PSYC 333
Children's Minds Spring 2022
Division III Writing Skills

Class Details

Humans stand out in the animal world for their capacity to develop ideas and consider those of other people. Where does this capacity come from, and how does it develop? Why do some people seem more inclined to consider ideas than others? What can schools do to foster the pursuit of ideas? Young children ask questions, tell stories, speculate, invent, and predict. By middle childhood, they are capable of constructing ideas about any number of complex topics: death, justice, infinity, and the nature of time, to name four. Yet by adolescence only some people are disposed to pursue ideas. We will examine data on children who collect objects (such as bugs or rocks) and information (about things like dinosaurs, contagion, and death), and examine the role such collections play in the capacity to construct ideas. We will consider research on how and when children puzzle over philosophical problems (for example, identity and fairness), how they learn to plan, their ability to learn from thought experiments, their emerging conception of what an idea is, and what they know about knowledge and its role in shaping beliefs and making decisions. We will also spend time looking at individual and cultural variation, as well as the influence of adults. We will read work in developmental, educational and cognitive psychology, as well as anthropology.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3239
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Each week one member of the tutorial pair will write a 5-7 page essay answering a specific question, and the other member of the pair will write a response. The goal is for each student to write 5-6 papers, and 5-6 responses during the term.
Prerequisites: PSYC 232 or PSYC 272
Enrollment Preferences: Psychology majors and those involved in the Program in Teaching
Distributions: Division III Writing Skills
WS Notes: Students will receive extensive feedback on their writing each week, both from the professor and their partner. Further, students will have the opportunity to rewrite two of their papers in light of the feedback that they receive during the semester.
Attributes: PSYC Area 3 - Developmental Psychology
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