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Course Description

Chalk line drawing of a human head with gear icons representing the brain

This course is an introduction to and an analysis of the major theories of developmental psychology. Emphasis will be placed on the processes of development in the child including physical growth, perception, cognition, personality and interactions with the social environment. The application of developmental psychology to educational and social issues will be discussed.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Identify the social contexts and historical origins of developmental psychology (e.g., how images of childhood and the importance of child study changed over time, and to what social and historical changes are these related).
  2. Identify key findings regarding cognitive development (i.e., sensation, perception, learning, memory, individual differences in intellectual performance, and language).
  3. Identify key findings regarding social and personality development (i.e., emotional development; temperament; attachment; sense of self, self-concept, self-esteem, and identity; gender concept, gender-role stereotypes, and sex-typed behaviours; adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviours; moral development; and altruism).
  4. Identify key findings regarding the ecology of development (i.e., types of families, patterns of child rearing that foster adaptive outcomes, the impact of siblings and family transitions on child and adolescent development, and the effects that television viewing, computer use, school, and peers may have on development).
  5. Discuss current theory and research in the field of child and adolescent development.
  6. Differentiate between key methods of investigating developmental change, research designs for studying development, and developmental psychology viewpoints/theories.
  7. Distinguish between the various ways in which genes can be expressed; compare key theories of heredity and environment interactions; identify the three stages of prenatal development and major events that happen during each stage; note prenatal and perinatal factors that influence a newborn's health and readiness for life outside the womb; identify the stages of labour and major events that happen during each stage; and identify patterns in brain, skeletal, muscular, and motor development.
  8. Reflect on the course materials and communicate effectively in writing (i.e., articulate five parenting tips).
  9. Work effectively as part of a group to achieve academic goals (i.e., create a group contract and develop an academic-style poster about a new toy/game).

Course Topics

  • Origins of Developmental Psychology
  • Entering a Child's World
  • Beginnings 
  • Infancy & Toddlerhood
  • Early Childhood
  • Middle childhood
  • Adolescence

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): 1 of PSYC*1000, PSYC*1100, PSYC*1200

Restriction(s): FRHD*2270. This is a Priority Access Course. Some restrictions may apply during some time periods.


Assessment Item Weight
Discussion Posts 15%
Group Project 20%
Personal Reflections (5) 5%
Quizzes (5) 20%
On Campus Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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