Fall 2017 - PSYC 450 D100

Selected Topics in Developmental Psychology (4)

Culture & Development

Class Number: 4342

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    RCB 6152, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 201, 210, 250 and 60 units, and a CGPA of 3.0. Other prerequisites vary by topic offering.



Course can be repeated for credit. Students may not take this course for further credit if similar topics are covered. See Psychology department website for course description.


Psyc 450/950 - Culture and Development

This course will provide you with a general introduction to major theories, perspectives, research developments and methods in the relatively young sub-field of cross-cultural developmental psychology. We will focus on early development (0-5yrs) and examine influences of socialization practices and experience on social and cognitive development. We will compare evidence from Western, urban societies to non-Western, small-scale societies to determine whether early developmental theories and empirical findings are generalizable to children across the globe. Special emphasis will be placed on parenting, however we will also examine ecological constraints on development. Emphasis will be placed on fostering critical analysis of current theories and methodology, as well as discussing underlying assumptions in the developmental psychological literature. The overall goal is to examine early child social and cognitive development from an interdisciplinary perspective.


1) To understand theoretical perspectives in the field.
2) To know the details of empirical evidence and ethnographic reports.
3) To critically evaluate major theories (and assumptions) in developmental psychology in light of cross-cultural evidence.


Early child development across cultures; Experience and social-cognitive development; Parenting; Socialization; Social learning.


  • Participation: 20%
  • Writing Assignments: 40%
  • Term Paper/Project: 40%


Readings will span the fields of developmental psychology as well as ethnographic reports and empirical investigations in anthropology. There is no textbook for the course and students are expected to attend class prepared to discuss the readings in depth.


Students are expected to critically evaluate readings in light of major theories in developmental psychology. Assignments and evaluation include weekly journal entries critiquing the readings (40%), a review paper examining one of the course topics (40%) and a short team presentation introducing one of the weekly topics and initiating class discussion (20%).

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html