Lifespan Developmental Psychology

Course Description

It has been said, “The only thing constant in life is change.”  Human Development is a lifelong process of physical, behavioral, cognitive and emotional growth and change. The study of Lifespan Development Psychology leads to understanding the forces that shape human growth and maturation.

This DSST exam was developed to enable schools to award credit to students for knowledge equivalent to that learned by students taking the course. This exam covers topics such as biological development, perception, learning and memory, cognition and language.

Exam Outline

The following is an outline of the content areas covered in the examination. The approximate percentage of the examination devoted to each content area is also noted.

I. The Study of Lifespan Development – 12%

  1. Models and Theories
  2. Research Methods
  3. Ethical Issues

II. Biological Development – 18%

  1. Genetic Factors (including counseling)
  2. Prenatal Development and Birth
  3. Physical Development (nutrition, health)
  4. Motor Development
  5. Sexual Development
  6. Neurological Development
  7. Sensory Development
  8. Aging Process
  9. Dying and Death

III. Perception, Learning, and Memory – 15%

  1. Perceptual Development
  2. Learning, conditioning, and modeling
  3. Memory (over the entire life span)
  4. Executive Functioning
  5. Attention and information processing

IV. Cognition and Language – 20%

  1. Cognitive-development Theory
  2. Problem solving
  3. Intelligence and intelligence testing, including criticism
  4. Language development and theories
  5. Social Cognition

V. Social, Emotional, and Personality Development – 35%

  1. Personality and Emotional development
  2. Social behaviors and development
  3. Singlehood, cohabitation, marriage and family
  4. Extra familial Settings (e.g., day-care, school, nursing home, hospice, college)
  5. Occupational development and retirement
  6. Adjustment to life changes and stresses
  7. Bereavement and loss

Sample Questions

All test questions are in a multiple-choice format, with one correct answer and three incorrect options. The following are samples of the types of questions that may appear on the exam.

1. According to Erik Erikson, the first stage of psychosocial development deals primarily with the development of:

  1. autonomy
  2. industry
  3. initiative
  4. trust

2. Which of the following neonatal reflexes is most closely related to feeding?

  1. Babinski
  2. Moro
  3. Palmer
  4. Rooting

3. Which of the following has NOT proposed a stage theory of development?

  1. B.F. Skinner
  2. Jean Piaget
  3. Lawrence Kohlberg
  4. Sigmund Freud

4. A distinct advantage of a longitudinal research design is that it:

  1. Is economical for investigating behavioral consistencies across situations
  2. Enables the researcher to study the behavior of individuals over time
  3. Automatically controls for the selective dropout of experimental subjects
  4. Allows the researcher to gather data on a given cohort at one point in time

5. Which of the following theorists proposed that early language development is primarily the result of innate factors?

  1. B.F. Skinner
  2. Albert Bandura
  3. Jean Piaget
  4. Noam Chomsky

6. Research suggests that sex differences in behavior occur most consistently in which of the following areas?

  1. Verbal comprehension
  2. Aggression
  3. Emotionality
  4. Independence

7. All of the following statements regarding intellectual decline in elderly persons are true EXCEPT:

  1. It occurs most often in mental activities involving quick reactions.
  2. It can occur in the absence of a detectable disease.
  3. It occurs primarily among individuals of above average intelligence.
  4. The greatest decline tends to occur in the years just preceding death.

8. According to David Elkind, egocentrism during adolescence is most likely to be manifested in which of the following ways?

  1. Creation of an imaginary audience
  2. Unwillingness to share with one’s peers
  3. Cheating in highly competitive situations
  4. Attention-getting behavior

9. Jennifer is known to be a Level 1 in Kohlberg’s stages of moral reasoning. She is most likely to believe that it is wrong to steal because the person who steals:

  1. gets punished
  2. disobeys the law
  3. lacks respect for others’ rights
  4. is seen as unpopular by most people

10. Which of the following is a correct generalization regarding the adolescent growth spurt?

  1. It starts between the ages of 15 and 18 years
  2. It is unaffected by nutritional factors
  3. It is prolonged among first-born children
  4. It occurs earlier in girls than in boys

11. Anne and Richard are married and have three children. Their older son lives in a distant locale, their second son is in college, and their daughter attends a local public high school. According to Evelyn Duvall, which of the following terms best characterizes Anne’s and Richard’s period of parenthood?

  1. Launching
  2. Authoritative
  3. Nurturing
  4. Empty nest

12. Which of the following best describes the impact of aging on long-term memory?

  1. It decreases for long-ago events
  2. It decreases for recent events
  3. It increases for long-ago events
  4. It increases for recent events

Answers to sample questions:
1-D;   2-D;   3-A;   4-B;   5-D;   6- B;   7-C;   8-A;   9-A;   10-D;   11-A;   12-B

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Quick Facts

Here’s what you need to know about this exam:

  • 100 questions
  • Time Limit: 2 hours
  • Course Equivalent: Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • Recommended Credit: 3 Semester Hours