Netherlands, Nijmegen

Early Programming: How Early Life Shapes Human Development

when 8 August 2016 - 12 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 450

During the prenatal and early postnatal years, neurobiological and behavioral development proceeds at a breathtaking pace and is highly sensitive to environmental influence. Early experience shapes early and long-term development. This course focuses on the effects of early experience on human development, and more specifically, on health, cognition, physiology and socio-emotional development. Factors that play a role in our development will be approached from different perspectives, with special attention to evolutionary, biological, psychological and social perspectives.

The course is intrinsically interdisciplinary and will cover a broad range of topics. The programme will consist of lectures and a variety of individual and small group assignments that will be discussed in plenary sessions. Students will receive a reader with a selection of literature.

The assignments include:

- designing a research project
- critically reviewing literature
- resolving research problems
- watching documentaries and discussing them
- reflecting on ethical issues
- brainstorming about the future of the field

Topics include:

- Early life stress, including maternal stress during pregnancy
- Epigenetic mechanisms
- Evolutionary theories, including Life History Theory and Parent-Offspring Conflict Theory
- Hormones and physiology
- Early caregiving environment, including quality of parenting and non-parental care
- Health, including intestinal microbiota
- Early prevention and intervention

Course leader

Prof. dr. C. de Weerth
Professor / Associate chair
Developmental Psychology Behavioural Science Institute
Radboud University

Target group

Master and PhD students of Psychology, Biology, Medicine or related fields.

Course aim

After this course you will:
- have knowledge and understanding of the effects of early experience on a broad range of developmental outcomes.
- be familiar with possible evolutionary, biological, psychological and social mechanisms underlying these effects.
- be aware of critical issues in the recent field of programming research.
- be able to critically analyze recent literature on the course subjects.
- be able to apply the recently acquired knowledge into the design of new research, and into discussion your own ideas and stand points on this field of research.

Fee info

EUR 450: The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

10% discount for early bird applicants. The early bird deadline is 1 April 2016.
15% discount for students and PhD candidates from Radboud University and partner universities.
EUR 195: Housing (optional)