Developmental Psychology

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
15 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA 63C2 Psychological Studies,
BA C801 Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA C802 Psychology,
BA C807 Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BA C810 Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BSC C800 Psychology,
BSC C803 Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C811 Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BSC C812 Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C806 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C808 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience,
BSC C809 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Placement Year),
BSC C813 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C814 Psychology with Economics,
BSC C815 Psychology with Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C816 Psychology with Economics (Including Placement Year)

Module description

To provide students with an overview of research on some of the main topics in Developmental Psychology, this module begins with Piaget's theory, and topics that may be covered include prenatal development, early sensorimotor development, childhood cognitive development and social development, as well as developmental disorders. Classical and contemporary theoretical views of child development will be contrasted, highlighting key issues and current controversies for each topic. The module will also examine methods of research and the research designs employed in Developmental Psychology.

Module aims

The aims of this module are to:
• Evaluate the different research methods and designs employed in developmental psychology
• Give an overview of theories of child development from infancy to middle childhood
• Carry out independent research of scientific papers
• Apply knowledge to written work (e.g. reports and essays)

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you will be able to:
• Understand and distinguish among methods and research designs that allow researchers to measure and understand change across development
• Identify and describe the mechanisms underlying changes that infants and children typically undergo in specific areas of development
• Independently research and critically evaluate papers in developmental psychology research
• Write coherently and critically about theoretical and empirical issues in child development

Module information

During laboratory classes, in the main you will be performing project work in small groups, either designing your experiments or materials or analysing data, with assistance from lecturers and graduate demonstrators. Data analysis takes place in your own time, although for those who need to use laboratory facilities, dedicated lab time in departmental laboratories is available where possible. The entire lecture class is subdivided into a number of smaller groups to allow smaller-group teaching. The level of statistics will be integrated with the second-year PS212 Research Methods module. The sign up procedure for these laboratory classes will be explained to you in classes but will probably be an email, web-based sign up procedure.

Learning and teaching methods

There are 10 weekly lectures that are 2 hours in duration. For undergraduates tutorials are not compulsory and may be arranged at times of mutual convenience.


  • Reid, Vincent M.; Dunn, Kirsty; Young, Robert J.; Amu, Johnson; Donovan, Tim; Reissland, Nadja. (2017-06) 'The Human Fetus Preferentially Engages with Face-like Visual Stimuli', in Current Biology. vol. 27 (12) , pp.1825-1828.e3
  • Denise Roberts Boyd; Helen L. Bee. (©2014) The developing child, Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education.
  • Lloyd-Fox, S.; Blasi, A.; Elwell, C.E. (2010-2) 'Illuminating the developing brain: The past, present and future of functional near infrared spectroscopy', in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. vol. 34 (3) , pp.269-284
  • D'Souza, Hana; Karmiloff-Smith, Annette. (2017-01) 'Neurodevelopmental disorders', in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science. vol. 8 (1-2) , pp.e1398-
  • Patrick Leman; Andy Bremner; Ross D. Parke; Mary Gauvain. (2019) Developmental psychology, London: McGraw-Hill.
  • (©2007) Infant EEG and event-related potentials, Hove: Psychology Press.
  • Leman, Patrick; Bremner, Andy; Parke, Ross D; Gauvain, Mary. (2012) Developmental psychology, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.
  • Siegler, Robert S.; DeLoache, Judy S.; Eisenberg, Nancy; Gershoff, Elizabeth T.; Saffran, Jenny; Leaper, Campbell. (2017) How children develop, New York, NY: Worth Publishers, Macmillan Learning.
  • Umberto Castiello et al. (2010) 'Wired to Be Social: The Ontogeny of Human Interaction', in PLoS ONE. vol. 5 (10)
  • Smith, Linda B.; Thelen, Esther. (2003-8) 'Development as a dynamic system', in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. vol. 7 (8) , pp.343-348
  • Wozniak, Robert H.; Leezenbaum, Nina B.; Northrup, Jessie B.; West, Kelsey L.; Iverson, Jana M. (2017-01) 'The development of autism spectrum disorders: variability and causal complexity', in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science. vol. 8 (1-2) , pp.e1426-
  • Baillargeon, Renée; Scott, Rose M.; He, Zijing. (2010-3) 'False-belief understanding in infants', in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. vol. 14 (3) , pp.110-118
  • Smith, Peter K.; Cowie, Helen; Blades, Mark. (2015) Understanding children's development, Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Andrew N. Meltzoff. (1995) 'Understanding the intentions of others: Re-enactment of intended acts by 18-month-old children.', in Developmental Psychology. vol. 31 (5) , pp.838-850

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Interview Transcript 29/10/2019
Coursework Lab Report 19/11/2019 100%
Exam 120 minutes during January (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
25% 75%


Coursework Exam
25% 75%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Maria Laura Filippetti, Dr Andrew Simpson, Dr Silvia Rigato



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 23 hours, 23 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.