Learning outcomes of the course unit
1. Knowledge and understanding. Students will need to achieve a good understanding of the theoretical and methodological bases of the psychology of cognitive development between normality and pathology.
2. Applying knowledge and understanding. Students should be able to use the knowledge on theoretical frameworks acquired to explain trajectories normal and pathological related to early childhood and throughout the life cycle.
3. Making judgments. Students will develop critical thinking and reflection on methodological issues and the relationship between the specific theoretical positions and the recent empirical results.
4. Communication skills. Students should acquire the ability to critically discuss the concepts of normality and pathology related to cognitive development and to identify the boundaries between developmental psychology and neuropsychology of development.
5. Learning skills. Students should be able to learn the most recent theoretical approaches and the main techniques of investigation of the neuropsychology of development.
Course contents summary
The course aims at making students a full knowledge of current approaches, with which developmental psychology to explain the causes of typical and atypical cognitive development. Students will master the key concepts arising from empirical research and the most recent studies on the ontogeny of knowledge and its domains. We will also provide updated skills and critical of the theoretical and methodological issues related to the intersections between neuropsychology and development.
Methodological problems and research techniques in the study of cognitive development and neuropsychology of development. The development of the nervous system. The plasticity of the brain. The neural basis of cognitive development. The domains of knowledge. Attention, memory and executive functions. Categorization: general theories for the domain. Numbers and math. Social cognition and theory of mind. Evolutionary conditions characterized by a more or less severe impairment: learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, mental retardation, autism. Cognitive models of autism. Preterm birth and development. Assessment and rehabilitation in children.
General Issues (Precis of Neuroembriology, Brain Plasticity, Psychomotor development, Emotional and relational development). The neurology of the newborn and the child (Neurological examination of the newborn, Standard neurological examination). Epilepsies (Epidemiology of Epilepsies, Brain mechanisms of epileptic seizures, Precis of EEG, Neonatal seizures, Epilepsisy in Infancy, Epileptic Encephalopathies). Cerebral Palsy(Etiology, Clinical Taxonomy, Cognitive Aspects).Brain and Spinal Tumors (Medulloblastoma, Astrocytoma, Glioma, Tumors of the spinal chord). Neurocutaneous Syndromes (Tuberous Sclerosis, Neurofibromatosis, Angiomatosis). Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Epidemiology, Neural Mechanisms, Diagnosia and Treatment)
Valenza E., Turati C. (2019). Promuovere lo sviluppo della mente. Un approccio neurocostruttivista. Bologna: Il Mulino.
Siegel D.J. (2009). Mindfulness e cervello. Milano: Raffaello Cortina ed.
Roberto Militerni (2009) Neuropsichiatria Infantile (V Edizione) Editrice Idelson Gnocchi, Napoli
At lesson topics are treated in their general aspects and in an order that does not necessarily reflect that of the chapters of the books. Classroom space also will be given to: a) investigation and clarification at the request of students, b) screening and discussion of audiovisual c) reading and critical commentary articles, d) simulation of assessment tests.
Assessment methods and criteria
The test includes a written exam with open questions and an oral examination.
The written exam consists of 5 open questions and the evaluation of open questions is based on the following criteria:
1) Content skills or how detailed the candidate addresses the topic
2) Exposing skills, or how precise is the language used by the candidate to expose the concepts
3) Argumentative skills, that is how consistent and logical is the concatenation of the concepts exposed
The final grade will be given by the average between the different parts of the task.