BSc Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Developmental Psychology

Course unit fact file
Unit code PSYC10211
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No


In this unit, we discover the developmental processes that have resulted in the unique individuals who are enrolled on this unit.

In this unit, students will be introduced to the study of development as a core discipline within psychology. The first thing we will do is to discuss why we should study development, and how we should study development -- because we cannot necessarily ask young children questions, or get their informed consent to take part in experiments, we have to be creative and think of new ways to investigate their understanding and capabilities.

From there, we move on to present prominent theories of development (e.g. Piaget, and Socio-cultural approaches) and why theories of how we develop are so important.

We then lead into overviews of the current state of the fields of perceptual, motor, cognitive, biological, social, and emotional development.


This unit aims to:

Provide students with an overview of human development from infancy to late childhood. On successful completion of this unit students will:

  • Understand the importance of understanding how humans develop – in their cultural context – in order to fully understand human behaviour
  • Understand theories of development – and their usefulness in making novel predictions – with special reference to constructivist and socio-cognitive approaches.
  • Appreciate the methodology used to study child development, and how research methodologies progress to allow a more complete understanding of the capabilities of the child.
  • Have a good understanding of cognitive development – including perceptual, motor, and language development – in childhood and how this underpins successful adult behaviour.
  • Understand the child as a social being, with particular reference to social and emotional development, attachment relationships, and the child’s understanding of themselves in their environment.

Teaching and learning methods

This unit will be taught via lectures and seminars.

All content, supplementary reading, resources, and a monitored discussion board will be available via the unit Blackboard site.


Knowledge and understanding

Appreciate the importance of the study of development to the understanding of human behaviour

Read and evaluate current research literature

Recognise the limitations imposed by particular design decisions

Understand how knowledge accumulates in developmental psychology

Intellectual skills

Compare theoretical predictions and empirical findings in the field of development

Objectively interpret the results of analyses in the context of the research design

Practical skills

Evaluate commonly used methodology in developmental psychology

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Present information, ideas and arguments in written form; sustain and develop cogent and coherent arguments

Assessment methods

Written exam worth 100%

Feedback methods

Students will receive a grade and written feedback will be available on request.


Recommended reading

Seigler, R., DeLoache, J., Eisenberg, N., & Saffran, J. (2017). How Children Develop (5th international edition). New York: Worth

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 78.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jennifer Mcbride Unit coordinator

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