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    Exploration of biological, social and cultural contexts of child and adolescent development from theoretical and applied perspectives.

    PSYC 424 Contexts of Development is a seminar paper designed to give postgraduate students a deeper understanding of biological, social, and cultural influences on child and adolescent development. The paper explores the way that different environmental contexts - from the antenatal environment to home, school, community, and cultural environments - interact with genetic influences to shape child and adolescent development. This paper will explore current theories of child and adolescent development and will cover topics such as the antenatal environment and infant development, parent-child interactions and child development, and the role of peers and media in child and adolescent development. The paper will be useful for students going on to work in virtually any area of psychology, whether it is research, policy, or practice.

    About this paper

    Paper title Contexts of Development
    Subject Psychology
    EFTS 0.0833
    Points 10 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $723.96
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    PSYC 464

    Entry into Psychology 400-level normally requires a major in Psychology, a B+ average or higher in Psychology 300-level papers, and a pass in PSYC 311 Quantitative Methods. We highly recommend that students have completed PSYC 310. Students from other universities must show evidence of an equivalent level of competence.


    Professor Elaine Reese (

    Teaching staff

    Professor Elaine Reese

    Paper Structure

    The paper will be run primarily as a seminar class, with brief lectures if necessary at the beginning of each class, followed by group discussion of the assigned readings. Quality of participation in group discussions will be marked after each class (2% for each of the 8 discussion classes). In two mini-conferences across the semester, students will present their independent research on a child development topic of their choice (20%) and will submit a written report on their analysis within 2 weeks of the presentation (34%). The 2-hour final exam will assess students' knowledge of theories of child development and their ability to apply that knowledge to everyday situations with children and adolescents in different contexts (30%).


    • Class participation (16%)
    • Mini-conference presentation (20%)
    • Written report (34%)
    • Final Exam (open-book/open-note) 30%

    Target readings will be posted to eReserve.

    Recommended: American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Available for purchase at:

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:

    1. Understand prominent theories of child development and apply those theories to everyday issues that parents and teachers face (Scholarship, Information Literacy, Critical Thinking)
    2. Critically evaluate research and apply that knowledge to policy (Critical Thinking, Research)
    3. Consider the role of culture in child and adolescent development around the world (Cultural Understanding)
    4. Express their knowledge orally and in written assignments (Communication)


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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