Skip to main content


Cognitive and Developmental Psychology

Module titleCognitive and Developmental Psychology
Module codeERPM006
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Shirley Larkin (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module provides an introduction to cognitive and developmental psychology. These concern a study of mental processes and the changes that happen as we grow.

Through research-led teaching in combined seminar and lecture sessions you will be introduced to a variety of different perspectives in order to develop your knowledge and understanding of cognition and development in infancy, childhood and adolescence.

The fundamental topics covered in these sessions might include: social and emotional development, language and cognition, developing minds, intelligence and metacognition. The module will introduce you to classical and contemporary theoretical viewpoints and it will offer you an opportunity to engage with recent research in the field. You will also be encouraged to apply this knowledge and understanding to key societal issues (e.g. implications for education and wider society).

This module is a compulsory module for MSc Psychology Conversion programme students and it has no pre-requisites.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the module will be to introduce you to the study of cognition and development.

As well as being introduced to some of the ways in which psychologists study development (including, for example, observational and experimental procedures, longitudinal and cross-sectional methods) you will also be introduced to a range of theoretical viewpoints which relate to these areas of study. You will be encouraged to apply these viewpoints to some of the major questions which have been raised in relation to cognition and development. This might include, for example, the roles of nature and nurture, stages of intellectual development and the development of language and social cognition. You will also be asked to examine the empirical research evidence relating to these key topics, including data which may derive from adult participants.

A major aim of the module will be for you to begin to understand what children and adolescents are like, what informs their understanding and how methods are used to build an effective and authoritative body of empirical research knowledge on them. You will be presented with ideas about children and childhood – relating both to their views and experiences, and those of the adults who might teach or parent them. This knowledge and understanding will prepare you to comment on and address some of the most pressing issues relating to young people in our society today.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. describe basic concepts and findings in the area of cognitive development
  • 2. describe basic concepts and findings concerning human cognition
  • 3. indicate familiarity with a range of key theoretical viewpoints relating to development and cognition
  • 4. identify research designs and methods suitable for studying cognitive development, and for use with children and adolescents
  • 5. give examples of key empirical studies which have addressed some of the major societal questions relating to cognition and development

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. demonstrate good basic knowledge and understanding of the conceptual issues which are central to the subject
  • 7. review and evaluate empirical research evidence and published literature in the field of study, identifying strengths and weaknesses
  • 8. address problems critically, creatively and systematically
  • 9. apply theory and consider empirical research evidence in relation to ‘real world’ problems in order to identify potential solutions or new areas of investigation

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. develop logical and coherent arguments in your written work
  • 11. evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses, making use of peer and tutor feedback
  • 12. manage your time effectively and undertake essential study tasks, making use of the guidance available

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary over time, the syllabus will consider a range of issues that relate to both cognition and development. The syllabus will consider theory, research and methodology in these areas of study. Content is likely to maintain a focus on:

-       Research approaches for the investigation of cognition and development, particularly in relation to children and young people

-       Classic and contemporary theoretical perspectives in cognitive and developmental psychology

-       Major issues addressed by cognitive and developmental psychologists (e.g. intellectual development, memory, developmental stages, intelligence and metacognition)

-      ‘Real world’ problems of concern to cognitive and developmental psychologists (e.g. behaviour, thought, language, attention and control)

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching33Combined seminar and lecture sessions
Guided Independent Study25Reading (textbooks, journal articles, web resources and lecture slides) in preparation for taught sessions and for assessment
Guided Independent Study65Work on formative and summative assessment
Guided Independent Study10Collation and review of lecture and seminar materials
Guided Independent Study17Undertaking additional class tasks and activities (e.g. on ELE) and preparing for seminars


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment (essay outline for summative assessment and reference list)1,000 words1-3, 5-12Written comments

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written Assignment (Essay)1004,000 words1-12Written feedback and grade


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written Assignment (Essay)Written Assignment (Essay) (4,000 words)1-12August/September reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

Where you have been referred/deferred in your written assignment you will be required to resubmit it in the August referral and deferral period. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%; deferred marks are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative basic reading list:

  • Slater, A. and Bremner, G. (2011, 2nd Edition). Introduction to human development. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. [There are many copies of the 1st edition in the library and this is still fine.]
  • Goldstein, E.B. (2015, 4th Edition) Cognitive Psychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning (International edition paperback).
  • Eysenck MW and Keane MT (2015, 7th Edition). Cognitive Psychology: A student handbook. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-1-84169-540-2 paperback).
  • Pinker, S. (1997) How the mind works. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-024491-3 (paperback)
  • Slater, A. and Lewis, M. (2007). Introduction to infant development, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE page -

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Psychology, cognition, cognitive, development, developmental, memory, thinking, mind, intelligence

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date