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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
Tuition fee €998 per programme


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 lectures and meetings in the course further focus on the importance of neuroscientific research methods and forms a unique and practical insight into the subject matter. Students will construct their own research proposal on a topic of choice that has a clear connection to developmental psychology and neuroscientific methods. Students conclude the course with a final exam.

The course is a continuous combination of (online) PBL tutorials, assignments and lectures. Students earn 6 ECTS credits when they obtain a passing grade.

General disclaimer: on-campus education and activities, as well as trips and visits related to the course are conditional. E.g. (Dutch) travel advice should be positive regarding the region that will be visited and institutions should be able to accept visitors. In case a proposed activity, trip or visit cannot continue due to circumstances, (online) alternatives may be organized.

Course Duration and Dates
This is a three week course running from the 19th of July until the 5th of August, 2021

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

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 mathematics (dyscalculia) ▪ The adolescent brain and implications for the development of social cognition

Students will also have become familiar with developmental research and neuroscientific methods.

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 literature
Various articles will be used to address the different topics of this course. One of the first tasks will cover overall brain development. A subsequent task discusses the adolescent brain and the link between the adolescent brain and the development of social cognition. The literature lists for these tasks is included hereby. The comprehensive literature list is currently under construction.

1. General brain development
• 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.
• Giedd, J. N. et al. (1999). Brain development during childhood and adolescence: a longitudinal MRI study. Nature neuroscience, 2(10), 861-863.
• Dean, D. C. et al. (2015). Characterizing longitudinal white matter development during early childhood. Brain Structure and Function, 220(4), 1921-1933.
2. The adolescent brain
• Casey, B. J., Jones, R. M., & Hare, T. A. (2008). The adolescent brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1124(1), 111-126.
• Kilford, E. J., Garrett, E., & Blakemore, S. J. (2016). The development of social cognition in adolescence: An integrated perspective. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 70, 106-120.
Teaching methods
▪ Assignments ▪ Lectures ▪ PBL ▪ Presentations ▪ Work in subgroups ▪ Working Visits

Assessment methods
▪ Assignment ▪ Attendance ▪ Participation ▪ Presentation ▪ Written exam

▪ Cognition ▪ language and mathematics ▪ prefrontal cortex ▪ executive functions ▪ infancy ▪ brain and behaviour ▪ adolescence ▪ maturation ▪ neuroscience ▪ EEG/ERP ▪ fMRI ▪ fNIRS ▪ development ▪ nature/nurture debate ▪ environment ▪ perceptual narrowing

Apply now! Summer Term 2020/21
Application deadline
Jun 30, 2021 23:59:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Jul 19, 2021

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Summer Term 2020/21
Application deadline
Jun 30, 2021 23:59:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Jul 19, 2021

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States