Lifespan Development: Concepts, Stages, and Features






Associated Concepts/Features/Problems

Developmental psychology Cognition Reasoning, thought    
Psychosocial Personality, behavior in social environments    
Critical periods Prenatal    
Developmental milestones    
Sensitive/optimal periods Gains at other times    
Physical development Cephalocaudal “head to tail”; neurological, skeletal, muscular development    
Proximodistal “near to far”    
Differentiation Skills grow over extended periods    
Environmental factors Socioeconomic status (SES)      
Untreated illnesses      
Emotional disturbance      
Prenatal development First trimester (3-4 inches) Germinal period (1st week) Teratogens Central nervous system depressants

Central nervous system stimulants

Sexually transmitted diseases

Other infectious diseases

Environmental toxins/pollutants

Embryonic period (7 weeks)    
Fetal period (8-12 week)    
Second trimester (12-14 inches) Brain cells    
Third trimester (20-22 inches) (the last 3 months) The “finishing period”    
After birth Fontanels and sutures Spaces (18-20) months, seams (until adolescence)  
Appearance of face and eyes Facial communication  
Eye and ear functioning    
Brain growth Most dramatic in the first year; more time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (reflexes: stepping, tonic) Myelination
Motor milestones in the first 2 years Rolls over (6 weeks-5 months)

Grasps (2-5 months)

Sits (4.5-8.5 months)

Stands (4.5-10.5 months)

Standing alone (9.5-14.5 months)

Walks (10.5-15 months)

Stacks 2 cubes (11.5-21.5 months)

Climbs/walking up stairs (13.5-23.5 months)

Cognitive development Maturation      
Piaget’s schema processes Assimilate    
Piaget’s theory Sensorimotor stage (0-2 years) 0-2 weeks Reflex
2 weeks-4 months Primary circular reactions/habits
4-8 months Secondary circular reactions/coordinated schemes
8-12 months Schemes coordinated for achievement of ends
11-18 months Inventing new means
1.5 – 2 years Manipulation of mental representation and insight
Preoperational stage (2-7 years) Problems Egocentrism
Classification difficulties
Seriation difficulties
Lack of causal reasoning
Transductive reasoning
Concrete operations (7-12 years) Hard to deal with abstract concepts;

inability for hypothetical problem solving

Formal operations (> 12 years) Capable of abstract thinking Regressions: superficial egocentrism, the “imaginary audience”; the “personal fable”
Language development Receptive language milestones 14 days: can differentiate human voices

8 weeks: can differentiate familiar voices

4 months: can recognize own names

6 months: can respond to rhythms

1 year: can follow simple commands

Productive language milestones 8 weeks: cooing

6-10 months: babbling

10-18 months: the first words

20-24 months: simple sentences

Vocabulary sizes 18 months: 50 words

24 months: 300 words

3 years: 900 words

4 years: complex sentences

5 years: 2000 words

6 years: 8000-14000 words

Piaget: problems Overextensions; overregularization    
Moral reasoning development Piaget’s two-stage theory Heteronymous morality    
Autonomous morality    
Kohlberg’s stage theory Level 1: preconventional morality Stage 1: obedience and punishment  
Stage 2: instrumental morality  
Level 2: conventional morality Stage 3: good boy/girl morality  
Stage 4: law and order  
Level 3: postconventional morality Stage 5: social contract  
Stage 6: principles of conscience  
Bandura’s social-cognitive learning theory By watching and imitating    
Psychosocial development Attachment theory (Gesell and Lorenz) Imprinting    
Freudian Oral stage    
Evolutionary (Bowlby) Survival    
Harlow Parenting is more than feeding;

contact comfort

Ainsworth Strange situation    
Kagan Inborn temperament    
Erikson’s 8 stages Conflict: Basic trust vs. mistrust 0-1 year Resolution: caregivers establish trust
Autonomy vs. shame, doubt 1-3 years A sense of independence
Initiative vs. guilt 3-6 years A sense of purpose
Industry vs. inferiority 6-12 years A sense of competence
Identity vs. role confusion 12-mid-20s A sense of identity, making plans
Intimacy vs. isolation Mid-20s – mid-40s Close relationships
Generativity vs. stagnation Mid-40s – mid-60s Contributions
Ego integrity vs. despair >mid-60s Meaningful
Aging Rowe and Kahn Healthy aging    


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