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Development & Cognition - EDU00071M

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Dusana Dorjee
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the cognitive and developmental processes involved in learning (broadly understood), and the capacity to reflect on their possible implications for education.


Students will be introduced to the key theories that underpin our current understanding of development and cognition. For example, students will be introduced to theoretical perspectives on development, including cognitive, socio-emotional, behavioural, ecological and lifespan perspectives, and prominent methodological approaches. They will consider how these perspectives can account for development in different domains (i.e. social, emotional and cognitive), at different ages (i.e. childhood, adolescence and adulthood) and in different contexts (i.e. cultural and cohort effects).

Students will also consider key elements of cognition including memory, perception, attention, and language, evaluating how our knowledge in this area has been informed by the field of cognitive neuropsychology, and by the introduction of new technologies and methodologies.

Students will be supported in developing the skills required to identify and critically evaluate relevant literature, and to compare and contrast alternative means of gathering and evaluating cognitive and developmental data. They will also be exposed to an in-class cognitive psychology experiment and will have the formative opportunity to write a report of the findings in APA style.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

By the end of this module students will have developed:

· Broad knowledge, and a nuanced understanding, of key theories and findings in developmental psychology, including cognitive, socio-emotional, behavioural, ecological and lifespan perspectives.

· Broad knowledge, and a nuanced understanding of key theories and findings in cognitive psychology related to memory, perception, attention and language.

· In-depth understanding of the developmental processes that occur at different stages (e.g. childhood, adolescence and adulthood) and in different domains (e.g. social, cognitive, and emotional).

  • The capacity to analyse the development of cognitive processes and systems (e.g. memory, perception and language) and to consider how they relate to learning.
  • A knowledge base that will allow them to apply theoretical and empirical research in developmental and cognitive psychology to educational issues and questions.

Academic and graduate skills

Students will have learned how to:

  • Use effective literature searching techniques to identify cognitive and developmental psychology research that is relevant to particular topics or questions.
  • Formulate and present a persuasive and articulate academic argument that is well structured and well supported.
  • Critically evaluate existing research and assess its reliability and validity.
  • Draw out practical implications of existing theoretical and empirical research.
  • Synthesise arguments from different areas of psychology and understand how they inform each other.
  • Write up the findings of an in-class cognitive psychology experiment in APA style.
  • Evaluate the ethical implications of conducting experiments with human participants, including children.

Module content

The module content is structured so that it incrementally builds up students’ knowledge of developmental and cognitive psychology to the extent that they will be in a strong position to consider their relevance to education by the end of the module.

The following outline is representative of the lectures that will be given but may be subject to small changes.

Week 2 – Introduction to Development and Cognition

  • Development – What is development?

    • Nature vs nurture

    • The variety of approaches to development

  • Cognition – What is cognitive psychology?

    • The cognitive revolution

    • Key figures in the birth of cognitive psychology

Week 3  

  • Development – The nature of development

    • How do we study developmental psychology?

    • Introduction to cognitive, behaviourist, socio-emotional, ecological, psychoanalytical approaches

    • The lifespan perspective

  • Cognition – How do we study it?

    • Methodological approaches

Week 4  

  • Development – Infancy

    • Attachment theory

    • Initial cognitive development

  • Cognition – Auditory and visual perception I

    • Basic auditory and visual processing

    • Visual illusions

Week 5     

  • Development – Early childhood

    • Developing cognition and theory of mind

    • Play

  • Cognition – Auditory and visual perception II

    • Auditory attention

    • Inattentional blindness and change blindness

Week 6  

  • Development – Middle Childhood

    • Piagetian theory

    • Developing Self

  • Cognition – Language I

    • Language acquisition

    • Speech perception

Week 7  

  • Development – Adolescence

    • Physical, Cognitive and Socioemotional development

    • Peer relationships

    • Aggression

  • Cognition – Language II

    • Language comprehension

Week 8

  • Development – Emerging Adulthood

    • Social Changes

    • Identity

  • Cognition – Memory I

    • Short term memory

    • Working memory

Week 9

  • Development – Adulthood

    • Lifespan perspective revisited

    • Changes to memory, the concept of wisdom

  • Cognition – Memory II and Emotions

    • Long term memory

    • The relationship between cognition and emotion

Week 10

  • Development – Older Adulthood

    • Socioemotional selectivity theory

    • Cognitive changes in older adults

  • Cognition – Cognition & Emotions

    • Appraisal theories

    • Bower’s Network theory


We will use a flipped classroom approach to deliver the material covered in this module. This will involve students engaging with substantial preparatory material prior to their lectures, including pre-reading, narrated power points, blogs and online discussions. Students will then be able to engage with the material at a more advanced level during class discussion, with the support of their lecturer, and to carry out practical activities e.g. typical cognitive psychology experiments, observational tasks related to developmental psychology, design studies to address questions that link educational practice with psychological research.

Formative assessments: detailed essay plan - Cognition (Autumn, week 6) and coding framework report - Development (Autumn, week 8), both 0% of module mark.



Task Length % of module mark
Critical Review 2000 words
N/A 50
Research Report 2000 words
N/A 50

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Critical Review 2000 words
N/A 50
Research Report 2000 words
N/A 50

Module feedback

Individual written feedback reports, with follow-up tutor meeting if necessary. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

Gillibrand, R., Lam, Virginia, & O'Donnell, Victoria L. (2016). Developmental Psychology (Second ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

Leman, P., Bremner, Andrew J, Parke, Ross D, & Gauvain, Mary. (2012). Developmental Psychology. London: McGraw-Hill.

Boyd, D., & Bee, Helen L., author. (2015). Lifespan Development (Seventh edition; Global ed.).

Quinlan, P., Dyson, Ben, & Dyson, B. J. (2008). Cognitive Psychology. Harlow: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Eysenck, M., & Keane, Mark T. (2015). Cognitive Psychology : A student's handbook (7th ed.).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.