Developmental Psychology

What Is Developmental Psychology?

Developmental Psychology is the study of changes in human thoughts, feelings, and behavior across the lifespan. Originally focused primarily on childhood, today (and here, at NDSU) developmental psychologists focus on the entire life span, including childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.

Study Topics

Developmental psychologists, including those at NDSU study how age is related to:

  • problem solving abilities
  • the way we perceive other people
  • language development
  • social interaction
  • coordinated behaviors (e.g., driving, eye-hand coordination)
Undergraduate Courses
  • PSYC 250 - Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 463 - Experimental Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 471 - The Psychology of Aging
  • PSYC 473 - Child Psychopathology and Therapy
  • HDFS 230 - Life Span Development*
  • HDFS 320 - Prenatal, Infant and Toddler Development*
  • HDFS 330 - Child Development*
  • HDFS 340 - Adolescent Development*
  • HDFS 360 - Adult Development and Aging*

*Department of Human Development and Family Science

Participant Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in participating in our research! Researchers at NDSU study a wide range of topics related to child development, including learning, emotions, and social interactions. If you have a child who is 2 to 18 years old and would like to be contacted about participating in our research, please fill out the form below. Someone will contact you when we have a study that your child is the right age for!

NDSU Child Development Research Interest Form

Graduate Programs

Prospective graduate students interested in developmental psychology may apply to work in developmental labs (see below) in our Ph.D. in Psychology program.


Developmental Psychology Faculty and Research at NDSU

Benjamin Balas, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: High-level vision, face recognition, visual development, ERPs

Erin Conwell, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: Early childhood development

Katherine Duggan, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: Personality, sleep, cardiovascular disease, lifespan development, healthy aging, statistics/methods

Jeremy Hamm, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: Motivation, emotion, self-regulation, life transitions, healthy aging

Linda Langley, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: Cognitive aging, attention, visual search, cognitive training


Affiliated Faculty

James E. Deal, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: Personality development in children; Relationship between individual development and family relationships

Elizabeth Blodgett Salafia, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: Family and peer influences on adolescents disordered eating attitudes and behaviors

Heather Fuller, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: Social relationships across the lifespan (e.g. intergenerational relationships); Psychological well-being in old age; Culture and Aging; Migration, transnationalism and acculturation; Biculturalis

Joel Hektner, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: Aggressive children; Research methods; Prevention programs for high-risk aggressive children; Peer affiliation patterns and peer influences on children's behaviors; Family and school conditions that facilitate optimal experiences (flow) and optimal development; The Experience Sampling Method

Melissa Lunsman O'Connor, Ph.D.  ~ Research Interests: Examining age-related differences and changes in cognitive and functional abilities, such as driving, among healthy adults and clinical populations; quantitative methods and psychometrics; interventions for improving cognition, health, and everyday functioning; and attitudes toward dementia.

Brandy A. Randall, Ph.D. ~ Research Interests: Child, Adolescent Development, Relational and contextual influences on adolescents' and young adults' positive and problem behaviors

Developmental Psychology Resources

Tell me more about developmental psychology - APA Division 7, Developmental Psychology

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