Development of the Thinking Child

Subject PSYC30019 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment for this subject is 170 hours.


No prerequisites are required for this subject


No corequisites subjects are required for this subject

Recommended Background Knowledge:

Prior coursework in at least two Level 2 psychology subjects, including Cognitive Psychology and/or Developmental Psychology, is recommended. Level 2 psychology subjects are: Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Personality & Social Psychology.

Non Allowed Subjects:

512370 Cognitive and Neuropsychological Development 3

512308 Development of the Thinking Child

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards of Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit Website:


Assoc Prof Robert Reeve


Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Currently enrolled students:

  • General information:
  • Email:

Future students:

  • Further information:
  • Email:

Subject Overview:

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.

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

Three written reports of 1000 words each (33% each) to be submitted during semester.

Each piece of assessment must be completed (hurdle requirement).

Attendance of at least 80% of the laboratory classes is a hurdle requirement. In case of failure to meet the hurdle requirement, additional work iwll be required before a passing grade can be awarded.

Prescribed Texts:

No prescribed texts.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
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
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Psychology
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Psychology
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED
Related Breadth Track(s): The Developing Mind

Download PDF version.