absolute pitch Ability to recall the precise pitch of a particular note in music.
accommodation Process of dealing with a new event by either modifying an existing scheme or forming a new one.
acculturation Process of taking on the customs and values of a new culture.
action research Systematic study of an issue or problem by a teacher or other practitioner, with the goal of bringing about more productive outcomes for children.
actual developmental level Upper limit of tasks that a child can successfully perform independently.
adaptive behavior Behavior related to daily living skills and appropriate conduct in social situations.
addiction Physical and psychological dependence on a substance, such that increasing quantities must be taken to produce the desired effect and withdrawal produces adverse physiological and psychological effects.
African American English Dialect of some African American communities that includes pronunciations, grammatical constructions, and idioms different from those of Standard English.
aggression Action intentionally taken to hurt another either physically or psychologically.
alleles Genes located at the same point on corresponding (paired) chromosomes and related to the same physical characteristic.
androgyny Tendency to have some characteristics that are stereotypically female (e.g., nurturance) and others that are stereotypically male (e.g., assertiveness).
anorexia nervosa Eating disorder in which a person eats little or nothing for weeks or months and seriously jeopardizes health.
anxiety Emotional state characterized by worry and apprehension.
anxiety disorder Chronic emotional condition characterized by excessive, debilitating worry.
apprenticeship Mentorship in which a novice works intensively with an expert to learn how to accomplish complex tasks in a particular domain.
appropriation Gradual adoption of (and perhaps also adaptation of) other people's ways of thinking and behaving for one's own purposes.
assessment Task that children complete and researchers use to make judgments of children's understandings and skills.
assimilation Form of acculturation in which a person totally embraces a new culture, abandoning a previous culture in the process. Also, in Piaget's theory, process of dealing with a new event in a way that is consistent with an existing scheme (see Chapter 6).
attachment An enduring emotional tie uniting one person to another.
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Disability characterized by inattention, by hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, or by all three characteristics.
attribution Belief about the cause of one's success or failure.
authentic activity Instructional activity similar to one that a child might eventually encounter in the outside world.
authoritarian style Parenting style characterized by strict expectations for behavior and rigid rules that children are expected to obey without question.
authoritative style Parenting style characterized by emotional warmth, high expectations and standards for behavior, consistent enforcement of rules, explanations regarding the reasons behind these rules, and the inclusion of children in decision making.
autism Disability characterized by infrequent social interaction, little awareness of one's own and others' thoughts, communication impairments, repetitive behaviors, narrowly focused interests, and a strong need for a predictable environment.
autobiographical self Mental "history" of events important in one's life.
automatization Process of becoming able to respond quickly and efficiently while mentally processing or physically performing certain tasks.
axon Armlike part of a neuron that sends information to other neurons.
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babbling Repeating certain consonant-vowel syllables over and over (e.g., "mamamama"); common in the latter half of the first year.
behaviorism and social learning theory Theoretical perspective that focuses on environmental stimuli and learning processes that lead to behavioral change.
bicultural orientation Form of acculturation in which a person is familiar with two cultures and selectively draws from the values and traditions of one or both cultures depending on the context.
bilingual education Approach to second-language instruction in which students are instructed in academic subject areas in their native language while simultaneously being taught to speak and write in the second language.
bilingualism Knowing and speaking two languages fluently.
biological theory Theoretical perspective that emphasizes genetic factors and physiological structures and functions of the body and brain.
blended family Family created when one parent-child(ren) family combines with another parent figure and any children in his or her custody; also, the structure that emerges when a parent already with a child remarries and has another child with the new spouse.
bulimia Eating disorder in which a person, in an attempt to be thin, eats a large amount of food and then purposefully purges it from the body by vomiting or taking laxatives.
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canalization Tight genetic control of a particular aspect of development.
care orientation Focus on nurturance and concern for others in moral decision making.
central conceptual structure Integrated network of concepts and cognitive processes that forms the basis for much of one's thinking, reasoning, and learning in a specific content domain.
central executive Component of the human information processing system that oversees the flow of information throughout the system.
cephalocaudal trend Vertical ordering of motor skills and physical development; order is head first to feet last.
child development Study of the persistent, cumulative, and progressive changes in the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development of children and adolescents.
child maltreatment Adverse treatment of a child in the form of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse.
chromosome Rodlike structure that resides in the nucleus of every cell of the body and contains genes that guide growth and development; each chromosome is made up of DNA.
class inclusion Recognition that an object simultaneously belongs to a particular category and to one of its subcategories.
clinical method Procedure in which an adult probes a child's reasoning about a task or problem, tailoring questions in light of what the child has previously said or done in the interview.
clique Moderately stable friendship group of perhaps 3 to 10 members.
codominance Situation in which the two genes of an allele pair, although not identical, both have some influence on a characteristic.
cognition The various mental activities in which a person engages.
cognitive apprenticeship Mentorship in which an expert and a novice work together on a challenging task and the expert suggests ways to think about the task.
cognitive development Systematic changes in reasoning, concepts, memory, and language.
cognitive-developmental theory Theoretical perspective that focuses on major transformations to the underlying structures of thinking.
cognitive process theory Theoretical perspective that focuses on the precise nature of human mental operations.
cognitive strategy Specific mental process that people use to acquire or manipulate information.
cognitive tool Concept, symbol, strategy, or other culturally constructed mechanism that helps people think more effectively.
colic Persistent crying by infants; it is most prevalent in the first 3 months of life.
community The local neighborhood and surrounding vicinity of a child and his or her family.
community of learners A classroom in which teacher(s) and students actively and collaboratively work to help one another learn.
comprehension monitoring Process of checking oneself to make sure one understands what one is studying.
conceptual change Revision of one's knowledge and understanding of a topic in response to new information about the topic.
conduct disorder Chronic emotional condition characterized by lack of concern for the rights of others.
conservation Realization that if nothing is added or taken away, amount stays the same regardless of any alterations in shape or arrangement.
constructivism Theoretical perspective proposing that learners construct a body of knowledge and beliefs, rather than absorbing information at face value.
context The broad social environments, including family, schools and community services, neighborhoods, culture, ethnicity, and society at large, that influence children's development.
contingent self-worth Overall sense of self that is highly dependent on others' opinions.
control group A group of participants in a research study who do not receive the treatment under investigation; often used in an experimental study.
controversial children Children whom some peers really like and other peers strongly dislike.
conventional morality Acceptance of society's conventions regarding right and wrong; behaving to please others or to live up to society's expectations for appropriate behavior.
conventional transgression Action that violates society's general guidelines (often unspoken) for socially acceptable behavior.
cooing Making and repeating vowel sounds (e.g., "oooooo"); common in early infancy.
coparents The two (or more) parents who share responsibility for rearing their children.
co-regulated learning Process through which an adult and child share responsibility for directing various aspects of the child's learning.
correlation Extent to which two variables are related to each other, such that when one variable increases, the other either increases or decreases in a somewhat predictable fashion.
correlational feature Characteristic present in many instances of a concept but not essential for concept membership.
correlational study Research study that explores relationships among variables.
correlation coefficient A statistic that indicates the nature of the relationship between two variables.
cortex Part of the forebrain that houses conscious thinking processes (executive functions).
cross-sectional study Research study in which the performance of individuals at different ages is compared.
crystallized intelligence Knowledge and skills accumulated from one's prior experience, schooling, and culture.
cultural bias Extent to which an assessment instrument offends or unfairly penalizes some individuals because of their ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status.
culture Behaviors and belief systems that characterize a social group and provide a framework for how group members decide what is normal and appropriate.
culture shock Sense of confusion that occurs when one encounters an environment with expectations for behavior very different from those in one's home environment.
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defining feature Characteristic that must be present in all instances of a concept.
delay of gratification Forgoing small immediate rewards for larger ones at a future time.
dendrite Branchlike part of a neuron that receives information from other neurons.
depression Emotional condition characterized by significant sadness, discouragement, hopelessness and, in children, irritability.
developmentally appropriate practice Instruction and other services adapted to the age, characteristics, and developmental progress of individual children.
developmental systems theory Theoretical perspective that focuses on the multiple factors, including systems inside and outside children, that combine to influence children's development.
dialect Form of a language characteristic of a particular geographic region or ethnic group.
differentiation An increase from general to more specific functioning over the course of development.
disequilibrium State of being unable to address new events with existing schemes.
disorganized and disoriented attachment Attachment classification in which children lack a single coherent way of responding to attachment figures.
distributed intelligence Thinking facilitated by physical objects and technology, social support, and concepts and symbols of one's culture.
distributive justice Beliefs about what constitutes people's fair share of a valued commodity.
diversity In a particular aspect of human development, the varied ways different individuals progress.
dizygotic twins Twins that began as two separate zygotes and so are as genetically similar as two siblings conceived and born at different times.
DNA A spiral-staircase shaped molecule that guides the production of proteins needed by the body for growth and development; short for deoxyribonucleic acid.
dominance hierarchy Relative standing of group members in terms of such qualities as leadership and social influence.
dominant gene Gene that overrides any competing instructions in an allele pair.
dynamic assessment Systematic examination of how a child's knowledge or reasoning may change as a result of learning a specific task or performing it with adult guidance.
dyslexia Inability to master basic reading skills in a developmentally typical time frame despite normal reading instruction.
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early childhood intervention program Program designed to foster basic intellectual, social-emotional, and physical development in infants and young children whose heads of family are burdened by economic poverty or other debilitating life circumstances.
egocentrism Inability of a child in Piaget's preoperational stage to view situations from another person's perspective.
elaboration Process of using prior knowledge to embellish on new information and thereby learn it more effectively.
embryo During prenatal Weeks 2 through 8, the developing being that is in the process of forming major body structures and organs.
emergent literacy Knowledge and skills that lay a foundation for reading and writing; typically develops in the preschool years from early experiences with written language.
emotion Affective response to an event that is personally relevant to one's needs and goals.
emotional contagion Tendency for infants to cry spontaneously when they hear other infants crying.
emotional regulation Strategies to manage affective states.
empathy Capacity to experience the same feelings as another person, especially when the feeling is pain or distress.
entity view of ability Belief that ability is a "thing" that is relatively permanent and unchangeable.
epistemological beliefs Beliefs regarding the nature of knowledge and knowledge acquisition.
equilibration Movement from equilibrium to disequilibrium and back to equilibrium; a process that promotes the development of increasingly complex forms of thought and knowledge.
equilibrium State of being able to address new events using existing schemes.
ethnic identity Awareness of being a member of a particular ethnic or cultural group and willingness to adopt certain behaviors characteristic of that group.
ethnicity Membership in a group of people with common ancestors and shared values, beliefs, and behaviors.
ethological attachment theory Theoretical perspective that emphasizes benefits to children, particularly protection from harm and a secure base from which to explore the environment, derived from close bonds with caregivers.
executive functions Purposeful and goal-directed intellectual processes (e.g., reasoning, decision making) made possible by higher brain structures.
expansion Repetition of a child's short utterances in a more complete and grammatically correct form.
experimental study Research study in which a researcher manipulates one aspect of the environment (a treatment), controls other aspects of the environment, and assesses the treatment's effects on participants' behavior.
expressive language Ability to communicate effectively through speaking and writing.
extrinsic motivation Motivation provoked by the external consequences that certain behaviors bring.
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family Two or more people who live together and are related by enduring factors such as birth, marriage, adoption, or long-term mutual commitment.
family structure In a family with children, the family's makeup; specifically, the children in a family home and the adults who live with and care for the children.
fast mapping Inferring a word's general meaning after a single exposure.
fetus During prenatal Week 9 until birth, the developing being that is growing in size and weight and in sensory abilities, brain structures, and organs needed for survival.
figurative speech Speech that communicates meaning beyond a literal interpretation of its words.
fine motor skills Small, precise movements of particular parts of the body, especially the hands.
fluid intelligence Ability to acquire knowledge quickly and thereby adapt effectively to new situations.
Flynn effect Gradual increase in intelligence test performance observed in many countries over the past several decades.
forebrain Part of the brain responsible for complex thinking, emotions, and motivation.
functionalism Theoretical perspective of language development that emphasizes the purposes language serves for human beings.
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g General factor in intelligence that influences performance in a wide variety of tasks and content domains.
gamete Reproductive cell that, in humans, contains 23 chromosomes rather than the 46 chromosomes present in other cells in the body; a male gamete (sperm) and a female gamete (ovum) join at conception.
gang Cohesive social group characterized by initiation rites, distinctive colors and symbols, territorial orientation, feuds with rival groups, and criminal activity.
gender schema Self-constructed body of beliefs about the traits and behaviors of males or females.
gene Basic unit of heredity in a living cell; segments of genes are contained on chromosomes.
giftedness Unusually high ability in one or more areas, to the point where children require special educational services to help them meet their full potential.
glial cell Cell in the brain or other part of the nervous system that provides structural or functional support for one or more neurons.
goal-directed behavior Intentional behavior aimed at bringing about an anticipated outcome.
grammatical word Nonlexical word that affects the meanings of other words or the interrelationships among words in a sentence.
gross motor skills Large movements of the body that permit locomotion through and within an environment.
growth spurt Rapid increase in height and weight during puberty.
guided participation Active engagement in adult activities, typically with considerable direction and structure from an adult or other more advanced individual; children are given increasing responsibility and independence as they gain experience and proficiency.
guilt Feeling of discomfort when one inflicts damage or causes someone else pain or distress.
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habituation Changes in children's physiological responses to repeated displays of the same stimulus, reflecting loss of interest.
hindbrain Part of the brain controlling the basic physiological processes that sustain survival.
holophrase A single word used to express a complete thought; commonly observed in children's earliest speech.
hostile attributional bias Tendency to interpret others' behaviors as reflecting hostile or aggressive intentions.
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identity Self-constructed definition of who one is, what things one finds important, what one believes, and what goals one wants to accomplish in life.
imaginary audience Belief that one is the center of attention in any social situation.
immersion Approach to second-language instruction in which students hear and speak that language almost exclusively in the classroom.
inclusion Practice of educating all students, including those with severe and multiple disabilities, in neighborhood schools and general education classrooms.
incremental view of ability Belief that ability can and does improve with effort and practice.
individual constructivism Theoretical perspective that focuses on how people construct meaning from events on their own.
induction The act of explaining why a certain behavior is unacceptable, usually with a focus on the pain or distress that someone has caused another.
infant-directed speech Short, simple, high-pitched speech often used when talking to young children.
infantile amnesia General inability to recall events that have occurred in the early years of life.
information processing theory Theoretical perspective that focuses on the specific ways in which people mentally think about ("process") the information they receive.
inner speech "Talking" to oneself mentally rather than aloud.
insecure-avoidant attachment Attachment classification in which children appear somewhat indifferent to attachment figures.
insecure-resistant attachment Attachment classification in which children are preoccupied with their attachment figures but gain little comfort from them when distressed.
integration An increasing coordination of body parts over the course of development.
intelligence Ability to apply past knowledge and experiences flexibly to accomplish challenging new tasks.
intelligence test General measure of current cognitive functioning, used primarily to predict academic achievement over the short run.
intentionality Engagement in an action congruent with one's purpose or goal.
interactive technology Array of electronic, digitally based machines that are operated dynamically by a person whose commands determine emerging program sequences.
internalization In Vygotsky's theory, the gradual evolution of external, social activities into internal, mental activities.
internalized motivation Adoption of behaviors that others value, whether or not one's environment reinforces those behaviors.
intersubjectivity Awareness of shared understandings and perceptions that provide the foundation for social interaction.
interview Data collection technique that obtains self-report data through face-to-face conversation.
intrinsic motivation Motivation resulting from personal characteristics or inherent in the task being performed.
invented spelling A child's early, self-constructed word spelling, which may reflect only some of the word's phonemes.
IQ score Score on an intelligence test, determined by comparing one's performance with the performance of same-age peers.
IRE cycle Adult-child interaction pattern marked by adult initiation, child response, and adult evaluation; in Western cultures such a pattern is often seen in instructional settings.
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joint attention Phenomenon in which two people (e.g., a child and caregiver) simultaneously focus on the same object or event, monitor each other's attention, and coordinate their responses.
justice orientation Focus on individual rights in moral decision making.
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knowledge base One's knowledge about specific topics and the world in general.
knowledge telling Writing down ideas in whatever order they come to mind, with little regard for communicating the ideas effectively.
knowledge transforming Writing ideas in such a way as to intentionally help the reader understand them.
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language acquisition device Biologically built-in mechanism hypothesized to facilitate language learning.
learned helplessness General belief that one is incapable of accomplishing tasks and has little or no control of the environment.
learning disability Significant deficit in one or more cognitive processes, to the point where special educational services are required.
learning strategy Specific mental process used in acquiring new information.
left hemisphere Left side of the cortex; largely responsible for sequential reasoning and analysis, especially in right-handed people.
level of potential development Upper limit of tasks that a child can successfully perform with the assistance of a more competent individual.
lexical word Word that in some way represents an aspect of one's physical, social, or psychological world.
longitudinal study Research study in which the performance of a single group of people is tracked over a period of time.
long-term memory Component of memory that holds knowledge and skills for a relatively long period of time.
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mastery goal Desire to acquire additional knowledge or master new skills (also known as a learning goal).
mastery orientation General belief that one is capable of accomplishing challenging tasks, accompanied by an intent to master such tasks.
maturation Genetically guided changes that occur over the course of development.
mediated learning experience Discussion between an adult and a child in which the adult helps the child make sense of an event they have mutually experienced.
meiosis The process of cell reproduction and division by which gametes are formed.
menarche First menstrual period in an adolescent female.
mental retardation Disability marked by significantly below-average general intelligence and deficits in adaptive behavior.
metacognition Knowledge and beliefs about one's own cognitive processes, as well as efforts to regulate those cognitive processes to maximize learning and memory.
metacognitive awareness Extent to which one is able to reflect on the nature of one's own thinking processes.
metalinguistic awareness Extent to which one consciously understands and thinks about the nature of language.
midbrain Part of the brain that coordinates communication between the hindbrain and forebrain.
mitosis The process of cell duplication by which chromosomes are preserved and a human being or other biological organism can grow.
monozygotic twins Twins that began as a single zygote and so share the same genetic makeup.
moral development Advancements in reasoning and behaving in accordance with culturally prescribed or self-constructed standards of right and wrong.
moral dilemma Situation in which there is no clear-cut answer regarding the morally right thing to do.
moral transgression Action that causes damage or harm or in some other way infringes on the needs and rights of others.
motivation State that energizes, directs, and sustains behavior.
multicultural education Education that regularly includes the perspectives and experiences of numerous cultural groups.
music literacy Ability to read and understand musical notation.
myelination The growth of a fatty sheath around neurons that allows them to transmit messages more quickly.
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narrative Verbal account of a temporal sequence of events that are logically interconnected; a story.
native language The first language a child learns.
nativism Theoretical perspective proposing that some knowledge is biologically built-in and present at birth or soon thereafter.
naturalistic study Research study in which individuals are observed in their natural environment.
nature Inherited characteristics and tendencies that affect development.
need for relatedness Fundamental need to feel socially connected to, and loved and respected by, other people.
neglected children Children whom peers rarely select as someone they would most like or least like to do something with.
neo-Piagetian theory Theoretical perspective that combines elements of Piaget's theory with more contemporary research findings and suggests that development in specific content domains is often stagelike in nature.
neuron Cell that transmits information to other cells; also called nerve cell.
niche-picking Tendency to actively seek out environments that match one's inherited abilities.
nurture Environmental conditions that affect development.
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obesity Condition in which a person weighs at least 20 percent more than what is optimal for good health.
object permanence Realization that objects continue to exist even when they are out of sight.
observation Data collection technique whereby a researcher carefully observes and documents the behaviors of participants in a research study.
operation In Piaget's theory, an organized and integrated system of logical thought processes.
organization Process of identifying interrelationships among pieces of information as a way of learning them more effectively.
overgeneralization Too broad a meaning for a word, such that it is used in situations to which it doesn't apply.
overregularization Use of a syntactic rule in situations where an exception to the rule applies.
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parenting style General pattern of behaviors that a parent uses to nurture and guide his or her children.
part-whole principle Idea that any single number can be broken into two or more smaller numbers, and that any two or more numbers can be combined to form a larger number; central to children's understanding of addition and subtraction.
peer culture General set of rules, expectations, and interpretations that influence how members of a particular peer group behave.
peer mediation Approach to conflict resolution in which one child or adolescent (the mediator) asks peers in conflict to express their differing viewpoints and then work together to identify an appropriate compromise.
peer pressure Tactics used to encourage some behaviors and discourage others in age-mates.
perception Interpretation of stimuli that the body has sensed.
performance goal Desire to look good and receive favorable judgments from others.
permissive style Parenting style characterized by emotional warmth but few expectations or standards for children's behavior.
personal fable Belief held by many adolescents that they are unique beings invulnerable to normal risks and dangers.
personal interest Long-term, relatively stable interest in a particular topic or activity.
personality Characteristic way a person behaves, thinks, and feels.
personal space Personally and culturally preferred distance between two people during social interaction.
phonemes Smallest units of a spoken language that signify differences in meaning.
phonological awareness Ability to hear the distinct sounds within words.
phonology The sound system of a language; how words sound and are produced.
physical aggression Action that can potentially cause bodily injury.
physical development Physical and brain growth and age-related changes in motor skills.
physiological measure Direct assessment of physical development or physiological functioning.
playing the dozens Friendly, playful exchange of insults, common in some African American communities; also called joaning or sounding.
polygenic inheritance Situation in which many genes combine in their influence on a particular characteristic.
popular children Children whom many peers like and perceive to be kind and trustworthy.
postconventional morality Behaving in accordance with self-developed abstract principles regarding right and wrong.
pragmatics Conventions and strategies used in effective and socially acceptable verbal interactions.
preconventional morality A lack of internalized standards about right and wrong; making decisions based on what is best for oneself, without regard for others' needs and feelings.
prejudice Display of negative attitudes, feelings, and behaviors toward particular individuals because of their membership in a specific group.
premature infant Infant born early (before 37 weeks of prenatal growth) and sometimes with serious medical problems.
prenatal development Growth that takes place between conception and birth.
primary reinforcer Stimulus or event that satisfies a built-in biological need.
proactive aggression Deliberate aggression against another as a means of obtaining a desired goal.
prosocial behavior Action intended to benefit another person rather than oneself.
proximodistal trend Inside-outside ordering of motor skills and physical development; order is inside first and outside last.
psychodynamic theory Theoretical perspective that focuses on how early experiences and internal conflicts affect social and personality development.
psychosocial stages In Erikson's theory, eight periods of life that involve age-related challenges.
puberty Physiological changes that occur during adolescence and lead to reproductive maturation.
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qualitative change Relatively dramatic developmental change that reflects considerable reorganization or modification of functioning.
quantitative change Developmental change that involves a series of minor, trendlike modifications.
quasi-experimental study Research study in which one or more experimental treatments are administered but in which random assignment to groups is not possible.
questionnaire Data collection technique that obtains self-report data through a paper-pencil inventory.
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reactive aggression Aggressive response to frustration or provocation.
receptive language Ability to understand the language one hears or reads.
recessive gene Gene that influences growth and development primarily when the other gene in the allele pair is identical to it.
reciprocal teaching Approach to teaching reading in which students take turns asking teacherlike questions of their classmates.
recursive thinking Thinking about what other people may be thinking about oneself, possibly through multiple iterations.
reflex Automatic motor response to stimuli.
rehearsal Attempt to learn and remember information by repeating it over and over.
reinforcer Consequence of a response that leads to an increased frequency of that response.
rejected children Children whom many peers identify as being unfavorable social partners.
rejection Form of acculturation in which a person refuses to learn or accept any customs and values from a new cultural environment.
relational aggression Action that can adversely affect interpersonal relationships.
reliability Extent to which a data collection technique yields consistent, dependable results-results that are only minimally affected by temporary and irrelevant influences.
resilience Ability of some youngsters (often enhanced with environmental support) to thrive despite adverse environmental conditions.
right hemisphere Right side of the cortex; largely responsible for simultaneous processing and synthesis, especially in right-handed people.
rough-and-tumble play Playful physical "fighting" typical in early and middle childhood.
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sample The specific participants in a research study; their performance is often assumed to indicate how a larger population of individuals would perform.
scaffolding Support mechanism, provided by a more competent individual, that helps a child successfully perform a task within his or her zone of proximal development.
schema Tightly integrated set of ideas about a specific object or situation.
scheme In Piaget's theory, an organized group of similar actions or thoughts that are used repeatedly in response to the environment.
schizophrenia A psychiatric condition characterized by irrational ideas and disorganized thinking.
scientific method Multistep process of answering a carefully defined research question by using critical thinking and analysis of the evidence.
scientific reasoning Cognitive processes central to conducting scientific research and interpreting findings appropriately.
script Schema that involves a predictable sequence of events related to a common activity.
secondary reinforcer Stimulus or event that becomes reinforcing over time through its association with one or more other reinforcers.
secure attachment Attachment classification in which children use attachment figures as a source of comfort in times of distress and as a secure base from which to explore.
selective adoption Form of acculturation in which a person assumes some customs of a new culture while also retaining some customs of a previous culture.
self-conscious emotion Affective state that reflects awareness of a community's social standards (e.g., pride, guilt, shame).
self-efficacy Belief that one is capable of executing certain behaviors or reaching certain goals.
self-evaluation Judging one's own performance in accordance with predetermined criteria.
self-fulfilling prophecy Phenomenon in which an adult's expectations for a child's performance bring about that level of performance.
self-handicapping Action that undermines one's own success as a way of protecting self-worth during difficult tasks.
self-instructions Specific directions that one gives oneself while performing a complex behavior; a form of self-talk.
self-monitoring Process of observing and recording one's own behavior.
self-motivation Intentionally using certain strategies to keep oneself on task during a dull but important activity.
self-regulated learning Directing and controlling one's own cognitive processes in order to learn successfully.
self-regulation Directing and controlling one's own actions.
self-reinforcement Self-imposed pleasurable consequence for a desired behavior.
self-report Data collection technique whereby participants are asked to describe their own characteristics and performance.
self-socialization Tendency to integrate personal observations and others' input into self-constructed standards for behavior and to choose actions consistent with those standards.
self-talk Talking to oneself as a way of guiding oneself through a task.
semantic bootstrapping Using knowledge of word meanings to derive knowledge about syntactic categories and structures.
semantics The meanings of words and word combinations.
sensation Physiological detection of stimuli in the environment.
sense of community In a classroom or school, a collection of widely shared beliefs that students, teachers, and other staff have common goals, support one another's efforts, and make important contributions to everyone's success.
sense of self Knowledge, beliefs, judgments, and feelings about oneself as a person.
sense of self-determination Belief that one has some choice and control regarding the future course of one's life.
sensitive period A period in development when certain environmental experiences have a more pronounced influence than is true at other times.
sensory register Component of memory that holds incoming information in an unanalyzed form for a very brief time (2-3 seconds or less).
service learning Activity that promotes learning and skill development through volunteerism or community service.
sexual harassment Form of discrimination in which a target individual perceives another's actions or statements to be hostile, humiliating, or offensive, especially pertaining to physical appearance or sexual matters.
sexual orientation Particular sex(es) to which an individual is romantically and sexually attracted.
shame Feeling of embarrassment or humiliation after failing to meet certain standards for moral behavior.
sight vocabulary Words that a child can immediately recognize while reading.
situational interest Interest evoked temporarily by something in the environment.
social cognition Process of thinking about how other people are likely to think, act, and react and choosing one's own interpersonal behaviors accordingly.
social-cognitive bias Mental shortcut in thinking about other people or social events.
social constructivism Theoretical perspective that focuses on people's collective efforts to impose meaning on the world.
social-emotional development Systematic changes in emotions, self-concept, motivation, social relationships, and moral reasoning and behavior.
social goal Goal related to establishing or maintaining relationships with other people.
social information processing Series of cognitive steps used in understanding and responding to social events.
socialization Systematic efforts by other people and by institutions to prepare youngsters to act in ways deemed by society to be appropriate and responsible.
social perspective taking Imagining what someone else might be thinking or feeling.
social referencing Looking at someone else (e.g., a caregiver) for clues about how to respond to a particular object or event.
social skills Strategies used to interact effectively with others.
society A very large group of people who live in a particular region and share certain customs.
sociocognitive conflict Situation in which one encounters and has to wrestle with ideas and viewpoints different from one's own.
sociocultural theory Theoretical perspective that focuses on children's learning of tools and communication systems through practice in meaningful tasks with other people.
sociodramatic play Play in which children take on roles and act out a scenario of events.
socioeconomic status (SES) One's general standing in an economically stratified society, encompossing family income, type of job, and education level.
sociolinguistic behaviors Social and culturally specific conventions that govern appropriate verbal interaction.
specific ability test Test designed to assess a specific cognitive skill or the potential to learn and perform in a specific content domain.
speech and communication disorders Disability characterized by abnormalities in producing or understanding spoken language, to the point where special educational services are required.
spermarche First ejaculation in an adolescent male.
stage A period of development characterized by a qualitatively distinct way of behaving or thinking.
stage theory Theory that describes development as involving a series of qualitatively distinct changes.
Standard English Form of English generally considered acceptable in school (as reflected in textbooks, grammar instruction, etc.) and in the media.
standards In education, general statements regarding the knowledge and skills that students should gain and the characteristics that their accomplishments should reflect.
state of arousal Physiological condition of sleepiness or wakefulness.
stereotype Rigid, simplistic, and erroneous characterization of a particular group.
stereotype threat Reduction in performance (often unintentional) as a result of a belief that one's group typically performs poorly.
story schema Knowledge of the typical elements and sequence of a narrative.
stranger anxiety Fear of unfamiliar adults in the latter half of the first year and into the second year of life.
student at risk Student who has a high probability of failing to acquire the minimal academic skills necessary for success in the adult world.
subculture Group that resists the ways of the dominant culture and adopts its own norms for behavior.
substance schema General view of all physical phenomena as being either touchable substances or properties of those substances.
sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) Death of an infant in the first year of life, typically during sleep, that cannot be explained by a thorough medical examination; it peaks between birth and 4 months.
symbol Mental entity that represents an external object or event, often without reflecting its perceptual and behavioral qualities.
symbolic thought Ability to represent and think about external objects and events in one's mind.
sympathy Feeling of sorrow and concern about another's problems or distress.
synapse Junction between two neurons.
synaptic pruning A universal process in brain development whereby many previously formed synapses wither away, especially if they have not been used frequently.
synaptogenesis A universal process in brain development whereby many new synapses appear, typically in the first 3½ years of life.
syntax Rules used to put words together into sentences.
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telegraphic speech Short, grammatically incomplete sentences that include lexical (rather than grammatical) words almost exclusively; common in toddlers.
temperament A child's characteristic ways of responding to emotional events, novel stimuli, and personal impulses.
teratogen Potentially harmful substance that can cause damaging effects during prenatal development.
test Instrument designed to assess knowledge, understandings, abilities, or skills in a consistent fashion across individuals.
theory Organized system of principles and explanations regarding a particular phenomenon.
theory of mind Awareness that people have an inner, psychological life (thoughts, beliefs, feelings, etc.).
theory theory Theoretical perspective proposing that children construct increasingly integrated and complex understandings of physical and mental phenomena.
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undergeneralization Overly restricted meaning for a word, excluding some situations to which the word applies.
uninvolved style Parenting style characterized by a lack of emotional support and a lack of standards regarding appropriate behavior.
universality In a particular aspect of human development, the commonalities seen in the way virtually all individuals progress.
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validity Extent to which a data collection technique actually assesses what the researcher intends for it to assess.
value Belief that a particular activity has direct or indirect benefits.
vicarious punishment Phenomenon in which a child decreases a certain response after seeing someone else punished for that response.
vicarious reinforcement Phenomenon in which a child increases a certain response after seeing someone else reinforced for that response.
visual-spatial ability Ability to imagine and mentally manipulate two- and three-dimensional figures.
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wait time The length of time a teacher pauses, after either asking a question or hearing a student's comment, before saying something.
working memory Component of memory that enables people to actively think about and process a small amount of information.
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zone of proximal development (ZPD) Range of tasks that one cannot yet perform independently but can perform with the help and guidance of others.
zygote Cell formed when a male sperm joins with a female ovum; with healthy genes and nurturing conditions in the uterus, it may develop into a fetus and be born as a live infant.
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