Early experience in human development


Lecturer: Jenny Richmond Ph.D.
Email: jrichmond@psy.unsw.edu.au
Class: Thursdays 1-3pm Weeks 2-9 and 13 Mat 1123
Website: www.earlyexperience.unsw.wikispaces.net

Course overview:

Early adverse experiences can have a detrimental effect on the course of human development; for example, early child abuse or neglect elevates the risk of certain forms of psychopathology in adolescence and adulthood. Presumably the mechanisms underlying such experience-induced effects include alterations in brain development. The effects of experience are at work in typical development too, shaping the brain and resulting in developmental changes in perceptual, motor, cognitive, memory, language, social and emotional development. The purpose of this course is to examine contemporary issues in the field of developmental science, focussing specifically on the effects of early experience on typical and atypical development.

Course format:

The course will be taught in a seminar style; you will take turns at teaching your colleagues and leading discussion. In Week 2, I will talk about experience-expectant and experience-dependent processes in brain development. For those of you who didn't take PSYC 3341, I will also give some background relating to the domains of development that we are going to focus on. In Week 3, I will talk specifically about perceptual development, giving you an example of the kind of website and presentation that I want you to produce. From Week 4, I will be another just another student in the class. Each project group (3-4 students) should be prepared to present for 60 min and lead a class discussion of the target article for 20-30 mins. The remaining class time will be used to give feedback and brainstorm ways to improve your group site. You will each present as part of two project groups in Weeks 4-9.


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