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An Introduction to Developmental Neuropsychology

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands


In this course, students will be introduced to the innovative and ’mind-blowing’ field of developmental neuropsychology.

The anatomy of the brain and relevant brain functions will be introduced at the beginning of the module. Through case studies students will explore the fundamental research and the most recent advances in the field. Students will endeavour to find solutions to the questions presented by researching various articles and group discussion. For example, why is there a change in the ability to discriminate between human faces and monkey faces in babies of 12 months? And why is this difference not present at 6 months?

Cognitive development is typically measured by changes or improvements in cognitive processes. In this course, topics such as language, executive functions and the impact of traumatic brain injury will be explored in terms of their developmental trajectory and how this trajectory relates to changes in the maturing brain. We will examine how these developmental changes can be measured by various neurological methods (e.g. fMRI and EEG).

The field trip included in the course focuses on the importance of neuroscientific research methods and forms a unique and practical insight into the subject matter. Midway through the course the students will construct a research proposal regarding developmental neuropsychology and present this proposal. To conclude the course, students will sit a written exam.

Course Duration and Dates
This is a three week course running from the 20th of July until the 6th of August, 2020. Due to COVID-19, we have decided to cancel all on-campus education this summer. The courses will be scheduled in Central European Time [CET] so it is possible that some time slots are not ideal for people in certain time zones. However, when scheduling the courses, we will try to take into account the different time zones as much as we can.

The number of credits earned after successfully concluding this course is the equivalent of 6 ECTS according to Maastricht University’s guidelines. For further information see the MSS terms and conditions

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will have developed a deeper understanding of:

• The general development of the human brain (prenatal/postnatal development until young adulthood)
• Different brain areas relevant for the development of e.g. language or executive functions
• The influence of experience on the perceptual narrowing of the brain regarding face processing and language (nature/nurture debate)
• Differences in the development of the brain regarding language (dyslexia) and ADHD
• The adolescent brain and implications for the development of social cognition

At least one 200-level Psychology course. It is recommended that the students have an interest in the development of the human brain and cognitive development. An interest in scientific research and methods is also recommended.

Recommended reading
Various articles will be used to address the different topics of this course. One of the first tasks will cover overall brain development of which the reading list below provides an impression. The comprehensive literature list is currently under construction.

Basic literature

Brain Development p. 102-115 in: Siegler, R. S., DeLoache, J. S., & Eisenberg, N. (2003). How children develop. Macmillan.


Casey, B. J., Tottenham, N., Liston, C., & Durston, S. (2005). Imaging the developing brain: what have we learned about cognitive development?. Trends in cognitive sciences, 9(3), 104-110.
Maurer, D., & Werker, J. F. (2014). Perceptual narrowing during infancy: A comparison of language and faces. Developmental Psychobiology, 56(2), 154-178.
Zangl, R., & Mills, D. L. (2007). Increased Brain Activity to Infant‐Directed Speech in 6‐and 13‐Month‐Old Infants. Infancy, 11(1), 31-62.
Saito, Y., Aoyama, S., Kondo, T., Fukumoto, R., Konishi, N., Nakamura, K., … & Toshima, T. (2007). Frontal cerebral blood flow change associated with infant-directed speech. Archives of Disease in Childhood-Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 92(2), F113-F116.

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Not available for applying at the moment