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behavioral and social cognitive theories  Theories that hold that development can be described in terms of the behaviors learned through interactions with the environment.
biological processes  Changes in an individual's physical nature.
Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory  Bronfenbrenner's environmental systems theory that focuses on five environmental systems: microsyste, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem.
case study  An in-depth examination of an individual.
cognitive processes  Changes in an individual's thought, intelligence, and language.
cohort effects  Effects that are due to a subject's time of birth or generation but not age.
cognitive processes  Changes in an individual's thought, intelligence, and language.
context  The setting in which development occurs that is influenced by historical, economic, social, and cultural factors.
continuity-discontinuity issue  The debate about the extent to which development involves gradual, cumulative change (continuity) or distinct stages (discontinuity).
correlation coefficient  A number based on statistical analysis that is used to describe the degree of association between two variables.
correlational research  The goal is to describe the strength of the relation between two or more events or characteristics.
cross-cultural studies  Comparisons of one culture with one or more other cultures. These provide information about the degree to which to which children's development is similar, or universal, across cultures, and to the degree to which it is culture-specific.
cross-sectional approach  A research strategy in which individuals of different ages are compared at one time.
culture  The behavior patterns, beliefs, and all other products of a group that are passed on from generation to generation.
descriptive research  This type of research aims to observe and record behavior.
development  The pattern of movement or change that starts at conception and continues through the human life span.
eclectic theoretical orientation  An approach that selects and uses whatever is considered the best in many theories.
Erikson's theory  A psychoanalytic theory in which eight stages of psychosocial development unfold throughout the human life span. Each state consists of a unique developmental task that confronts individuals with a crisis that must be faced.
ethnicity  A range of characteristics rooted in cultural heritage, including nationality, race, religion, and language.
ethology  An approach that stresses that behavior is strongly influenced by biology, tied to evolution, and characterized by critical or sensitive periods.
experiment  A carefully regulated procedure in which one or more of the factors believed to influence the behavior being studied is manipulated and all other factors are held constant. Experimental research permits the determination of cause.
gender  The psychological and sociocultural dimensions of being female or male.
hypotheses  Assertions or predictions, often derived from theories, that can be tested.
information-processing theory  A theory that emphasizes that individuals manipulate information, monitor it, and strategize about it. The processes of memory and thinking are central.
laboratory  A controlled setting.
life-span perspective  The perspective that development is lifelong, multidimensional, multidirectional, plastic, multidisciplinary, and contextual; involves growth, maintenance, and regulation; and is constructed through biological, sociocultural, and individual factors working together.
longitudinal approach  A research strategy in which the same individuals are studied over a period of time, usually several years or more.
naturalistic observation  Observation that occurs in a real-world setting without an attempt to manipulate the situation.
nature-nurture issue  The debate about the extent to which development is influenced by nature and by nurture. Nature refers to an organism's biological inheritance, nurture to its environmental experiences.
nonnormative life events  Unusual occurrences that have a major impact on a person's life. The occurrence, pattern, and sequence of these events are not applicable to many individuals.
normative age-graded influences  Biological and environmental influences that are similar for individuals in a particular age group.
normative history-graded influences  Biological and environmental influences that are associated with history. These influences are common to people of a particular generation.
Piaget's theory  The theory that children construct their understanding of the world and go through four stages of cognitive development.
psychoanalytic theories  Theories that hold that development depends primarily on the unconscious mind and is heavily couched in emotion, that behavior is merely a surface characteristic, that it is important to analyze the symbolic meanings of behavior, and that early experiences are important in development.
social cognitive theory  The theory that behavior, environment, and person/cognitive factors are important in understanding development.
socioeconomic status (SES)  Refers to the conceptual grouping of people with similar occupational, educational, and economic characteristics.
socioemotional processes  Changes in an individual's relationships with other people, emotions, and personality.
social policy  A national government's course of action designed to promote the welfare of its citizens.
stability-change issue  The debate about the degree to which early traits and characteristics persist through life or change.
standardized test  A test that is given with uniform procedures for administration and scoring.
theory  A coherent set of ideas that helps to explain data and to make predictions.
Vygotsky's theory  A sociocultural cognitive theory that emphasizes how culture and social interaction guide cognitive development.

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