Current Topics in Developmental Psych.

Subject PSYC40001 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty-six hours of lectures and/or seminars.
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment: 170 hours per semester.


There are no prerequisites for this subject


There are no corequisites for this subject

Recommended Background Knowledge:

A psychology accredited major sequence

Non Allowed Subjects:

There are no non allowed subjects

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:


Dr Katherine Johnson


Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

12th floor Redmond Barry Building (Building 115 Map)

Telephone: + 61 3 8344 6377



Subject Overview:

The general aim is to review advances in developmental research by analysing recent perspectives on the question of how best to conceptualise the impact of genetic, biological,neurological, cognitive, affective, interpersonal, social and cultural factors on the developing individual. The unifying aim is to analyse the theoretical, measurement and policy implications of contemporary claims about the nature of development. The nature of the correspondences between models of developmental processes and the analytical models used to explore those processes receive particular attention. A number of topics are examined in depth to highlight salient developmental issues. Recent research on the origins of young children's social and cognitive competencies is analysed to assess claims about the domain specific and domain general nature of development. Hypotheses about genetic influences on development are also critically analysed. Claims about the impact of social factors (peers, parents, social environments, cultures) are reviewed to 1) explore the ways in which external influences are thought to affect ­development; 2) examine the contribution of the person to his or her own development; and 3) assess the limitations of analytic methods used to test claims about influences and contributions. Other issues covered include interactions between biological predispositions and environment conditions; the role of culture in the development of the individual; ways of theorising and measuring development change and specific versus general competencies and, the implications of research in social policy and practice.

Learning Outcomes:

The subject aims to:

  • critically evaluate perspectives on the relationships between genetic, biological, neurological, cognitive, affective, interpersonal, social and cultural aspects of development
  • evaluate the adequacy of the correspondence between developmental models and research methods uses to evaluate those models
  • interpret the social and policy implications of contemporary research data
  • describe typical and atypical developmental trajectories within and across cultures
  • review the meaningfulness of contemporary research claims, especially those focusing on domain general versus domain specific developmental processes
  • write a theoretical essays reflecting an understanding of a current developmental debate

Students will complete three 1100 word essays, worth 100% of the subject assessment and engage in class discussions.

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

Prescribed Texts:

There are no prescribed texts

Recommended Texts:

There are no recommended texts

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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:

  • skills related to integrating and distinguishing different approaches to development in order to develop an understanding of contemporary issues relating theory to psychological analysis and practice.
  • be able to discern and manipulate relationships between theoretical and methodological claims about development.
  • draw out the social implications of developmental psychology for current social policy.
  • present, develop and support an argument for a position and anticipate criticism.
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Psychology (Advanced)
Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Psychology

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