Developmental Psychology module (PY51012)

Learn about the foundations of social and cognitive development

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Developmental psychology studies how and why human beings change over their lifespan, focusing on cognitive, emotional, and social growth. Through this module, you can explore the origins of how we feel, think, behave, and interact with others.

Through critical discussions about historical and contemporary issues in developmental psychology, this module aims to give you an understanding of the foundations of social and cognitive development that underpin human psychology.

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • learn how cognitive and social competence develops across childhood
  • learn how social and cognitive domains interact to shape our engagement with the world
  • explore the challenges of establishing appropriate methodologies to draw conclusions about the mind and behaviour of infants and children

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • describe the theories of cognitive development, reasoning abilities in young children, the development of executive functions (including planning abilities and self-control), memory, and metacognition (our ability to think about our own thinking)
  • describe social development, including the typical development of communication, attachment (our bond with other people), social cognition (our understanding of other people), and the sense of self
  • think critically about the scientific evidence underpinning our understanding of human development
  • reflect on the how human development continues across the lifespan and might vary depending on culture

Assignments / assessment:

  • research proposal 2,500 words (60%)
  • online quizzes (40%)
    • four quizzes spaced throughout term to allow for continuous assessment

This module does not have a final examination

Teaching methods / timetable:

  • weekly two-hour lectures
  • small group tutorials
    • sets the research poster coursework

Lectures and tutorials are live, but asynchronous recordings will be made available.


This module is available on following courses: