Social Emotional Development
Full course description
Emotions are an essential part of our life. In every generation, humans develop the skills to express subtle emotions and learn to recognize and understand emotions, moods and the thoughts of others. They enter into extremely complex social and emotional interactions with other people. This course will discuss scientific studies about how social emotional life develops. Social emotional development will be studied at four levels. Firstly on the genetic level: students will analyze the role of genes in social emotional development through the study of psychopathologies. Examples include the syndrome of Rett and Williams, autism and psychopathy. Secondly is the level of brain mechanisms (e.g. the role of structures like the amygdala in the development of social cognition). Thirdly is the neuropsychological level: How do cognitive functions (as represented in a theory of mind) and emotional expressions (like blushing) develop and how is their development mediated by brain structures? Lastly, is the level of evolutionary psychology: Why have specific developmental patterns been selected during the course of evolution? Since social emotional development is not only of theoretical interest, the course also deals with practical implications of theories about social emotional development.
- insight into theories of development, cause and object of emotion;
- laws of Mendel;
- model of Ledoux;
- syndrome of Rett and Williams;
- mirror neurons;
- theory of mind, empathy, instrumental helping;
- theories of moral development, moral emotions;
- autism, extreme male brain;
- aggression, psychopathy.