Developmental Psychology 1.

Type of instruction


Part of degree program
Typically offered in

Autumn/spring semester

Course description

This course is an introduction to developmental psychology focusing on cognitive development
in the period between conception and puberty. The course – that consists of lectures and
seminars requiring regular attendance – aims:
1) to help to understand the fundamental approaches and theories in developmental psychology
and their significance in practice
2) to give an introduction to the specific issues of research on cognitive development and
measuring the individual achievement in cognitive functioning – understanding illustrative
examples from classical and contemporary research and gaining experience in testing young
3) to review the most important milestones of cognitive development both in thematic and
chronological approach

Learning outcome, competences

  • theoretical approaches and fundamental theories in cognitive developmental psychology
  • research designs, techniques in data collection in developmental psychology
  • specific techniques in research on infancy
  • developmental milestones in different domains and different ages: neural-, motor-, language-, social-, executive functions and memory development


  • is ethical and human behaviour with children and their parents
  • is emphatic and flexible in using professional knowledge
  • is open and sensitive to multiple interpretations
  • is aware of interrelations between theoretical knowledge and practice
  • is aware of being professional at work requires lifelong learning and continuing education


  • is capable of giving presentation
  • is able to work in team with individual responsibility
  • is able to work with children: to create tasks and ask questions
  • can conduct, administer, and evaluate tasks and tests for children
  • can interview with parents
  • can review and understand individual cognitive development
  • is aware of the limits of her/his competence

Topics of the course

  • Historical, ethical, and methodological issues in developmental psychology
  • Fundamental theoretical approaches and theories in cognitive developmental psychology
  • Piaget’s model
  • Milestones in neural development
  • Motor development
  • Naive physics in infancy
  • Social development: naive psychology and teleological stance
  • Language acquisition
  • Memory development
  • Executive function in infancy and childhood
  • Development in visual representation

Compulsory reading list

Cynthia Lightfoot, Michael Cole,& Sheila R. Cole (2009): The Development of Children, Worth Publishers:

  • Chapter 1: The Study of Human Development - full
  • Chapter 3: Prenatal Development and Birth - full
  • Chapter 4: The First Three months - full
  • Chapter 5: Physical and Cognitive Development in Infancy - full
  • Chapter 6: Social and Emotional Development in Infancy p 201-210, 222-225
  • Chapter 7: Language Acquisition – full
  • Chapter 8: Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood - full
  • Chapter 11: Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood – full
  • Chapter 14: Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence - full

Karmiloff-Smith, A. (1994): Precis of Beyond modularity: A developmental perspective on cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4): 693-745.
Gergely, G. and Csibra, G. (2003): Teleological reasoning in infancy: The naive theory of rational action. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7 287-292.
Shonkoff, J. P. and PhilFrom, D. A. (2000): Neurons to Neighbourhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS, Washington, D.C.
Chapter 8: The Developing Brain. 182-219. (available pdf Meet Street)

Recommended reading list
Cynthia Lightfoot, Michael Cole,& Sheila R. Cole (2009): The Development of Children, Worth Publishers:

  • Chapter 2: Biocultural Foundations
  • Chapter 12 School as a Context for Development