Elective Course - Caregiver-child interactions and social-cognitive processing in typical and atypical development

Course content

The main topic of this course is state of the art research within the EU on caregiver-child interactions and their impact on social-cognitive processing in neurotypical and clinical samples (e.g., premature born and deaf children). The seminar unites leading experts from four different countries (Poland, Italy, Denmark, Germany).

In 2024 the course will run Wednesdays 4:15-5:30pm, between April 17-June 16. The first and last occasion are double sessions. Please refer to the attached course description for details!

First, after a general introduction of the participating partner labs and their research programs, students will take part in four modules, each consisting of two occasions. In Module 1 they will be introduced to Self- and Co-Regulation in caregiver-child interactions: concepts, and methods (Heidelberg University). This is followed by Module 2 which includes a lecture on the role of others in infants' learning and one on oxytocin and social interactions/social cognition in infancy (University of Copenhagen). Next, in Module 3 students will learn about application of fNIRS technique in the studies of social cognition in children with typical and atypical development and Theory of mind development in deaf children with cochlear implants (University of Warsaw). Finally, in Module 4 discusses enriched environment and early parenting intervention to promote neurodevelopment in preterm infants, and breastfeeding as an opportunity to promote parent- infant interaction in infants with typical and atypical development (University of Milan). The course ends with an integrative session with the entre 4EU+ network.

Please note that the dates and format of this course will differ from other KU-courses as it is a joint course and fitting with requirements across 4 institutions. See course description for more details. For the same reason, we rely mostly on other means of sharing material, not Absalon (but e.g. google documents).

Learning outcome

Regarding developmental and clinical psychology, main learning goals are to

(a) better understand the impact of caregiver-child interactions on social-cognitive processing in different populations of young children,

(b) to become familiar with different research approaches for studying these relations, and

(c) to gain detailed knowledge about the specific challenges regarding social-interaction competencies that parents and children face when the child has special needs.

General learning goals of the course:

(a) to improve writing and oral communication skills

  • (b) to practice exchange with students and lecturers from different EU countries.

Classroom instruction (online/zoom), complemented with learning activities.
Topics for individual blocks to be held on Wednesdays 4:15-5:30pm

Not relevant
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
The written assignments will be essays related to the module topic provided by the lecturer of that module. The final grade will be calculated by averaging evaluations across the four topic blocks. Presence in the interactive sessions every week is mandatory. All assignments have to be written in English

Grades will be based on oral group presentation of 1 or 2 research papers during the semester. For the presented papers students will be asked to also write an outline/summary handout of the paper, which will be not graded but required to complete the course. Students will also have small tasks in preparation for the interactive sessions (e.g., submit reflection question about the lecture).

In addition, for students taking the course at KU a 2000-words essay has to be submitted by the end of the semester which will contribute as pass/ fail. The essay questions will be announced during the semester and will be related to the module topics. Students can choose their own question out of the ones offered and have to find at least 200 normal pages length of self-selected literature to include.

Presence in the interactive sessions every week is mandatory (the percent of classes that can be missed is the same as for other KU courses with mandatory attendance).

All assignments have to be written in English, as the course lecturers are from 4 different countries across Europe.
Exam registration requirements

Evaluations will be based on written contributions to the four topic blocks (one assignment per every two weeks) throughout the semester (80%) as well as oral performance (20%) in the interactive sessions.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period



See the exam schedule at KUnet for dates

Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

28 hours (ca. 3 standard teaching hours per week consisting of approx. 60 min lecture + 75 min interactive session; for the 8 modules, plus 90 min introduction and a 90 integrative summary session in the end)
8 students from KU
Department of Psychology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Psychology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinators
  • Dora Kampis   (2-676e4373767c316e7831676e)
  • Victoria Helen Southgate   (18-7e716b7c777a7169367b777d7c706f697c6d48787b8136737d366c73)
Saved on the 05-02-2024

Are you BA- or KA-student?

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Courseinformation of students