Carl Barenboim

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–

Undergraduate Courses 2020-2021

Psychology

Social Development Research Seminar

Intermediate/Advanced , Seminar—Spring

Prerequisite: prior course in psychology

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. The course is intended for students who have completed 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 of 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. In the first part, we will be reading a range of past studies that exemplify different types of research approaches to the study of children and adolescents—and we will discuss the strengths and possible weaknesses of each approach. At the same time, in conference, students will begin the planning process for their own study. In the second part of the course, students will take turns serving as the facilitator of class discussion by assigning the readings for that particular week (on studies relevant to their own project) while sharing with the class the current progress on their own research ideas. In that week, the classmates will serve as a “working group” to provide feedback and helpful suggestions on the student’s project. In subsequent weeks, each student will serve as part of the “working group,” while another student presents his/her “project-in-the-making.” The final portion of the course will involve students presenting the findings of their studies.

Faculty

Children’s Friendships

Intermediate , Seminar—Fall

Prerequisite: prior course in psychology 

Making friends, losing friends, keeping friends...through the use of psychological and literary texts, we will explore the important functions of friendship for children and adolescents. During much of the 20th century, psychologists had assumed that adults serve as the major social influence on a child’s developing sense of self and personality, that perhaps only toward adolescence would children’s social relations with peers come to play an important role in their lives. We now know better. In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the study of friendships and peer relations throughout childhood, even in toddlerhood. The important psychological benefits of having friends are increasingly recognized. So, too, are the potential problems of its obverse: Children who are truly without friends are at greater risk for later social-emotional difficulties. We will explore the writings of major theorists such as Sullivan, Youniss, Selman, and Rubin; read and discuss the recent studies that have observed “friendship in the making”; and examine what friendship means to children and adolescents in their own words.

Faculty

Child and Adolescent Development

Open , Seminar—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.

Faculty

Graduate Courses

Child Development 2020-2021

Children’s Friendships

Graduate Seminar—Fall

Making friends, losing friends, keeping friends...through the use of psychological and literary texts, we will explore the important functions of friendship for children and adolescents. During much of the 20th century, psychologists had assumed that adults serve as the major social influence on a child’s developing sense of self and personality, that perhaps only toward adolescence would children’s social relations with peers come to play an important role in their lives. We now know better. In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the study of friendships and peer relations throughout childhood, even in toddlerhood. The important psychological benefits of having friends are increasingly recognized. So, too, are the potential problems of its obverse: Children who are truly without friends are at greater risk for later social-emotional difficulties. We will explore the writings of major theorists such as Sullivan, Youniss, Selman, and Rubin; read and discuss the recent studies that have observed “friendship in the making”; and examine what friendship means to children and adolescents in their own words.

Faculty

Social Development Research Seminar

Intermediate/Advanced , 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. The course is intended for students who have completed 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 of 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. In the first part, we will be reading a range of past studies that exemplify different types of research approaches to the study of children and adolescents—and we will discuss the strengths and possible weaknesses of each approach. At the same time, in conference, students will begin the planning process for their own study. In the second part of the course, students will take turns serving as the facilitator of class discussion by assigning the readings for that particular week (on studies relevant to their own project) while sharing with the class the current progress on their own research ideas. In that week, the classmates will serve as a “working group” to provide feedback and helpful suggestions on the student’s project. In subsequent weeks, each student will serve as part of the “working group,” while another student presents his/her “project-in-the-making.” The final portion of the course will involve students presenting the findings of their studies.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Parents and Peers in Children's Lives

Open , Seminar—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). And 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 stepparenting 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

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

Intermediate , Seminar—Fall

Prerequisite: a prior course in psychology.

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

Puzzling Over People: Social Reasoning in Childhood and Adolescence

Intermediate/Advanced , Seminar—Spring

Prerequisite: prior course in psychology.

We humans tend to find other people to be the most interesting “objects” in our lives—and for good reason. As infants, we are completely dependent upon others 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 are 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 others 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 in order to observe children puzzling over people in real life.

Faculty

Social Development

Intermediate , Seminar—Fall

Prerequisite: prior course in psychology.

Some of the most interesting and most important pieces of knowledge that a child will ever learn are not taught in school. So it is with the child’s social world. Unlike “reading, writing, and ’rithmetic,” there is no “Social Thinking 101.” Further, by the time children reach school age, they have already spent years learning the “lessons of life” and affecting those around them. This course will explore the social world of the child from birth through adolescence, focusing on three main areas: parent/child relations, sex-role development, and moral development. Within parenting, we will examine issues such as different parenting “styles,” the long-term consequences of divorce, and the “hurrying” of children to achieve major milestones at ever-earlier ages. Within the topic of sex-role development, we will read about the role of powerful socialization forces, including the mass media, and the socialization pressures that children place upon themselves and each other. Within moral development, we will study the growth of moral emotions—such as empathy, shame, and guilt—and the role of gender and culture in shaping our sense of right and wrong. 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

Open , FYS—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

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

Seminar—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

Moral Development

Seminar—Spring

For thousands of years, philosophers have struggled with the questions surrounding the issue of morality. Over the past hundred 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 and mirror neurons); and moral actions, or behavior (behaviorism, social-learning theory). In addition, we will investigate the possible relations among these three aspects of moral development. For example, how is moral thought connected to moral action? Throughout the course, we will relate 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 in the form of either detailed observations or direct interaction (interviews, etc.).

Faculty