03079 - Developmental Psychology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the scientific method and research designs in developmental psychology.

2. Differentiate key concepts and theories within developmental psychology  with particular attention to the following fields: motor, communication, language, cognition, emotion and relational skills.

3. Know the phases of psychological development from the first years of life up to adolescence.

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

5. Identify the basic psychological needs for developing well-being in infants, children and adolescents.

6. Recognize the complex interactions between risk and protective factors during development. 

7. Develop theoretical and methodological competencies to build positive dyadic and group relationships.

8. Know observational tools and methodologies in educational settings.

9. Demonstrate skills in developing educational projects.

10. Use bibliographic sources to update the professional knowledge.

Course contents

 Main theoretical approaches:

  • Piaget
  • Vygotskij
  • Bruner
  • Karmiloff-Smith and neuroconstructivism


  • Research designs in Developmental Psychology
  • Observation

Developmental domains:

  • Communication and language
  • Emotional and affective development
  • Self-consciouness

Different contexts:

  • Family
  • School and peers
  • Culture and new technology


1. Santrock J. W. (2017). Psicologia dello Sviluppo (terza ediz.). Milano: McGraw-Hill. Chapters: 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15

2. Westermann, G., Mareschal, D., Johnson, M.H., Sirois, S., Spratling, M.W., Thomas, M.S.C. (2007). Neuroconstructivism. Developmental Science, 10, 75-83.

Teaching methods

The lectures will be supplemented by group discussion and short video.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of four open questions requiring written answers (90 minutes). The maximum score for the exam is 30 with honors and 18/30 is the minimum score to pass the exam.

For each question a maximum score of 7.5 point will be attributed following these criteria: 1) completeness of responses; 2) consistency of the responses; 3) the ability of personal reflection; 4) appropriate lexicon and morphosyntax.

Students have to enroll in the exam on Almaesami website.

If the student did not pass the exam, he/she can enroll in the next.

Teaching tools

The lectures will be supported by the use of Power Point and of the videoprojector. The videoprojector will also be used to show short videos in the classroom related to the topics of the course.

Office hours

See the website of Annalisa Guarini

See the website of Consuelo Mameli