PSYC2042 Lifespan Development

Bachelor Course Unit


One trimester


2nd year

Credit points:

6 (out of 144)




This unit is one of the core second year units in Psychology. The unit covers theory and research related to major themes of psychological development across the lifespan.

Learning and Teaching Process

This unit comprises ten (10) weekly 2.5 hour lectures and nine (9) weekly 1 hour tutorials.  Lectures commence in Week 1 of the trimester and will be captured electronically at the time of delivery and will automatically be made available online within the following 24 hours. Attendance at tutorials is compulsory; students should attend, from Week 2, the tutorial class into which they are enrolled.

All students are provided with secure online access to comprehensive unit learning resources via the Student Portal. Unit Coordinators, Lecturers, and Student Support staff are available to students (in all modes of delivery) at designated times via email and telephone contact throughout the duration of the unit.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this, you should be able to:

a) Discuss the key themes related to various stages of the life cycle, theoretical approaches, issues and methods of study of life span development, including cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and moral development from infancy to old age;

b) Describe the different approaches to studying development across the lifespan;

c) Describe behaviour across various ages in test situations, compile group data, and interpret the data in terms of hypotheses being tested;

d) Identify key life cycle issues related to family context, culture, and minority status;

e) Evaluate empirical evidence and relate to issues and theoretical approaches;

f) Discuss ethical issues associated with life span developmental research.

Unit content

Week Lecture Topic Tutorial Topic
1 Introduction to the life span developmental perspective; Explanations of development No tutorial Wk 1
2 Biological and physical development and change The physical developments of adolescence and their psychological effects
3 Cognitive development and intelligence Approaches to the study of cognition
4 Language development The development of language: Parentese
5 Emotional and social development Attachment: The changing role of parents
6 Moral development Moral development: Care, justice, and moral dilemmas
7 Contexts for development I: Work and career Career exploration
8 Contexts for development II: Gender and sexuality Gender identity
9 Contexts for development III: Family, love and intimacy Family experience and romantic love
10 Ageing; Death, dying, bereavement and grieving Death and dying

Assessment Summary

Type Weighting Length

Assessment 1: Online Content Assessment Test (CATs)

10% 25 Multiple Choice Questions; 30 minute time limit

Assessment 2: Laboratory Report

30% 2000 words

Assessment 3: Online Content Assessment Test (CATs)

10% 25 Multiple Choice Questions; 30 minute time limit
Assessment 4: Final Exam 50% 100 Multiple Choice Questions; 2 hour time limit


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time.