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    Exploration of theoretical and methodological issues in modern developmental psychology.

    A developmental perspective is critical to understanding any area of psychology. From the origins of mirror neurons to explaining our fundamental need to belong to groups, a developmental perspective provides critical information that helps to answer questions regarding the origins of human traits. PSYC 427 aims to not only build understanding of common development topics (e.g. the impact of media on executive function) but also demonstrate how a development perspective can help us answer questions across multiple areas of psychology.

    About this paper

    Paper title Topical Issues in Child 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 467

    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.


    Dr Damian Scarf (

    Teaching staff

    Dr Damian Scarf

    Paper Structure

    Nine classes will consist of a 90-minute lecture followed by a 60-minute class discussion. Three classes will consist of a mini-conference in which students present a research paper to the class.

    Students meet for three hours each week. The paper requires engagement in the material and active in-class participation. Below is an example course outline. The exact topics will change from year to year.

    1. Are we born with an innate moral compass?
    2. Does prenatal stimulation and Baby Mozart make children smarter?
    3. Does fast-paced media impact children's executive function?
    4. Should children watch Sesame Street?
    5. Can children's drawings be used as a projective measure?
    6. Was the Crack Baby Epidemic real?
    7. Is any amount of alcohol safe during pregnancy?
    8. Are we born with a need to belong to groups?
    9. How does poverty impact behaviour and development?
    10. Hot topic in developmental psychology


    • Class participation 10%
    • Oral presentation (20 minutes) 10%
    • Essay (2,000 words) 20%
    • Examination (3 hours) 60%

    Note: The grade for class participation will reflect the degree to which students actively contribute to class discussions, raise questions during lectures, and ask other students questions following their class presentation.

    Teaching Arrangements

    This is a one-semester paper consisting of lectures and class discussions.


    Textbooks are not required. Readings will be primary articles and reviews.

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

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    • Understand how a developmental perspective can help answer questions in multiple domains of psychology
    • Engage in critical analysis and scientific discussions regarding research findings in developmental psychology
    • Develop oral presentation skills


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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