Development of Cognition and Language
Full course description
In this course typical and atypical childhood development of higher order cognitive functions such as memory, language and reading, number processing and arithmetic will be discussed. These higher order cognitive functions are crucial for daily functioning. Two questions will be central in the study of these topics: which changes take place as a child gets older and how do these changes occur? We will approach the how question by studying both neurobiological and environmental factors influencing typical or atypical development. Especially in the case of the development of highly complex skills such as reading and arithmetic many cascaded processes are involved spanning a long period of time. The study of these processes and their basis in the brain is complex and addresses many methodological issues that will also be discussed in the course. Specific topics dealt with are development of working memory, long-term memory, number representation, arithmetic, word learning, reading, and intelligence. Atypical development of these functions, as for instance in dyslexia and dyscalculia will also be studied.
At the end of the course students are able to:
- compare and contrast (advantages and disadvantages) the most used brain imaging methods and research designs in developmental research;
- explain the most important brain structural and functional changes in the domain of: working memory development, long-term explicit memory development, language development, development of reading and bilingualism, development of number sense and arithmetic, and development of general intellectual abilities;
- clarify what goes wrong in developmental disorders such as dyslexia and dyscalculia and explain possible interventions.