Perception, Attention and Motor Development
Full course description
Although perception, attention and motor function undergo the most spectacular changes during infancy, development proceeds throughout the course of an individual’s entire lifespan. In the course, students will become acquainted with the latest theories and experimental findings related to the development of these functions, with an emphasis on biological and neuropsychological models. Knowledge about the way in which brain development is linked to the development of specific cognitive functions is crucial for determining the constraints of development theories. During the course, it will become evident to students that perception, attention and motor development are closely related to each other. Developmental disorders in perception, attention or motor functions can have divergent consequences, depending on the age at which they start. For instance, being born deaf or of becoming deaf at a later age has different consequences due to taking place in different brain development stages. During the course, a number of common childhood disorders associated with aberrant development of perception, attention or motor functions will be discussed. Also here, the focus is on neuropsychological theories on the origins of these developments. Specific topics are the development of ‘bottom-up’ versus ‘top-down’ attention processes and the role of eye-movements, the development of executive functions and frontal cortex, the development of perceptual-motor functions, autism, ADHD, Gilles de la Tourette and possible intervention and rehabilitation methods (both pharmacological as well as cognitive).
- are able to explain, reproduce and differentiate between different cognitive/neurobiological theories central to the life-span development of visual perception and eye-movements, attention and executive control, motor control and action-perception integration;
- are able to apply this theoretical knowledge to cases of atypical development in perception, attention or motor functioning, such as autism, ADHD and Gilles de la Tourette;
- can describe and discuss theories and research on the aetiology of childhood psychological/psychiatric disorders related to deficits in attention, perception and motor skills like autism, ADHD and Giles de la Tourette with a focus on the influence of environmental, personal and biological (genetic/psychopharmacological /brain) factors;
- will be able to describe/explain therapies/interventions (cognitive/behavioural or psychopharmacological) and their effectiveness in ADHD/Gilles de la Tourette;
- will be able to better understand, analyse and evaluate research and research methods and paradigms (experimental tasks and neuropsychological/diagnostic instruments) used in the field of the typical and atypical neurocognitive development of perception, attention and motor skills.