characteristics.
behavior genetics
The field that seeks to discover the influence of heredity and environment on individual differences in human traits and development.
twin study
A study in which the behavioral similarity of identical twins is compared with the behavioral similarity of fraternal twins.
adoption study
A study in which investigators seek to discover whether the behavioral and psychological characteristics of adopted children are more like their adoptive parents, who have provided a home environment, or more like those of their biological parents, who have contributed their heredity.

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Another form of adoption study involves comparing adoptive and biological siblings.

passive genotype-environmental correlations
Correlations that occur because biological parents, who are genetically related to the child, provide a rearing environment for the child.
evocative genotype-environmental correlations
Correlations that occur because an adolescent’s genetically shaped characteristics elicit certain types of physical and social environments.
active (niche picking) genotype-environment correlations
Correlations that occur when children seek out environments that they find compatible and stimulating.
shared environmental experiences
Siblings’ common experiences such as their parents’ personalities and intellectual orientation, the family’s socioeconomical status, and the neighbourhood in which they live.
nonshared environmental experiences
The adolescent’s own unique experiences, both within a family and outside the family, that are not shared by the sibling.
epigenetic view
Emphasizes that development is the result of an ongoing bidirectional interchange between heredity and environment.