Elective Course - Brain and Cognitive Development

Course content

Infancy is the period of most dramatic brain and cognitive development, and where we see the biggest changes in cognition. Understanding this period of cognitive development and what drives cognitive development is crucial for understanding human cognition more broadly. This course is focused on the topic of infant and early childhood cognition, and will draw on our knowledge of the developing brain, and findings from neuroimaging.  We will begin with an introduction to the field of infant cognitive development, an overview of brain development, and current methodology for studying infants and their brains. In subsequent weeks, we will cover a new topic each week, including both domains of knowledge (including objects, number, faces, social reasoning, morality) and mechanisms of early learning (information expectation, information seeking, statistical learning). The course is aimed at providing a state-of-the-art on cognitive development and will be focused on the most recent research that has transformed our understanding of what and how infants learn. 

Full participation in class is required. The course requires reading papers weekly prior to participation in class, as set by the teacher. These may differ each week and may include reading a short scientific paper or a popularized account of a scientific paper, or watching a short popularized documentary before attending class. During class, students will then discuss in small groups questions related to these papers/popularized content. Answers will be uploaded to a forum so that each student can benefit from others’ views.

Learning outcome

The purpose of these modules is to expand knowledge or put the psychological subject area into perspective through theoretical or empirical specialisation within subject areas within or related to psychology.

Upon completion of the elective subject module within the Department of Psychology, students are able to:

  • describe and account for relevant concepts and themes within the elective subject
  • describe and account for relevant methodological approaches in relation to the subject matter for the elective subject
  • explain contexts, analyse and/or conduct procedures relevant to the elective subject under supervision.
Not relevant
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Set assignment with a choice of 4 essay topics. Students must choose 1 question to answer. Max 2000 words. Students must submit essays individually.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 30
  • English
  • 30


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

10 weeks, starts week 6
30 stud.
Department of Psychology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Psychology
  • Social Data Science
  • Department of Sociology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Victoria Helen Southgate   (18-786b657671746b6330757177766a696376674272757b306d7730666d)
Saved on the 23-11-2022

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