PSY306Y0 Developmental Psychobiology in Contemporary Society

This course offers an introduction to human development, developmental health, and developmental neuroscience. Recent human and animal research reveals that biological mechanisms (epigenetics, physiology, and gene-by-environment interactions) and life experiences (e.g., the regulatory functions of social environment and parent-child attachment) contribute to the long-term programming and intergenerational transmission of stress physiology, brain function, and mental/physical health. Applied topics are discussed throughout the course (e.g., spanking, cry-it-out sleep training, racism in utero, poverty and social inequality, wages for housework, universal basic income, the immigrant and refugee experience, the epigenetic transmission of wartime trauma, the criminalization of motherhood, the human rights of infants and children, and the biopolitics of child development). Acquiring an integrated perspective via readings, lectures, class discussion, applied science assignments, and a research proposal presented in poster format, students will evaluate how existing and future research might inform and improve policies and practices that optimize human development. Field trips (e.g., a day trip to Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum, a former Nazi concentration camp) and guest lectures will enable students to learn firsthand about the topics covered in the course.

Prerequisites: Enrolment in any Psychology or Social Science Major or Specialist and completion of 8.0 FCE
BR = 4
PSY306Y0 – Course Syllabus

Field Trips: Students will participate in a day trip to Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum, a former Nazi concentration camp and guest lectures will enable students to learn firsthand about the topics covered in the course. The total cost of these field trips is CAD$65 paid to UofT for entrance fees and tours. CAD$30 to be paid onsite for local transportation and tips.

Instructor: Professor David Haley is a developmental psychologist internationally recognized for his investigations of parent-infant interactions, infant stress, and infant memory—important contributions to the growing field of infant mental health. His innovative research program is focused on maternal cognition and examines the privileged status of infant emotions (expressed facially and vocally) on maternal brain functions, revealing the neural and cognitive mechanisms that have evolved to support caregiving. He is Principal Investigator at the Parent-Infant Research Lab at the University of Toronto Scarborough. In addition to his contributions to scientific journals, he coedited the book The Developing Infant Mind: Integrating Biology and Experience and was guest editor of a special issue of the journal Parent: Science and Practice.

Click here to see other courses in Germany.