PYHD 430: Human Development in Culture

Instructor: Christian Tarchi - Ph.D.
Credits: 3
Course/Lab Fee: Course reader fee announced by the Print Shop
Prerequisite: None
Cross-Listing: Courses with Service Learning Components, Education, Psychology

Course Description and Objectives
This course explores the ecology of human development, or the complex interaction of a constantly changing organism and the environment.You will be introduced to theory related to the ecology of human development (i.e. normative physical, intellectual, language, emotional and social development, and the impact of culture on each).


You will be encouraged to practice the language of psychology  in order to carry out academic social research. In studying this subject you will be given the opportunity to reflect on the notion that even though individuals and groups of individuals differ from one another, some ideas, values and behaviors may be universally shared by humans in all cultures (e.g. the capacity to learn a language, raise children and fall in love!) In particular, you will apply this reflective process to your own experience of cultural development in Italy. This course is ideal for students majoring in psychology, education, or for those who wish to carry out independent study.


All the people like us are WE, and everyone else is THEY;

And THEY live over the sea, while WE live over the way.

But – would you believe it? – They look upon WE as only a sort of THEY.

– Rudyard Kipling


Umbra Institute--Alexis Juergensen CapitalService Learning Project Description

Students investigate the principles and psychological outcomes of the Italian, Montessori, and American education systems through theoretical and direct experience in the Italian classroom setting. The class will first visit a Montessori elementary school in Perugia to observe how students and teachers interact as well as the classroom organization, style, and activities to gather data for an ethnographic research project on the implicit school curriculum. For the second visit, students prepare and lead English language activities in the classroom collecting information on students’ responses and interactions while teaching the language.


Course Materials

Mandatory course reader including:

Heine, S.J. (2008), Cultural Psychology . New York: W.W. Norton & Company

De Vijver, F.J.R., Chasiotis, A. & Breugelmans, S.M. (2011). Fundamental questions of cross-cultural psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of human development. New York, US: Oxford University Press

Matsumoto, D. & Juang, L. (2004). Culture and Psychology, 3rd Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning

Gannon, M.J. & Pillai, R. (2012). Understanding Global Cultures: Metaphorical Journeys Through 31 Nations, Clusters of Nations, Continents, and Diversity. Thousand Oaks, US: SAGE Publications, Inc.]


Field Trip

Students will take a day trip to local schools around Perugia.