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Term Definition
Learning A relatively permanent change in behavior brought about by making associations between behavior and the events in the environment.
Growth Chart Charts that show average values of height, weight, and other measure of growth, based on large samples of normally developing infants; the charts are used to evaluate an infant’s development
Growth of Infant Skull composed of 7 flat, membranous bones that are soft and elastic (bones are separated by fontanels or soft spots- only prenatally and in early infancy)
Neuron a nerve cell that transmits information
Axon The main protruding branch of a neuron; it carries messages to other cells in the form of electrical impulses
Dendrites The protruding parts of a neuron that receive messages from the axons of other cells
Central Nervous System (CNS) divided into 3 major sections- spinal cord, brain stem, and cerebral cortex
Spinal Cord the part of the central nervous system that extends from the waist to the base of the brain; the nerves of the spinal cord carry messages back and forth from the brain to the spinal nerves that communicate with specific areas of the body.
Brain Stem the base of the brain, which controls such elementary actions as blinking and sucking, as well as such vital functions as breathing and sleeping
Cerebral Cortex the brain’s outermost layer. The networks of neurons in the cerebral cortex integrate information from several sensory sources with memories of past experiences, processing them in a way that results in human forms of thought and action.
Occipital Lobe a part of the cerebral cortex specialized for vision
Parietal Lobe a part of the cerebral cortex specialized for spatial perception
Frontal Lobe a part of the cerebral cortex specialized for control and coordination of the other cortical areas to enable complex forms of behavior and thought
Temporal Lobe a part of the cerebral cortex specialized for hearing and speech
Exuberant Synaptogenesis when different portions of the brain undergo an explosive increase in synapse formation which produces far more synapses than would be required by particular experiences the growing organism is likely to encounter
Synaptic Pruning the process of selective dying off of nonfunctional synapses (70% of the neurons in the human cortex are pruned between the 28th wk after conception and birth; other intensive periods of synaptic pruning are infancy, middle childhood, and adolescence)
Intermodal Perception the ability to perceive an object or event by more than one sensory system simultaneously
Enriched Environment stimulation of the brain by its physical and social surroundings. Brains in richer, more stimulating environments have higher rates of synaptogenesis and more complex dendrite arbors, leading to increased brain activity
Deprived Environment unmet need due to a lack of resources, the absence of physical environmental conditions that can contribute to good health and well being (e.g., clean air and water, and safe neighbourhood streets and parks)
Classical Conditioning Learning in which previously existing behaviors come to be elicited by a new stimuli.Example: Pavlov's Dogs
Conditional Stimulus In classical conditioning, a stimulus that elicits a behavior that is dependent on the way it is paired with the unconditional stimulus.Example: a bell ringing for Pavlov's dogs
Unconditional Stimulus In classical conditioning, the stimulus that invariably causes the unconditional response.Example: Food in the mouth of Pavlov's dogs
Unconditional Response In classical conditioning, the response that is invariably elicited by the unconditional stimulus.Example: salivation in Pavlov's dogs
Conditional Response In classical conditioning, a response to the pairing of the conditional stimulus (tone/bell) and the unconditional stimulus (food in mouth)Example: salivating when tone is heard
Operant Conditioning Learning in which changes in behavior are shaped by the consequences of that behavior, thereby giving rise to new and more complex behavior (positive or negative, consequence or reinforcement)
Drive-Reduction Theory Freud's theory on attachment: Infants become attached to their mother because she is the one most likely to nourish them. Been proven to be faulty and incorrect.
Patterns of Attachment Defines how an infant attaches to its caregiver. Includes secure attachment, avoidant attachment, resistant attachment, and disorganized attachment.
Secure Attachment When children play comfortably and react positively to a stranger as long as their mother is present. They become upset when their mother leaves and are unlikely to be consoled by a stranger, but they calm down as soon as their mother reappears.
Avoidant Attachment When infants are indifferent to where their mother is sitting, may or may not cry when their mother leaves, are as likely to be comforted by strangers as by their mother, and are indifferent when their mother returns to the room.
Resistant Attachment When infants stay close to their mother and are anxious when mom is near, become very upset when their mother leaves, are not comforted by her return. They simultaneously seek contact with their mother and resist efforts to comfort.
Disorganized Attachment When infants lack coherent method for dealing with stress. May behave in contradictory ways, like screaming for mother but moving away when approached. May seem dazed.
Detachment State of indifference toward others experienced by children who have been separated from their caregiver for an extended time and have no formed a new stable relationship.
Strange Situation Attachment assessment: mom is a secure base for exploration, infants reactions to being left alone with stranger then completely alone, and the infant's response when they are reunited with their mother.
Language Development Two keys to language acquisition: biological structures and systems that support language, and participation in a language-using community
Phonological Development learning to segment speech into meaningful units of sound
Semantic Development learning meanings of words and combinations of words
Grammar the rules of a given language for the sequencing of words in a sentence and the ordering of parts of words
Pragmatic Development learning the conventions that govern the use of language in particular social contexts
Morpheme the smallest unit of meaning in the words of a language
Fast Mapping the way in which children quickly form an idea of the meaning of an unfamiliar word they hear in a familiar and highly structured social interaction
Self-Regulation the ability to control one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
Sociodramatic Play make-believe play in which two or more participants enact a variety of related social roles
Biological Contributions of Aggression evolutionary factors; competing for resources (Darwin)
Social and Cultural Contributions of Aggression observing aggressive behaviors; rewarded for aggressive behaviors; some societies and cultures may view some levels of violence as normal
Emotional and Cognitive Contributions of Aggression children’s emotional reactions to things and their ability to regulate emotion may cause aggression; aggression has its origins in the negative affect that arises in frustration of otherwise unpleasant behaviors
Hostile Aggression aggression that is aimed at hurting another person physically, psychologically, or socially
Instrumental Aggression aggression that is directed at obtaining something
Relational Aggression indirect aggression intended to harm someone’s friendships or exclude an individual from the group
Prosocial Behavior behavior such as sharing, helping, caregiving, and showing compassion
Empathy sharing another person’s emotions and feelings
Sympathy feelings of sorrow or concern for another
Personal Distress a self-focused emotional reaction to another’s distress
Body Mass Index (BMI) the ratio of weight to height; a BMI above the 95th %ile is considered obese
Metacognition The ability to think about one's own thought process
Puberty The series of biological developments that transforms individuals from a state of physical immaturity into one in which they are biologically mature and capable of sexual reproduction
Growth Spurt A rapid change in height and weight that signals onset of puberty
Early Maturation Refers to the occurrence of a pubertal event (or set of events) before the 3rd percentile of the normal range
Late Maturation Refers to the occurrence of a pubertal event after the 97th percentile of normal range
Precocious Puberty A serious condition that involves the activation of the HPG axis before the age of 8 in girls and 9 in boys
Piaget's Concrete Operational Stage 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.
Concrete Operations In Piaget's terms, coordinated mental actions that allow children to mentally combine, separate, order, and transform concrete objects and events that children experience directly.
Information Processing Model Control Processes– rehearsal, attention, decision making, retrieval strategies– environmental input–sensory register–short-term shortage (working memory)– long-term storage
Executive Function Higher-level cognitive processes, such as aspects of cognition associated with supervising and controlling lower-level cognitive processes.
Intelligence Definitions of intelligence vary across cultures; intelligence quotient is measured by the ratio of mental age to chronological age, calculated as IQ
Children Involved in Sports More positive peer relationships, fewer negative friends who encourage disobeying adults, higher self-esteem and sense of belonging at school, lower levels of depression, and possible increase in math achievement and cognitive function for overweight kids
Memory Store, retrieve, & organize info. Info-processing approaches increase speed and capacity of working memory (memory span), increase knowledge of memory, & more effective memory strategies (rehearsal, organizational strategies, elaboration)
Emotional Regulation in Adolescence Emotions become less intense and more stable over time. Impulse control, inhibition, and persistence are markers of emotional regulation. Those who struggle are more likely to have depression, anger, social and behavior issues
Internalizing Problems Disturbances in emotion or mood such as depression, worry, guilt, and anxiety; more common in girls than boys
Externalizing Problems Social and behavioral problems such as aggression and delinquency; more common in boys than girls
Physical Development in Infancy Over time, increase in size, shape &proportion, their bones harden (ossify) starting with hands & wrists, & their muscles strengthen as they learn to crawl. Prefrontal area begins developing (voluntary behaviors) & fine motor skills (reaching & grasping)

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