PSYCH 326 : Life Span Development


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The development of people across the life span is studied. Describes key milestones in development and examines the causes and processes that produce stability and change in people's development over time. Topics discussed will include aspects of cognitive, social and physical development with consideration given to biological, societal and family influences. Attention will also be given to development within the New Zealand context.

Course Overview

This course focuses on human development across the lifespan. This course will describe key milestones of human social, cognitive, emotional, and physical development from birth through death. Although this course will include topics that cover the entire lifespan, the lecturers who are involved in this course each have their own specialty in the field of developmental psychology and thus, will often focus on their areas (and age range) of expertise. We will examine the underlying causes and processes that produce stability and change in people's development over time. Consideration will be given to biological, societal, and family influences. When relevant, attention will be given to development within the New Zealand context.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 45 points at Stage II in Psychology and 15 points from STATS 100-125 Restriction: PSYCH 316

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and evaluate classic and modern theories of human development across the lifespan. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Review Review and critically assess the current state of key research findings in relation to key themes in the field of developmental psychology. As part of this, students should be able to draw implications for future research, professional practice, and other applied settings. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  3. Systhesize key theories and research findings from the topics covered throughout the course into a complete understanding of the stability and change experienced by humans across their lifespan. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  4. Apply theory and current research findings to explain everyday human behaviour (within New Zealand and across the globe). (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay 30% Individual Coursework
Test 30% Individual Test
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam
To gain plussage you must attend at least 3 labs, do all coursework, and obtain a passing grade of 50% overall for coursework.
• If you are eligible for plussage: your final grade for this course will be based either on the final exam alone (marked out of 100) or on the final exam (marked out of 50) plus the coursework (marked out of 50), whichever alternative gives you the better mark.
• If you are not eligible for plussage: your final grade will be based on the final exam (marked out of 50) plus the coursework (marked out of 50). Thus, if you fail plussage, you are still able to sit the final exam, but your coursework will automatically count toward 50% of your final overall grade.

Key Topics

Topics - First half of course:
Ch. 1 Introduction to Life-Span Development
Ch. 2 Theories of Human Development 
Ch. 3 Genes, Environment , Beginnings of Life 
Ch. 4 Physical growth and Motor Development. Health 
Ch. 5 Cognitive Development; Reading and Dyslexia 
Ch. 12 Atypical development: Autism, ADHD, mental health 
Introduction to Growing Up in NZ (GUiNZ); Reports 1,2,3 
Topics - Second half of course:
Ch. 6 Perception, Attention, and Memory
Ch. 8 Language
Ch. 9 Gender, Self and Personality
Ch 10. Social Cognition; Prosocial Behaviour & Moral Development 
Ch. 11 Attachment and Social Relationships 

Learning Resources

Sigelman, C. K., Rider, E. A., & De George-Walker L. (2019). Life Span Human Development: Australian and New Zealand Edition (3rd Ed). Cengage Learning Australia. ISBN 9780170415910

Special Requirements

No special requirements except participation in labs.

- There will be 4 tutorials throughout the semester roughly held every other week (beginning Week 4). Please check SSO to confirm your lab time and location.

- Tutorials provide an opportunity to discuss the main themes of the course, critically examine relevant issues, and prepare for class assessments.

- Tutorials will cover material that is directly related to coursework.

- Attendance is compulsory and will be recorded. Please pay special attention to the schedule and be sure to attend the labs when they are offered. Students will not be eligible for plussage if they miss more than one lab.

- Please consult your Student Centre (Arts/Science) for assistance with making a permanent change to your laboratory/tutorial time.

Workload Expectations

Following University workload guidelines, a standard 15 point course represents approximately 150 hours of study.

• During a typical teaching week there will be 3 hours of lectures and 2 hours of tutorials (4 weeks). For the 12 teaching weeks, this totals to 44 hours. Since the course as a whole represents approximately 150 hours of study, that leaves a total of 106 hours across the entire semester for independent study, e.g. reading, reflection, preparing for assessments/exams, etc.

Other Information

Essay: Growing Up in NZ. Choose ONE finding reported in sections 3 to 7 (Report 1), 2 to 4 (Report 2), OR 2 to 5 (Report 3) that is interesting to you. For example, in a section from Report 3 entitled “informal and formal society,” there are many subsections (e.g., labour force status, household income, early education arrangements). Pick a subsection that interests you. This subsection will make up your “finding” on which you will base your essay. For this finding (or set of findings if the subsection has many findings) you will:
(1) summarise the finding. Use at least 6 recent research articles (i.e., within the past 10 years) to make informed predictions about the impact this finding might have on the child’s biological/physical, social, and cognitive development throughout their life-span;
(2) draw on factors related to all three of the domains of development (e.g., physical/biological, cognitive, and social). For each domain, you must address at least two different time points in development. (e.g., infancy and late adulthood). Your essay must address development throughout the lifespan.

Due: 12 May @ 4 pm: Essays handed in late will receive a penalty. Assignments should be handed in to The Student Resource Centre, Faculty of Science, 23 Symonds Street, Building 301, Room G-40, Entry through new Atrium. Maximum Length: 3000 Words. Essays 3001 words to 3599 words in length will receive a 10% penalty. Essays longer than 3600 words will receive a 20% penalty. The word limit includes in-text referencing, but does not include your Reference List. Remove your Reference List when submitting to Turnitin.

Format: Essays should be typed using a standard 12-point font (e.g., Times New Roman), double-spaced, and in APA referencing style. Thus, all articles that you describe in your essay should be cited in the text and referenced on a separate page at the end of your document.
Coversheet and handing in essay: All assignments must be handed in with a cover sheet that will be posted on CANVAS under course resources. Assignments must also be submitted to Turnitin. In-text citing does not get deleted. Further information regarding the essay and assessment criteria will be offered during the course.
Please note: Students MUST retain an electronic copy of their assignment. This may be requested at any time until the end of the exam period. Essays handed in late (without an approved extension) will lose 10% of the total marks per day, which means that assignments handed in on Thursday May 16h (before 4:00 pm) will lose 10%, and so on. Saturday and Sunday count as one day. You cannot hand in your essay on Saturday or Sunday. Essays more than five days late will not be marked. 

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Lectures will be recorded.
Powerpoint slides will be posted on Canvas, if possible, 24 hours before the lecture.
Reading lists for the Essay (Reports 1-3 Growing Up in NZ) will be posted on Canvas.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Based on student feedback, we have made some changes and improvements to the course. We have changed the word count and criteria for the essay. We also increased the amount of lecture time devoted to discussing the essay and included FAQs in the syllabus. The essay prep lab will take place before the mid-semester break to allow students time to prepare for the essay during the break. We have increased the mid-term test time and made the test slightly shorter. GTAs will be paid an additional 4 hours each to address student questions on the Discussion Board.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 11/01/2020 03:17 p.m.