Kristen G. Anderson
Developmental psychopathology, addictions, women’s health, clinical psychology.
Psycholinguistics, cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology.
Jennifer Henderlong Corpus
Developmental psychology, academic motivation.
Paul J. Currie
Neuroscience, neuropharmacology, drug-receptor interactions.
Timothy D. Hackenberg
Behavior analysis, comparative cognition, behavioral economics. On sabbatical 2019–20.
Health psychology, health equity, stress and resilience.
Behavior analysis, comparative cognition, applied statistics.
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 science, judgment and decision-making, social cooperation, impulsivity, behavioral economics.
Courses in psychology focus on issues in the understanding of both human and nonhuman animal behavior. The department adopts an empirical approach, believing it is through research that we best gain the information necessary to address a broad range of psychological questions. Psychological, neural, 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 101), which includes opportunities for students to discuss psychological research in conferences and to participate in conceptual and applied laboratories. These introductory experiences represent several disciplinary areas within psychology. The 200-level psychological science labs offer an opportunity for students to explore each specialty area via structured research projects. Other 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 a 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.
Students who major in psychology often pursue professional or graduate training in the discipline. Those who intend to do graduate work in psychology should broaden their preparation in mathematics, the other natural and lab sciences, philosophy, linguistics, or the social sciences, rather than concentrating solely on psychology alone. Some students combine a major in psychology with preparation for medical school, veterinary medicine, law school, or other advanced professional training. Recent psychology majors have also entered careers in such diverse areas as computer science, finance, and politics.
Requirements for the Major
- At least 11 units in psychology, including:
- Foundations in Psychological Science (Psychology 101).
- Four Psychological Science Labs (200–210).
- Four of the following eight courses: Social Psychology (322), Behavioral Neuroscience (333), Psychopathology (351), Developmental Psychology (361), Cognitive Processes (366), Learning (373), Sensation and Perception (381), Psycholinguistics (393).
- Research Design and Data Analysis (348).
- Thesis (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 101 - Foundations in Psychological Science
Full course for one semester, taught by several faculty members in the department. This course provides an overview of current topics in the field of psychology. Topics include human development, language, learning, memory, motivation, neuroscience, perception, psychopathology, and social behavior. Concept labs and applied labs will address the descriptive and experimental aspects of the topics covered in the lectures. Lecture-laboratory.
Psychology 200–210 - Psychological Science Labs
One-quarter course for one semester. Courses offered in a seven-week sequence (offered first or second half of semester). Each lab section examines research methods and current topics in various subdisciplines of psychology. Students gain hands-on experience carrying out psychological experiments, leading group discussions, and preparing written and/or oral research presentations. Students register for at least one-half unit in a semester, which includes one lab in each quarter. Note: students who plan to major in psychology would typically register for one full unit over the course of the semester, which would require two labs in each quarter. Prerequisite: Psychology 101 or concurrent enrollment in Psychology 101. Conference-laboratory. Not all topics offered every year.
201 Brain and Behavior
This course will investigate the basic principles of neuropharmacology and neural science with an emphasis on brain systems and synaptic mechanisms implicated in behavior. Laboratories will include experimentation using animal models.
202 Cognitive Neuroscience
An investigation into the neural basis of perception, attention, and consciousness. The current research literature will be explored in depth and students will be introduced to experimental techniques including behavioral psychophysics and EEG/ERPs.
203 Learning and Comparative
An exploration of basic principles of learning and behavior across species. Students will be exposed to the latest concepts and methods in the field via discussion and hands-on experimentation, and will learn how to collect, analyze, and interpret animal and human behavior in a comparative context.
204 Educational Psychology
A focus on the application of psychological science to issues of motivation in educational contexts. Students will be introduced to the primary literature and learn to use a variety of methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative) for understanding how motivational processes operate across development.
An introduction to research design and computer programming to investigate issues in language processing. Reading primary literature about a well-known psycholinguistic phenomenon, students will be introduced to Presentation (a computer program), allowing them to design and implement their own study investigating a follow-up question. Not offered 2019–20.
This course will explore the use of laboratory-based experimental techniques to examine issues related to the etiology, expression, and treatment of psychiatric conditions. Students will apply methodologies from psychological science to better understand psychopathology across development. Not offered 2019–20.
207 Social Psychology
This section examines the ways individuals think, feel, and act in social situations. Students will read the primary literature, learn about current empirical methods to approach social psychological questions, and conduct original empirical research.
In this course, students will be familiarized with some basic cognitive processes and cognitive resources such as working memory, long-term memory, concepts, visual imagery, and reasoning. In addition to reading and discussing the primary literature, students will also become familiar with data collection and data analysis methods. Not offered 2019–20.
209 Psychology of Music
In this course, students will discuss primary literature and will learn about the empirical methods used to explore the psychology of music from a social and cognitive perspective. Topics may include the relationship between music and language, music and emotion, the cognitive benefits of music, how music is connected to identity and autobiographical memory, and the social functions of music.
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 2019–20.
Psychology 225 - Psychology of Stress and Resilience
Full course for one semester. The goal of this course is to give an overview of the theoretical and empirical work on stress, coping, and resilience. Topics will include the neurobiology of stress (e.g., the HPA axis, the immune system), chronic disease (e.g., cardiovascular disease, cancer), mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety), ecological stressors (e.g., social and community factors, catastrophes), common life stressors (e.g., work, interpersonal conflict), and diversity-related stressors (e.g., racism, heterosexism). 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. Lecture-conference.
Psychology 241 - Judgment and Decision Making
Full course for one semester. How do people make judgments and decisions (and can we do better)? We will survey classic and current research in the field of judgment and decision making to answer this question. The course draws on research from cognitive psychology (memory, biases and heuristics), economics (rationality) and a little neuroscience (neural substrates of choice) to provide an introduction into this growing interdisciplinary area of research. Conference.
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.
Not offered 2019–20.
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, including 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Conference.
Not offered 2019–20.
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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101, 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Conference.
Psychology 324 - Health Psychology
Full course for one semester. This course will examine the interplay of psychological, biological, behavioral, and social factors (biopsychosocial model) in the study of health including mechanisms and pathways in disease etiology, prevention, and treatment. Students will analyze factors that influence risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic pain, and sexually transmitted infections, among other conditions. Students will engage in a self-directed behavior modification project to promote a health behavior of their choosing (e.g., reducing/quitting smoking, moderating alcohol intake, reducing sugar intake, reducing cell phone screen time, increasing exercise frequency, meditating or doing yoga, promoting healthy sleep hygiene). Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Conference.
Psychology 325 - Stereotyping and Prejudice
Full course for one semester. This conference is an analysis of psychological theory and empirical research on stereotyping and prejudice. The course explores 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 consider both the ways that individuals perceive themselves as members of groups and the ways that they perceive other groups. Students conduct original empirical research. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Conference.
Not offered 2019–20.
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 processes, 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 101, 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101, 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2019–20.
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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101 or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.
Not offered 2019–20.
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. Prerequisite: Psychology 366 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2019–20.
Psychology 347 - Statistical Modeling for Applied Research
Full course for one semester. This course is designed to provide an overview of the Bayesian approach to building statistical models, with an emphasis on writing code in order to conduct applied research. The resulting models will be suitable for inference, prediction, and virtual experiments performed by simulation. Topics will include multivariate linear and nonlinear regression, model selection using information criteria, numerical parameter estimation, and multilevel modeling. Prerequisites: Psychology 348, Mathematics 141, Economics 311, or Sociology 311, 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 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 366. Conference.
Not offered 2019–20.
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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101, 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Conference.
Not offered 2019–20.
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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Conference-laboratory.
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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Conference.
Not offered 2019–20.
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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101, 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). Prerequisite: Psychology 101, 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Lecture-laboratory.
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 101 or Linguistics 211, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference-laboratory.
Not offered 2019–20.
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.
Not offered 2019–20.
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. Prerequisite: Psychology 217, 334, or 381. Conference-laboratory.
Not offered 2019–20.
Psychology 418 - Behavioral Economics
Full course for one semester. An overview of current research and theory in behavioral economics, an emerging discipline at the interface of psychology and economics. We will read and discuss the primary literature, with special emphasis on the intertranslation of concepts, methods, and models from the two disciplines. Prerequisite: Psychology 322, 333, 351, 361, 366, 373, 381, or 393. Conference.
Not offered 2019–20.
Psychology 422 - The Social Self
Full course for one semester. This course is an analysis of classic and current theory and research on the self within the social context. We examine the complex interplay of the self with situational factors to affect intrapersonal and interpersonal outcomes. Conferences focus on the content, structure, and organization of the self; personal and social identities; implicit and explicit views of the self; motives of the self; self-protection and coping with self-uncertainty; self-regulation; the self within close relationships; and cultural models of the self. Students conduct original empirical research on the social self. Prerequisites: Psychology 101 and either Psychology 322 or 355. Conference-laboratory.
Psychology 433 - Behavioral Neuroscience Research
Full course for one semester. An advanced-level course designed to provide comprehensive and in-depth exposure to the methods and protocols used in neuroscience research. This includes brain dissection, stereotaxic surgery, neurohistology, and drug-receptor interactions. Conferences will focus on an examination and critical analysis of primary research materials as well as discussion of ethics in animal-based research. 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. May be repeated for credit.
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, neuropsychological, cognitive, linguistic, and sociolinguistic theory and data, with an emphasis on psycholinguistic and cognitive neuroscience methods applied to the study of bilingualism. Topics include developmental aspects; 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 393. Conference-laboratory.
Not offered 2019–20.
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 101 and 351 and junior or senior standing. Conference-laboratory.
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.