module specification

PC5006 - Developmental Psychology and Cognition (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Developmental Psychology and Cognition
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
200 hours Guided independent study
100 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 0%   Press Release (max 250 words)
Coursework 20%   Experiment (includes report of 1000 words)
In-Course Test 40%   1st Multiple Choice exam
In-Course Test 40%   2nd Multiple Choice exam
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Afternoon

Module summary

This module comprises of two major areas: Developmental psychology and Cognitive Psychology. In comparison to the first year combined module, it introduces the following new areas in depth. Each topic is covered by several lectures: Life-span development, Theories about development, Language (incl. bilingualism and language disorders) and Reasoning/Decision making.

In the first set of tutorials, students are instructed how to write a Press release. This feeds into the project module in the third year.

In the second set of tutorials (3-hour workshops in January), students learn to create a small reaction time/accuracy experiment using Superlab software. This feeds into Research Methods module ‘own design’ practical which follows thereafter in the same term.

Prior learning requirements

PC4007 Cognitive and Developmental Psychology

Module aims

The first aim of this module is to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of theories in cognitive psychology, and theories of cognitive and social change throughout the lifespan. The second aim is to facilitate students’ ability to think critically about these theories, especially in the context of empirical evidence. Thirdly, related to the previous aim this module also aims to develop students’ skills in locating primary sources, and to read, understand and accurately communicate the information within. The ability to source information, evaluate it and provide a summation is a useful transferable skill necessary in a wide variety of employment. The deployment of theoretical research into a practical based application is also a key transferable skill.

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s, Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.


Topics will be drawn from: Life-span development (Speed, Memory, Personality, etc.), Developmental Theories including new theories such as Dynamic Systems Theory and Neural Network Learning as well as Cultural Constraints and Shaping, Problem Solving, Reasoning and Decision Making, as well as Topics within Language such as Speech Perception and Production, Bilingualism and Language Disorders.

Learning and teaching

Acquisition of knowledge of the subject matter of this module will be promoted through lecturer-led lectures (46 hours) to provide overview and seminars (6 seminars and lab classes) where specific quantitative empirical studies and case studies will be discussed. Computer aided learning of lecturer-uploaded material on Weblearn (48 hours) that provides students with additional material related to the unit lectures. Self-managed study/reading (200 hours). Exam and essay preparation (80 hours).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will:

  1. possess in-depth knowledge of theories, discussions and debates in a range of core research areas such as childhood, life-span development, language and decision making
  2. have an overview over empirical results in these areas
  3. be aware of the use of a range of different research methods and create a small experiment in experiment generating software, e.g. Superlab
  4. be able to evaluate and summarise research studies from research articles retrieved in the on-site and electronic university library

Assessment strategy

The assessments test students’ knowledge in various and diverse ways enabling students to show their depth and breadth of knowledge and academic ability. They will be given according to the sequence of the blocks of lectures.

Press Release (formative). Students are given a choice to write a press release for a published research study with a developmental or cognitive topic. The word limit the review is 250 words. Students submit the essay on Weblearn. The review assesses students’ ability to critically evaluate research in depth which is a useful transferable skill for the final exam and their own project in the third year.

Experiment report (20%). Student create their own experiment and submit this on Weblearn. The coursework comprises of the publication pdf on which the experiment is based, the experimental file, the stimuli, the result file, and 1,000 words report (Introduction 250 words, Hypothesis 100 words and Methods 650 words). They should describe the timing of the experiment and the resulting variables, but not collect data.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) (40%) first half. The MCQs assess students’ knowledge and overview of the lectures. They assess breadth of knowledge.

Multiple Choice Questions (40%) second half. The MCQs assess students’ knowledge and overview of the lectures. They assess breadth of knowledge.

Component Percentage of overall mark Learning outcomes
Press release formative 1, 2, 3, 4
Experiment 20 1, 2, 3, 4
MCQ1 40 1, 2, 3
MCQ2 40 1, 2, 3



Reading material

All the core textbooks below are international editions published by Cengage Wadsworth. For each lecture, one or sometimes two book chapters are selected and specified in the Lecture Schedule.

Core Reading
Erber, J. T. (2005). Aging and Older Adulthood. 2nd edition. [CORE ]
Bjorklund, D. F. (2012). Children’s Thinking. 5th edition[CORE]
Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Cognitive Psychology (with CogLab 2.0 and Manual). 3rd edition [CORE]
Carroll, D. W. (2008). Psychology of Language. 5th edition. [CORE]

Further Reading
Bjorklund, D. F. (2012). Child and Adolescent Development. 1st edition
Croker, S. (2012). The Development of Cognition. 1st edition
Goldstein, E. B. (2010). Sensation and Perception. 8th edition
Hoff, E. (2009). Language Development. 4th edition.
Hornik-Parritz, R. H. & Troy, M. F. (2011). Disorders of Childhood. 1st edition.
Neath, I. & Suprenant, A.M. (2011). Human Memory. 2nd Edition
Shaffer, D. & Kipp, K. (2010). Developmental Psychology. 8th edition. 

Additional reading may be added on Weblearn.