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Unit information: Developmental Psychology in 2020/21

Unit name Developmental Psychology
Unit code EDUCM5411
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2D (weeks 19 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Hoicka
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. Students will 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: the development of emotional functioning and emotional regulation, symbolic understanding of words and pictures, 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 emotional, play, social and cognitive 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

Students will demonstrate that they:

  • understand key concepts in current study of the psychology of individual differences and development
  • have developed skills in evaluation and interpretation of the psychology of individual differences and development
  • understand the importance of biological, social and psychological factors in individual differences and development
  • have explored the way in which different approaches to the psychology of individual differences and development relate to and complement each other
  • are able to differentiate between ways in which identity(ies) is/are constructed in different cultures
  • are able to critically interrogate claims about the psychology of individual differences and development in the psychological and educational literature
  • understand the implication of recent research on the psychology of individual differences and development for classroom practice
  • are able to evaluate the relevance of the psychology of individual differences and development for educational policy and innovation

Teaching details

The course will be delivered through whole group lectures and discussion led by research-active members of the School.

Assessment Details

An essay of 2000 words, or a research report. In negotiation with tutors, students will be expected to analyse relevant texts and synthesise concepts from the psychology of individual differences, make links/connections and recognise associations/relationships between these concepts, and draw upon current understanding of the psychology of individual differences. They will be expected to develop balanced arguments that reflect a multidisciplinary awareness and an ability to contextualise concepts, and draw appropriately upon a wide range of psychological evidence.

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.

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