(Spring I, 2011)


PSYC 2300: Life-Span Development


Dr. Linda M. Woolf

Office Hours:

  • 10:00 - 11:00: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or by appointment.

  • 301 WH, Behavioral and Social Sciences Department.

  • Phone 968-6970 or 968-7062


Course Description:

The life-span developmental perspective maintains that human development occurs at all points across the life-span and is influenced by what has gone before and what is yet to come. Thus, how one behaves and develops as an adolescent is influences by one's childhood and one's goals and perceptions about the future. It is from this perspective that the present course on human development will be taught. This course will include the following: First, the concept of development and the various theories of development will be explored. Second, the various types of development will be studied. Third, the effect of various life-events and life-transitions during the different periods of the life-course will be explored.

Course Objectives and Outcomes:

  1. Objective: To develop an understanding of the life-span developmental perspective and the relevance of this perspective for studying change and continuity in psychological processes over time.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate the life-span developmental perspective and related the novel features of this perspective relevant to development across the life-course.

  2. Objective: To become familiar with the research methodology commonly used by developmental psychologists. To become familiar with the scientific method, and examine the benefits and limitations of this method of inquiry as it relates to developmental psychology.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to differentiate between the major observational, correlational, experimental, and quasi-experimental designs used by developmental psychologists and articulate the benefits and limitations of each. Students will be able to critique various studies and theories based on this information.

  3. Objective: To become familiar with the major theories of human development. To examine how these theories were formed, tested, and perhaps, validated.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate the three major metatheories used by to explain human development and will be able to identify a theory exemplifying each metatheory. Students will be able to articulate the major theories used to explain human development and be able to articulate and critically evaluate each theory.

  4. Objectives: To develop an understanding of the various types of development that an individual experiences across the life-course (ie. physiological, cognitive, social, personality, etc.).

    Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate definitions for each type of development. Students will be able to critique both positively and negatively the theories and models used to explain each type of development.

  5. Objective: To explore the effects of various social contexts on the development of the individual across the life-span (ie. society, family, work, etc.).

    Outcomes: Students will be able to discuss development as it relates to social context (e.g. career development, retirement, family structures, parenting, etc.).

  6. Objectives: To examine some of the psychological disorders that occur throughout the life-span which are correlated with age.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to discuss the symptomatology, possible etiology, and proposed treatment for developmentally related psychological disorders such as autism, eating disorders, and Alzheimer's disease.

  7. Objective: To explore development at the later end of the life-span.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to differentiate between the myths and realities of aging. Students will be able to define ageism and be able to articulate the impact that ageism and the myths related to aging have on the older adult and on society. Students will be able to differentiate between and discuss normal and non-normal aging related to the various types of development.

  8. Objective: To become familiar with the rapidly growing body of literature on human development.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to read current literature related to a specific human development topic and write a paper discussing and evaluating this research.

  9. Objective: To further develop writing skills in conjunction with the use of APA format.

    Outcomes: Students will be able write their paper in APA format.

Class Meetings:

The class will meet on Thursday from 5:30 - 9:30. Attendance is strongly recommended as material will be presented that is not in the book.

Course Requirements:

Three exams and a term paper.

All grades will be assigned on a scale of 0 - 10 with:

90 - 100A-,ASuperior Work
80 - 89B-,B,B+Good Work
70 - 79C-,C,C+Satisfactory Work
60 - 69D,D+Passing, but less than Satisfactory
Less than 60FFailing

Percent of Grade:

Term Paper20%

Examinations: Examination format will include multiple choice, short answer, fill in the blanks, and essay. They will cover material presented in lecture, readings, and discussion. Exams will constitute 80% of your final grade. POLICY STATEMENTS: All exams must be taken on the date scheduled except in case of an emergency. In case of the above, the instructor must be notified in advance that a test is going to be missed. No make-up exams will be provided if you fail to notify and discuss your situation with the instructor. No extra credit work will be made available to make-up for a poor test grade.

Term Paper: Students are required to research and write a term paper for 20% of their final grade. The specific requirements are given below:

  • At least five references for your paper must come from refereed journals (not Psychology Today or Newsweek, for example). NOTE: Do not rely heavily on popular literature, for example, a book you happen to see at Borders Books. Often times these books are not empirically based. Also, do not take the bulk of your paper from one source or from secondary sources. I want an integration, analysis, and critique of all of your readings, in particular, the current research in the area you have chosen to study.

    Click here for some rules of thumb regarding literature reviews/papers. I've also placed a document about writing literature reviews and a sample paper on eReserves.

  • All papers must be typed, double-spaced, 1 inch margins, and in APA style format.

    If you are in doubt as to what this means, see me for details.


    Note that one of the major purposes of the paper is to facilitate your learning of APA format. Thus, you will need to become familiar with this publication format. We will discuss the format in class but you will also need to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) (the library has copies). Note that all journal articles for APA journals such as the American Psychologist are written and referenced in APA format. Twenty percent of your grade will be related to your use of APA format.

    The paper should be submitted electronically in Word format to Hard copies of the paper will not be accepted.

    Policy Statements:

    Use of Electronic Devices in the Classroom: Please respect others in the class by turning off all cell phones and pagers before entering the room. Text messaging during class is not acceptable. Laptops may be used in class but are only to be utilized for class related activities (e.g., taking notes). If it becomes apparent you are using the computer for non-class activities (e.g., checking your email, playing games) then you may be asked to turn off your computer and refrain from bringing it into class in the future. Laptop use is restricted to the back or sides of the classroom so that other students are not distracted during lecture.

    Plagiarism (attempting to pass off the work of another as one's own) is not acceptable. Plagiarism includes copying all or part of another's writings (even a single sentence), inappropriate paraphrasing, using another student's paper as your own, submitting a paper for more than one class. All papers will be submitted to the university's plagiarism database for review. Plagiarism, either intentional or unintentional, will result in a grade of 0 for that assignment but also may be turned over to the appropriate university source for disciplinary action and a grade of F for the course. In addition, cheating on exams will also result in the same fate.

    Here are some Web sites that will help you avoid the problem of plagiarism particularly plagiarism resulting from paraphrasing too closely to the original source. -

    Late withdraws from this class will not be approved by the instructor except in cases of emergency discussed with the instructor. No late withdraws will be approved on the basis of poor class performance.

    This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. All changes concerning course requirements will be provided in writing. Changes concerning exam dates may be made at the instructor's discretion and communicated verbally to the class.

    It is understood that remaining in this course (not dropping or withdrawing from this course) constitutes an agreement to abide by the terms outlined in this syllabus and an acceptance of the requirements outlined in this document.





    January 13 Introduction to class
    Introduction to life-span development
    Research methodology
    Chapter 1
    January 20Theories of human development
    Heath and physical development
    Sensation, perception, and attention
    Chapter 2
    Chapter 5
    Chapter 6
    January 27EXAM I (Chapters 1, 2, 5, 6)
    Chapter 7
    February3Intelligence and creativity
    Self and personality
    Chapter 9
    Chapter 11
    February10Gender roles and sexuality
    Social cognition and moral development
    Chapter 12
    Chapter 13
    February17EXAM II (Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12, 13)
    Attachment and social relationship
    Chapter 14
    February24The family
    Developmental psychopathology
    Chapter 15
    Chapter 16
    March 3Fitting the pieces together
    EXAM III (Chapters 14, 15, 16)
    No Readings

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