Full course description
In this course, students will be introduced to the innovative and ’mind-blowing’ field of developmental neuropsychology.
The anatomy of the brain and relevant brain functions will be introduced at the beginning of the module. Through case studies students will explore the fundamental research and the most recent advances in the field. Students will endeavour to find solutions to the questions presented by researching various articles and group discussion. For example, why is there a change in the ability to discriminate between human faces and monkey faces in babies of 12 months? And why is this difference not present at 6 months?
Cognitive development is typically measured by changes or improvements in cognitive processes. In this course, processes such as language, reasoning and memory etc. will be explored in terms of their developmental trajectory and how this trajectory relates to changes in the maturing brain. We will examine how these developmental changes can be measured by various neurological methods (e.g. fMRI and EEG).
The field trip included in the course focuses on the importance of neuroscientific research methods and forms a unique and practical insight into the subject matter. Midway through the course the students will construct a research proposal regarding developmental neuropsychology in subgroups and present this proposal. To conclude the course, students will sit a written exam.
By the end of the course students will have developed a deeper understanding of:
▪ The general development of the human brain (prenatal/postnatal development until young adulthood)
▪ Different brain areas relevant for the development of e.g. language or executive functions
▪ The influence of experience on the perceptual narrowing of the brain regarding face processing and language (nature/nurture debate)
▪ Differences in the development of the brain regarding language (dyslexia) and mathematics (dyscalculia)
▪ The adolescent brain and implications for the development of social cognition
Students will also have become familiar with developmental research and neuroscientific methods.
At least one 200-level Psychology course. It is recommended that the students have an interest in the development of the human brain and cognitive development. An interest in scientific research and methods is also recommended.
Various articles will be used to address the different topics of this course. One of the first tasks will cover overall brain development. A subsequent task discusses the adolescent brain and the link between the adolescent brain and the development of social cognition. The literature lists for these tasks is included hereby. The comprehensive literature list is currently under construction.
1. General brain development
- Casey, B. J., Tottenham, N., Liston, C., & Durston, S. (2005). Imaging the developing brain: what have we learned about cognitive development?. Trends in cognitive sciences, 9(3), 104-110.
- Giedd, J. N. et al. (1999). Brain development during childhood and adolescence: a longitudinal MRI study. Nature neuroscience, 2(10), 861-863.
- Dean, D. C. et al. (2015). Characterizing longitudinal white matter development during early childhood. Brain Structure and Function, 220(4), 1921-1933.
2. The adolescent brain
- Casey, B. J., Jones, R. M., & Hare, T. A. (2008). The adolescent brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1124(1), 111-126.
- Kilford, E. J., Garrett, E., & Blakemore, S. J. (2016). The development of social cognition in adolescence: An integrated perspective. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 70, 106-120.
- E.J.M. Persoon
- M. Steijvers