Outline of the Course:
The course is aimed at providing an overview of the
area of human cognitive development. No prior background will be
assumed for the course.
The topics covered will be:
1. Introduction: Themes, issues, methods
2. Piagetian studies: overview
3. Infant cognition and development
a. Piagetian characterization of sensori-motor stage and substages
b. Development of adaptive intelligence, object permanence, semiotic function
c. Post-Piagetian developments in infant cognition: object perception and physical reasoning
4. Cognitive development during early childhood: overview
5. Cognitive development during middle childhood
b. Piagetian description of operational thought: conservation tasks and the structures of operational thought
6. The development of perception and memory
7. Domain-specific cognitive development
c. Numerical cognition
d. Naive biology
e. Social cognition
8. Formal reasoning and problem-solving: Piagetian and information-processing accounts
9. Mechanisms of Cognitive Development
a. Traditional theories of Learning
b. Surprise, uncertainty, equilibriation
d. Theory change
course will be based on the book 'Cognitive Development' by J.H.
Flavell and additional articles/ chapters from other books which will
be specified against each topic.
Evaluation will be based on (weightage in brackets):
1. Classroom discussion: 10
2. Presentation of a single article + write-up ( 10 + 10): This will involve a close reading of an important article and critical analysis of the article. Students will make a brief oral presentation. The presentation must be written up in the form of an essay and submitted (draft first, final after incorporating feedback).
3. Experiment presentation + write-up (15 + 15): Students will replicate an important experiment (small sample size) and report findings in the form of a seminar. A written report of the experiment must also be submitted.
4. End of the term open book exam: 40.