Teaching plan for the course unit


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General information


Course unit name: Advances in Cognitive Development

Course unit code: 568394

Academic year: 2015-2016

Coordinator: Laura Bosch Galceran

Department: Department of Basic Psychology

Credits: 2,5

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 62.5


Face-to-face learning activities



-  Lecture with practical component




-  Group tutorial



Supervised project


Independent learning




Competences to be gained during study


To have and comprehend knowledge which gives a founding or opportunity to be original in the development and/or application of ideas, in research contexts.


To be able to communicate the conclusions, knowledge and ultimate reasons that support them to specialized and non-specialized public in a clear and unambiguous way.


To comprehend that psychological explanations can differ with different populations and contexts. To recognize and respect human diversity.


To be able to apply information and communication technologies with different goals and purposes (relationship with other professionals, get information, knowledge diffusion…).


To show abilities in the writing of research papers and books, in different formats, particularly in the American Psychological Association, in the different areas related to the research in behaviour and cognition, including the knowledge of the steps required to their publication.


To show abilities in the critical evaluation of a scientific research in behaviour and cognition.





Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

This course is intended to cover a range of key topics in early cognitive and perceptual development, with a special focus on the early processes in speech perception that are fundamental to language acquisition.  From a broad information-processing perspective, core knowledge and some basic mechanisms of perception, attention, encoding, categorizing and learning that are central to cognitive and linguistic development in early infancy will be discussed.


  • To acquire knowledge about initial perception and cognition in infancy and changes in early development.
  • To acquire knowledge about the early processes in language acquisition from the perspective of the current developmental models of speech perception and its connection to lexical and phonological acquisition.



Teaching blocks


1. Topics in infant perception and cognition


a.    The physical world: object perception
b.    The others: social cognition and language development

2. Sounds and language input: dealing with the speech signal


a.    Speech perception abilities, sound categories and perceptual narrowing
b.    Finding words in fluent speech: Pre-lexical strategies in speech segmentation

3. Word mapping, word learning and word recognition

4. Developmental models of speech perception and phonological processing

5. Measures of attention and methods in infancy research



Teaching methods and general organization


In each session a general presentation of the topic will be offered, followed by a group discussion and an analysis of a specific text/short paper directly related to the content of the session.



Official assessment of learning outcomes


Evaluation will be based on regular participation in class sessions and discussions (20%) and a written essay (80%) on a selected topic from the program based on a published research paper. Guidelines to prepare the written assignment  will be offered during the course. Selection of the paper and additional reading will be individually discussed and agreed upon before the end of the course.


Examination-based assessment

Evaluation will be based on a written exam with 4 open questions on different topics in the program (50%) and a written assignment (50%) on a short research paper on a topic related to the content of the course.