Trends in infant development research

Eloisa valenza
Dipartimento di Psicologia dello Sviluppo e della Socializzazione

The study of infant development, the plasticity of the human brain, and computational approaches to learning are laying the foundation for a new science that provides new insights into the origins of human intelligence. The focus of the course is firmly on the mechanisms of change, especially in the first two years of life, a period in which there are rapid changes in brain and mind. The course will also illustrate the practical impacts and the mutual relations between psychology and computer science, such as using: 1) connectionist models to explain infant development, 2) instruments able to record infant behavior, 3) computer tasks to test and training attention and memory in infancy. The course will include detailed empirical examples, the projection of audiovisuals and their discussion.

- why focus on the first two years of life: the value of immaturity.
- right start bright future: brain plasticity and vulnerability.
- the relevance of ecological setting.
- the relevance of longitudinal design.
- the relevance of converging methodologies.

Introductory readings
Meltzoff, A.N., Kuhl, P.K., Movellan, J. e Sejnowski, T.J. [2009], Foundations for a new science of learning, in «Science», 325, pp. 284-288.
Wass S., Porayska-Pomsta K & Johnson M. H. (2011). Training Attentional Control in Infancy, Current Biology 21, 1543–1547

Course requirements

Examination modality

Course material, enrollment and last minute notifications
Made available by the teacher at this Moodle address


Meeting room 1, Dept of Developmental Psychology, via venezia 8 (to the left after entrance, groud floor)

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