PSYC 250: Child Development

Child development is characterized by an increase in biological, behavioral, and intellectual complexity. In this course, we seek to understand how new capabilities emerge in each of these domains, and how they change from infancy to adulthood. Consider changes that take place in self-concept. The young child who describes himself as “six years old, black, and a good boy” matures into an adolescent who defines his identity as “self-reliant, liberal, and creative.” What accounts for these changes? In this course, we will explore the theories, methods, and research findings that aim to answer this and similar questions about child development.

To register for the course, you must have completed the prerequisite of an introductory psychology course (such as PSYC 101) or have permission of the instructor. Some familiarity with the material from this course will be assumed, but we also briefly review relevant information at various points in the course.

You should not register for this course if you are expecting it to provide a “how to” guide for parenting. Although we will touch upon issues such as discipline, moral development, and intellectual development, we will be focusing primarily on the development of the child, and not explicitly on the practices of the parent. You can, however, expect to gain general knowledge about factors that facilitate or interfere with normal development.

You should not register for this course if your primary interest is in developmental disorders or psychopathology (such as autism or attention-deficit disorder). We will talk about these disorders, but mainly for what they tell us about normal development.

Required Text:

  • Hetherington, Parke, Gauvain, and Locke, Child Psychology: A Contemporary Viewpoint, 6th edition (2006), ISBN 978-0073012315

View a sample course syllabus.

Contact the Friday Center at with any questions or for more information.

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