Kristen G. Anderson
Developmental psychopathology, addictions, clinical psychology.
Cognitive development, science education, social cognition.
Psycholinguistics, neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, bilingualism.
Jennifer Henderlong Corpus
Developmental psychology, academic motivation. On sabbatical 2017–18.
Paul J. Currie
Neuroscience, neuropharmacology, drug-receptor interactions.
Timothy D. Hackenberg
Behavior analysis, comparative cognition, behavioral economics.
Allen J. Neuringer, Emeritus
Behavioral analyses, voluntary action, behavioral variability, self-control and self-experimentation.
Kathryn C. Oleson
Social psychology, interpersonal relations, social cognition.
Cognitive neuroscience, sensation and perception, attention and consciousness.
Cognitive psychology, perception, memory, forensic issues.
Courses in psychology focus on problems in the understanding of both human and animal behavior. The department adopts an empirical point of view, believing it is through research that we best gain the information necessary to address a broad range of psychological questions. Psychological, biological, and social factors are considered in the context of research findings and current theories of motivation, learning, thinking, language, perception, and human development. Students are encouraged to develop objective and analytic attitudes toward psychological phenomena.
The focus on empirical research begins in the introductory course (Psychology 121 and 122), which includes opportunities for students to discuss psychological research in conferences and to participate in structured research projects. These introductory experiences represent several disciplinary areas within psychology. The 200-level courses provide further exposure to selected research areas within psychology, with few or no prerequisites. Students majoring in psychology gain breadth in the field by completing four of eight “core” courses and by writing the research proposal based on selected readings required to pass the junior qualifying exam. It is not uncommon for psychology students to publish the results of their research in professional journals jointly with faculty members.
In addition to the laboratory and computer facilities in the department, there are opportunities for students to conduct research or to work as participant observers in a number of community settings, including day care centers, local schools, crisis centers, and juvenile detention centers. Students also have access to research programs at the Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon National Primate Research Center.
A major in psychology frequently leads to professional or graduate study in psychology. Those who intend to do graduate work in psychology should broaden their preparation in mathematics, the natural sciences, philosophy, linguistics, or the social sciences, rather than concentrating solely on psychology. Some students combine a major in psychology with preparation for medical school, law school, or other advanced professional training. Recent psychology majors have also entered careers in such diverse areas as computer science, banking, and politics.
Requirements for the Major
- At least 11 units in psychology, including:
- Psychology 121 and 122.
- Four of the following eight courses: Psychology 322 (Social Psychology), 333 (Behavioral Neuroscience), 351 (Psychopathology), 361 (Developmental Psychology), 366 (Cognitive Processes), 373 (Learning), 381 (Sensation & Perception), 393 (Psycholinguistics).
- Psychology 348 (Research Design and Data Analysis).
- Thesis (Psychology 470).
- Six units in an allied field selected from the fields below, approved by the adviser when the student declares the major. Cross-listed courses taught by psychology faculty may not be used to meet the requirements of an allied field.
- Arts and Literature—six units in the following allied disciplines, to include at least two units from each of two separate disciplines: art, creative writing, dance, humanities (Humanities 220, or two units from Humanities 211, 212, 231, and 232), music, literature, theatre. No more than four applied courses (i.e., studio art, creative writing, applied courses in dance and music, acting and design courses in theatre) may be counted.
- Biological, Physical, and Computational Sciences—six units in the following disciplines, to include at least two units from each of two separate disciplines: biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, economics.
- Cognitive Science—six units in the following disciplines, to include at least two units from each of two separate disciplines: philosophy, linguistics, biology, anthropology, computer science courses in mathematics.
- Cross-Cultural Studies—six units to include a foreign language at the 200 level plus four additional units. Students must complete six units even if the 200-level language requirement is met by placement exam. Students should select from courses focusing on ethnic or international history or social sciences, 300-level courses with ethnic or international focus in literature and languages, Humanities 231–232, religion, a second foreign language at the 200 level (cannot be met by placement exam).
- History and Social Sciences—six units in the following disciplines, to include at least two units from each of two separate disciplines: anthropology, economics, history, humanities (Humanities 220, or two units from Humanities 211, 212, 231, and 232), political science, religion, sociology.
Psychology 121 - Introduction to Psychology I
Full course for one semester, taught by several faculty members. Topics such as visual perception, learning, memory, thinking, and language will be considered from different perspectives within psychology. Illumination from neighboring disciplines such as biology, philosophy, artificial intelligence, and linguistics will be provided when appropriate. 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. This course provides an overview of selected topics in experimental, clinical, and applied psychology. Topics include motivation, human development, social behavior, personality, and psychopathology. Conferences and laboratories supplement the lectures and readings. Lecture-laboratory-conference.
Psychology 217 - Neuroscience of Consciousness
Full course for one semester. This course offers an introduction to the scientific study of consciousness by examining the neural basis of perception, action, and various states of consciousness. Topics will include the impressive capabilities of unconscious perception and action, the relationship between attention and awareness, neural correlates and causes of conscious perception, disorders of consciousness, dreams and altered states of consciousness, neural representations of the self who is conscious, consciousness in nonhuman animals and artificial systems, and the evolution of consciousness. Conference.
Not offered 2017–18.
Psychology 222 - Cognition in STEM Education
Full course for one semester. How do students acquire scientific and mathematical knowledge? To begin answering this question, we will review several case studies describing the process of knowledge acquisition in biology, physics, and mathematics. Some examples of the case studies that we will investigate are i) learning about natural selection in biology, ii) forces and motion in physics, and iii) early understanding of integers in mathematics. For each case study, we will characterize the learners’ initial state and the desired outcome of STEM education. Next, we will try to characterize the learning mechanisms involved in the change between the initial state and the desired outcome. Specifically, we will focus on processes such as analogical reasoning, thought experiments, and construction of models and on their role in science learning. 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 behaviors and 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 prosocial behavior, aggression and bullying, the development of morality, the socialization of self-control, and the role of teachers and schools. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2017–18.
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, language and concept learning, and language in special populations. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Linguistics 296.
Not offered 2017–18.
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. Why do some students focus on learning while others only care about getting the grade? How do rewards affect motivation? Why does failure sometimes debilitate and other times invigorate? How do we perceive our own academic abilities and how does this affect our self-worth? Where do these motivational processes come from and how do they develop? This course will draw on social, developmental, educational, and cognitive psychology as we address questions about achievement motivation. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Conference.
Not offered 2017–18.
Psychology 330 - Comparative Cognition
Full course for one semester. An overview of current research and theory in comparative cognition—the scientific study of cognitive functioning from an evolutionary perspective. The course will emphasize continuities and discontinuities between humans and other animals in basic psychological process, including decision making, problem solving, remembering, symbolic and relational learning, awareness, and communication. We will read and discuss the primary literature, with special emphasis on experimental issues and comparative methods. Prerequisite: Psychology 121 and 122, or Biology 101 and 102, or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Psychology 333 - Behavioral Neuroscience
Full course for one semester. An examination of the neural basis of behavior with a focus on brain anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and neural modeling. Specific topics include the organization and function of the nervous system, neuronal signaling, sensorimotor physiology, appetitive motivation, drug reward, neuroplasticity, epigenetics, and neuropathology. Laboratory includes mammalian brain dissection and experimentation using animal models. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-laboratory-conference.
Psychology 334 - Cognitive Neuroscience
Full course for one semester. The neural basis of cognition will be examined by focusing on evidence from electrophysiology, functional neuroimaging, and electromagnetic stimulation. Overviews of basic concepts including neuroanatomy, research methods, and various cognitive processes will be introduced via book chapters and review articles. Each concept will be explored in more detail through readings and discussions of the primary research literature. Topics will include single-cell recording, EEG/MEG, fMRI, TMS, perception, memory, attention, consciousness, cognitive control, and social cognition. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2017–18.
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 and compare it with that obtained from intact individuals or from animal models. We will review functional neuroanatomy as it relates to higher cognitive functions, as well as methods and techniques used in the field. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122 or consent of the 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? This course will examine cognitive psychology’s answers to this question. We will also consider the relation between decision-making and rationality. Prerequisites: Psychology 121, 122, and 366 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2017–18.
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 Law
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. Prerequisites: Psychology 121, 122, and 366. Conference.
Not offered 2017–18.
Psychology 351 - Psychopathology
Full course for one semester. This course focuses on description, conceptualization, etiology, development, and prognosis of maladaptive 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. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.
Psychology 355 - Interpersonal Perception
Full course for one semester. This conference is an analysis of interpersonal relations focusing on the dynamic relationship between perception (of one’s self and others) 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 ways in which individuals attempt to make sense of themselves, other people and groups, and their social environment. Students conduct original empirical research. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Conference.
Psychology 361 - Developmental Psychology
Full course for one semester. An examination of theory and research on psychological development through the lifespan, focusing primarily on cognitive and social growth in the childhood years. This course begins with an overview of theoretical frameworks and research methods specific to the study of development. We then explore chronologically the development of the individual through five major periods of life: infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. 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 will explore wide-ranging processes such as perception and learning, domain-general resources such as executive functions and general intelligence, and various domains such as intuitive physics and intuitive psychology (theory of mind) through the lenses of different theoretical (and philosophical) frameworks. We will first review some philosophical arguments that came out of the nativism-empiricism debate and we will relate those arguments to recent empirical studies in cognitive, developmental, and evolutionary psychology that bear on those arguments. Next, we will introduce the concept of heritability and individual variability, and we will review some recent findings coming from behavioral genetics. We will conclude the course by reviewing studies focusing on the influence of social and cultural factors on cognitive development. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Conference.
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 374 - Functional Variability
Full course for one semester. Much of psychology involves a search for predictable relationships, i.e., for deterministic laws. But variable and unpredictable behavior is often functional. Creativity, problem solving, exploration, scientific discovery, learning, voluntary (or free-willed) actions, self-control, mindfulness, and many other competencies may depend in part upon ability to vary thoughts and behaviors. This course is grounded in behavioral studies on variability but brings together research and discussions from different perspectives 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 and 122, or junior or senior standing, or consent of the instructor. Conference-lecture.
Psychology 381 - Sensation and Perception
Full course for one semester. In this course students will investigate how the nervous system detects, analyzes, and creates meaning from environmental stimuli. The course explores the anatomy, physiology, and function of the sensory cells and the brain nuclei involved in various sensory modalities including vision, audition, olfaction, and touch. It investigates how these cells work in concert to produce a seamless perception of colors, textures, flavors, sounds, and smells. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122. Lecture-laboratory.
Psychology 392 - History and Systems of Psychology
Full course for one semester. In this course we will explore the origins and growth of psychology as a discipline, from its roots in philosophy to its emergence as a science. Through an examination of primary and secondary sources, we will examine major intellectual figures, events, and debates that have shaped the field, and will analyze prominent schools of thought, with special emphasis on conceptual systems that continue to thrive on the contemporary scene. We will also consider psychology’s history in relation to broader trends in the history and philosophy of science. Prerequisite: Psychology 121 and 122, or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2017–18.
Psychology 393 - Psycholinguistics
Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to the study of the human language-processing system, and how it 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, and brain function. Basic linguistic concepts will be covered. Students are expected to design and carry out a research project. Prerequisite: Psychology 121 or Linguistics 211, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as Linguistics 393.
Psychology 415 - Learning and Comparative Research Methods
Full course for one semester. A systematic exploration of research methods in human and animal learning and cognition from a comparative perspective. Structured laboratory exercises are designed to provide students with hands-on experience in experimental and quantitative analysis used by investigators in the field, with special emphasis placed on the unique conceptual and methodological challenges of comparing behavior across species. Conferences will focus on critical examination of the primary research literature, emphasizing experimental issues and comparative methods. Prerequisite: Psychology 330 or 373. Conference-laboratory.
Psychology 417 - Attention and Consciousness Research
Full course for one semester. This course offers an in-depth look at the scientific study of consciousness by exploring research into the neurophysiology of attention and perception, and by addressing relevant theoretical considerations from neurophilosophy. Central questions will include: How can the electrical firing of neurons produce subjective experience? What types of brain processes establish the contents of consciousness, the continuity of consciousness, and the self who is conscious? How does neural activity differ for conscious versus unconscious processing? Students will critically examine the research literature and work in small groups throughout the semester on independent research projects. Prerequisites: Psychology 121 and 122, and either Psychology 334 or Psychology 381. Conference-laboratory.
Psychology 433 - Behavioral Neuroscience Research
Full course for one semester. This course is designed to provide in-depth, hands-on experience with the concepts, methods, and techniques used in behavioral neuroscience research, including anatomical and histological methods, in addition to surgical and pharmacological manipulations. Conferences will focus on the examination and critical analysis of primary research materials. Prerequisite: Psychology 333 or consent of the instructor. Conference-laboratory.
Psychology 434 - Advanced Topics in Neuropharmacology
One-half course for one semester. The course focuses on the molecular, biochemical, and behavioral characterization of neuroactive drugs by investigating their actions on cells, circuits, and receptor mechanisms. Methods of research in behavioral pharmacology will also be examined. Prerequisite: Psychology 333 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Psychology 439 - Psycholinguistic Research: Bilingualism
Full course for one semester. This course focuses on theory, design, and methods of psycholinguistic research specializing in the study of bilingualism. We will consider developmental, neurolinguistic, cognitive, neuroscientific, linguistic, and sociolinguistic theory and data, with an emphasis on psycholinguistic methods applied to the study of bilingualism. Topics include developmental aspects and cognitive consequences of bilingualism; bilingual memory; bilingual brain representation and aphasia; lexical access and language processing in bilinguals; and the notion of a critical period in second-language acquisition. Students will work in small groups to conduct empirical research projects throughout the semester. Prerequisites: Psychology 121, 122, and 393. Conference-laboratory. Cross-listed as Linguistics 439.
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, 122 and 351 and junior or senior standing. 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 the instructor and the division.