Lifespan development courses usually focus on the developmental stages associated with various age groups. An introductory course that covers basic components of lifespan development is very common at the undergraduate level, particularly among school psychology majors and students majoring in closely related fields. More advanced courses in bachelor's and master's programs may explore statistical analysis and human development research methods.
Here are some of the core concepts common to many lifespan development courses:
- Personality development
- Experiment design and analysis
- Adolescent psychological development
- Psychology in adulthood
- Psychology of perception
- Cultural influences on psychological development
List of Common Courses
Introduction to Developmental Psychology Course
Topics include a variety of issues associated with developmental psychology, such as intelligence and personality, as well as social, emotional and cognitive development. Students often examine these issues in age groups ranging from infancy to advanced adulthood.
Research, Statistics and Analysis Course
Since many lifespan development programs focus on research career tracks, students often take a class in research methodology early in their course of study. This course may include instruction in statistical analysis and experiment design. Research instruction also often addresses experiment parameters, such as determining the number of experiment participants, as well as factors that affect the final analysis of the experiment's outcome, such as variance and validity.
Infant, Child and Adolescent Development Course
These age groups can be addressed together as one course or in several courses that treat each group separately. Instruction in infant development examines topics such as learning, perception and personality. Issues of childhood development often include biological, social and familial influences on language, learning and emotional expression. Adolescent development topics can include social cognition, peer group relationships and the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Issues of Adulthood and Aging Course
Students examine the changing roles adults experience in their family, workplace and social groups as they reach middle age and as they proceed on to an advanced age. A course in gerontology can be offered separately to address issues specific to the elderly, such as changes in health and levels of self-sufficiency. These intermediate-level courses focus on the psychological effects these changes have during these later periods in life.
Theories of Lifespan Development Course
Instruction in current developmental psychology theories often includes an examination of how such theories have changed over time. This course is usually offered near the end of a student's studies. Students often discuss issues such as gender, cultural influences, nature vs. nurture and sexuality, as well as the effects of major life events on a person's psychological development and how these issues factor into lifespan development research.