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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[30/34]   EDUCATION STUDIES [34/00 - Ord. 2019]  PERCORSO COMUNE 6 30


The course is aimed at tackling the theoretical and methodological issues concerning the study of the behavioral development in life span, focusing mainly on the development during the prenatal stage and during the early childhood (i.e., 0-3 years of age). The main goal of this course is the promotion of learning of the most influential theoretical accounts about cognitive, emotional, communicative, and social development.

Relatively to the Dublin descriptors, after the course, students are expected to pursue the following educational objectives:

1. Knowledge and Understanding
Knowledge and understanding of the processes underlying cognitive, affective, and social development, and of the psychological methods and theories of development underling the implementation and evaluation of the psychoeducational interventions. Understanding of how knowledge derived from research in the field of Developmental Psychology can contribute to the planning of psychoeducational interventions aimed at promoting learning, enhancing cognitive, metacognitive, affective and social development in relation to the objectives, the context, the peculiarities of the different situations in which the learner is part of.
2. Ability to apply knowledge
Ability to apply the knowledge acquired through the course on cognitive, emotional and relational processes (emphasizing mainly the early childhood) in order to implement and apply psychoeducational interventions that are consistent with the level of cognitive, affective and social development achieved by the users, and with the characteristics of the context, the resources available and the objectives to be pursued by the trainings.
3. Autonomy of judgment
Ability to assess and reflect on the level of cognitive, social, and emotional development achieved by the users, with a particular focus on the early childhood (0-3 years).
4. Communication Skills
Ability to communicate acquired knowledge clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Ability to recognize and use appropriate language registers according to different communication needs, (e.g. to interact with users and their families, representatives of educational agencies and institutions, or colleagues).
5. Ability to learn
Ability to continue to study and update one’s expertise, to learn more about topics covered in class and to collaborate and learn with peers.


This course trains students that have already learned the basic knowledge about Experimental Psychology


During the frontal lessons the concept of development will be presented from the cognitive, emotional, communicative perspective as well as from the social interaction viewpoint especially in early childhood.
After having presented the methodological principles driving research in Developmental Psychology especially in early childhood, the concept of development will be analyzed from the motor, perceptual, memory, social and linguistic perspectives. Moreover, the most influential theoretical models about the development of intellectual and cognitive functions will be discussed (e.g., how does memory develop?). In this regard, the strengths and weaknesses of the most influencial theoretical accounts about the development of human behavior will be illustrated.

Teaching Methods

Frontal lessons.
During the frontal lessons other materials (e.g., videos and psychological tests) could be presented. Furthermore, a selection of scientific papers and books could be suggested to promote the understanding of the topics presented. Besides, at the beginning of each lesson, some questions/multiple-choice questions could be presented to help the students to test their expertise and to introduce the new topic.

Verification of learning

The exam consists of 10 multiple-choice questions and three open questions concerning the topics in the programme. One point is given for each correct answer on the multiple-choice test, whereas maximum 7 points can be given to each open question. The open questions are scored according to the following criteria:

- ability of the student to write an answer in a correct and synthetic way from a syntactic viewpoint;

- ability of the student to demonstrate competence about the topic, detecting the relationship between different dimensions/constructs of behaviour (e.g., relationships between social development and the development of the theory of mind);

- ability to use the technical language of Developmental Psychology;

- ability of the student to demonstrate critical thinking concerning the presented topics (e.g., pointing out analogies and differences between two different theoretical approaches to the study of specific constructs concerning Developmental Psychology).

The written testing lasts 60 minutes.
In case the examinations cannot be conducted through written tests at the Faculty of Human Sciences because of the spread of the Covid-19, the students will be examined orally via a digital medium.


Vianello, R., Gini G., Lanfranchi S., Psicologia dello Sviluppo. Bergamo: UTET Università, 2015 (chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Cornoldi, C. (2009). L’intelligenza. Bologna: il Mulino.

Further materials can be presented during the lectures o during the meetings with the students.
If requested, foreign students attending the course (e.g., Erasmus students) can be provided alternative references in English. In this case their knowledge will be tested in English.

More Information

Students meeting is at room 14 of the Department of Pedagogy, Psychology, Philosopgy or on Skype. In order to take an appointment please contact the lecturer by email Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, for security reason the meetings are conducted online after their planning via email.

Students with special needs may be supported by the Disability Office ( of the University of Cagliari that certifies their difficulties in order to arrange individualized programs and can suggest specific learning methods.

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