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PSYC2042 Lifespan Development

Bachelor Course Unit


One trimester


2nd year

Credit points: 

6 (out of 144)



Mode(s) of delivery:

Online and on-campus




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.

Unit description

The aim of the unit is to provide a solid understanding of issues and methods used in the psychological study of human development across the lifespan. Topics covered in the unit include theoretical perspectives on lifespan development; physical and biological development; the development of cognition, intelligence, and language; social, emotional and moral development; contexts for development; love and intimacy; gender and sexuality; and ageing and death, dying and bereavement.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • 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;
  • Describe the different approaches to studying development across the lifespan;
  • Describe behaviour across various ages in test situations, compile group data, and interpret the data in terms of hypotheses being tested;
  • Identify key life cycle issues related to family context, culture, and minority status;
  • Evaluate empirical evidence and relate to issues and theoretical approaches;
  • Discuss ethical issues associated with life span developmental research. 

Unit content

  • Introduction to the life span; developmental perspective; explanations of development
  • Biological and physical development and change
  • Cognitive development and intelligence
  • Language development
  • Emotional and social development
  • Moral development
  • Contexts for development I: Work and career
  • Contexts for development II: Gender and sexuality
  • Contexts for development III: Family, love and intimacy
  • Ageing, death, dying, bereavement and grieving

Learning and teaching process

This unit is taught over 10 weeks and totals approximately 3 student contact hours per week

The unit comprises ten weekly topics, and students will participate in teaching and learning activities including: 

a)     Live synchronous tutorials or equivalent asynchronous online activities 

b)     Online pre-learning activities

c)     Online post-learning 

Assessment summary

Assessment information provided at the commencement of the unit in the online class space

Recommended text

For more information regarding recommended texts for specific units, please see the Psychological Sciences Textbook List.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for more information.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of trimester.


 **you must have completed PSYC2012 or enrol into PSYC2012 at the same time.