Vienna Project on Child Development: Culture and Developmental Psychology

You are here

Course Information
Discipline(s): 
Psychology
Terms offered: 
Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 

None

 

Description: 

Studying in Vienna is a perfect opportunity to get to know another culture and at the same time become more aware of your own culture. Therefore the course emphasizes the cultural influence on human development. Particular attention is given to language acquisition, cognitive and moral development. The course includes a session on the basics of methodology in the field of developmental psychology.

Attendance policy: 

See IES Abraod Vienna Attendance Policy.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Give an account of different theories of development;
  • Give an account of the methods of research employed in developmental psychology;
  • Compare developmental phenomena among different cultures;
  • Look closer at education as a cultural universal;
  • Design, conduct and discuss a small study;
  • Give an extensive account of language acquisition and related developmental disorders;
  • Compare and assess various viewpoints on cognitive development;
  • Give an account of topics related to moral development

 

Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures
  • Class discussions
  • Group work
  • Excursion
  • Design and conduct of a (simple) study in the field of developmental psychology

 

Required work and form of assessment: 

For some units students will be given reading assignments. Students will be told in advance when to prepare the readings. Copies of the required reading are on reserve in the library or provided on handouts.

Students are required to design, conduct and discuss a psychological study in the field of developmental psychology.
Information concerning excursions will be given in advance.

Students will have to complete a final exam that includes questions on the reading assignments, the project, the excursion and a personal reflection of their observations.

  • Class participation - 30%
  • Project presentation - 20%
  • Mid-term-test - 20%
  • Final exam - 30%

 

content: 
Session Topic Readings
1
  • Introduction and overview: culture and development
  • how do we create knowledge about cultural human development?
  • nature versus nurture: from behaviorism to cognitivism
  • what is cultural psychology?

Recommended reading:

  • Valsiner, J.: Culture and Human Development. London: Sage, 2000, pp. 1-4, introduction
  • Valsiner, J.: Culture and Human Development. London: Sage, 2000, pp. 49 – 60, chapter 4, “Culture and Development”
  • Crain, W. (2004): Theories of development. Concepts and Applications. 5th edition, Prentice Hall, chapter 17
2
  • Psychological Methodology: how does psychological research get done? – illustrated with important research studies in developmental psychology

Reading assignment:

  • Banyard, P. and Grayson, A. (2000): Introducing Psychological Research. Second Edition, Palgrave, pp. 419-50, chapter 20, “Methodology: how does psychological research get done?”
  • Banyard, P. and Grayson, A. (2000): Introducing Psychological Research. Second Edition, Palgrave, pp. 213-285, Part IV “Developmental Psychology”.
3
  • Education as a cultural universal: Comparing parameters of education in different cultures
  • Project: How to conduct your study

Reading assignment:

  • Crain, W. (2004): Theories of development. Concepts and Applications. 5th edition, Prentice Hall, chapter 4
4
  • Excursion: you will meet up with Austrian students in order to discuss matters of education.
 
5
  • Language acquisition I: introducing the mysteries of psycholinguistics
  • What babies learn about language, even before they are born
  • Learning to discriminate between different sounds

Reading assignment:

  • Altmann, G.T.M. (1999): The Ascent of Babel. An exploration of language, mind and understanding. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 1-10, chapter 1, pp. 10 -22, chapter 2, pp. 22-32, chapter 3.
6
  • Midterm
 
7
  • Language acquisition II: words and what we learn to do with them
  •  The concepts associated with “understanding” and “meaning”

Reading assignment:

  • Altmann, G.T.M. (1999): The Ascent of Babel. An exploration of language, mind and understanding. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 32-54, chapter 4, pp. 117-139, chapter 9
8
  • Developmental disorders: Specific language impairment and dyslexia – when it all goes wrong

Reading assignment:

  • Altmann, G.T.M. (1999): The Ascent of Babel. An exploration of language, mind and understanding. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 181 – 205, chapter 12.
9
  • Cognitive development: Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory
  • Vygotsky’s social-historical theory of cognitive development
  • Asking only one question in the conservation experiment.

Reading assignment:

  • Crain, W. (2004): Theories of development. Concepts and Applications. 5th edition, Prentice Hall, chapter 6, “Piaget’s cognitive-developmental theory“ and chapter 10, “Vygotsky’s social-historical theory of cognitive development”.
  • Banyard, P. and Grayson, A. (2000): Introducing Psychological Research. Second Edition, Palgrave, pp. 259-264. “Piaget’s cognitive approach”
10
  • Moral development: Kohlberg’s stages of moral development
  •  The moral principle of justice and care

Reading assignment:

  • Crain, W. (2004): Theories of development. Concepts and Applications. 5th edition, Prentice Hall, chapter 7, “Kohlberg’s stages of moral development”
  • Banyard, P. and Grayson, A. (2000): Introducing Psychological Research. Second Edition, Palgrave, pp. 235-252, “Moral development”
11
  • Presenting and discussing the ideas behind and the results of your studies.
 
12
  • Final Exam
 

 

 

Required readings: 
  • Banyard, P. and Grayson, A. (2000): Introducing Psychological Research. Second Edition, Palgrave, part IV, “Developmental Psychology”
  • Crain, W. (2004): Theories of development. Concepts and Applications. 5th edition, Prentice Hall, chapter 1, “early theories”, chapter 3, “Ethological theories”
  • Valsiner, J. (2000): Culture and Human Development. London: Sage, pp. 271 - 300, chapter 13, “Adolescence: Moving into Adulthood”