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) and is run jointly, online, with 3 other institutions.

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.

The course runs Weekly between mid-April and mid-June. The first and last occasion are double sessions. Expected days and time: Wednesday 16:15-17:30, exact dates and times will be confirmed each year.

Please note that the dates, format, and platforms of this course will differ from most other KU-courses as it is a joint course and has to fit with requirements across 4 institutions.

Learning outcome


  • Describe social-cognitive processing in different populations of young children and the impact of caregiver-child interactions on development
  • account for key research approaches and methods for, and aspects of, studying early caregiver-child relations
  • understand the specific challenges regarding social-interaction competencies that parents and children face when the child has special needs



  • contextualize concepts and discussions introduced in the course on the study of early social cognition and caregiver-child interactions in typical and atypical development.
  • use concepts and methods about early social cognition and caregiver-child interactions in adequate ways.
  • interpret the relevance of empirical studies in developing theories, models, and interventions of early social cognition and caregiver-child interactions.
  • discuss the relationship between developmental contexts and the social cognitive skills of the developing child



  • Evaluate how empirical research is related to positions in theoretical investigations and applied challenges in early social cognition and caregiver-child interactions both in typical and atypical development.
  • Assess the adequacy of different empirical methods to address research problems in the field of social-cognitive development.

Pre-recorded lectures plus seminar classes (online/zoom).

Syllabus cf. curriculum: Compulsory: 600; self-selected: 200

An up-to-date syllabus list will be available in the course room on Absalon just before the start of the semester.

If the course has previously been offered, syllabus lists can be found here: Absalon


Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
For students taking the course at KU, grades will be based on a 6-page (normal pages) essay that has to be submitted by the end of the semester. The essay questions will be related to the module topics. Students can choose their own question out of the ones offered and must find at least 200 normal pages length of relevant self-selected literature to include.

As a requirement for course fulfillment, during the semester students will be asked to participate in activities e.g., oral group presentation of 1 or 2 research papers together with students from the other institutions, writing an outline/summary handout of the paper they presented, or in preparation for the interactive sessions submit reflection question about the lecture. These will not be graded but are requirements to fulfil the course.

Specify re-exam:
A 6-page (normal pages) paper on a topic given by the instructor (individually). Topic cannot be the same as the exam was.

All assignments must be completed in English.

Regulation for group tests:
For exam essays: individual only.

For course activity requirement:
The presentations will be done in groups of 2-5 depending on class size.
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)
The course runs Weekly between mid-April and mid-June. The first and last occasion are double sessions. Expected days and time: Wednesday 16:15-17:30, exact dates and times will be confirmed each year.
8 students from KU
Department of Psychology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Psychology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Dora Kampis   (2-676e4373767c316e7831676e)
Saved on the 30-04-2024

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students