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Course Information

Instructor Info:Melissa Burch
Office Extension x5465
TA Info:Abigail Brownell
Elly Kang
Term: 2014S
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221

Social relationships and social understanding are important parts of our lives from infancy onward. In this course we will explore the developmental significance of parent-child and peer relationships from infancy into childhood and adolescence. We will also discuss children's understanding of theory of mind, gender, emotions, and self. In particular, we will focus on age-related changes in these skills and how they impact social relationships. We will also consider cross- cultural difference in patterns of social behavior. Evaluation will be based on participation, a series of short papers, and a longer final project. Students will read research articles and be responsible for class presentations.

Course Expectations: In addition to attending class, students are expected to spend at least six to eight hours a week of preparation and work outside of class time. This time includes completing course readings, preparing written responses and discussion questions, and researching and writing an integrative final paper. This is a guide, students may need to spend more time during some weeks when working on assignments or based on particular readings. 


Course Objectives:

Course Objectives:  Students will

1)        Understand the main issues of social development

2)        Be able to describe the sociocultural contexts of development

3)        Integrate findings on multiple levels of analyses to consider the processes of development

4)        Summarize research articles and critique and evaluate research design.

 Objectives for cumulative skills:

1)        Writing will be evaluated for coherence, the development of the argument, the use of evidence, and overall clarity

2)        Quantitative skills that will be addressed in the course include the interpretation of graphs and tables, the use of specific research findings to support claims, and evaluation of research design and conclusions

Evaluation Criteria:

Evaluation criteria:   To receive an evaluation, students are required to

1)        Attend and participate in class regularly. If a student has more than 3 unexcused absences, s/he will not receive an evaluation.

2)        Complete readings and prepare for class discussion. To prepare for class discussions, students are required to post a discussion question or comment to the course moodle prior to each class. Posts must be made prior to the start of each class and cannot be submitted after that time.

3)        Complete in-class quantitative activities

4)        Complete all research and writing assignments on time. Writing assignments will include:

a)    article  summary on published psychological study (2 pages)

b)   three synthesis papers for which students will locate psychology articles and integrate them with the material discussed in class (3-4 pages each)

c)    analysis of gender representations in children’s programming (2-4 pages)

d)   observation of child behavior (or movie portrayal) or evaluation of policy (3-5 pages)

e)    final research proposal or literature review (10-15 pages)

Additional Info:

Incomplete Policy:

An “incomplete” will be granted at the discretion of the instructor only under the most unusual and incapacitating circumstances.  If you miss more than two classes, or feel that you are in danger of not completing the course for any reason, please come see me as soon as possible.  Any student seeking an incomplete must (1) request the “incomplete” in writing prior to the last week of class, (2) provide appropriate written documentation of the illness or circumstances, and (3) make specific arrangements with me to complete the required coursework.   If I agree that an incomplete is appropriate, that information must be recorded no later than the course completion summary deadline for that semester. To record an incomplete, both the student and I will fill out the appropriate form to record the new negotiated deadline by which the student will complete all remaining work for the course. That date will not exceed the first day of the spring semester for a fall incomplete, and June 30th for a spring incomplete. If the negotiated deadline passes and I have not received and recorded the completed work from the student, the incomplete will be converted to a "No Evaluation." Students experiencing exceptional circumstances that could make it difficult to adhere to any part of this policy should immediately be referred to CASA for assistance with accommodating circumstances.

Special Needs: 

I encourage students with disabilities or special needs to discuss with me whatever arrangements may be needed to facilitate their work in the course.  Students with special needs should contact me during the first week of class to discuss any special arrangements.  Proper documentation must be in place with CASA.  

Academic Dishonesty:


Academic dishonesty is “any act that violates the rights of another student with respect to academic work or that involves misrepresentation of a student’s own work.  Academic dishonesty includes (but is not limited to) cheating on assignments; plagiarizing (misrepresenting as one’s own anything done by another [including quoting from required readings without acknowledging your source]); submitting the same or substantially similar papers for more than one course without consent of all instructors concerned; depriving another of necessary course materials; or sabotaging another’s work.”


In this course plagiarism on any assignment will not be tolerated.  Collaboration with other students, with respect to sharing ideas, is encouraged.  Students, however, must do all of their own writing. 

The full policy is included in the course syllabus. For further details about Hampshire’s policies regarding the Ethics of Scholarship please see Non Satis Non Scire.