Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Elena COMMODARI

Expected Learning Outcomes

The course aims to promote knowledge of the main themes of developmental psychology. It outlines the subject's classic and contemporary methodological and theoretical aspects, with attention to the applicative implications and psychological processes that come into play in educational contexts (educational psychology).

At the end of the course the student will have to know consciously and critically the contents and fundamental application areas of the discipline, using the specific language.


Course Structure

Lesson and exercitations

Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, changes will be introduced.

Required Prerequisites


Attendance of Lessons


Detailed Course Content

Development processes and periods

The role of biological and cultural variables in development,

Prenatal development, birth, and growth, premature birth

The continuity/discontinuity of development

Theories on child development

The scientific study of child development (methods and paradigms in the study of evolutionary changes)

Physical and motor development

Cognitive development with attention to the main evolutionary theories (Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner, the information processing approach, the psychometric approach, attachment theory)

Perceptual development

Attentional development

Memory development

Language development

Emotional and affective development

The self and the acquisition of identity

Moral development

Metacognition and theory of mind

The social contexts of development

Early mother-child Interaction and the Role of the Relationship in psychological Development

The development of attachment in the first years of life, in second and third childhood, and in adolescence

Measuring attachment

Internal operating models

The role of primary and secondary caregivers in social-cognitive development

Attachment in children separated from primary caregivers (attachment denied, interrupted, and rebuilt in adoption)

Educational psychology:

    Special educational needs in school,

   school readiness

   Attachment to teachers

 Developmental and scholastic problems related to neurodevelopmental disorders

Textbook Information

1)     Santrock, Deater-Deckard, Lansfor, Rollo, Psicologia dello Sviluppo, McGraw Hill, 2021, pp 630 comprensivo di presentazione, bibliografia, indice, guida alla lettura e indice analitico, mappe concettuali

2)     Commodari E. L’abbraccio che crea: lo sviluppo socio-cognitivo tra teoria e prassi, Franco Angeli, 2022, pp 180 comprensivo di indice, bibliografia e presentazione

3)     Di Nuovo S. Alunni speciali, bisogni speciali. Il Mulino, pp 130 comprensivo di indice, bibliografia e presentazione, 2018 

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1all topics related to the developmental psychology section and described in detail in the course contents section are addressed in texts 1-21-2
2qll topics related to the educational psychology and described in course contents section are addressed in texts 2-32-3

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

Oral. The final evaluation can benefit from the outcome of individual or group exercises planned by the teacher whose participation is not compulsory. If the teaching is in a mixed or remote mode,  the necessary changes may be introduced to comply with the program reported in the syllabus.

The evaluation criteria  are :

Adequacy of expression regarding the contents and method

Thematic awareness and lexical correctness

Critical in-depth skills

Interdisciplinary liaison skills

Ability to rework knowledge

Ability to transfer knowledge to operational contexts

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

The questions will be differentiated by difficulty, some basic for passing the exam, others in-depth helpful in obtaining the highest grades in the range. We remind you of the importance of evaluating what has already been stated in the previous section, namely 1) the adequacy of expression regarding contents and methods, 2) the ability to re-elaborate knowledge, 3) the ability to organize knowledge theoretical as a function of specific objectives, 4) the breadth of thematic awareness and linguistic correctness, 5) the ability for critical analysis, interdisciplinary connection and to transfer knowledge to operational contexts.

By way of example, only some examples of questions are presented, remembering that the exam will focus on all the topics listed in the syllabus and that this list is not exhaustive and does not include all the possible questions on which the test will focus. Many other questions are frequently asked, although they are not listed

 examples of questions

- Early mother-child interaction

- The secure base and types of attachment

- Internal Operating Models

- Attachment behaviours

- The perception and construction of the physical and social world in newborns and early childhood

- The perceptual-motor couple

- The acquisition of sensorimotor schemes

- Piaget and object permanence

- Primary, secondary, and tertiary circular reactions

- The path of knowledge in the first years of life

- Imitation

- The sensitivity of the caregiver and the Parental Reflective Function

- Attachment in preschool and school-age

- Language development

- Secure and insecure attachment in adolescence

- The measurement of attachment

- The relationship between caregivers and cognitive development

- Attachment and emotional regulation

- Relationship quality as a protective factor in neurodevelopmental disorders

- Attachment and Specific Learning Disorders

- Intuitive thinking

- Scaffolding

- Specific Learning Disorder and other learning difficulties

- DSA and attachment

- Attention and its disorders

- Executive functions and behavioral control

- Parental reflective function, expressed emotion, and ADHD

- Types of student-teacher attachment

- Bonding

- Adoption

- the main stages of prenatal development

- Psychological experiences during childbirth

- The preterm newborn

- Assessment of cognitive functions and the transversal motivational and emotional components necessary for school learning

- Technologies at school