Psychology 411 Cognitive & Perceptual Development   CRN 80788
Fall, 2013 – Dr. Karen Hartlep
8:00  - 9:23 AM, MWF  DDH/K104


Office: DDH/D115               Office Hours: 12:45 - 2:00 PM. MWF
Phone: 654-2371               e-mail:

    David F. Bjorklund,(2005).  Children's Thinking (5th ed.)  Wadsworth/Cengage: Belmont, CA.  (ISBN: 978-1-111-34605-8)
    I n-class Handouts on Library Reserve.

Goals of the Course:
    1. To review the literature on the cognitive and perceptual abilities of children from infancy through
    2. To become familiar with major theories that attempt to both describe and explain this development,
        comparing and contrasting them, as well as evaluating their strong and weak points.
    3. To identify the "cutting edge" of the field at this point in time and identify areas of future research interest.
    4. To look for ways we can use the findings of past research in dealing with children on a daily basis.
    5. To demonstrate some of the principles of development with children in class.
    6. To apply principles of cognitive development to a project involving children.

Schedule of Events:

    Reading Assignment: Read Bjorklund, Chapters 1-4, and hand-outs.

       October 4, 2013,  Last day to withdraw from classes without a "W".
       October 7, 2013,  Exam #1: Over the reading assignments and lectures.

    Reading Assignment: Read Bjorklund, Chapters 5-8, and handouts.

         October 28, 2013,  Exam #2: Over the reading assignments and lectures since Exam #1.

    Reading Assignment: Read Bjorklund, Chapters 9-13, and handouts.

        November 1, 2013,  Last day to withdraw from classes for a "serious and compelling reason".
               Please check the CSUB Catalog for definitions. A poor grade is not included.

         November 11, 2011   Veteran's Day Holiday - No class

        November 13, 2013,  The Research Demonstration Project is due.

        November 22, 2013,  Exam #3: Over the reading assignments and lectures since Exam #2.


The Final Exam is scheduled for Monday, November 25, 2013, from 8:00  to 10:30 AM. It will be cumulative.

Explanation of Grades and Assignments:

    Exams:  Four exams are scheduled, including three mid-terms and a final.  I will count the best three of these and drop the lowest score. Each of the exams I count will be worth 25% of your course grade, for a total of 75%.  There will be No Make-up Exams.  If you miss an exam, for any reason, that will be the score I drop.

    The Research Demonstration: Your task is to first design a demonstration that could be done with five or more children, that at least partially replicates some research described in Bjorklund.   For a grade, you must hand in a description stating the demonstration's purpose, at least one reference, the materials needed to do it, if any, a step-by-step procedure you followed, what your participants did, and some ideas or discussion of what their responses showed, or what it all means.   An example of such a demonstration is included at the end of this syllabus for you to follow in designing a demonstration of your own. These demonstration write-ups must be typewritten. Handwritten work is not acceptable. The write-up of your demonstration will be worth 25% of your final grade.

    Attendance: If you miss more than three classes, a percentage point will be taken off your final grade in the course for each additional class that is missed.

In Summary, the components of your final grade will be weighted as follows:
Exam #l  25%
Exam #2  25%
Exam #3   25%
Demonstration  25%

                             (Minus attendance days missed more than three.)

Grades are given on a percentage basis using the following scale:
A=93-100%  C=73-77%
A- =90-92% C-=70-72%
B+=88-89% D+=68-69%
B = 83-87% D = 63-67%
B- =80-82% D- =60-62%
C+=78-79% F=59%andbelow

 Policy on Incompletes: I will give incompletes if personal circumstances prevent completion of written work, i.e. demonstrations, on time. However, I will not give an incomplete for missed exams.  If you miss one exam, that will be the score I will drop.  Miss more than one and you must drop the course. To request an incomplete, the student must obtain the proper form from the CSUB Records Office, complete it as much as possible, and bring it to my office for approval and signature, prior to the end of the quarter.

Policy on Academic Dishonesty: Any student caught in an act of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, will receive an "F" for the course, and their action will be reported in a letter to the Dean of Arts and Sciences. Please refer to the CSUB Catalog for the full details and definitions of what actions qualify under this policy.

Sample Research Demonstration
Psychology 411
Dr. Karen Hartlep

The purpose behind doing demonstrations is to awaken, or sustain interest in psychology. You want to familiarize yourself with research findings you have discovered. Some topic may be made much more dramatic and memorable if it can be seen as well as read about. You'll want to illustrate some fact about development, or some method of research, to clarify it, and also to stimulate class participation and discussion.

Choose something described in Bjorklund.  Include a page number where you found it.  Use Bjorklund to find the original research article.  Read the original and print a copy to add to the back of your Demonstration write-up.

Remember, this is not an experiment, only a demonstration, a partial replication of someone else's research. You don't need lots of children and strictly controlled conditions. Keep the materials, the number of participants required (about 5 but no fewer), and the procedures to a minimum. Keep in mind it must be something do-able in a short period of time.  This demonstration need not cover all there is to cover about its topic, but must illustrate some aspect of it clearly.  (As a personal favor to the class and to me, please avoid doing the obvious Piaget conservation tasks, etc. We have seen them all too often. Try to do something a bit novel. The example below illustrates a format to follow but is not to be repeated.)

Please keep in mind the ethical aspects of treating human subjects. Avoid things that purposely embarrass or mislead your participants in ways they might find objectionable. Avoid causing anxiety and/or fear. By all means think of safety.   You will need to provide proof that you indeed tested at least five children.  The easiest way to do that is to take pictures of them during the testing.

The following is an example of a demonstration write-up. Note that it is not very long, only a couple of pages.  


                     Title: Object Permanence in the Stage 4 Infant of Piaget's 6 Stages of Sensorimotor Development.


    According to Piaget (Bjorklund, page 138), the infant should watch an object disappear, but search for it where he was last successful in finding it, rather than where he last saw it, making a Placement, or A-not-B Error.

    This is a demonstration that the Stage 4 infant attributes the quality of permanence to objects, but if the movement of the object is too complicated, the infant relates the object to his own past movements.


Piaget,,J. (1954).  The Construction of Reality in the Child. New York: Basic.


Five infants between the ages of 8 to 12 months were tested.  A parent accompanied each child.


An object the infant could grasp.

Two cloths, each big enough to cover the object.


    The infant was seated in the middle of a desk or table such that the infant had room on both the left and the right for the presentation of the materials.

     The infant was shown an object which was then placed under a cloth cover (A) to the infant's right. The cloth was placed close enough that the infant would be able lift the cover and grasp the object.

    This hiding under cover (A) and retrieval was repeated  two more times to allow the infant to retrieve the object several times from under the cloth (A).

     Leaving the cloth cover (A) on the child's right,  the object was then hidden under the second cloth (B) to the child's left while the child watched. 

    The object was hidden under cover (B) a second time, to see if the infant repeated the same behavior.


    All five infants were able to retrieve the object each time it was placed under cover (A), although the youngest two were hesitant during their first trial.

     Only one of the five was successful in finding the object both times it was hidden under cloth (B) by searching there first.  Three infants made a Place error on both trials, searching under cover (A) rather than cover (B), and failing to retrieve the object.  The remaining infant made a Place error on the first trial, but picked up both covers at the same time on the second trial and retrieved the object.  


    The results show that the infants had achieved object permanence since they were able to find a completely hidden object under cover (A).  They had to have some representation of the object in memory, and were aware it continued to exist even if it was not in sight.

     However, if the movement of the object was more complicated, two possible covers (A) and (B), the majority of infants related the object to their own past movements, and made an A-not-B error as shown by Piaget.  The infant searched for the object were he was last successful in finding it, rather than where he last saw the object.

     There were some exceptions.  One infant seemed to be more advanced for his age than Piaget predicted.  A second infant found a way around the problem of having to choose by grabbing both cloths at once.