Syllabus - Brandeis University

PSYC 33a: Developmental Psychology, Fall 2014
Golding Judaica Center 110, Tues. and Fri. 12:30-1:50pm
(Syllabus is subject to change at the professor’s discretion. Any changes will be posted on LATTE)
Dr. Stephanie Wasserman a.k.a. “Dr.W” Office: Brown 105
Drop-in office hours: Wed. 3:15-4:15 and Fri. 2:15-3:15
Graduate Teaching Assistants:
William Goodman:
Office hour: Tues. 11:30 – 12:30pm, Brown 4
Yuliya Kuras:
Office hour: Mon 12:00-1:00pm,
Brown 4
Stephanie Robinson: Office hour: Wed. 12;00 – 1:00pm, Brown 2
Course Description: An examination of normal child development from conception through adolescence. Course
will focus on theoretical issues and processes of development with an emphasis on how biological and
environmental influences interact. Pre-requisites: PSYC 10a (previously PSYC 1a)
Learning Goals: On successful completion of this course we hope that you will be able to articulate your
knowledge and critical thinking in the following areas.
1.) Can mutually exclusive paradigms in Developmental Psychology lead to differing conclusions, yet also
sometimes converge to provide deep insights? How does this approach further our understanding of
issues in development?
2.) How are certain fundamental arguments in the study of Developmental Psychology similar? How are they
different? Can the debates be resolved? Several significant debates include: active vs. passive
development, nature vs. nurture, and continuity vs. discontinuity.
3.) How are research questions asked and answered in Developmental Psychology? What evidence supports
the salient theories within the field? How does one critically analyze research findings and use
psychological evidence to coherently argue a position on the issues?
4.) How do theories relate to the 4 developmental domains (physical, cognitive, social and personality)? How
do they address issues associated with the 5 age-related periods of development (prenatal, infancy, early
childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence)?
5.) What experiential insights arise by raising a virtual child on your own via
from 0-18 years of age?
Core Skills:
1.) How do methodological concepts affect both study design and research conclusions?
Some concepts include: Research Question, Construct, Operational definition, Independent Variable,
Dependent Variable, Null Hypothesis, Research Hypothesis.
2.) What skills support successful small group presentation design and delivery?
Social Justice:
1.) What actions of parenting, education, and intervention will help provide a just and optimal life for
Teaching Strategies: lecture, class discussions, My Virtual Life computer simulation (ages 0-18) , small group
Parenting Forum Presentations, My Psych Lab, short video clips, journal article discussions, and Just -In -TimeTeaching a.k.a. QTs.
Required Readings:
Boyd,D. and Bee,H. (2015). Lifespan Development (7thed.). Pearson Pub.
Specific journal articles will be made available via LATTE.
Timely arrival: Please be in your seats by 12:30pm so that the lecture can begin on time and the instructor is not
distracted by the door opening and closing, opening and closing, opening and…
Excused absence policy: Attendance is important to your grade and missing classes can make a dent, both in your
final grade and your grasp of crucial lecture material important to the exams and essays. Each student, however, is
allowed two excused absences. To apply for an excused absence, please e-mail William Goodman at least 2 hours
before class begins. A doctor’s note is ideal in cases of illness, but we understand there are some circumstances
where it may not be possible.
William Goodman at
Cell phone policy: The use of cell phones in class, for talking, texting or reading/writing email is prohibited. If you
wish to leave your cell phone on “silent” mode because of an ongoing emergency situation that you may need to
respond to, please speak to me at the start of class to let me know.
Laptop policy: Laptop computers in class can be distracting to me and other students, in part because the
temptation to take “just a second” to check email or web updates is hard to resist. If you feel that your learning
will be hampered by not having access to your laptop for note-taking or other legitimate purposes, please speak to
me. Otherwise, keep your laptop turned off and stowed away during class.
Ball cap and hat policy: Ball caps and hats are not to be worn during class. I really enjoy getting to know who you
are and caps just make it more difficult see you clearly.
Late assignment policy: If an assignment is handed in or presented late, the grade will be lowered by 10% (one
letter grade) for each calendar day it is late. Please, if you find you are having trouble with some of the class
material; come see me as soon as possible. Maybe I can help you focus your thoughts so that you can be fully
prepared to do your best!
ADA Disability Related Accommodations: Sometimes students are unaware of the wide range of services offered
through the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are a student who needs academic accommodations because of
a documented disability, please contact me and present your letter of accommodation as soon as possible. If you
have questions about documenting a disability or requesting academic accommodations, you should contact Beth
Rodgers-Kay in Academic Services (x6-3470 or
Letters of accommodation should be presented at the start of the semester to ensure provision of
accommodations. Accommodations cannot be granted retroactively.
Academic Integrity and Plagiarism policy: You may only submit your own original work in this course; this includes
quizzes, exams, and presentation materials. Please, be careful to use APA style when citing each of your sources
when you give you’re Parenting Forum Presentations.
You are expected to be familiar with and to follow the University’s policies on academic integrity (see ). Faculty may refer any suspected instances of alleged dishonesty
to the Office of Student Development and Conduct. Instances of academic dishonesty may result in sanctions
including but not limited to, failing grades being issued, educational programs, and other consequences.
An atmosphere of mutual respect is necessary for the type of collegial interaction that I expect from Brandeis
University students. It is rare that students exhibit disrespectful behavior in class. However, if a student is
disrespectful to fellow students or their professor, they will immediately receive one verbal warning. Such further
behavior will not be tolerated. If the student’s behavior does not improve sufficiently, he/she will be dismissed
from the class for that day. Attendance will be marked as an absence for that day. The student will then be
welcome to return for the next class session. If a student is expelled twice, the professor reserves the right to
dismiss the student from the course entirely.
LATTE use: We will regularly post messages on LATTE concerning the course. Please check the site at least a few
times a week to catch up on any updates. All supplementary readings will be posted on LATTE for your
convenience. Communications: All questions will be handled through the website When anyone asks a
question, the entire class will be able to see the answer. You will have the option of asking questions anonymously
or privately. To sign up, go to Before asking a question,
please check whether it has already been answered on Piazza. The professor will answer questions only after they
have been up on Piazza for 24 hours.
Evaluation Methods:
EXAM 1: Ch 1, Ch 2, Ch 3, Ch 4, first half of Ch 5 and supplemental readings
EXAM 2: Second half Ch 5, Ch 6, Ch 7, and supplemental readings
EXAM 3: Ch 8, Ch 9, Ch 10, and supplemental readings
40 pts. 40% of final grade
20 pts.
20 pts.
At the end of the semester I will drop your lowest exam score.
If you miss an exam during the semester the “0” will be dropped as
your lowest score. The maximum score for your two highest
exams = 40pts.
Parenting Forum Presentation
20 pts.
20% of final grade
QTs Questions and Thoughts
5 pts.
5% of final grade
Class participation (thoughtful comments and questions during
class/small group discussions)
5 pts
5% of final grade
Short response paper regarding your virtual child
4 pts.
4% of final grade
26 pts.
26% of final grade
Final Exam
Total 100 pts.
100% of final grade
Exams up to 40 pts.
Approximately 20 points for each one-hour exam and 26 points for the final exam.
Exams: Your best chance for the success you are looking for will result from keeping up with both readings and
lectures. The lectures can cover material not duplicated in the readings and crucial to the exams, so attending class
is very important. Students do best on these exams if they go beyond accurate-yet-minimalist answers, offering
expansive, detailed evidence of knowledge of the lectures and readings, and thoughtful engagement with these.
You are responsible for the lecture material, even if it is not covered in the readings. You are responsible for the
reading material, even if it is not covered in the lectures.
Three major exams will be given throughout the semester. If you miss one of these exams the “0” score will be
dropped as your lowest grade.
The final Exam will be cumulative, although it will focus on Ch 11, 12, and remaining articles. With this in mind, the
Parenting Forum Presentations will provide you with a wonderful review of the major developmental issues from
infancy through adolescence.
The final exam is scheduled by the university registrar. University regulations do not permit the professor to
schedule individual make-up examinations before or after this date. If you have a pressing conflict (such as 3 or
more final exams scheduled for the same date), then you can arrange with the Registrar’s Office to take the exam
on the final exam conflict resolution date, generally the last day of the final exam period.
Class Participation up to 5 points
Your comments, insights and questions are what really bring this course to life! Five percent of your grade comes
from your thoughtful contributions to class and/or small group discussions. I value your contribution and look
forward to many interesting class discussions.
QTs “Questions and Thoughts” up to 5 points
Over the progress of the semester you will be expected to respond in writing to 4 sets of QTs based on the
assigned readings. Students will be asked to give brief, “pithy” responses to either 1.) specific questions about the
readings or 2.) more general questions asking what you found especially interesting or confusing about the
QTs are intended to help you focus your thinking about the readings. Submit your QT responses via e-mails that
you receive from your professor on Google forms.
Group 1 students will receive the first set of QTs, followed by Group 2 students who will receive QTs at a later date,
and then Group 3 students will receive the third set. After all three groups of students have had the opportunity to
respond to a set of QTs, the process will repeat itself so that all three groups of students will have received 4 sets
of QTs by the end of the semester.
QTs regarding assigned readings for Tuesday’s class, are due Mon. by 8am.
QTs regarding assigned readings for Friday’s class, are due Thurs. by 8am.
Group 1: Students with last names beginning with A - D
Group 2: Students with last names beginning with E - L
Group 3: Students with last names beginning with M - Z
The TAs and professor will read over your questions and thoughts before class to get a sense of what you are
thinking and what topics were important or puzzling. The practice of using QTs (known in the education literature
as “Just-in-Time-Teaching”) has been shown to increase student learning significantly.
QTs will only form a small portion of your grade (5%) and grading on these will focus on quality of thought and
honesty (e.g., in describing what may not be clear to you) rather than on fine points of grammar and spelling.
Good grammar and spelling are however, appreciated by those reading the QT responses. The best QT responses
are short, direct, and honest!
Short response paper regarding your virtual child’s development
up to 4 points
What events or life experiences had long-lasting effects on your virtual child’s development? How did you
minimize the influence of any possible negative effects?
This short, two to three-page paper (font = 12) gives you an opportunity to briefly describe 4 meaningful events in
your virtual child’s life and explain any long-lasting effects they may have had, or the parenting choice(s) that you
made to help to minimize potential negative effects. Please select one event or life experience for each of the four
developmental domains: physical, cognitive, social and personality.
One or two well written paragraphs for each event or experience will be appropriate for this assignment. A two to
three-page paper (font = 12), not including the title page, is an appropriate length for this short writing
Parenting Forum Presentations up to 20 points
Group presentations arising from your experiences raising a virtual child!
Students will give small group presentations (15 minutes) based on insights gained while raising their virtual
Students will form groups of four members, to create a well thought out and practiced presentation. Each group
will focus on one of the age-related categories listed below. I will allow you to meet during class time on two
occasions to prepare for your presentation.
Age related categories include:
Infancy 0-2yrs.,
Early Childhood 2-6 yrs.,
Middle Childhood 6-12 yrs., Adolescence 12-18 yrs.
Each team member will focus on just one of the four developmental domains: physical, social, cognitive, or
personality. Each member will also identify a highly meaningful experience that his/her virtual child encountered
and discuss how it affected the child’s development along their specified domain. In addition, each member will
present salient supporting information from a peer reviewed journal article.
Each student will select a relevant journal article, print out the article (first 4 pages and the first page of the
reference list), read the article and high-light the most meaningful information. Each team member should include
his/her name on the first page of the stapled article.
Each group must hand in a folder containing high-lighted print outs of all four articles. Be sure to hand this folder in
to your TA or professor on the day that you give your presentation.
Each member will create a well designed poster summarizing or exemplifying their portion of the presentation.
Please keep in mind that the picture(s), diagram(s) and font must be large enough so as to capture the attention of
students seated in the back rows of the room.
Each group will work together to create a well written, 1 page summary of the group’s most valuable points. These
might be important facts, thought provoking ideas, questions or arguments that were uncovered while
contemplating the journal articles. All information must be put into your own words, cited and referenced using
correct APA style. No direct quotes are permitted in the one page summary. Be sure that each article is
represented in the summary
Please incorporate some enjoyable creativity in your presentation design and make sure your presentation is well
orchestrated so that there is movement, back and forth, from one person to another. Practice your presentation
well enough so that each person can make eye-contact with the audience and demonstrate an enthusiasm for the
value of the information that is being shared!
All students must arrive 5 minutes early to class on the day of their scheduled presentation. Presentations are
meant to run 15 minutes in length. Practice timing your presentation. Points will be deducted for surpassing the
allotted time limit.
Ours is a rather large class of up to 120 students, so we will need to divide into 4 smaller sections of 20-30 students
in order to successfully run the Parenting Forum Presentations. The professor will divide students into the 4
smaller sections early in the semester.
In each section, there will be1 or 2 Parent Forum Presentations on each of the following age-related categories:
Infancy, Early Childhood, Middle Childhood, and Adolescence. Time will also be given for open class discussion and
sharing of personal insights regarding development within each age-related category.
Please present ONLY information that you find MEANINGFUL AND INTERESTING!!! IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, THEN
How to cite sources using APA style:
All information taken from your readings must be put into your own words and cited using APA style:
(Author, year)
How to reference your sources using APA style:
Book: Author’s last name, first initial. (Year). Title of the Book. Publisher.
Article: Author’s last name, first initial. (Year). Title of Article. Title of Journal Article, Volume, pages.
Scoring Rubric: Parenting Forum Presentations
Each team member
shared accurate
journal article
regarding their
specific topic.
Physical Dev
Cognitive Dev
Social Dev
Personality Dev
Each team member
also related this
info. directly to
his/her own virtual
A very real
Very Good
Most of the team
members shared
accurate journal article
information regarding
their specific topic.
Physical Dev
Cognitive Dev
Social Dev
Personality Dev
However, some small
mistakes were made.
A very interesting
presentation! (8pts)
Needs improvement
There were a few too many
mistakes in the journal
article info that the team
members shared. And / Or
material needed to be
presented with greater
Physical Dev
Cognitive Dev
Social Dev
Personality Dev
Team would have done well
to pay more attention to
article content.
An enjoyable presentation
that just needed more
polish. (7pts.)
All team members
shared equal role
and choreographed
their presentation in
creative manner.
Each team member
also shared a well
designed poster
with pictures and
font large enough to
be seen by students
in the back row.
Some team members
played a larger role than
others even though they
attempted to
choreograph their
Most posters were well
designed but there
could have been
improvements in
conceptual information,
font size, pictures or
Most of the team
members maintained
eye-contact and
generally resisted
reading from note cards.
Presentation appeared to be
composed more of
individual reports rather
than a choreographed
creative presentation.
More attention needed to
be given to creating valuable
posters. Some of them
appeared “rushed” or
Just needed more attention
and polish.
All team members
maintained eyecontact and resisted
reading from notes.
Well done.
Sometimes team members
read directly from note
cards and/or some
members were uncertain
“who was to do what.”
The information was
interesting but the
presentation needed more
Very Good
Needs Improvement
Team passed out a
well written
handout explaining
valuable journal
article information
regarding each
domain. Sources for
each point were
cited using APA style
and a reference list
was included using
excellent APA style.
Team passed out a
handout describing
some of their valuable
journal article
information, but either
the points were a bit
unclear or they did not
use proper APA style
when citing sources or
creating their reference
Team did not pass out a
handout regarding their
important academic
The team’s folder
included each
highlighted journal
article. Each
student placed
his/her name on the
article they
The team’s a folder
included most of the
members’ highlighted
journal articles. Or, one
or more of the articles
were not peer reviewed
journal articles. (2pts)
Most of the members did
not highlight a peer
reviewed journal article.
Team did not hand in a
folder (0pts)
Score =
Grading Template for Presentations 20 points:
A + (19.4 - 20pts.),
A (18.6 -19.3pts.),
A- (18 - 18.5pts.)
B+ (17.4 -17.9pts.),
B (16.6 -17.3pts),
B- ( 16 -16.5pts.),
C+ (15.4 -15.9pts.) , C (14.6 -15.3pts.),
C- (14 -14.5pts.),
D+ (13.4 -13.9pts.)
D- (12 -12.4pts.),
D (12.6 -13.3pts.),
F (0 -11.9pts.)
Course Registration Instructions
For “My Virtual Life” (0-18 yreas)
What You Need to Enroll in Your Professor’s Online Interactive “My Virtual Life”
 A Course ID: wasserman 74497
 A valid email address that you check regularly
This address will be used to confirm your registration and for other communication about the course.
Your instructor will also use this email address to communicate with you.
 A student access code (Or, you can pay with a credit card or a PayPal account.)
This pre-paid code is printed inside the Student Access Code Card. The code card may be packaged with
your new textbook or it may be available for purchase separately from your school’s bookstore.
To Register and Sign in to Your Professor’s Course the First Time
Go to
Click Student under Register.
Enter your Course ID and click Continue.
Choose your enrollment options
Read and accept the licensing agreement
You have a Pearson account if you have used other Pearson online products.
Enter your username and password, and click Next.
If you don’t have a Pearson account, click “No” or “Not sure” to search for possible accounts.
Complete your account set up by entering your name, email address, a username and password, and any
other required information.
Complete the registration process.
Paying for your course access.
 If using a credit card or PayPal, you will be prompted to enter your payment information before
your registration process is complete.
Print the Confirmation & Summary
You now have access to your professor’s “My Virtual Life” as well as many additional online supports.
Click Go To Your Course, and then in the left panel, click “My Virtual Life” and start your interactive program to
raise your very own virtual child. Enjoy!
To Sign in to Your Course Again Later
Return to
Click Sign In.
Select the Student option.
Enter your Pearson account username and password and click Sign In.
In the left panel, click the course name to continue your work.
Fall 2014 Course Schedule
PSYC 33a Developmental Psychology
(Subject to change at professor’s discretion)
Fri Aug 29
Tues Sept 2
Fri Sept 5
Topics subject to change
Any changes will be found on LATTE
Readings and homework due
before this meeting
Basic Concepts and Methods
Theories of Development
Ch 1
Ch 2
Prenatal Development and Birth
Begin raising your virtual child
0-4 years taking notes on child’s
milestones re: physical, cognitive,
social, and personality dev.
Ch 3 p.57-71
Supplemental Readings on LATTE:
Glynn, L.M., & Sandman, C.A.
Ch 4
Prenatal origins of neurological development
Tues Sept 9
Physical, Sensory, and Perceptual Development in
Fri Sept 12
Physical, Sensory, and Perceptual Development in
Infancy continued
The other race effect develops in infancy
Ch 4
Supplemental Reading on LATTE:
Kelly, D.J., Quinn, P.C., Slater,
A.M., Lee, K., Ge, L., & Pascalis, O.
First half Ch 5
Tues Sept 16
Cognitive Development in Infancy
Fri Sept 19
EXAM 1: Ch 1, 2, 3, 4, first half of Ch 5 and articles
Tues Sept 23
No Class: Thursday Schedule “Brandeis Day”
Fri Sept 26
No Class
Tues Sept 30
Cognitive Development in Infancy
Second half Ch 5
Fri Oct 3
Physical, Sensory, and Perceptual Development in
Ch 6
Tues Oct 7
Physical, Sensory, and Perceptual Development in
Ch 6
Fri Oct 10
Physical and Cognitive Development in Early
Ch 7
Tues Oct 14
The Mind in the world: Culture and brain
EXAM 2: Second half Ch 5, Ch 6, Ch 7, and articles
Continue raising your virtual
child 4-18 years taking notes on
milestones re: physical, cognitive,
social, and personality dev.
Supplemental Reading on LATTE:
Ambady, N. (2011).
Topics subject to change
Any changes will be found on LATTE
Time in class to prepare for Parenting Forum
Readings and homework due
before this meeting
Hand in short response paper
regarding your virtual child
Tues Oct 21
Note: Only those having completed raising their virtual
child from 0 -18 years will be permitted to participate
in the Parenting Forum Presentations
Social and Personality Development in Early Childhood
Ch 8
Fri Oct 24
Social and Personality Development in Early Childhood
Fri Oct 17
Varieties of altruism in children and chimpanzees
Tues Oct 28
Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle
Fri Oct 31
Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle
The linking of concrete and symbolic representations.
Tues Nov 4
Social and Personality Development in Middle
Gender and group process
Fri Nov 7
Relational aggression, gender, and social-psychological
EXAM 3: Ch 8, Ch 9, Ch 10, articles
Tues Nov 11
Time in class to prepare for Parenting Forum
Fri Nov 14
Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence
Gene-environment mechanisms promoting resilience
Ch 8
Supplemental Reading on LATTE:
Warneken, F., & Tomasello, M.
Ch 9
Supplemental Reading on LATTE:
Uttal, D.H., O'Doherty, K.,
Newland, R., Hand, L.L., &
DeLoache, J. (2009)
Ch 10
Supplemental Reading on LATTE:
Maccoby, E.E. (2002)
Crick,N. and Grotpeter, J. (1995)
Ch 11
Supplemental Reading on LATTE:
Kim-Cohen, J., & Gold, A.L.
Tues Nov 18
Parenting Forum Presentations
Fri Nov 21
Parenting Forum Presentations
Tues Nov 25
Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence
Fri Nov 28
No Class: Happy Thanksgiving!
Tues Dec 2
Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence
Ch 12
Fri Dec 5
Last day of class
Physical and Cognitive Development in Adolescence
Ch 12
Supplemental Reading on LATTE:
O’Brien, L., Albert, D., Chein, J., &
Steinberg, L. (2011).
Adolescents prefer more immediate rewards when in
the presence of their peers.
Ch 11