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Development of the Thinking Child (PSYC30019)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codePSYC30019
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

In developmental science the interaction between nature and nurture takes centre stage in answering questions about the reasons for variability in the emergence and growth of children's cognitive abilities. Recent advances in cognitive and neuropsychological assessment procedures provide new ways of understanding changes in typical and atypical development.

This subject examines the development of preadolescent children's thinking abilities: specifically, the significance of cognitive, neurological and neuropsychological factors in typical and atypical development. Current research on developmental plasticity and sensitive periods in development will be reviewed. Special attention will be paid to the prenatal and postnatal development of the central nervous system, as well as the impact of neurological insult on children's cognitive development. Of particular interest are the challenges associated with assessing the changing nature of children's cognitive competencies (e.g., executive functioning, reasoning, working memory, theory of mind, attention, planning and strategic skills), as well as how these are manifested in children with specific disorders (e.g., ADHD) or with particular physical difficulties (e.g., deaf and blind children). Special attention will be paid to the development of language, reading, number and mathematical abilities, focusing specifically on the diagnosis and remedial interventions of children with dyscalculia and dyslexia.

Intended learning outcomes

The subject aims to:

  • to critically evaluate perspectives on the relationship between cognitive and neuropsychological development
  • to evaluate the adequacy of research methods used to study cognitive-neuropsychological developmental issues
  • to interpret cognitive-neuropsychological development research data
  • to understand analytic issues associated with studying variability in development
  • to describe typical and atypical developmental patterns and change trajectories
  • to review contemporary analytic methods for assessing developmental change
  • to construct meaningful research hypotheses about cognitive-neuropsychological development
  • to write lab reports that reflect an understanding of core issues in cognitive-neuropsychological development

Generic skills

Students in this subject will be given appropriate opportunity and educational support to develop the following skills to:

  • integrate and differentiate theoretical approaches in order to develop an understanding of contemporary issues
  • relate theory to practice
  • discern and manipulate relationships between theoretical and methodological claims
  • present, develop and support an argument for a position and anticipate criticism

Last updated: 10 August 2019