Psychology 240B: Introduction to Developmental Psychology
Due: Monday, March 17, 2008
E-mail completed assignment to Rachel Lechcier-Kimel email@example.com
NAME the document (Firstname_Lastname.240B.doc)
The study of psychological development is a complex and often difficult process. To
make the challenge more manageable, developmental change is often studied through the
“lens” of different tasks—namely, procedures that are designed to elicit patterns of
behavior that have potentially important theoretical significance. An important goal for
the student of Developmental Psychology is to become familiar with these tasks, how
they are administered, how children of different ages perform, and how different
theoreticians interpret the significance of the observed behaviors. The purpose of this
writing assignment is:
(1) To introduce you to some of these tasks;
(2) To help you to learn to think critically about the patterns of behavior
commonly observed in these tasks;
(3) To express your ideas in APA style.
Below is a list of 7 different tasks or procedures that are frequently used to study aspects
of cognitive or social development, and a reference article that describes the task and
offers some theoretical interpretation of the findings. Chose 1 task and read the
associated paper. Copies of these papers are posted on-line on the PSY240 homepage.
Perceptual and Cognitive Development
1. The A not B task: Diamond, 1985.
2. Developmental changes in cross-language speech perception: Werker & Tees, 1984.
3. Dimensional Change Card Sort task: Zelazo, Frye, & Rapus, 1996.
4. Day-Night Stroop task: Gerstadt, Hong, & Diamond, 1994.
Social Development: Parenting/Peer relations/Social referencing
1. Strange Situation procedure: from Bretherton & Waters, 1985
2. Ambiguous provocation: Dodge, Murphy, & Buchsbaum, 1984.
3. Social referencing and the visual cliff: Sorce, Emde, Campos, & Klinnert, 1985.
Write a short paper describing the task and its theoretical relevance to Developmental
Psychology. Begin with a short theoretical preamble (i.e., what broad research question
motivates the use of the task?). Next, introduce the task (e.g., “The X Task provides a
means of investigating the development of X”), and describe how the task is
administered. What interesting pattern of behaviour is observed in the task, and how do
the authors interpret this behaviour (i.e., Why is the behaviour interesting)? Finally,
read 1 other research article not listed on this assignment sheet (i.e., go and find it
yourself in the stacks or on-line using PsycInfo) that has examined the same
phenomenon in a different way and discuss how the new findings elaborate on or
offer an alternative explanation for children’s behaviour in the task.
Your paper should be NO LONGER than 7 double-spaced pages—1 title page, 5 pages
of text, and 1 page for references—and should be written in APA style (see below).
Title Page (Page 1): Must include a header, a title, your name and the name of the
University. Create a title that sounds like a research paper. Do not call your paper
“Psychology 240B writing assignment.” Title should be double-spaced and centre-
justified. I will post an example on the course WebSite.
Text (Page 2-6): Page numbers and headers must appear in the upper-right corner of the
document. Do not write the title of your paper in this section. In text references must
appear as follows: “In one experiment, infants did X (Smith & Jones, 1985).” If there
are more than two names in the reference, when the paper is cited the second time, the in-
text reference should be abbreviated as follows: (Davis et al., 1992). Text must be in 12
point font and double-spaced.
Reference Page (Page 7): References must appear on a separate page. This page should
be numbered and have the same header that you have used throughout the document. The
term “References” must appear at the top of the page, be centre-justified, and NOT
underlined. Do not call the references section “Bibliography.” References must be
double-spaced and must appear in alphabetical order. Do not number the references.
Your paper will be marked out of 30 according to the following marking scheme:
1. Theoretical preamble (5 marks)
2. Description of the task and the phenomenon of interest (5 marks)
3. Theoretical interpretation (5 marks)
4. Review of the second research article (5 marks)
5. APA style (5 marks)
6. Logical coherence (5 marks)