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James W. Pennebaker, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

Summer 2003

PSY f341K • Controversial Issues in Development

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
87485 MTWThF
1:00 PM-2:30 PM
NOA 1.102
REPP

Course Description

This course explores a set of questions in developmental psychology that are currently under dispute. Rather than memorizing a set of facts about development, students will encounter opposing viewpoints.  The issues under investigation have no “right” answer to memorize.  Instead, students will examine the evidence that opposing “camps” offer for their positions.  In the course of this analysis students should also become more familiar with the many ways that developmental psychologists go about answering basic questions such as: “Is nature or nurture more important for developmental outcome?” Or, “Is it more accurate to describe change as continuous or as discontinuous?”   The topics may include:   Daycare and developmental outcome  Television viewing and violent behavior  Children as eyewitnesses  Ability tracking in schools and academic achievement  Self esteem programs in the schools  Methods for controlling delinquent adolescents  Sex education programs in the schools  Who should teach values to children These topics address a range of developmental periods and crosscut domains of social, cognitive and biological processes.

Grading Policy

Students will be evaluated on their preparation for class discussions (submission of discussion questions & weekly quizzes), on their participation in small and large group discussion, and on their group presentations of pros and cons of controversial issues.

Texts

A reading packet will be required.

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