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modifying or creating new theories as a result of experience

adolescent egocentrism

developmental tendency to be hyper-focused on the self


integrating new information learned from experience into one's existing understanding of the world


the bond that forms between newborns and their primary caregivers


ball of cells that forms when a zygote divides

cohort effect

occurs when apparent developmental differences between groups are actually due to experiential differences rather than age differences

concrete operational stage

developmental stage proposed by Piaget in which children come to understand which actions can or cannot affect concrete objects

critical period

time-limited developmental period during which the brain is highly sensitive to particular experiences

cross-sectional research

research comparing people across different age groups


developmentally normal failure to understand that other people differ in their knowledge and perspectives


developing individual through the end of the eighth week of gestation (pregnancy)

fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

set of cognitive and emotional processing defects that result from maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy


developing baby from the eighth week of pregnancy until birth

formal operational stage

developmental stage proposed by Piaget during which children acquire the capacity to reason about abstract concepts

longitudinal research

research following a single group of people over time


first time a girl begins menstruating


cessation of menstrual periods

preoperational stage

developmental stage proposed by Piaget during which children develop a preliminary understanding of the physical world

primary sex characteristics

bodily structures directly involved in reproduction


guiding learning through focused questions and positive interactions, supporting children in tasks just outside their independent abilities

secondary sex characteristics

physical traits that change with sexual maturity but have no direct link to reproduction

sensorimotor stage

developmental stage proposed by Piaget during which infants are aware only of sensations and their own movements

separation anxiety

developmentally normal fear of being away from a trusted caregiver

social clock

culture-specific timetable for major events to occur

stranger anxiety

tendency for infants or children to feel uncomfortable or frightened when approached by someone they do not know


characteristic patterns of emotional reactivity


harmful substances that can impair development of an embryo or fetus

theory of mind

ability to attribute mental states (beliefs, desires, knowledge) to others and to reflect on one's own mental states

zone of proximal development

difference between what learners can do with and without assistance


fertilized egg