Module details for Human Development across the Lifespan (BPS core)


This is a BPS core psychology module that examines theories, methods and empirical data relevant to psychological development throughout the lifespan.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with knowledge and understanding of theories and empirical data in the core areas of developmental psychology and changes throughout the lifespan.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of developmental change in cognition, emotion, socialisation and physical development, including major developmental milestones in children and adolescents.

2.  Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of research methods in the domain of development and knowledge of when to apply these.

3.  Show a critical awareness of current thinking on the interaction between biological bases and environmental influences in development.

4.  Understand and critically evaluate theories of psychological development in light of relevant empirical research.

Indicative Content

1 Biological basis of development; theories and milestones

Pre-and postnatal brain development, brain maturation, biological basis of ageing.

2 How to study development?

Designs and approaches.

3 Infancy

Methods for studying infant development, physical development in infancy, cognitive development in infancy: Memory and pre- cursors to language, social and emotional development in infancy.

4 Early Childhood

Methods for studying early childhood, physical and cognitive development in early childhood, language development in early childhood, social and emotional development in early childhood, moral development in early childhood.

5 Middle Childhood

Physical and cognitive development in middle childhood, social development and peer relations in middle childhood. Emotional and Moral Development in Middle Childhood

6 Adolescence

Physical and cognitive development in adolescence, social and emotional development in adolescence.

7 Adulthood

Biological, cognitive and social changes in middle adulthood. Theories and data on midlife crisis.

8 Ageing

Biological, cognitive and social changes in late adulthood; models of cognitive decline; emotional and personality changes, dementia, death, longevity.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 14
Practical Activity 8
Assessment 48
Independent 118
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.