module specification

PY7186 - Cognitive and Developmental Psychology (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Cognitive and Developmental Psychology
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
228 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 25%   Essay on developmental psychology (2000 words)
Coursework 25%   Essay on cognitive psychology (2000 words)
Unseen Examination 50%   2-hour unseen exam
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Afternoon
Spring semester North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module is comprised of two areas: cognitive psychology and developmental psychology. Cognitive psychology focuses on the internal representations and processes underlying perception, attention, memory, language, decision making and problem solving. In developmental psychology students learn how both cognition and social behaviours change throughout the lifespan, including examples of atypical development and applied aspects of developmental psychology. Students are exposed to classic and modern theories, and to research that relates to these theories.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The first aim of this module is to develop students’ systematic understanding of theories in cognitive psychology, and theories of cognitive and social development throughout the lifespan. The second aim is to facilitate students’ ability to think critically about these theories, especially in the context of empirical evidence. A third aim is to develop students’ skills in locating primary sources, and to read, understand, critically evaluate and accurately communicate the relevant information.


Topics will be drawn from:  attention, judgement, decision making, perception, semantic memory, working memory, language comprehension, language production, speech perception, and the development of language, development of theory of mind, development of memory, understanding the fantasy-reality distinction, education and development, risk and resilience, attachment and parenting, identity, self and gender development.

Learning and teaching

Students will gain core knowledge and understanding of the topics through lectures, but deeper understanding, evaluation and skill development will be promoted through directed study of recommended reading material, seminars, and online resources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will:
1) possess systematic in-depth knowledge and critical awareness of a range of core topic areas and related research in developmental and cognitive psychology;
2) have comprehensive knowledge and critical awareness of a range of different research methods used in cognitive and developmental psychology;
3) be able to summarise and evaluate critically theoretical developments in cognitive and developmental psychology in the light of empirical evidence.

Assessment strategy

The two areas (cognitive psychology and developmental psychology) are separately and equally assessed.  Each is assessed through a piece of coursework and one long-essay question in an unseen examination.  Both pieces of assessment address all learning outcomes.


Baddeley, A, Eysenck, M. and Anderson, M. (2009). Memory. Hove: Psychology Press.
Goldstein, E. B. (2008). Cognitive Psychology. Belmont, Ca, USA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Hardman, D. (2009). Judgment and decision making. Oxford: Blackwell.
Harley, T. (2008). The psychology of language (3rd ed.). Hove: Psychology Press.
Quinlan, P. & Dyson, B. (2008). Cognitive Psychology. Harlow, Essex, UK: Pearson.
Croker, S. (2012). The Development of Cognition. Hampshire: Cengage Learning.
Gillibrand, R., Lam, V., & O’Donnell, V. (2011). Developmental Psychology. Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Harris, P. (2003) The Work of the Imagination. Oxford: Blackwell,
Smith, P.K., Cowie, H., & Blades, M. (2003) Understanding Children’s Development (5th Edition).  Blackwell.