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  • PSYCHOLOGY 290    Section: 3


    Spring Quarter 2005

    Units: 4
    Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. See instructor for CRN.

    Course Description:  This course focuses on how children come to understand people in relation to their inner, mental states' for example, what people desire, intend, believe, remember, think about, and feel emotionally.  We will cover evidence for early understanding about the mind during infancy and toddlerhood (e.g., imitation, joint attention, social referencing, understanding of goal-directed actions, understanding of emotion-action connections, pretense). We will read and discuss writings on how this early knowledge about the mind becomes increasingly sophisticated during the preschool years (e.g., understanding of false belief, causal knowledge about emotions, understanding of personality traits, developing an autobiographical sense of self, mental vs. real distinction).  Finally, we will examine how childrens knowledge about the mental world develops further during gradeschool and early adolescence (e.g., understanding of thinking & stream of consciousness, understanding of mixed emotions, introspection).  Readings will focus both on normal development and atypical populations (especially children with autism); will consider sources of individual differences in children's understanding of mind (e.g., culture, parent-child conversations, attachment, peer relationships); and examine the influence of "theory of mind" reasoning on children's social interactions and relationships.



    Weekly questions and seminar participation:            35%

    Leading class discussion on assigned readings:  20%

    Oral research presentation:  35%


    Students will present an overview and evaluation of research on a topic related to "theory of mind" development to the class in an oral presentation at the end of the term.


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    Instructor Instructor Email Office Office Hours
    Kristin Lagattuta , Ph.D. 174L Young Hall