Netherlands, Nijmegen

Early Programming: How Early Life Shapes Human Development

when 13 August 2018 - 17 August 2018
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 525

This highly interactive course looks into exciting and recently discovered environmental factors and mechanisms that shape early and long-term human development; using evolutionary, biological, and psychological perspectives.

During the prenatal and early postnatal years neurobiological and behavioral development proceeds at a breathtaking pace and is highly sensitive to environmental influences. Early experience shapes early and long-term developmental outcomes. 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
- Telomere physiology
- Early prevention and intervention

Course leader

Prof. Dr. Carolina de Weerth
Developmental Psychology
Behavioural Science Institute
Radboud University

Target group

Master, PhD. Master and PhD students of Psychology, Biology, Medicine, or related fields. Students who do not meet these requirements, are kindly asked to submit their motivational letter, as well as their CV.

Course aim

After this course you will:
1. Have knowledge and understanding of the effects of early experience on a broad range of developmental outcomes, as well as on possible underlying mechanisms
2. Be aware of critical issues in the recent field of programming research
3. Be able to critically analyze recent literature on the course subjects
4. Be able to apply the recently acquired knowledge into the design of new research, and into discussing your own ideas and standpoints on this field of research

Fee info

EUR 525: The fee includes the registration fees, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.


We offer several reduced fees:
€ 473  early bird discount – deadline 1 April 2018 (10%)
€ 446  partner + RU discount (15%)
€ 394  early bird + partner + RU discount (25%)

Register for this course
on course website