Psychology 580

Honors Seminar in Child Psychology

Professor Jenny Saffran

This Honors seminar will supplement the lecture course in Child Development, allowing us to delve more deeply into the issues discussed in lecture and to read empirical articles central to child development. The seminar will consist of discussions led by the professor and by the students.

Prerequisites: Psychology 201, 202, or 281.

Concurrent registration in Psychology 560 (Child Psychology) is required.

Required Textbook: Shaffer, D. R. (1997). Developmental Psychology (5th Ed). Pacific Cove, CA: Brooks Cole.

An additional reading packet will be assigned, consisting of original research papers in the field of child development. (Available at L&S Copy Center, Social Sciences, Room 6120. A copy of the packet is also on reserve at the Psychology Reading Room)

Note that the topics and readings in bold are assignments for Psychology 560. The topics and readings in italics are assignments for Psychology 580.

Grading for Psychology 580 will be based on participation in the seminar discussion each week (50%). You will be asked to grade your own classroom participation, according to guidelines which I will pass out. During the second half of the semester, two students will be assigned to jointly lead the discussion of the lecture material and the assigned article for the week (30%). More generally, all students will be expected to participate in the discussions.

In addition, you will do a small research project with an actual child, in order to provide you with the experience of collecting data from a young child and evaluating how these data fit with existing data and theories in the literature. A brief (2 page) writeup of the project will be due on April 23 (20%).

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First day: Overview of the semester

January 21: What is development, and how can we study it

No assigned reading

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Week 1. Issues in the study of development Shaffer Ch. 1, 2

January 28: Let's design an experiment with kids! No assigned reading

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Week 2. Biological foundations & prenatal development Shaffer Ch. 3, 4, 5

(p. 167-186 optional)

February 4: Focus on neural development:

Shatz, C. (1992). The developing brain. Scientific American, p. 61-67.

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Week 3. Infant sensation and perception Shaffer Ch. 6

February 11: Focus on infant speech perception

Eimas et al. (1971). Speech perception in infants. Science, 171, 303-306.

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Week 4: Infant cognition Shaffer Ch. 6

February 18: Focus on infant memory and learning:

Rovee-Collier, C. (1993). The capacity for long-term memory in infancy.

Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2, 130-135.

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Week 5. Cognitive development: Piaget Shaffer Ch. 7

Midterm Exam 1

February 25: Discussion of the material from the first third of the semester

(no assigned reading)

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Week 6. Cognitive development: Post-Piaget Shaffer Ch. 8

March 4: What are infants born knowing about the world?

Spelke, E. S. (1994). Initial knowledge: Six suggestions. Cognition, 50, 431-445.

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Week 6.5 Spring Break

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Week 7. Language development Shaffer Ch. 10

March 18: What do young children know about language?

Gleason, J. (1958). The child's learning of English morphology. Word, 14.

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Week 8: Language development continued Shaffer Ch. 10

March 25: Is there a critical period for language acquisition?

Newport, E. (1990). Maturational constraints on language learning.

Cognitive Science, 14, 11-28.

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Week 9: Emotional development Shaffer Ch. 11

April 1: Emotions in infancy:

Izard, C., et al. (1980). The infant's ability to produce

discrete emotion expressions. Developmental Psychology, 16, 132-40

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Week 10: Emotional development continued Shaffer Ch. 11

Midterm Exam 2

April 8: Discussion of the material from the second third of the semester

(No assigned reading)

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Week 11: Self and social cognition Shaffer Ch. 12

April 15: No meeting this week

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Week 12: Gender-role and moral development Shaffer Ch. 13, 14

(p. 587-593 optional))

April 22: Stereotyping:

Bigler, R. S., Jones, L. C., & Lobliner, D. B. (1997). Social categorization and the formation of intergroup attitudes in children. Child Development, 68, 530-543.

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April 23: Psychology 580 Project Writeup Due by 5 p.m.

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Week 13 Atypical development TBA

April 29: Developmental psychopathology

Sroufe, L. A. (1990). Considering normal and abnormal together: The essence of developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 2, 335-347.

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Week 14: Concluding issues Review Shaffer

May 6: Final Discussion

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May 9 7:25 p.m.: Psychology 560 final exam

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The College and Psychology Department require that the following statement be included on all syllabi: "Occasionally a student may have a complaint about a TA or course instructor. If that happens you should feel free to discuss the matter directly with the TA or instructor. If the complaint is about the TA and you do not feel comfortable discussing it with him/her, you should discuss it with the course instructor. If you do not feel the instructor has resolved the matter to your satisfaction, thenyou should speak to the Psychology Undergraduate Advisor, Ms. Arlene Davenport (room 225 Psychology) or the Psychology Department Chair, Professor Janet Hyde (room 238 Psychology). You should speak to either of these individuals if the complaint is about the instructor and you do not feel comfortable discussing it directly with her/him. If you believe the TA or course instructor has discriminated against you because of your religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background, you may also take your complaint to the Affirmative Action Office (room 175 Bascom Hall). If your complaint has to do with sexual harassment, you may take your complaint to Ms. Davenport, the Psychology Department sexual harassment contact person."