Psychology Course Descriptions

Psychology 121 - Introduction to Psychology I

Full course for one semester, taught by several faculty members. The course provides an overview of selected topics in experimental, clinical, and applied psychology. Topics include learning, motivation, human development, social behavior, personality, and psychopathology. Conferences and laboratories supplement the lectures and readings. Lecture-laboratory-conference.

Psychology 122 - Introduction to Psychology II

Full course for one semester, taught by several faculty members. The course provides an overview of selected topics in experimental, clinical, and applied psychology. Topics include learning, motivation, human development, social behavior, personality, and psychopathology. Conferences and laboratories supplement the lectures and readings. Lecture-laboratory-conference.

Psychology 232 - Socialization of the Child

Full course for one semester. This course will focus on the socialization process—the ways in which children’s personalities are shaped by their relationships to parents, peers, and the larger cultural context. Specific topics will include theory and research on emotional attachment to parents; the origins of friendship and pro-social behavior; aggression and bullying; the development of morality; the socialization of self-control; and the role of teachers and schools. Lecture-conference.

Psychology 252 - Problems in Psychology: Emotions

Full course for one semester. An exploration of our affective lives from biological, cognitive, social, cultural, and clinical perspectives. Do we have discrete emotional states? To what extent do emotions engage reflexive biological responses, conscious appraisal processes, or learned social expectations? Most importantly, how can these questions be addressed empirically? Prerequisite: Psychology 121 or sophomore standing. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 296 - Psychology of Language Acquisition

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on the processes by which children acquire language (such as word meanings, morphology, and syntactic structure). We will try to explain the “language paradox” of how all normal children acquire this vast and complex knowledge from a limited input and in spite of linguistic variation. We will study the specific issues of bilingualism, the relation between language and thought, and language in special populations. Theories of learning and mental representation will be discussed in this context. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Linguistics 296.

Linguistics 296 Description

Psychology 305 - Gender and Sexuality

Full course for one semester. This course will provide a critical examination of theories of both gender and sexuality. We will attempt to integrate knowledge from biological, psychological, social, and cultural spheres to arrive at a greater understanding of maleness, femaleness, and sexual behavior. Throughout the course, we will examine a number of topics, which may include: gender and sexual socialization; gender stereotypes and gender differences; gender roles and sexual behavior; gender and mental health (e.g., depression, substance use, body image); work and achievement; emotion and language; and aggression and violence. Our analysis of these topics will include explicit attention to the influence of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 312 - Children and the Media

Full course for one semester. This course examines a variety of questions related to children’s and adolescents’ use and understanding of the media, and to the role of the media in their social and personality development. How do media shape and socialize us? How does exposure to TV programs, movies, magazines, and the internet shape children’s understanding of gender roles, ethnic groups, and societal norms (e.g., dating and sexuality)? Does watching violence on television or enacting violent behavior in video games contribute to aggressiveness in children? Do the portrayals of males and females in music videos and magazine advertising adversely affect adolescents’ self-concept, body image, and self-esteem? In this course we will discuss these and other questions, critically examine experimental methodology used to test these issues, and review several theoretical perspectives describing links between children and the media. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Psychology 361 recommended. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 319 - Psychology of Addictions

Full course for one semester. This course will examine the psychology of addiction to substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, and narcotics, and to behaviors, such as gambling, eating, and seeking pornography. We will explore historical and cultural attitudes toward addictions, theories of addiction along with related empirical findings, physical and psychosocial consequences of addictions, and prevention and treatment models. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Conference.

Psychology 322 - Social Psychology

Full course for one semester. An examination of psychological theory and research concerning the ways in which people think, feel, and act in social situations. Conferences will focus on areas of basic social psychological research and theory, including social cognition, attribution, impression formation, social interaction, intergroup and interpersonal relationships, and social influence. Special issues addressed in the course are stereotyping and prejudice, the self within the social context, and applications of social psychology to social problems. Opportunities for students to plan and conduct empirical research are available. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Psychology 323 - Motivation in Educational Contexts

Full course for one semester. An overview of theory and research on motivation as it applies to educational contexts, focusing primarily on school-aged children. Topics will include attribution theory, rewards and praise, classroom goals, intrinsic motivation, teacher expectations, and perceptions of ability. We will consider both classic and contemporary empirical approaches. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Conference.

Psychology 323 - Health Psychology

Full course for one semester. This course will examine how psychological principles can be employed to promote health, prevent illness, and encourage adherence to disease treatment regimens. Within a biopsychosocial framework, we will analyze behavioral patterns that influence risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic pain, and sexually transmitted diseases, among other conditions. For the associated lab, students will engage in a self-directed project aimed at increasing the frequency of a healthy behavior (such as exercising) or decreasing the frequency of an unhealthy behavior (such as smoking). Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Conference.

Psychology 325 - Stereotyping and Prejudice

Full course for one semester. An analysis of psychological theory and empirical research on stereotyping and prejudice. The course will explore a number of themes: the development and causes of intergroup perceptions and antagonism, reasons for the persistence and prevalence of stereotypes and prejudice, ways in which feelings and beliefs about groups influence social perception and interaction, and possible ways to change group stereotypes or reduce prejudice. In examining these issues, conferences will consider both the ways in which individuals perceive themselves as members of groups and the ways that they perceive other groups. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Psychology 329 - Social Psychology of Disability

Full course for one semester. This course provides a critical examination of the social construction of disability, comparing alternative models and definitions of disablement (medical, cultural minority, human variation) to examine how each accounts for the dynamics of contemporary life for people who differ from the norm. Traditional psychological research and new empirical developments will be explored on the topics of stigma, self-perception, identity, and intergroup relations, as well as stereotypes, discrimination, and collective action; and gender, relationships, and current controversies, including genetic testing and assisted suicide. Instead of focusing on issues of rehabilitation, this seminar addresses the social and cultural influences on what it means to be human, healthy, and valued. Conferences will stimulate critical thinking about ourselves and our values, judgments, and interaction patterns by disentangling the complexities involved with impairment and the social determinants of disability. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 331 - Stress and Coping

Full course for one semester. We consider various conceptualizations of stress and coping responses, as well as theoretical and methodological issues related to conducting research on stress, coping, and outcomes. Topics include recent research on personality, physiological, psychosocial, cultural, and developmental components of stress and coping, as well as evidence for the efficacy of stress management interventions. We discuss ways to apply ideas to ourselves as individuals. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2005-06.

Psychology 333 - Psychobiology

Full course for one semester. An examination of the basic concepts and methods of neuroanatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and neural modeling as they relate to the study of behavior, perception, and cognition. The physiological bases of such phenomena as sensory perception, motor function, attention, motivation, emotion, learning, memory, and mental disorders are topics to be considered in detail. The laboratory-conference meetings include discussion of research methods and of primary research articles. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or Biology 101 and 102. Lecture-laboratory-conference.

Psychology 335 - Neural Plasticity

This course will focus on the epigenetic development of the nervous system: how genes and environment interact to determine the anatomy and physiology of the brain as a precursor to exploring how the brain’s structure may change in adulthood following injury or learning. Prerequisite: Psychology 333. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 336 - Neuropsychology

Full course for one semester. We will explore models of normal higher cognitive functions based on evidence obtained from brain-damaged individuals. We will review functional neuroanatomy as it relates to these functions, as well as methods and techniques used in the field. Whenever possible, one or more visits to clinical settings will be arranged. Prerequisite: Psychology 121 and 122 or consent of instructor. Lecture-conference.

Psychology 344 - Thinking

Full course for one semester. We will survey classic and current research on thinking. How (and how well) do we think and reason? How do we solve problems or make decisions? Can the productivity or creativity of our thinking be improved? This course will examine cognitive psychology’s answers to these questions. We will also consider the relation between decision-making and rationality, and the prospects for rational thinking (or thinking of any sort) in computers. Prerequisite: Psychology 366 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Psychology 348 - Research Design and Data Analysis

Full course for one semester. This course is designed to introduce the basic concepts, logic, and methods of research design and data analysis used in psychological research. Central questions include how to select, perform, and interpret statistical techniques while emphasizing the application of these techniques to students’ own research projects. Topics include descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, t-tests, one-way and two-way analysis of variance, and correlational techniques. Lecture-laboratory.

Psychology 350 - Psychology and the Courts

Full course for one semester. This course is an examination of how psychological research can inform and be informed by many aspects of the legal process. Topics covered include forensic profiling, eyewitness testimony, identification procedures, lie detection, jury bias, jury decision-making, and the insanity defense. Prerequisite: Psychology 366. Conference.

Psychology 351 - Psychopathology

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on description, conceptualization, etiology, development, and prognosis of abnormal functioning. We examine theories and research about the origin and development of specific mental health disorders, including experimental, correlational, and cross-cultural research, and case studies. Students participate in fieldwork in off-campus facilities related to mental health. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.

Psychology 353 - Personality Theories

Full course for one semester. This course is a survey of perspectives on personality, including psychodynamic, trait, social cognitive, genetic, temperamental, and cultural approaches. Are there universal characteristics that describe all humans? When should we expect consistency and predictability in ourselves and others, and when should we expect variability? How do environmental and genetic influences shape personality? Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 355 - Interpersonal Perception

Full course for one semester. This course offers an analysis of interpersonal relations focusing on the dynamic relationship between perception and social interaction. The course will examine classic and current research on the complex interplay of interpersonal perception, social cognition, and behavior as everyday relations unfold. Conferences will focus on the ways in which individuals attempt to make sense of themselves, other people and groups, and their social environment. The course is a seminar with readings in original source materials and an opportunity to plan and conduct empirical research. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Psychology 322 recommended but not required. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 361 - Developmental Psychology

Full course for one semester. This course is an examination of theory and research on social and cognitive development from birth to adolescence. Conferences will focus on areas of basic and applied developmental research including physical growth, social relationships, cognition, communication, and policy issues affecting children and families. Students conduct original observational research and participate in fieldwork in local schools or other sites that serve children. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Conference.

Psychology 364 - Cognitive Development

Full course for one semester. This course is an examination of cognitive development during infancy and childhood. Discussions will center on three major theories of how mental abilities develop: Piagetian, information-processing, and “theory-theory” approaches. Topics to be covered include object permanence, memory, categorization, conceptual development, social cognition, and language development. We will consider both classic studies and recent research, with a focus on the different theoretical accounts motivating this research as well as the methodologies used in specific studies. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Psychology 361 or 366 recommended. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 366 - Cognitive Processes

Full course for one semester. We will examine how humans acquire, store, and use knowledge. The course will center on memory and knowledge representation, but to understand these we will also need to consider the processes of perceiving, categorizing, and attending. Our emphasis will be on contemporary experimental approaches, and we will discuss the methodological arguments underlying these approaches. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Conference-lecture.

Psychology 373 - Learning

Full course for one semester. We will undertake a systematic examination of the factors governing learned behavior, with emphasis on the relationship of animal to human behavior. Topics include learning through associations, selection by consequences, and modeling; drug addiction; discrimination and concept formation; choice and self-control; voluntary action and free will; and verbal behavior. Experimental methods and analyses are emphasized. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or Biology 101 and 102, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference-laboratory.

Psychology 383 - Music Perception

Full course for one semester. Much evidence indicates that, in listening to music, one brings a wealth of knowledge to bear. How is this musical knowledge represented in the mind? How is the knowledge acquired? How is it used? The course will begin with the acoustics of sound and the workings of the ear, then turn to “higher-order” processes that govern the perception of (and memory for) music. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 385 - Cross-Cultural Psychology

Full course for one semester. This course will examine the fundamentals of human behavior from a cross-cultural perspective. The majority of existing research has assessed psychological phenomena within a limited cultural framework, primarily that of the United States. We will challenge the assumptions of commonly accepted psychological theories by studying research from various cultures. Further, the role of culture will be used to assess the universality of basic psychological principles. The class will provide a broader foundation for approaching the study of psychology, as well as a better understanding of the society within which we live. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 391 - History of Psychological Issues

Full course for one semester. This course provides an overview of the roots of contemporary psychology, including the origination of psychological theories in early Greek philosophy; the beginnings of scientific methods during the Renaissance; seventeenth- and eighteenth-century empiricism, sensationalism, and positivism; early physiological developments; nineteenth-century psychophysics and the beginnings of experimental psychology; structuralism; Darwin’s influence; functionalism; applied psychology; intelligence testing; behaviorism; Gestalt psychology; treatments of mental illness; psychoanalysis; humanistic psychology; and the cognitive revolution. The course will review the historical roots of contemporary fields—including physiological, cognitive, social, developmental, and behavioral. Major contributors will be highlighted and selected classic experiments will be discussed. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or junior or senior standing. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 393 - Psycholinguistics

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the ways in which the human language processing system is organized to produce and comprehend language. We will study speech perception, lexical access, and sentence processing in the context of language acquisition, bilingualism, sign language, brain damage, and language in primates. Basic linguistic concepts will be covered. Students are expected to design a research project. Prerequisite: Psychology 121 or Linguistics 311, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Linguistics 393.

Psychology 401 - Junior Seminar

Full course for one semester. This course allows juniors and seniors to consider relations among sub-fields of psychology by studying a common topic from different perspectives. Conceptual and methodological issues will be emphasized throughout the semester. The topical focus in 2006 will be affects and emotions. Included will be consideration of: 1) how we conceptualize, categorize, induce and measure affective states, 2) the reciprocal influences among affects and biological, cognitive, developmental, social, and cultural processes, and 3) self-regulation and dysregulation of affective states. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, junior or senior standing, and two 300-level psychology courses, or consent of the instructor. Conference-laboratory.

Psychology 426 - Functional Variability

Full course for one semester. Much of psychology involves a search for predictable relationships—for deterministic laws. But variable and unpredictable responding is often functional. Creativity, problem solving, exploration, scientific discovery, learning, voluntary or free-willed actions, and many other competencies depend in part upon ability to vary thoughts and behaviors. This course brings together research and discussions from different perspectives—behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, biology, physics, and philosophy—on the study of functional variability. We will explore how behavioral variability arises: its elicitation, motivation and reinforcement; how it is explained, including chaotic and stochastic theories; and influences on it, including neurological injury, psychopathologies, drug states, age, and states of consciousness. Prerequisites: Psychology 121, 122, and at least one 300-level psychology course, or junior or senior standing in biology, chemistry, or physics. Conference-laboratory. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 433 - Psychobiology Research

Full course for one semester. A systematic consideration of the various research methods used by investigators working at the brain/behavior, brain/cognition interface, with an emphasis on evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each. These readings will be supplemented by hands-on laboratory experience with animal neurosurgery, history, and structured research projects. Prerequisite: Psychology 333 or consent of the instructor. Conference-laboratory. Not offered 2006-07.

Psychology 442 - Clinical Psychology

Full course for one semester. We will discuss design and methodological issues related to studying the effectiveness and efficacy of psychological interventions. We examine theory and research for various schools of psychotherapy, including psychodynamic, existential-humanistic, behavioral, and cognitive–behavioral interventions, with brief coverage of multicultural, family, child, and group approaches. Students participate in fieldwork in off-campus facilities related to mental health. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, and one of Psychology 336, 351, 366, or 373. Conference.

Psychology 470 - Thesis

Full course for one year. Theses in psychology will include empirical research—experimental, observational, or data analytical. Under unusual circumstances the requirement for empirical research may be waived by the department.

Psychology 481 - Individual Work in Special Fields

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, and approval of instructor and division.




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