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EDUC / PSYC / SOC 430: Human Development in Culture

Important Note: This course was formerly PYHD 430.

Course Description and Objectives

This course provides students with an overview of main approaches in human development. Students are introduced to psychological and anthropological theories about childhood and the role of culture. The course content reflects the fact that “culture” means different things to different people and is conceptualized at many different levels of organization, from the national and supra-national (e.g., Asian vs. Western) to home, family, and local community. The readings cover different areas within the psychological sciences, including developmental, educational, social, and cognitive psychology. Implications and limitations of such studies will be amply discussed in class. While learning about theories and methods, students will use contemporary research tools for analyzing scientific publications about childhood and human development. 

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify some of the main approaches used by scholars for studying cognitive and emotional development;
  • Recognize methodologies employed by social scientists interested in childhood and adolescence;
  • Use research tools for carrying out a literature analysis, particularly PubMed and PsycNet;
  • Examine the structure, content, and goal of research articles about human behavior;
  • Carry out a comparison between research articles, highlighting differences and similarities.

Service Learning Project
Students will investigate the principles and psychological outcomes of the Italian and American education systems through theoretical and direct experience in the Italian classroom setting. Students will prepare and lead cultural-based English language activities in a middle school class at the Scuola Media Statale “Ugo Foscolo”. This will allow students to collect data on students’ responses and interactions while teaching a language.

Course Materials
A course reader, including all the indicated readings, will be available. The course’s Moodle site is the primary location for readings and assignments.

Course Fee
$ 5