Carl Barenboim

Roy E. Larsen Chair in Psychology

BA, Clark University. PhD, University of Rochester. Special interest in the child’s developing ability to reason about the social world, as well as the relation between children’s social thinking and social behavior; articles and chapters on children’s perspective-taking, person perception, interpersonal problem solving, and the ability to infer carelessness in others; past member, Board of Consulting Editors, Developmental Psychology; principal investigator, grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. SLC, 1988–

Course Information

Current undergraduate courses

Child and Adolescent Development

Year

In this course, we will study the psychological growth of the child from birth through adolescence. In the process, we will read about some of the major theories that have shaped our thinking concerning children, including psychoanalytic (Freud and Erikson), behaviorist (Skinner), social learning (Bandura), and cognitive developmental (Piaget). A number of aspects of child development will be considered, including: the capabilities of the infant; the growth of language, thinking, and memory; various themes of parent-child relations, including attachment, separation, and different parenting styles; peer relations (friendships, the “rejected child”); sex role development; some of the “real world” challenges facing today's children and adolescents (e.g., “pushing” young children, divorce, and single-parent/blended families); and the modern study of childhood resilience in the face of difficult circumstances. Direct experience with children will be an integral part of this course, including fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or other venues. Written observational diaries will be used as a way of integrating these direct experiences with seminar topics and conference readings.

Faculty

Moral Development

Fall

For thousands of years, philosophers have struggled with the questions surrounding the issue of morality. Over the past 100 years, psychologists have joined the fray. While many theories exist, a unifying theme centers upon the notion that childhood is the crucible in which morality is formed and forged. In this course, we will explore the major theories dealing with three aspects of the development of morality: moral thought, or reasoning (e.g., Piaget, Kohlberg); moral feelings (psychoanalytic approaches, including Freud, and the modern work on the importance of empathy, including the ideas of Hoffman); and moral actions, or behavior (behaviorism, social-learning theory). In addition, we will investigate the possible relations among these three aspects of moral development. Throughout the course, we will connect moral development theory to the results of research investigations into this crucial aspect of child development. Conference work may include direct experience with children or adolescents either in the form of detailed observations or direct interaction (interviews, etc.).

Faculty

Puzzling Over People: Social Reasoning in Childhood and Adolescence

Spring

We humans tend to find other people the most interesting “objects” in our lives—and for good reason. As infants, we are completely dependent upon them for our very survival; and throughout our lives, other people serve as the social bedrock of our existence. We are a social species, one that derives “fitness” through our abilities to read the social terrain and figure out social meaning in our interactions with others. There is a range of timely questions to address: How do we do this, and how does it develop throughout childhood? Are we “hardwired” in some ways to feel what other people are feeling? What about the special case of childhood autism? How do our emotions interact with our cognitions about the social world to affect our views of self and other and our future social lives? What would cause us to have a relatively good or poor “emotional IQ,” and what are the consequences? What are the roles of family and childhood friends in this process? These are some of the issues that we will address in this course. The opportunity will be available for hands-on fieldwork with children to observe them puzzling over people in real life.

Faculty

Current graduate courses

Moral Development

Fall

For thousands of years, philosophers have struggled with the questions surrounding the issue of morality. Over the past 100 years, psychologists have joined the fray. While many theories exist, a unifying theme centers upon the notion that childhood is the crucible in which morality is formed and forged. In this course, we will explore the major theories dealing with three aspects of the development of morality: moral thought, or reasoning (e.g., Piaget, Kohlberg); moral feelings (psychoanalytic approaches, including Freud, and the modern work on the importance of empathy, including the ideas of Hoffman); and moral actions, or behavior (behaviorism, social-learning theory). In addition, we will investigate the possible relations among these three aspects of moral development. Throughout the course, we will connect moral development theory to the results of research investigations into this crucial aspect of child development. Conference work may include direct experience with children or adolescents either in the form of detailed observations or direct interaction (interviews, etc.).

Faculty

Puzzling Over People: Social Reasoning in Childhood and Adolescence

Spring

We humans tend to find other people the most interesting “objects” in our lives—and for good reason. As infants, we are completely dependent upon them for our very survival; and throughout our lives, other people serve as the social bedrock of our existence. We are a social species, one that derives “fitness” through our abilities to read the social terrain and figure out social meaning in our interactions with others. There is a range of timely questions to address: How do we do this, and how does it develop throughout childhood? Are we “hardwired” in some ways to feel what other people are feeling? What about the special case of childhood autism? How do our emotions interact with our cognitions about the social world to affect our views of self and other and our future social lives? What would cause us to have a relatively good or poor “emotional IQ,” and what are the consequences? What are the roles of family and childhood friends in this process? These are some of the issues that we will address in this course. The opportunity will be available for hands-on fieldwork with children to observe them puzzling over people in real life.

Faculty

Previous courses

Bullies and Their Victims: Social and Physical Aggression in Childhood and Adolescence

Fall

It can be the bane of our existence in childhood: the bully who simply will not leave us alone. Until fairly recently, the image that came to mind in both the popular imagination and the world of psychological study was that of a physically imposing and physically aggressive boy, someone who found the littlest, most defenseless boy to pick on. In recent years, however, that image has begun to change. Now, we realize that the ability to harm a person’s social relationships and social “standing”—usually through the manipulation of others—can be every bit as devastating to the victim. And in this new world of social aggression, girls’ expertise has come to the fore. In this course, we will study the nature of bullies and victims in both the physical and social sense and the possible long-term consequences of such bullying for both the perpetrator and the picked upon. We will explore recent evidence that bullying and victimization begin even in the preschool years, far earlier than previously thought; and we will examine some modern approaches used to break this vicious cycle, such as peer programs and interpersonal problem solving. Conference work may include field placement at the Early Childhood Center or other venues, as interactions with real children will be encouraged.

Faculty

First-Year Studies: Child and Adolescent Development

In this course, we will study the psychological growth of the child from birth through adolescence. In the process, we will read about some of the major theories that have shaped our thinking concerning children, including psychoanalytic (Freud and Erikson), behaviorist (Skinner), social learning (Bandura), and cognitive developmental (Piaget). A number of aspects of child development will be considered, including: the capabilities of the infant; the growth of language, thinking, and memory; various themes of parent child relations, including attachment, separation, and different parenting styles; peer relations (friendships, the “rejected child”); sex role development; some of the “real world” challenges facing today's children and adolescents (e.g., “pushing” young children, divorce, and single parent/blended families); and the modern study of childhood resilience in the face of difficult circumstances. Direct experience with children will be an integral part of this course, including fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or other venues. Written observational diaries will be used as a way of integrating these direct experiences with seminar topics and conference readings.

Faculty

Moral Development - Graduate

Fall

For thousands of years, philosophers have struggled with the questions surrounding the issue of morality. Over the past 100 years, psychologists have joined the fray. While many theories exist, a unifying theme centers upon the notion that childhood is the crucible in which morality is formed and forged. In this course, we will explore the major theories dealing with three aspects of the development of morality: moral thought, or reasoning (e.g., Piaget, Kohlberg); moral feelings (psychoanalytic approaches, including Freud, and the modern work on the importance of empathy, including the ideas of Hoffman); and moral actions, or behavior (behaviorism, social-learning theory). In addition, we will investigate the possible relations among these three aspects of moral development. Throughout the course, we will connect moral development theory to the results of research investigations into this crucial aspect of child development. Conference work may include direct experience with children or adolescents either in the form of detailed observations or direct interaction (interviews, etc.).

Faculty

Parents and Peers in Children’s Lives

Fall

In this course, we will study the psychological growth of the child from birth through adolescence, focusing especially on the social lives of children. We will begin by reading about some of the major theories that have shaped our thinking concerning children, including psychoanalytic (Freud and Erikson), behaviorist (Skinner), and cognitive-developmental (Piaget). We will apply those theories to the “real world” of children’s lives, examining the key issues of parent-child relations and children’s friendships. Our study of parent-child relations will include the question of what makes a “good” parent (known as “parenting styles”), as well as the effects of divorce, single parenting, and step parenting on the subsequent development of children. Our investigation of children’s friendships will include the exploration of its key functions for children’s psychological well-being, the difficulties for children without friends, and the power of the peer group to shape a child’s sense of self. Conference work may include direct experience with children, including fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or other venues.

Faculty

Social Development Research Seminar

Spring

The goal of this course is to have each student propose and conduct an original piece of research within the broad sphere of social development in childhood and adolescence. It is intended for students who have done a previous conference project in the social sciences that raised interesting questions for them, questions that could be addressed by taking the next step of conducting their own study on the subject. The work could be done, for example, through quantitative testing, observation, direct interviews, or questionnaires. The course will be divided into three parts: First, we will read a range of past studies that exemplify different types of research approaches to the study of children and adolescents and discuss the strengths and possible weaknesses of each approach; at the same time, in conference, each student will begin the planning process for her/his own study. Second, each student will take turns serving as the facilitator of class discussion by assigning the readings for that particular week (on studies relevant to her/his own project) while sharing with the class the current progress on her/his research ideas; in turn, the rest of the class will serve as a “working group,” providing feedback and helpful suggestions on each project. The third and final portion of the course will involve students presenting the findings of their studies.

Faculty