Psychology 4430-001: Infant and Child Development

Fall 2013/Brackett 214/Monday Wednesday Friday 10:10 AM to 11:00 AM

Course Description:

Welcome to our Infant and Child Development course. It is meant to be an advanced treatment of the subject, so Psychology 340 (Life-Span Development) is the usual prerequisite. (If you haven't taken Psych 340, but you do have a reasonable background in Psychology or Education, this course may still be right for you—you should check with me to make sure.)

The purpose of this course is to give you a chance to investigate Infant and Child Development in greater depth. The research literature in these areas is rich in data and theory, so that shouldn't be hard to do. We will use a standard infant and child textbook, but I will supplement this with many examples from the broader literature; the lectures and class discussions will be organized around certain topics that we will explore in depth. You will also be getting more acquainted with this literature, by giving a brief presentaiton in class about a research article that interests you, and writing a research paper on some aspect of child development that interests you.

I hope to work fairly closely with you on the ideas and writing style that you use in this project.


Tests and other assessment:

There are four tests in this course, one of which will be the final; each will consist of 4 or 5 essay questions. I distribute lists of possible essay questions three class periods before each test, so you won't be in the dark about the kinds of short essays you'll need to be prepared to write. In addition, each of you will be asked to do some research on an area of infant and child development that interests you and give a PowerPoint presentation about it in class (roughly 15 minutes long). I will provide guidance about possible topics and about sources to consult; your "deliverables" are the in-class presentation and the final version of your PowerPoints.

Your final grade will be determined as follows (our extra credit arrangement is discussed farther down):

Item % of
Final Grade
TEST 1 20%
TEST 2 20%
TEST 3 20%
EXTRA CREDIT Add up to 5%


Your tests and your presentation are meant to be your individual work. (It's fine to discuss the presentation with other people, but the PowerPoints must be yours alone.) If you cheat, I will take action against you according to Clemson University policy.


I do not have a formal attendance policy. That doesn't make it a good idea to skip class! Much of the material in this course will be presented in lectures and discussions, not in the textbook. And you don't do your fellow students a favor by skipping their presentations; please be there for them. If you know in advance that major circumstances will prevent you from taking a test on schedule, notify me (email will help us avoid the dreaded "telephone tag") and we will arrange a makeup.

Learning outcomes

Expected learning outcomes for Psychology 443 include, but are not limited to:

  • » Understand developmental changes in human thought, feeling, and action from conception through middle childhood
  • » Better understand the interaction of heredity and environment
  • » Use scientific principles and evidence to resolve conflicting claims about infant and child development
  • » Articulate strengths and limitations of various methods for doing empirical research in developmental psychology, including distinguishing between qualitative and quantitative methods
  • » Identify appropriate applications of developmental psychology in solving problems; e..g, in education or children's health

Extra credit

My colleagues and I encourage you to participate in empirical studies being carried out in the Psychology Department. These not only give you a direct acquaintance with empirical research in psychology, but may also give you an opportunity to support your fellow Psych majors who are participating in research teams, doing independent studies, or doing honors research. You can sign up online for some studies that are being conducted in the department; your credit for these will be tracked on the computer. You will receive 1/4 point extra credit for each increment of up to 15 minutes; the maximum is 20 15-minute units, or 5 points added to your final grade (to keep things simple, I always keep track of final grades on a scale of 0 to 100).

Our Lab Schedule

Date Topic Reading
Wednesday August 21 What Is development? Siegler et al. Ch. 1
Friday August 23 What Is development? Siegler et al. Ch. 1
Monday August 26 Prenatal development Ch. 2 Tue. Aug. 27 is Last day to add
Wednesday August 28 Prenatal development Ch. 2
Friday August 30 Prenatal development Ch. 2
Wednesday September 4 Prenatal development Ch. 2
Friday September 6 The newborn Ch. 3
Monday September 9 The newborn Ch. 3
Wednesday September 11 Biology and development Ch. 5
Friday September 13 TEST 1 Ch. 1-3
Monday September 16 Biology and development Ch. 4
Wednesday September 18 Biology and development Ch. 4
Friday September 20 Biology and development Ch. 4
Monday September 23 Biology and development Ch. 4
Wednesday September 25 Biology and development Ch. 4
Friday September 27
Infant perception Ch. 5
Monday September 30 Infant perception Ch. 5
Wednesday October 2 Infant perception Ch. 5
Friday October 4 Infant cognition Ch. 5
Monday October 7 Infant cognition Ch. 5
Wednesday October 9 Infant cognition Ch. 5
Friday October 11 TEST 2 Ch. 4-5
Monday-Tuesday October 14-15 FALL BREAK -
Wednesday October 16 Language development Ch. 6
Friday October 18 Language development Ch. 6
Monday October 21 Language development Ch. 6
Wednesday October 23 Language development Ch. 6
Friday October 25 Language development Ch. 6
Monday October 28 Language development Ch. 6 Tuesday October 29 is the last day to drop without a final grade
Wednesday October 30 Piagetian theory Ch. 4
Friday November 1 Piagetian theory Ch. 4
Monday November 4 Piagetian theory Ch. 4
Wednesday November 6 Information processing theory Ch. 7
Friday November 8 Information processing theory Ch. 7
Monday November 11 Conceptual development Ch. 11
Wednesday November 13 Conceptual development Ch. 11
Friday November 15 Attachment / Temperament Ch. 10
Monday November 18 TEST 3 Ch. 4-7, 11
Wednesday November 20 The child's "theory of mind" Ch. 11
Friday November 22 Development of the self Ch. 12
Monday November 25 The family Ch. 12
Wednesday-Friday November 27-29 THANKSGIVING -
Monday December 2 The family Ch. 12
Wednesday December 4 Peer relationships Ch. 13
Friday December 6 Peer relationships Ch. 13
Tue. December 10 3:00 PM FINAL EXAM Everything