Psychology – Developmental


Developmental Word Cloud

Essential terms for identification: there are 24 essential terms from the developmental unit listed below. Pick 10 terms to identify, give an example to demonstrate its meaning and explain “why” each term is significant to human development.


Conservation Attachment


Psychosocial Development

Neglectful Parents

Zone of Proximal Development

Egocentrism Schema
Accommodation Longitudinal Design

Indulgent Parents


Object Permanence

Cross-sectional Design

Authoritarian Parents


Stranger Anxiety

Authoritative Parents

Sensitive Period

Strange Situation

Separation Anxiety Sequential Design

Critical Period

Essays: five free response (essay) questions are listed below. Choose one to answer fully. Make sure to provide solid examples and give good detail to clarify “why” your examples support your thesis.

  • How well do you get along with your parents? Considering what you have learned in this unit about parenting and parent-child relationships, are there aspects of your upbringing that you think your parents could have handled better than they did? Do you think you have the ability to do a better job of parenting children in their formative years than your parents did? Explain and give specifics – including vocabulary from this unit.
  • Mr. Krause has been giving unfair quizzes all semester. You have failed a few and several of your friends were in danger of failing the class due to poor quiz performance. His quiz items simply did not correlate well with what he presented in class or what was in the book. You stop by his classroom at lunch to discuss a problem that you have in understanding a particular psychological theory. Mr. Krause is not there, but the classroom door is wide open and sitting on his desk is a stack of tomorrow’s quiz. You know you can improve both your performance on the quiz and perhaps help several of your friends pass the class if you get a look at it. What do you do? Why? Based on Kohlberg’s levels of moral development, classify your decision using specifics from his stages.
  • In the debate over nature versus nurture in human development, there are many factors to take into consideration. For example maturation, or the genetic instructions for how our bodily and mental functions unfold (e.g., standing before walking), coincides with our level of attachment and care with our primary care givers. Breakdown one of the projects presented in this unit and examine how the idea of nature vs. nurture help shape our development across the life span. Incorporate various theories from the psychologists studied. Also, explain why this debate is so important to psychology and social science.
  • What is attachment and how is it crucial to emotional development in infancy, childhood and throughout the lifespan? Go in depth highlighting Harlow, Ainsworth and Bowlby’s research into attachment. Address how attachment or lack thereof in infancy can impact a person later in life. Make conclusions about the importance of emotional attachment by speculating on possible consequences of poor attachment.
  • How are Freud’s and Erikson’s theories of development similar and how do they differ? Use examples from Dexter Morgan’s case file to demonstrate these similarities and differences. Be specific in both psychologist’s theories, explaining important stages of development, their consequences on human development and by speculating on how they connect to Dexter’s life as we know it. Synthesize all you know to date about human development and whether you think Freud and Erikson’s theories are relevant to either your life to those in your life.



Developmental psychology is the scientific study of changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to include adolescence, adult development, aging, and the entire lifespan. This field examines change across a broad range of topics including motor skills and other psycho-physiological processes; cognitive development involving areas such as problem solving, moral understanding, and conceptual understanding;language acquisition; social, personality, and emotional development; and self-concept and identity formation. Some of the most famous developmental psychologists consist of Erik Erikson who studied psycho-social development. Erikson proposed the Psycho-social Stages in 1959. Another famous developmental psychology was Sigmund Freud who studied psycho-sexual development.

Developmental psychology examines issues such as the extent of development through gradual accumulation of knowledge versus stage-like development—and the extent to which children are born with innate mental structures, versus learning through experience. Many researchers are interested in the interaction between personal characteristics, the individual’s behavior, and environmental factors including social context, and their impact on development; others take a more narrowly-focused for the functions .

Developmental_Important Players

Developmental Vocabulary

ESSAY Questions: (examples from previous tests)

1)  Each of us is who we are as a result of complex interactions between our biological heritage, learning and cognitive skills, socio-emotional environment and emotional skills, and our family and peer environments.  Thinking of someone you know well, apply principles you learned in each area to help me understand how s/he became who s/he is.

2)  “The environment” can be an important developmental force.  In Developmental Psychology, what kinds of things do we need to keep in mind when we talk about “the environment”?

3) What is attachment?  What is the developmental sequence for attachment?

4) What are the basic patterns of attachment?  What are the factors that influence its development?

5) How important is having a secure attachment to your mother?  Why?

6) What is self-esteem?  How do we build appropriate self-esteem?

7) Buddhists argue that self is an illusion.  Do you agree?  Why or why not?

8) What are the 4 identity statuses?  Which one are you in?  What are the family and cultural influences that contributed to your identity status?

9) How do nature, culture and individual thoughts and experiences shape our gender identity?

10) What is sexual orientation?  What are the biological and cultural factors that influence sexual orientation?

11) How do the theories about moral development and pro-social behavior contribute to our understanding of moral behavior?

12) Give a one sentence summary of Cognitive, Behavioral and Social Cognitive, and Ethological Theories of development and provide an example of each.