Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Psychological Sciences


Dr Megan Spencer-Smith (Australia), Dr Vanlal Thanzami (Malaysia)



  • First semester 2016 (Day)
  • First semester 2016 (Off-campus)


  • First semester 2016 (Day)


This unit explores cognitive and behavioural development across the lifespan, including both typical and atypical development. Students will be introduced to the basic principles of development across infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, such as critical periods for skill development and the link between early and later development. Factors influencing development will be examined within the framework of major theories of development to understand the contribution of genetic, biological, neurological, cognitive and environmental factors. The integration of a quantitative methods module into this unit will provide students with an understanding of, and practical experience with, the application of statistical analysis techniques used to address research questions in Developmental Psychology.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the contribution of certain factors to development across the lifespan, such as genetic, biological, neurological, cognitive and environmental factors.
  2. Evaluate theories of development.
  3. Describe the different methodologies for studying development and discuss strengths and limitations of these methods for addressing questions about development.
  4. Apply knowledge of development across the lifespan through in-depth study of specific topic areas such as neurodevelopmental disorders.
  5. Apply quantitative methods to evaluate research hypotheses in Developmental Psychology.


Examination (2 hours) (45%)
Raise a virtual child on an interactive website (5%)
Developmental assessment report based on raising a virtual child (500 words) (10%)
Lab report (1,500 words) (25%)
3 x Data analysis exercises (Secure online delivery) (30 minutes each) (5% each) (15%)

Workload requirements

One 2 hour lecture each week, three 1 hour seminars, and one 2 hour laboratory bi-weekly. Attendance at labs, tutorials or weekend schools is required in order to successfully complete in-class activities and related assessment tasks.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study