Longitudinal study: a type of developmental study in which the same group of participants is followed and measured at different ages, over a period of years.
Cross-sectional study: a less expensive and less time-consuming method in which researchers compare groups of participants of different ages to determine age-related differences in some characteristics.
In one study, babies who were exposed to many hours of classical music prior to birth were found to be more advanced in cognitive development at 6 months of age than infants who were not exposed to the music.
Stable individual differences are evident during prenatal development.
Some sex differences appear early in prenatal development as well.
Negative Influences on Prenatal Development (continued)
Teratogens: viruses and other harmful agents, including drugs, x-rays, and environmental toxins, that can have a negative impact on prenatal development.
Critical periods: A period that is so important to development that a harmful environmental influence at that time can keep a bodily structure from developing normally or can impair later intellectual or social development.
Resistant attachment: infants may cling to mother before she leaves and show anger when mother returns; may push mother away, do not explore environment when mother is present; difficult to comfort when upset.
Avoidant attachment: infants may show distress when mother leaves and alternate between happiness, indifference, and anger when mother returns; often look away from mother or look at her with expressionless face.
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development (continued)
The Concrete Operations Stage
Concrete operations stage: Piaget’s third stage of cognitive development (ages 6 to 11 or 12 years), during which children gradually construct schemes that allow them to decenter their thinking – that is ,to attend to two or more dimensions of a stimulus at the same time.
Zone of proximal development: a range of cognitive tasks that the child cannot yet perform alone but can learn to perform with the instruction, help, and guidance of a parent, teacher, or more advanced peer.
Scaffolding: help in which a teacher or parent adjusts the quality and degree of instruction and guidance to fit the child’s present level of ability or performance.
The information – processing approach sees the human mind as a system that functions like a computer.
Psychologists who use this approach view cognitive development as a gradual process through which specific information – processing skills are acquired, rather than a series of cognitive “leaps,” as Piaget’s stage theory suggests.
Noam Chomsky maintains that the brain contains a language acquisition device (LAD), which enables children to sort the stream of speech they hear in the environment in ways that allow them to discover grammar rules.
He also suggests that the LAD determines the sequence of language development.
Most often excluded from the peer group are neglected children, who are shy and withdrawn, and rejected children, who typically exhibit aggressive and inappropriate behavior and who are likely to start fights.
Children abused at home tend to be unpopular with their classmates, who typically view them as aggressive and uncooperative.