Experiencing the Lifespan Belsky
Physical and Cognitive Development
The first phase of childhood, lasting from age 3 through kindergarten, or about age 5.
The second phase of childhood, covering the elementary school years, from about age 6 to 11.
The area at the uppermost front of the brain, responsible for reasoning and planning our actions.
Physical abilities that involve large muscle movements, such as running and jumping.
Gross motor skills
Physical abilities that involve small, coordinated movements, such as drawing and writing one's name.
Fine motor skills
The ratio of weight to height; the main indicator of overweight or underweight.
Body mass index (BMI)
A body mass index at or above the 95th percentile compared to the U.S. norms established for children in the 1970s.
In Piaget's theory, the type of cognition characteristic of children aged 2 to 7, marked by an inability to step back from one's immediate perceptions and think conceptually.
In Piaget's framework, the type of cognition characteristic of children aged 8 to 11, marked by the ability to reason about the world in a more logical, adult way.
Concrete operational thinking
Piagetian tasks that involve changing the shape of a substance to see whether children can go beyond the way that substance visually appears to understand that the amount is still the same.
In Piaget's conservation tasks the concrete operational child's knowledge that a specific change in the way a given substance looks can be reversed.
In Piaget's conservation tasks, the preoperational child's tendency to fix on the most visually striking feature of a substance and not take other dimensions into account.
In Piaget's conservation tasks, the concrete operational child's ability to look at several dimensions of an object or substance.
The understanding that a general category can encompass several subordinate elements.
The ability to put objects in order according to some principle, such as size.
In Piaget's theory, the preoperational child's inability to grasp that a person's core "self" stays the same despite changes in external appearance.
In Piaget's theory, the preoperational child's belief that inanimate objects are alive.
In Piaget's theory, the preoperational child's belief that human beings make everything in nature.
In Piaget's theory, the preoperational child's inability to understand that other people have different points of view from their own.
In Vygotsky's theory, the gap between a child's ability to solve a problem totally on his own and his potential knowledge if taught by a more accomplished person.
Zone of proximal development
The process of teaching new skills by entering a child's zone of proximal development and tailoring one's efforts to that person's competence level.
A perspective on cognition in which the process of thinking is divided into steps, components, or stages much like those a computer operates.
In information-processing theory, the limited-capacity gateway system, containing all the material that we can keep in awareness at a single time. The material in this system is either processed for more permanent storage or lost.
Any frontal-lobe ability that allows us to inhibit our responses and to plan and direct our thinking.
A learning strategy in which people repeat information to embed it in memory.
A learning strategy in which people manage their awareness so as to attend only to what is relevant and to filter out unneeded information.
The most common childhood learning disorder in the U.S., disproportionately affecting boys, characterized by excessive restlessness and distractibility at home and at school.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
In Vygotsky's theory, the way by which human beings learn to regulate their behavior and master cognitive challenges, through silently repeating information or talking to themselves.
The sound units that convey meaning in a given language - for example, in English, the c sound of cat and the b sound of bat.
The smallest unit of meaning in a particular language - for example, boys contains two: boy and the plural suffix s.
The average number of morphemes per sentence.
Mean length of utterance (MLU)
The ystem of grammatical rules in a particular language.
The meaning system of a language - that is, what the words stand for.
An error in early language development, in which young children apply the rules for plurals and past tenses even to exceptions, so irregular forms sound like regular forms.
An error in early language development in which young children apply verbal labels too broadly - for example, all four legged animals may be called dog.
An error in early language development in which young children apply verbal labels too narrowly - for example, only my dog is a dog. Other people's must be called something else.
Recollections of events and experiences that make up one's life history.
Children's first cognitive understanding, which appears at about age 4, that other people have different beliefs and perspectives from their own.