7. Developmental psychology

This chapter looks at the field of developmental psychology.  This is done through the lenses of the biological, cognitive and sociocultural approaches.

Students study three general areas of developmental psychology: cognitive development, social development and identity development.

Each chapter is divided into smaller sections with quizzes to test for mastery of key vocabulary and "checking for understanding" questions with sample answers to check for broader conceptual understanding.

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Chapter 7.1 Developing as a learner

This chapter looks at cognitive development over the period from birth to young adulthood and the parallel changes in the brain.  The key topics of study are:

  • Theories of cognitive development: Piaget and Vygotsky
  • Brain development from infancy to adulthood
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Chapter 7.2 Influences on cognitive and social development

This chapter examines classic theories of social development and then looks at how environmental and social factors have an overall effect on our development. The key topics of study are:

  • Eriksonian theory of psychosocial development
  • The role of peers and play on development
  • The role of childhood trauma on development
  • Theories of resilience
  • The role of poverty and socio-economic status on development

Chapter 7.3 Developing an identity

This final chapter looks at different aspects of our identity and how these develop over childhood and into adulthood. The key topics of study are:

  • Attachment theory
  • Gender identity
  • Social roles
  • Development of empathy
  • Theory of mind
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Comments 3

Sara Dean 24 August 2018 - 14:45

Hi John,

Can I clarify something in the new syllabus in regards to the options? In the past, the first two general learning outcomes asked students to apply bio, cog, or s-c approaches to a topic; discuss research pertaining to a topic, etc. With the new syllabus, while these items are in the guidance, can they ask those types of questions? I was under the impression that questions could only come from the content column and the guidance, was just that, guidance.

Thank you always for your insight and knowledge. I appreciate you very much.


John Crane 25 August 2018 - 06:08

Dear Sara

That is what we were told - but then the specimen paper showed that this may not be true. We are still waiting for clarification on this. At this point, I would make sure that you integrate biological, cognitive and social approaches into your unit. This is why I am only teaching health issues, etiologies of abnormal behaviour and relationships (interpersonal only). In this way I can make sure that I apply those approaches without having to worry about some strange application like biological factors in diagnosis.

Sara Dean 29 August 2018 - 11:54

Thank you!