Skip to main content

Unit information: Developmental Psychology in 2021/22

Unit name Developmental Psychology
Unit code EDUCM5411
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Howard
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


In this unit, students will engage with classic and contemporary research and theory in developmental psychology. The focus is for students to bring their critical knowledge of developmental psychology, learned through this course and across other complementary units, to address key psychological issues and how these apply to educational settings. Students will also refine their critical analysis skills and ability to evaluate experimental methods.

The core concepts to be investigated (indicative content) include: symbolic understanding of words and pictures, theory of mind development, atypical development and approaches for studying cognitive development, and play and the development of peer relationships.


  • To develop an understanding and critical appreciation of current approaches of developmental and educational psychology;
  • To examine theoretical accounts of development.
  • To develop a critical awareness of experimental methodology in developmental research.
  • To explore implications of developmental psychological research and theory for educational settings.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the unit students will demonstrate that they:

  1. understand key concepts in current study of developmental psychology.
  2. have developed skills in evaluation and interpretation of the psychology of emotional, moral, social, and cognitive development.
  3. understand the importance of social and psychological factors in development.
  4. have explored the way in which different approaches to developmental psychology relate to and complement each other.
  5. can evaluate different methodological approaches for studying young children.
  6. can critically interrogate claims about development in the psychological and educational literature.
  7. understand the implication of recent research in developmental psychology for educational settings.

Teaching details

The course will be delivered through whole group lectures and discussion.

Assessment Details

This unit is assessed by 100% coursework in the form of a 2000-word critical review. (ILOs 1-7)

Reading and References

Bjorklund, D., and Pellegrini, A. (2002) The origins of human nature: evolutionary developmental psychology. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association

Caspi, A., Roberts, B.W., and. Shiner, R. L. (2005) Personality Development: Stability and Change, Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 56: 453-484

Greene, S., and Hogan, D. (2005) Researching children’s experience. SAGE

Meadows, S. (2006) The Child as Thinker. London: Routledge.

Meadows, S. (2010) The Child as Social Person. London: Routledge.

Siegler, R. , DeLoache, J., Eisenberg, N., & Saffran, J. (2014). How children develop. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Smith, P.K., Cowie, H., & Blades, M. (2015). Understanding Children’s Development. 6th Edition. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Wenar, C., and Kerig, P. (2006) Developmental psychopathology from infancy through adolescence. New York: McGraw-Hill