Syllabus: Psychology 160: Life-Span Development (Honors)

Instructor: Ashton D. Trice E-Mail:
Office: Johnston 209 Home Phone: 540-885-5944
Office Phone: x8189 Website:
Office Hours: M (11:00-12:00); W (1:00-3:30); Th (3:00-4:00)

Texts: Sigelman, C. K., & Shaffer, D. R. (1995). Life-span human development (2nd Ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Gardiner, H. W., Mutter, J. D., & Kosmitzki, C. (1998). Lives across cultures.
Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.


Among the General Education objectives for Cluster Five (Individuals in the Human Community) addressed in this class are:

1. Explore the assumptions that a person holds about others.
2. Describe how diversity affects our ability to work with others.
3. Apply different value systems to particular situations to explore possible courses of action.
4. Identify the components of one's own belief system and the fundamental assumptions underlying it.
5. Examine one's own identity and abilities and how they relate to confidence in self.
6. Describe ways in which both heredity and environment influence human development and individual behavior.
7. Describe theories of human development and behavior.
8. Identify, evaluate, and articulate the interrelationships among individual, institutional, and public interests in contemporary society.
9. Actively explore programs and projects involving collaboration with others.
10. Use reputable resources to learn about and evaluate current societal trends in health and social behavior.


Quizzes (50 pts)
Approximately half of the class meetings will begin with a quiz. Half of the quizzes will consist of five fill-in-the-blank items from the day's readings; half will be short essay questions based on the day's readings. Missed quizzes cannot be made up. Students who miss more than two quizzes for legitimate reasons (representing the University, serious illness or family crisis) should contact the course instructor.

Tests (50 pts each)
There will be three tests during the term. Each test will consist of 50 objective items. Because tests will be scored by computer and the results immediately sent to students email accounts along with an answer key, students should make every effort to take tests at the scheduled time. Student who know in advance that they must miss a test should take the test prior to its administration. Students who miss a test because of illness must make arrangements for its make-up with the course instructor. A sample test is on the course Website.

Psychology Portfolio (100 pts)
Each student will complete three projects as part of a "psychology portfolio." Two of the projects require collaborative work with one or more other students. The projects include:
  1. A Biographical Project (up to 50 points). Students will work in groups of four or five to research the life of a public figure. Guidelines for this project are on the course website.
  1. Film review ( up to 25 points). In this course we will watch three international films about different stages in the process of development: L'enfant sauvage about a wild boy discovered in 18th century France; Once Were Warriors , a study of family disruption among the Mauri of New Zealand; and Ikiru, a study of aging in post-war Japan. Each student will complete a 5-page review of the film which will concentrate on cross-cultural developmental issues developed in Gardiner, Mutter, and Kosmitzki (1998).
  2. Research Projects (up to 25 points). Students work in groups to develop a questionnaire about developmental issues which will be administered to individuals from a different cultural (non-US) group. Guildelines for this project will be distributed after the first test.


A = 270-300
B+ = 255-269
B = 240-254
C+ = 225-239
C = 210-224
D = 190-209
F = 189 or less

Grades of A-, B-, and C- will not be awarded in this class.

Honor Code

All tests and quizzes are conducted under the provisions of the University Honor Code. Some parts of the Psychology Portfolio are collaborative. Student may seek assistance from library staff and individuals in the writing center; students may seek assistance from other faculty, but such assistance should remain minimal so as not to burden other faculty; students are expected to assist one another; this assistance may involve discussing ideas, proofreading and editing writing; and sharing materials.

Class Outline

Daily class readings and test schedules will be posted on the Course Website by the first class meeting. In the event of class cancellation, students should continue reading according to this schedule. Tests and other events may have to be rescheduled. Such changes will be announced in class and posted on the Website under "Announcements."

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend class. Material in addition to the material in the textbooks will be presented in most class meetings. Students are not only expected to attend class but to participate by asking questions and engaging in class discussions.