Learning Objectives

Describe genes and the role they play in behavior.

  • Discuss the areas included in the study of developmental psychology and genetics.
  • Explain what genes are and how they work.
  • Summarize how genes are passed from parent to offspring.

Identify the three stages of prenatal development and describe the complexities of fertility.

  • Summarize the three stages of prenatal development.
  • Identify the stage of prenatal development in which sexual differentiation occurs, and explain what it determines.
  • Define fertility and elaborate on how it changes over the life span.

Describe the abilities that a newborn infant can demonstrate and the adaptive significance of their preferences.

  • Outline how newborn infants can “communicate” what they know to researchers.
  • Define reflexes and explain how they are adaptive for the newborn.
  • Identify the kinds of sights and sounds that most attract the newborn.

Describe biological, cognitive, and social development during childhood.

  • Outline how the brain and body develop in the first few years of life.
  • Describe the developmental changes that take place in the way children think, reason, and speak.
  • Distinguish among the four stages of development that Jean Piaget identified.

Explain the importance and challenges of making the transition to adolescence.

  • Explain why the timing of puberty is important in the transition to adolescence.
  • Define moral reasoning, and outline how the levels of moral thought differ according to Kohlberg.
  • Analyze why adolescence has been described as a period of “storm and stress” and summarize the evidence that supports this description.
  • Discuss why adolescents tend to engage in risky behaviors, compared to adults.

Describe the physical and cognitive changes that are evident in adulthood and old age.

  • Distinguish between the human life span and life expectancy.
  • Summarize the physical changes that mark adult development.
  • Discuss how capabilities related to memory and intelligence change with age.