[Prompt] Unit 6 FRQ Practice: Developmental Psychology

These questions are modeled after Free Response Questions (FRQs) of the AP Psychology Exam. Below would most likely represent one of two questions that could appear on the FRQ. The instructions on the most recent FRQs have included the following: It is not enough to answer a question by merely listing facts. You should present a cogent argument based on your critical analysis of the questions posed, using appropriate psychological terminology.

Use the items below to assess your mastery of knowledge of the topics below, but also how you might apply your knowledge to present your “cogent argument.”

Explain how each of the following concepts would most likely affect the thinking, behaviors, or decisions of each of the following:

A. Ten year old

  • Conventional Moral Reasoning
  • Industry vs. Inferiority

B. One year old

  • Sensorimotor Development
  • Secure Attachment

C. 50 year old

  • Generativity vs. Stagnation
  • Formal Operations

a) Conventional Moral Reasoning would affect the thinking of a ten-year-old in a way that he or she would move past personal gain and develop a “hero thinking” as this kid would start to gain personal rewards as doing the “right thing”. The kid’s behavior and decisions would contemplate this ideal person that puts himself or herself after in order to get gain praised for being the hero as explained earlier.
Industry vs. Inferiority this kid will most likely think he has to be excellent and the top of the other performance as this is the ideal type of kid. if the kid excels he or she will think highly of themselves and be proud as creating self-esteem. The behavior and decisions will be made as gaining rewards to fulfill this thinking. The competition will be a top priority and winning is something that they will always look for. If they don’t it is most likely that they will develop anxiety and feel bad about their performance.

b) A one-year-old that develops cognitive thinking as sensory-motor development will not understand the meaning of object permanence and act out when they are not fulfilled with something they want. Their behavior is completely lead by their senses and what “feel good” as grasping and sucking.
As for secure attachment, they will think as their caregiver of choice gives them security and if this does not happen they will create anxious attachments. Their behavior if they feel this security they will not cry and securely experimenting with an environment confidently.

c) A 50-year-old in the issue of Generativity vs. Stagnation will ensure they are making the most out of their life, as working a propper job and providing enough income, fulfilling the need to have a stable family and doing what they really want to achieve “before it is too late”. They will work hard to get to their goal and control their environment to their needs.
For formal operational, they would use abstract learning for reasoning. Ad for their behavior, they will manipulate ideas and resolve them even if it is something physically there. they would trace a process and confirm if it is accurate.


  1. The conventional moral reasoning stage is when the child reasons based on conformity and social order. For example, if this ten-year-old child is asked to steal candy from the candy store, they would say no because “if everyone did that then…”. However, if the rest of the children are stealing from the candy store, the child is more likely to steal to be able to blend in with the group.
  2. Industry vs. Inferiority is the 4th stage in Erikson’s moral development. In this stage, children are starting to do risky and out of the box, things such as make-believe play. If the child gets shut down while doing this, they could easily generate a feeling of guilt and of them not being good enough. This could lead to trouble forming relationships in the future and not wanting to try new experiences. However if they are encouraged, they will be more open to experiencing new things and have confidence in their own abilities which will help their well-being in the future.


  1. Sensorimotor development is a state in Piaget’s moral development where the child’s view of the world is based on their senses. The child cannot use language and are suffering from object permanence (the ability to recognize objects exist even when not in our sight). For example, if the mother of this child walks behind a wall to grab a drink for the one-year-old, the child will think that she left him. In this stage, the behavior that you would see is based on what feels good based off of their senses, like sucking and skin to skin contact with the mother.
  2. Secure attachment is an idea that was originally thought of by Marly Anslow and it is the act of a child having trust and feeling safe with the mother. Building a secure attachment, which can happen in a way such as going straight to comfort the one-year-old when crying, will result in an easier relationship and trust-building in the future. However, if a secure attachment between the mother and the child did not end up being build (neglect), this could lead to deconstructing behavior such as trust issues in the future.


  1. Generativity vs. Stagnation is the 7th Erickson stage of moral development. In this stage, adults come to a point in life where they want to give things away to others such in ways as volunteering and family. This mindset could lead to constructive behaviors that could help the individual feel productive and needed. However, if the individual is in the state of “stagnation” they feel as if they are unproductive and therefore develop feelings of worthlessness. This could lead to depression and other negative behaviors.
  2. Formal operations is the last Piaget stage in his moral development theory. In this stage, individuals are able to reason and think abstractly as well as understand the moral and ethical consequences of actions. Therefore, by being in this stage, the 50-year-old will be able to make decisions that they believe are beneficial to themselves as well as to the greater good. If this individual comes across a problem or a dilemma, they will able to think themselves out of it and understand and suffer the consequences of each action, if they believe what they have done is right.
  1. Conventional Moral Reasoning is when someone acts based on the norms of society and does what is expected of them. A ten year old will most likely not steal candy at the store because they know that they will be punished if they do and that it would break the law. Industry vs. inferiority is the stage at which a child develops the ability to perform more difficult tasks, and master many different kinds of skills to develop a feeling of competence. A ten year old may develop several interests and learn different types of abilities at this stage, such as wanting to quickly solve a Rubix cube or learn how to ice skate.
  2. Sensorimotor Development is when sensory and motor processes expand and become more effective as they interact with their surroundings and gain coordination. A one year old may be interested in different sounds, such as animal sounds, or with the way a blanket feels. Secure attachment is when a child is alright with their parent leaving them and only shows mild distress, and is happy to see them once they have returned. A one year old may appear calm when being taken care of by their aunt, and when they are returned to their mother they will appear happier.
  3. Generativity vs. stagnation is a stage in life where an individual feels the need to contribute to society and be productive by working or being employed. A fifty year old may want to work on a project that will make the world a better place so that they know that they are contributing positively to society, such as working on creating more reliable and safe medical devices. Formal operation is when an individual learns to think in abstract and complex ways and can think hypothetically. A fifty year old may reach this stage in their life where they have started contemplating complex subjects such as philosophy and religion.
Fiveable Logo

2550 north lake drive
suite 2
milwaukee, wi 53211

✉️ help@fiveable.me


about for students for parents for teachers for schools & districts content team privacy contact


🥇 2020 Fiveable Olympics study plans upcoming events trivia hypertyper resources cram passes


community tiktok discord twitter instagram facebook careers

*ap® and advanced placement® are registered trademarks of the college board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

© fiveable 2020 | all rights reserved.