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Developmental Psychology

Syllabus for pre-PhD Distance learning course on Psychology


Irina Khanamiryan, Ph.D, Assistant Professor
Yerevan State University, Distance Learning Laboratory

1. Course module description
Developmental psychology is one of the basic fields of psychology that examines the principles and peculiarities оf human beings over the course of their life-span. This field provides comprehensive coverage of human life and deals with such aspects of life-span as prenatal period, infancy and childhood, adolescence, adulthood and aging. Developmental psychologists are interested in the interaction between personal peculiarities, the individual’s behavior and environmental factors, and there are many researches on the impact of social context on development of person. Developmental psychology is concerned not only with describing the characteristics of psychological change over time, but also seeks to explain the principles and internal workings underlying these changes. This course module provides theoretical knowledge of each developmental stage and includes such aspects as physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development from prenatal period to aging.

2. Objectives of the course module

2.1 To introduce students with the core concepts of developmental psychology.
To introduce students with the main theories about human development.
To consider the main features of each developmental stage from prenatal period to aging.
To consider the peculiarities of individual, cognitive, emotional, social, physical development of each stage.
To examine the relations between society and individual development.

3. Assessment
Since this is a distance-learning course, assessment will be based only on students’ written work.

  • Weekly written essays – 60%
  • Final essay-40%

4. Course module program

Class 1 The Main Concepts of Developmental Psychology
- The main concepts about human essence.
- Developmental psychology and related disciplines.
- The main theories of human development: psychoanalysis, behaviorism, cognitive theories, humanistic theories, etc.
- The impact of society and heredity.

- CRAIG G.2006, Understanding Human Development, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
- DATAN N., GINSBERG L. 1975, Life-Span Developmental Psychology, New York: Academic Press.
- ROJERS K. 1961, On Becoming a Person, Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press.
- BANDURA A., WALTERS H. 1963, Social Learning and Personality Development, New York: Holt, Rinehart&Winston.
- VALSINER J. (EDITOR), CONNOLLY J.K.(EDITOR) 2003, Handbook of Developmental Psychology, Cambridge: Sage Publications (CA).
- MILLER P. 2009, Theories of Developmental Psychology, New York: W.H.Freeman.

Assignment 1:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):
- Describe the essence of development and the main fields of human development.
- How psychological theories explain the human essence?
- What kind of influence does family have on development of personality?
- Describe the connections of society and heredity in personal development.

Class 2 The Prenatal Period of Life
- The basic tendency of prenatal development and growth.
- Three main stages of prenatal development.
- Critical periods of the prenatal stage and factors influencing on this period.
- Family and role changes during the pregnancy.

- KITZINGER S. 1981, The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth, New York: Knopf.
- FEDOR-FREYBERG P., VOGEL M. 1988, Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, Carnforth, Lanc: Parthenon. 
- VEMY TH., KELLY J. 1986, The Secret Life Of the Unborn Child, New York: Dell.
- NOBLE E. 1993, Primal Connections, New York: Simon & Schuster.
- WIRTH F. 2001, Prenatal Parenting: The Complete Psychological and Spiritual Guide to Love Your Unborn Child, New York: HarperCollins/ReganBooks.
- HEINOWITZ J., 1997, Pregnant Fathers: Becoming the Father You Want To Be, Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel.

Assignment 2:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):
- Describe the main periods of prenatal development.
- Describe the main physical, psychological and social changes, which appear during the pregnancy.
- How can you explain and describe the role changes in families during the pregnancy?
- How can fathers help their wives during the pregnancy?

Class 3 The Peculiarities of Infant’s Life
- The peculiarities of infants’ physical, perceptive, cognitive and individual development.
- The sequence of main stages of speech development.
- The influence of society on the development of child’s abilities.
- The main stages of infant’s emotional development.
- Attachment theories.

- AINSWORTH M., BLEHAR M., WATERS E., WALL S. 1978, Patterns of Attachment, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. 
- FIELD T. 1990, Infancy, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- BREMNER J GAVIN (EDITOR), SLATER A. (EDITOR) 2003, Theories of Infant Development, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
- SNOW W., McGAHA G.C. 2002, Infant Development (3rd Edition), New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
- BRAZELTON T., CRAMER B. 1991, The Earliest Relationship: Parents, Infants, And The Drama Of Early Attachment, New York: Da Capo Press.
- BARRET M. D. 1999, The Development of Language (Studies in Developmental Psychology), UK: Psychology Press.

Assignment 3:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):
- Describe the physical and mental development of infants.
- Explain the role of infant’s communication with adults.
- Describe the process of speech development.
- Which factors promote the cognitive development of infants?
- Describe the six stages of infant’s emotional development.

Class 4 The Early and Late Childhood: Psychosocial Development
- The peculiarities of child’s physical and cognitive development.
- The basic concepts of J. Piaget’s child cognitive development.
- The main types of child’s play and their influence on his/her psychosocial development.
- The development of different aspects of Self-concept in this period. 3-year crises.
- The influence of different parenting styles on child’s psychosocial development.
- School education and changes in psychosocial condition.
- Development of social perception and moral judgments.

- WHITEBREAD D. 2011, Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education, Cambridge University: SAGE Publications Ltd.  
- HUGES F. 1991, Children, Play and Development, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
- JOHNSON J., CHRISTIE J., YAWKEY T. 1987, Play and Early Childhood Development, Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman. 
- KOHLBERG L. 1984, Essays of Moral Development, New York: Harper and Row.
- PIAJET J. 1950, The Psichology Of Intellegence, New York: Harcourt Brace.
- PHILLIPS D. (EDITOR), McCARTNEY (EDITOR) 2008, Blackwell Handbook of Early Childhood Development (Blackwell Handbooks of Developmental Psychology), Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
- SHAFFER D., KIPP K. 2006, Developmental Psychology: Childhood and Adolescence (Thomson Advantage Books), UK: Thomson Learning.

Assignment 4:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):
- Describe the main achievements that determine child’s psychosocial development.
- Describe and explain cognitive development of children and point-out the main stages of cognitive development defined by J. Piaget.
- Explain child’s Self-concept develop?
- Which are the main peculiarities of 3-year crisis?
- What is the main role of different kinds of plays?

Class 5 Adolescence and Youth: Transformation of Life

- The physical and sexual development of teens.
- Cognitive changes in the early adolescence.
- The basic conflicts of this period.
- The development of Self-concept.
- The role of peers and grouping tendency.
- The peculiarities of parent-teen relationships.
- The main factors and processes which influence on moral development of teens and youths.
- The development of the identity.

- ADELSON J (EDITOR) 1980, Handbook of Adolescent Psychology, New York: Willey.
- ERICSON E 1968, Identity, Youth and Crisis. New York: Norton.
- DOLGIN K. 2010, The Adolescent: Development, Relationships, and Culture (13th Edition) (MyDevelopmentLab Series), New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
- GARROD A.C., SMULYAN L., POWERS S., KILKENNY R. 2007, Adolescent Portraits: Identity, Relationships, and Challenges (6th Edition), Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
- MUSS R. 1995, Theories of Adolescence, New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; SANTROCK J.
2009, Adolescence, McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 13 edition.
- STIKLE F. (EDITOR) 2007, Adolescent Psychology, 6th Edition (Annual Editions), New York: McGraw-Hill.

Assignment 5:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):
- Describe the main physical changes that occur during the early adolescence.
- What kind of psychological changes do teens pass through and how can it influence on their Self-concept?
- Describe the peculiarities of teens communication with their parents.
- Which factors do influence on moral development of teens and youths?
- How can you explain the concept of Ego-Identity defined by E. Ericson?

Class 6 The Adulthood: Psychosocial Aspects of Development
- The peculiarities of physical and cognitive development of late adulthood.
- The main stages of cognitive development. 
- The personality, family and profession: main directions of development.

- TROLL L. 1985, Early and Middle Adulthood: The Best is yet to Come - Maybe, Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.
- HUNTER S. (EDITOR), SUNDEL M. (EDITOR) 1989, Midlife Myths: Issues, Findings and Practice Implications, Newbury Part, CA: Sage.
- SHAIE K., WILLIS S. 1986, Adult Development and Aging, Boston: Little, Brown.
- NEWGARTEN B. (EDITOR) 1964, Personality in Middle and LatevLife: Empirical Studies, New York: Atherton.
- OKUN B. 1984, Working with Adults: Individual, Family and Career Development, Monterey, Ca: Brooks/Cole. 
- KASTENBAUM R. 1979, Growing Old: Years of Fullfilment, New York: Harper and Row.
- HORN J., DONALDSON G. 1980, Cognitive Development in Adulthood, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- GOULD R. 1978, Transformations, Growth and change in Adult Life, New York: Simon and Shuter.

Assignment 6:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):
- Describe the main theoretical concepts of adult’s cognitive development?
- List the main objectives that adults face during this period of development?
- How can the different roles influence on psychological development of adults?
- How do the cognitive abilities change during the late adolescence?
- Describe the essence and psychological problems of midlife crisis.

Class 7 Aging Psychology: Path to Dying
- The physical aspects of aging.
- The main cognitive and individual changes which occur during the aging.
- The peculiarities of family relationships during the aging.
- The change of status.
- The awareness of dying.

- BELSKY J. 1998, The Psychology of Aging: Theory, Research, and Interventions, US: Wadsworth Publishing.
- STUART-HAMILTON I. 2006, The Psychology of Aging: An Introduction, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
- ARIES P. 1981, The Hour of Our Death, New York: Knopf.
- KUBLER-ROSS E. (EDITOR) 1975, Death: The Final Stage of Growth, New Jercy: Prentice Hall.
- BIRREN J. (EDITOR), WAMER SCHAIE K.(EDITOR) 2001, Handbook of the Psychology of Aging, Oxford: Academic Press.
- ERBER J.T. 2009, Aging and Older Adulthood, Boston: Willey.

Assignment 7:
Please, answer the following questions (up to 5 pages):
- Describe the peculiarities of physical, psychological and social changes that occur during the aging.
- How can the changes in social status influence on old people?
- Describe the peculiarities of family and personal relationships of old people.
- Describe the main stages of death adaptation.

Class 8 Closing exam
Based on your interest, choose any topic discussed within this course module and write an analytic essay (13-15 pages).

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