03079 - Developmental Psychology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to:

1. Differentiate key concepts and theories within developmental psychology.

2. Demonstrate knowledge of the scientific method, research designs, and typical developmental psychology studies.

3.  Discuss the nature x culture interaction.

4. Illustrate differences among physical, psychological, and social frames of development.

5. Identify the primary tools the infant has for exploring the world.

6. Demonstrate knowledge of Piaget's four periods of cognitive development by providing specific examples in each period.

7. Illustrate the similarities between human and machine information processing hardware and software.

8. Differentiate among primary aspects of socioemotional development: trust/mistrust, emotions, gender roles/identity in infancy and childhood.

9. Demonstrate the general physical and cognitive development of school-age children, including aptitudes, academic skills, and special children.

10. Demonstrate the general physical and cognitive development of middle childhood, including family relationships, peer relationships, and stereotypes.

11. Illustrate physical, psychological, and social issues related to rites of passage, including pubertal changes, health, cognition, and moral reasoning.

12. Demonstrate socioemotional development issues in adolescence, including identity/self esteem, romantic relationships, work, and dependency of drugs, depression, and delinquency.

13. Explain the major physical, cognitive, and personality development issues of becoming an adult.


Course contents

During the course, the students will be asked to learn the main developmnetal theories, as well as the main developmental milestones. In particular these are the course main contents: 

Theoretical issues of Developmental Psychology

 Research methods and designs

 Biological factors and prenatal development 

The development of sensory and perceptual functions

 The development of knowledge according to Piaget, Vygostsky and HIP approaches 

Language and communicative development

 Emotional and social development

 Peer relationships in prescool and schoolage children: play, friendship, peer cultures

 bullying and cyberbullying


1. Santrock – Psicologia dello sviluppo – 3° edizione con Connect (ISBN 9788838615603) a cura di D. Rollo, McGraw Hill 2017. Inside this edition, the student will find an interactive learning tool (available also in english) that will allow a customized learning experience with an online test bank and an interactive e-book where the most relevant concepts of each topic will be highlined.

Concernig this handbook, do not study chapters 11,12,15.

2.Genta M.L., Brighi A., Guarini A., (2009). Il Bullismo elettronico, Roma Carocci. Only chapters n. 1,2,3,4 (pp. 23-88) must be studied.

3. Genta M.L., Brighi A., Guarini A., (2013). Il cyberbullismo, ricerche e strategie di intervento, Milano, FrancoAngeli. Only chapters. 5 (pp.62-74), 7 and 8 (pp. 91-121) must be studied.

4. Celi, Fontana, Psicopatologia dello sviluppo- Storie di bambini e psicoterapia, (2015), Mc Graw-Hill, 3° Edizione, STUDY only the following chapters: 1, 5, 7

suggested integrative reading:

 5. Linee guida per il diritto allo studio degli alunni e degli studenti con Disturbi Specifici di Apprendimento. Ministero dell'istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca. Allegate al Decreto Ministeriale 12 Luglio 2011. Testo disponibile nel sito http://hubmiur.pubblica.istruzione.it/alfresco/d/d/workspace/SpacesStore/76957d8d-4e63-4a21-bfef-0b41d6863c9a/linee_guida_sui_dsa_12luglio2011.pdf

Teaching methods

Lessons, discussion of clinical cases, discussion on multimedial didactic products, supplying materials for individual study.

Assessment methods

The examination aims to assess the achievement of the following learning objectives:

· In-depth knowledge of development theories, knowing how to illustrate the themes, methods and content in a critical way, and developing comparisons between different authors.

· Ability to use this knowledge to discuss the different areas of development (emotional, social, cognitive, language) using a specific and appropriate language.

· Ability to use the knowledge related to the development in order to interpret problematic situations and suggest possible interventions.

The examination is performed in writing and includes an assessment of thirty/30. In addition to responding to some questions (two), about theories that relate to the areas of development, students will be proposed a "case study" in which they will demonstrate their ability to apply the tools (theoretical and methodological) acquired to draft a plan of action or critically discuss the case, using a specific language appropriately and proposing possible solutions theoretically founded. Alternatively, students can choose to answer to 5 open ended questions concerning the whole programme. By way of example, the handbook by Santrock has an exercise area for students, which has some cases and multiple-choice questions on the various chapters of the manual, on which to practice independently (http://www.ateneonline.it/santrock).

The final evaluation shall be constituted by  the arithmetic average of the valuations obtained in each individual question and discussion of case study and therefore relates to the whole exam. The student will be able to undertake the exam (and also provide the maximum grade) without attending the course. During the test, lasting 90 minutes, is not allowed the use of support material such as textbooks, notes, computer media. Only for students who present an LD, supported by appropriate certification, there will be possible to provide oral examinations or with the help of computer specially provided by the university. Students must then notify the teacher at least 15 days prior to the incurrence of the examination and to agree arrangements for individualized verification. The exam registration is required via bulletin board, in compliance with mandatory deadlines of the university of Bologna. Those who do not succeed to enroll by the due date, are required to report promptly (and in any event before the official closing of the subscription lists) the problem to the Secretary's office. The teacher shall have the right to admit to the examinations.

The verbalization of the evaluation test are possible after the acceptance of the evaluation on Almaesami. It is possible to examine the test and ask for clarification about the evaluation in one month following the call in which you took the exam.

For detailed information about verbalization of exams, see also the website of the professor. Graduating students who pass the exam and need to verbalize the vote in advance of the scheduled date, are invited to notify the teacher by means of an e-mail message to be sent immediately after passing the test.

Erasmus students are asked to undertake the exam in Italian language.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations will enrich the discussion of the contents allowing students to focus on core concepts of the lesson. Moreover, videos on developmental phases or skills will be used. A selection of power point presentations will be uploaded on the section "Didactic tools" of the course.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Antonella Brighi

See the website of Annalisa Guarini