PSYCH 326 : Life Span Development


2024 Semester Two (1245) (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 human development within the New Zealand context. 

In this course, you will develop skills that will allow you to critically evaluate research that determines how early life influences impact on child development in multiple domains and age groups.

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: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
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 2, 3, 4 and 8)
  2. 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, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  3. Synthesise key theories and research findings from the topics covered throughout the course into an understanding of the stability and change experienced by humans across their lifespan. (Capability 1, 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, 6 and 7)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay 30% Individual Coursework
Midterm Assessment 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Midterm Assessment
Final Exam


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

This course is supported by the Tuākana in Science Programme, which facilitates the success and wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific students. The foundation of the Tuākana Programme is the Tuākana-Teina principle an integral relationship in which older or more expert Tuākana (traditionally brother, sister or cousin) guides a younger or less expert Teina (traditionally younger sibling or cousin). This is a reciprocal relationship which fosters safe learning and teaching environments. Read more here:

Key Topics

First half: 
  • Introduction to Life-Span Development
  • Theories of Human Development
  • Genes, Environment, Beginnings of Life
  • Physical growth and Motor Development
  • Cognitive Development, Reading and Dyslexia
  • Atypical development: Autism, ADHD and Mental Health
Second half: 
  • Introduction to Growing Up in NZ and Reports 1,2,3 (for essay)
  • Language
  • Gender, Self and Personality
  • Prosocial Behaviour, Morality and Social Cognition
  • Attachment and Social Relationships

Special Requirements

There will be 4 labs throughout the semester roughly held every other week (beginning Week 4). Please check SSO to confirm your lab time and location. Labs provide an opportunity to discuss the main themes of the course, critically examine relevant issues and prepare for class assessments. Labs will cover material that is directly related to coursework. Attendance is recommended. Please pay special attention to the schedule and be sure to attend the labs when they are offered. Please consult your Student Centre (Arts/Science) for assistance with making a permanent change to your laboratory 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.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • Attendance is expected at scheduled activities, including labs, to complete components of the course.
  • Although attendance at lectures is strongly encouraged, lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities, including labs, will be available as recordings.
  • The course will include live online events, including group discussions.
  • Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning 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.

Required Texts:
  • Textbook:  Sigelman, C. K., De George-Walker L., Cunial, K., Kohler, M., Ballam, N., & Rider, E. A. (2022). Life Span Human Development: Australian and New Zealand Edition (4th Ed). Cengage Learning Australia. eBook: ISBN-10: 0170457087 ISBN-13: 9780170457088 or Hard Copy: ISBN-10: 0170452816 ISBN-13: 9780170452816
  • Individual topics may also require readings of journal articles, which will be listed on the Final Course Syllabus.

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.

Each year the course team evaluates the topics and content given current "hot topics" in developmental science research. The team will ensure the readings continue to be relevant to current issues in developmental psychology research and society.

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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 07/11/2023 08:09 a.m.