[Home]   PSY 101    [Psychology Images] Development I: Prenatal & Childhood Development

Some Questions/Themes Raised by Developmental Psychology

1. Heredity (Nature) vs. Experience (Nurture)
2. Universal vs. Local: How important is culture?
3. Stages vs. Non-stages: Continuity vs. discontinuity
4. How to research changes: Cross-sectional vs. Longitudinal

A Short Personal Quiz on Development

 Prenatal Development



1. Germinal: Conception to 2 weeks

  • Zygote
  • Placenta


 2. Embryonic State: 2 to 8 weeks

  • Vital organs & bodily systems
  • Vulnerability highest for miscarriage & birth defects


 3. Fetal State: 8 weeks to 38 weeks

  • Brain cells most rapidly develop in last 3 months
  • Viability (survival if born) between 22 & 26 weeks

[FAS Child]Environmental Risk Factors to Fetal Development

1. Maternal Malnutrition
Maternal Drug Usage
Maternal Alcohol Consumption

4. Infectious Agents

 Childhood: Birth to Puberty

    Motor Development










Pattern = cephalocaudal (head-to-foot) & proximodistal (center-outwards)

Maturation = development which comes from the unfolding of genetic blueprint

Cultural Variations

Temperament: Easy & Difficult Babies
[This is not in text, but important]

Temperament = characteristic mood, activity level, & emotional reactivity

Thomas & Chess: Longitudinal Study (1956 & 1961)

Early Emotional Development: Attachment

Attachment = close, emotional bond of affection between child & caregivers

[Mary Ainsworth]Separation Anxiety = emotional distress shown by infant when separated from those to whom they are attached

Patterns: Research by Mary Ainsworth (1913-1999, see photo) and others

1. Secure Attachment: playful, exploring, sociable (67% in US White middle-class)

2. Anxious-Ambivalent: visual checking, clinging, moving toward contact (21%)

3. Avoidant: maintains proximity but avoids close contact (12%)

Cultural Differences in Attachment

[Our text deals with language development on pp. 300-302. However, you are not responsible for that material.]

 Personality Development: Erikson's Theory

Stage = developmental period in which characteristic patterns of behavior are exhibited and certain capacities become established

Stage theories in developmental psychology hold that

1. Individuals pass through stages in a certain (invariant) order

2. Stages are age-related

3. Each stage represents a qualitative change or transition (discontinuous from past stages)

Three important stage theories in development are


[Joan & Erik Erikson]   Erik Erikson (1902-1994)

     See page 303, Figure 10.6 for a description of Erikson's 8 stages
      Here is a diagram of the major stage theories including Erikson's



     Evaluation of Erikson's theory




Originally posted 10/6/03. Last changed on 10/22/06