Developmental Psychology Vocabulary

AP Psychology
Developmental Psychology Vocabulary
Approximately 7-9% of the AP Exam.
Myers Textbook Chapter 9 and the corresponding chapter in your Barron’s book.
Developmental psychology deals with the behavior of organisms from conception to death and examines the
processes that contribute to behavioral change throughout the life span. The major areas of emphasis in the
course are prenatal development, motor development, socialization, cognitive development, adolescence, and
AP students in psychology should be able to do the following:
 Discuss the interaction of nature and nurture (including cultural variations) in the determination of
 Explain the process of conception and gestation, including factors that influence successful fetal
development (e.g., nutrition, illness, substance abuse).
 Discuss maturation of motor skills.
 Describe the influence of temperament and other social factors on attachment and appropriate
 Explain the maturation of cognitive abilities (e.g., Piaget’s stages, information processing).
 Compare and contrast models of moral development (e.g., Kohlberg, Gilligan).
 Discuss maturational challenges in adolescence, including related family conflicts.
 Explain how parenting styles influence development.
 Characterize the development of decisions related to intimacy as people mature.
 Predict the physical and cognitive changes that emerge as people age, including steps that can be taken to
maximize function.
 Describe how sex and gender influence socialization and other aspects of development.
 Identify key contributors in developmental psychology (e.g., Mary Ainsworth, Albert Bandura, Diana
Baumrind, Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, Carol Gilligan, Harry Harlow, Lawrence Kohlberg, Konrad Lorenz,
Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky).
Developmental Psychology
A. Life-Span Approach
B. Research Methods (e.g., longitudinal, cross-sectional)
C. Heredity-Environment Issues
D. Development Theories
E. Dimensions of Development
a. Physical
b. Cognitive
c. Social
d. Moral
1. Attachment
2. Assimilation
3. Accomodation
4. Cephalocaudal trend
5. Cognitive development
6. Conservation tasks
7. Cross-sectional design
8. Development
9. Developmental norms
10. Egocentrism
11. Embryonic stage
12. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
13. Fetal stage
14. Germinal stage
15. Habituation
16. Infantile amnesia
17. Irreversibility
18. Longitudinal design
19. Maturation
20. Motor development
21. Nature vs. nurture
22. Neonatal reflexes
23. Object permanence
24. Placenta
25. Prenatal period
26. Proximodistal trend
27. Puberty
28. Schema
29. Separation Anxiety
30. Temperament
31. Teratogens
32. Zygote
1. Harry Harlow (Attachment research)
2. Mary Ainsworth (Strange Situation – Be able to summarize a, b, & c)
a. Secure attachments
b. Avoidant attachments
c. Anxious/ambivalent attachments
3. Diana Baumrind (Parenting styles –Be able to summarize a, b, & c)
a. Permissive
b. Authoritarian
c. Authoritative
4. Erick Erikson (Psychosocial Theory of Development – List & describe the 8 stages.)
5. Jean Piaget (Theory of Cognitive Development- Summarize a, b, c, & d)
a. Sensorimotor stage
b. Preoperational stage
c. Concrete Operational stage
d. Formal Operational stage
6. Lawrence Kohlberg (Theory of Moral Development – Summarize a, b, & c)
a. Preconventional stage
b. Conventional stage
c. Postconventional stage
Describe 4 broad issues that guide developmental research.
Explain how cross-sectional, longitudinal, and sequential designs differ.
What determines the sex of a child?
How do STDs, alcohol, and other drugs affect prenatal development? Identify other broad classes of
5. How can scientists measure a newborn’s sensory capabilities and perceptual preferences? What are
some of those preferences?
6. Can newborns learn through classical and operant conditioning and modeling?
7. Explain how nature and nurture jointly influence physical growth and motor development during
8. Describe assimilation and accommodation. How are they related to cognitive development?
9. How do infants develop cognitively during the sensorimotor stage?
10. Identify some achievements and limitations of the preoperational stage.
11. How does thinking change during the concrete and formal operational stages?
12. In what major ways does research support and contradict Piaget’s basic ideas?
13. What is the “zone of proximal development”, and why is it important?
14. Describe how information-processing capabilities improve during childhood. How is this relevant to the
continuity-discontinuity debate?
15. Describe the violation-of-expectation experimental procedure.
16. At what age to children begin to understand other people’s thinking? How have researchers
established this?
17. How and when do children learn emotional regulation and emotional expressiveness?
18. Describe the various types of temperament, and discuss whether infant temperament predictsbehaviors
observed in later childhood an adulthood.
19. What does Erikson’s model of psychosocial development imply regarding the stability of personality?
20. How does imprinting illustrate the concept of critical periods?
21. How did Harlow demonstrate the importance of contact comfort?
22. According to Bowlby, what are the phases of attachment in infancy?
23. Differentiate between stranger and separation anxiety.
24. What is the “strange situation”? Describe the types of attachments identified by this procedure.
25. How do studies of monkey and human-child isolates, and children in orphanages, help us to
understand whether attachment involves critical or sensitive periods?
26. Does day care impair infants’ attachment? Does it seem to have any long-term effects on children?
27. In the short and long term, how do children generally respond to parental divorce? What factors
enhance their adjustment to divorce and remarriage?
28. What parenting styles are associated with the most and least positive child outcomes?
29. How do the bi-directional influences of the parent and child help us determine how biological and
environmental factors affect psychological development?
30. How does socialization shape children’s beliefs about gender?
31. How do preconventional, conventional, and postconventional stages of moral reasoning differ?
32. What aspects of Kohlber’s model have been supported? What are its limitations?
33. Describe some factors that influence adolescents’ psychological reactions to experiencing puberty.
34. Describe neural changes occurring during adolescence.
35. Discuss how adolescents’ reasoning abilities change and the ways in which their thinking is egocentric.
36. Identify some of the different ways that adolescents approach the challenge of establishing an identity.
37. To what extent are parent-teen relationships characterized by “storm and stress”? Does this seem to
hold true across different ethnic groups?
38. How do peer relationships change during adolescence?
39. How does emotional stability changes as a teenager progresses through adolescence?
40. Discuss factors people consider in defining themselves as adults.
41. What are some of the major bodily changes that occur during the stages of early through late
42. How do intellectual abilities change with age? To what extent does the answer depend on the research
design used?
43. Identify some factors associated with greater retention of cognitive abilities during late adulthood.
44. Describe cognitive and emotional changes associated with various forms of dementia.
45. Does research support the notion that elderly adults are “older but wiser”?
46. According to Erikson, what are the 3 major developmental challenges of adulthood?
47. How does marital satisfaction typically change over time? What major events are associated with these
48. Describe some major differences between women and men’s typical career paths.
49. Is midlife crisis a myth? Discuss the evidence.
50. Does retirement cause psychological problems for most retirees? Under what situations are such
problems most likely to occur?
51. Why is it incorrect to say that there is a “normal” or “proper” way to confront death?