Psychology

Course Descriptions

  • PSYC 110: Introduction to Psychology
    This course provides a broad, general introduction to the field of psychology, the scientific study of behavior. Topics surveyed include scientific methodology, biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, states of consciousness, learning, thinking, memory, motivation and emotion, development, personality, stress and health, psychological disorders and psychotherapy, social interaction, and diversity. Satisfactory completion of Psychology 110 is a prerequisite for most advanced courses in psychology, which generally cover in greater depth and breadth the topics you will encounter in this course. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. (Meets GEC First-Year Writing Requirement.)
  • PSYC 195: Cross-Cultural Psychology
    The subtle transaction between culture and behavior will be explored cross-culturally through the following topics: psychotherapy, a person's sense of self-control versus situational control of one's own behavior, need for achievement, stages in moral development, and management styles in work environments. Comparisons will emphasize data from the United States and Japan. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • PSYC 205: Psychology of Prejudice
    In this course we will explore psychological approaches to understanding stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination?the psychology of prejudice, for short. We will examine research and theory on topics such as historical changes in the nature of intergroup attitudes; the prevalence of prejudice in the U.S. today; the impact of stereotyping and discrimination on members of stigmatized groups; likely causes of prejudice; the psychological processes underlying different forms of prejudice (e.g., based on race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, or appearance); and methods of combating prejudice, encouraging acceptance of diversity, and improving intergroup relations. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 205, AMER 201
  • PSYC 206: Human Sexuality
    This course focuses on psychological aspects of human sexuality, including the sexual response cycle, intimate relationships, sexual orientations and identities, and sexual health and disease. The course aims to familiarize students with methods used in scientific research on sexuality, to encourage them to think critically about sexual issues, to help them develop a better understanding of sexual diversity, and to enable them to become responsible sexual decision makers. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing required. PSYC 110 recommended.
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 206
  • PSYC 208: Psychology of Career Development
    How do people choose their jobs? Why do certain types of people gravitate toward certain types of occupations? How can people identify the careers in which they are most likely to be happy and successful? Questions such as these are central to vocational psychology, the scientific study of people's career choices and outcomes throughout the lifespan. In this course we will examine: (a) the major theories of vocational behavior; (b) individual differences and societal factors that shape people's career paths; (c) the relations among career, family, and other life roles; (d) assessment instruments used for career planning and decision making; (e) the career counseling process; and (f) the role of gender and culture in career choice and development. Students will also have some opportunities to explore their own career paths. Prerequisite: at least sophomore standing. PSYC 110 is recommended but is not required.
  • PSYC 210: Developmental Psychology
    An examination of the principles of development with an emphasis on interpretation of empirical studies and theories. We stress the ongoing interplay of biological and environmental forces as influences on development; place development in a broad context of culture, class, and history; view children and adolescents as active shapers of their environment; emphasize both continuity and the capacity for change; and consider implications of developmental psychology for educators, practitioners, parents and policymakers. Prerequisite: Psychology 110.
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 210
  • PSYC 211: Adulthood and Aging
    Examination of developmental processes associated with adulthood, maturity, and aging. Examination of evidence for continued development throughout the life span. Evidence from a variety of sources is used in examining the person in terms of physical, psychological, social, and cultural influences on development. Prerequisite: Psychology 110.
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 211
  • PSYC 215: Environmental Psychology
    Environmental psychology is the discipline concerned with interactions and relationships between people and their environments (including built, natural, and social environments). In this course we apply psychological methods and theories to a variety of issues and behaviors, considering such topics as landscape preference, wayfinding, weather, noise, natural disasters, territoriality, crowding, and the design of residential and work environments. We also explore images of nature, wilderness, home, and place, as well as the impact of these images on behavior. The course is grounded in empirical work, and incorporates observations and experiences in the local environment. No prerequisite.
    Cross-listed as: ES 215
  • PSYC 221: Research Methods & Statistics I
    An introduction to the basic research methods and statistical techniques used in psychology. In the first semester, the primary focus will be on descriptive and relational methods (e.g., naturalistic observation, surveys, correlational designs) and descriptive statistics. In the second semester the primary focus will be on controlled experiments and inferential statistics. The course sequence includes a required laboratory component in which students gain hands-on experience using statistical software to analyze psychological data. Prerequisite for 221: Psychology 110 with a grade of at least C-. Psychology 221 and 222 must be taken in sequence.
  • PSYC 222: Research Methods & Statistics II
    An introduction to the basic research methods and statistical techniques used in psychology. In the first semester, the primary focus will be on descriptive and relational methods (e.g., naturalistic observation, surveys, correlational designs) and descriptive statistics. In the second semester the primary focus will be on controlled experiments and inferential statistics. The course sequence includes a required laboratory component in which students gain hands-on experience using statistical software to analyze psychological data. Prerequisite for 222: Psychology 221 with a grade of at least C-. Psychology 221 and 222 must be taken in sequence.
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  • PSYC 255: Social Psychology
    Survey of the major topics of inquiry in social psychology: attitudes, social cognition, attribution, social norms and roles, conformity, social influence, persuasion, group dynamics, aggression, altruism, interpersonal attraction, stereotyping and prejudice, and conflict and peacemaking. Emphasis on applying social psychological principles to real-world phenomena as well as understanding basic research. Prerequisite: Psychology 110.
  • PSYC 310: Sensation and Perception
    As you go through your day, you are constantly sensing and perceiving: You feel the warmth of the hot shower on your skin, you smell the aroma of the coffee in your cup, you taste the disagreeable tartness of your orange juice after brushing your teeth, you see the bright colors of the spring day on your way to class, you hear the words of your instructor and you organize them into coherent ideas. This course explores the anatomy and physiology of the sensory systems and the way in which the raw sensory signals become organized into meaningful perceptions. Prerequisite: Psychology 222 with a grade of at least C-.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 310
  • PSYC 318: Psychology Applied to Education
    In this course, we examine a series of questions about how psychological knowledge can inform and improve education. What does psychology tell us about teaching and learning? How do we measure the success of various educational practices? What is the best way to describe the psychological processes by which students gain information and expertise? What accounts for individual differences in learning, and how do teachers (and schools) address these individual needs? How do social and economic factors shape teaching practices and the educational experiences of individual students? Some of our work in this course will involve reading and discussion; a significant portion of the time will be spent observing children in their educational environments. Prerequisites: Psychology 110 and at least sophomore standing.
  • PSYC 320: Learning
    This course examines the theoretical approaches, historical influences, and contemporary research in human and animal learning. In addition to providing a strong background in classical, operant, and contemporary conditioning models, this course explores the applications of these principles in a variety of contexts, such as behavioral therapy, drug addiction, self-control, decision-making, motor skill acquisition, and education. Furthermore, this course surveys the commonalities and differences across species in cognitive processes, such as memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and language. Prerequisite: Psychology 222 with a grade of at least C-.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 320
  • PSYC 330: Motivation & Emotion
    The broad range of motivations and emotions is studied including the relative contributions of learning, genetics, and critical periods in development. How and why did motivations and emotions evolve, and what are their bases in brain systems, hormones, and other aspects of physiology? Which of our motivations involve accurate regulations to a 'set point' (such as body temperature and weight) and which do not? How does the great subtlety of human emotional expression develop? Includes consideration of competency, security, creativity, frustration, aggression, love, sexuality, and values. Prerequisite: Psychology 221 with a grade of at least C-.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 330
  • PSYC 340: Psychology of Gender
    Sex and gender have long been controversial topics in psychology. In this class, we will cast a wide and critical eye on how sex and gender are defined, conceptualized, and studied. We will ask a series of questions about similarities and differences in a number of areas, including relationships, mental health, abilities and achievement, aggression, communication, hormones, and physical health and functioning. We will discuss gender development and socialization, as well as gender inequality and sex-role stereotypes, paying particular attention to how the scientific study of sex and gender is used and misused in contemporary society. Prerequisites: Psychology 110 and sophomore standing. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 340
  • PSYC 345: Organizational & Industrial Psych
    The human side of management; why people work; increasing workers' motivation; enhancing the productivity of work groups; interpersonal relations in work settings; effective leadership in organizations. Prerequisite: Psychology 221 with a grade of at least C-.
  • PSYC 350: Abnormal Psychology
    Intended to acquaint students with the biological, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive foundations of psychopathology. Issues of classification, description, etiology, and treatment of abnormal behavior are examined from the point of view of contemporary empirically based perspectives. Specifically, these issues are considered in the context of a variety of psychopathological manifestations, including anxiety, eating, schizophrenic, mood, personality, addictive, and sexual disorders. Prerequisite: Psychology 221 with a grade of at least C-.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 350
  • PSYC 355: Community Psych
    Community Psychologists study individuals in the contexts of their communities - e.g., families, peer groups, schools, workplaces, religious groups, culture, and society - and strive to engage collaboratively in research and community action work to ameliorate social problems, enhance the overall well-being of the community and its members, and make positive public policy changes. In this course, we will: (1) Consider the goals and roles of Community Psychologists; (2) Examine how social structures and community problems affect individuals' lives, and analyze our own underlying assumptions about these issues; (3) Consider the importance of diversity and psychological sense of community; (4) Explore methods & strategies for citizen participation and social change; and (5) Learn to use psychological research to inform social policy change and prevention efforts. Topics may include: Family Violence; Foster Care; Racism & the Justice System; Community Organizing for Rights (e.g., Civil Rights, Workers' Rights, Women's Rights); Community Organizing Against Harms (e.g., Hazardous Waste); Community Mental Health; Poverty & Homelessness; Children and Welfare Reform; Community Violence Prevention; Adaptation and Coping with Disaster (e.g., 9/11, Hurricane Katrina); and Advocacy on Capitol Hill - The Tobacco Lobby and Teenage Smoking. Prerequisite: Psychology 110 or equivalent. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 355
  • PSYC 360: Cognitive Psychology
    Surveys the history, philosophy, and research surrounding selected issues in cognitive psychology, including perception, attention, memory, language, imagery, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Students will learn what is currently known about these topics, the problems facing researchers, and how researchers go about solving these problems. They also will be given the opportunity to experience cognitive psychology research first-hand, as they participate in classic experiments and learn to analyze, interpret, and write up their results. Prerequisite: Psychology 222 with a grade of at least C-.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 360
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  • PSYC 370: Neuroscience and Behavior
    How do the brain's neurons, synapses, and electrical and chemical activities participate in psychological processes? What are the neural foundations of human perception, motivation and emotion, learning, memory, movement, and consciousness? Discussion of the modes of action of antidepressants, other psychotherapeutic drugs, and drugs of abuse. In what ways are functions localized in the brain, and how is it possible for recovery from brain damage to take place? Laboratory sessions include experiments in brain foundations of sensation, movement, emotion, and learning in animals, demonstration of human brain waves, comparison of brains with computers, and basic exercises in computerized data acquisition and analysis. Prerequisite: a college course in mathematics or natural science approved by the instructor (such as the core introductory courses in biology or chemistry) or Psychology 221 with a grade of at least C-.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 370
  • PSYC 372: Pharmacology: Drug, Brain, Behavior
    In this course, we will explore ideas and principles regarding neuronal communication and drug interactions that govern behavior. We will explore communication patterns of both electrical and chemical signaling, define complex dynamics of drug distributions and identify how these processes are influenced by individual genetics. This class will also investigate the interaction between neurotransmitters and drugs at specific neuronal receptors, which will be discussed from the perspective of agonism and antagonism. We will use these principles to guide our understanding of pharmaco-therapeutics that are focused on symptom targeting. Students will also have the opportunity to discuss clinical cases and participate in the development of strategic therapeutic approaches based on current research towards the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Prerequisites: PSYC110 and BIOL221 with a grade of at least C-, or permission of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 372, BIOL 372
  • PSYC 375: Personality
    This course offers a general introduction to the study of personality. It surveys the major theoretical perspectives and research issues in the field of personality psychology. In particular, the contributions made by psychodynamic, humanistic, trait, and cognitive-behavioral theories to the study of personality development, personality assessment, and personality change will be reviewed. Students will be encouraged to examine critically the diversity of those theoretical formulations, their basic assumptions, and the research evidence available to support them. The area of personality assessment will receive particular attention. Test construction and relevant psychometric issues will be examined during lectures, class discussions, and paper assignments. Prerequisite: Psychology 221 with a grade of at least C-.
  • PSYC 380: Practicum: Internships
    Supervised practice in applying psychological principles in research, organizational, and service settings outside the College. A wide array of placements is available, including mental health facilities, social service agencies, corporate and military environments, school counseling programs, and non-profit organizations; we work with students to adapt internships to their individual interests and goals. Students should initiate plans, in collaboration with the instructor, during the semester preceding the internship. All internships in psychology are done within this course and include an accompanying on-campus seminar. Open to junior and senior psychology majors with permission of the instructor. (Because the practicum experience varies, students may be permitted to repeat.)
  • PSYC 410: History and Systems of Psych
    This course overviews psychological thought and methodology from the emergence of the discipline out of philosophy and the natural sciences to the social science we know today. You will learn about prominent psychological theories and methodologies from a historical perspective. A major focus will be on experimental psychology as it began in 19th century German universities and continued in the United States. The other main focus will be on the development of applied fields such as clinical psychology and industrial/organizational psychology. We will read original works by significant historical figures in psychology, as well as papers by historians. Special attention will be given to the recurring controversies that have fueled debate and motivated research on the nature and origins of human behavior and mental processes. In addition, you will be introduced to the process of historiography, i.e. the theory and methods that underlie the research and writing of history. Prerequisite: Psychology 222 with a grade of at least C- or senior standing in another major or permission of the instructor. Preference in registration to graduating seniors majoring in psychology.
  • PSYC 420: The Neuroscience of Reward
    "Reward" is a concept with which most people are familiar: a hard-earned vacation at the end of a grueling work schedule, an A grade on a particularly challenging academic assignment, a good meal and a glass of wine after a long day?s work. However, this everyday usage of the term belies its complexity. In this course, we will explore "reward" from behavioral and neurobiological perspectives, often focusing on associative learning paradigms that allow for careful dissection of appetitive and consummatory behaviors. We will consider the underlying neural circuitry that enables individuals to learn about rewards and cues that signal these motivationally significant events. Our analysis will emphasize the similarities and distinctions between natural reward and drug reward. Prerequisite: PSYC 222 with a grade of at least C- or advanced standing in another major, with permission of the instructor. Preference in registration to graduating seniors majoring in psychology or neuroscience.

    Cross-listed as: NEUR 420
  • PSYC 430: Psychology and Law
    An examination of psycholegal research, theory, and practice. Sample topics include: psychological testing in education and employment; clinical assessments of insanity, competence, and dangerousness; eyewitness testimony; polygraphs and lie detection; psychological profiling; the psychology of false confessions; psychologists as trial consultants; jury decision making; capital punishment; and discrimination in the legal system. As we survey the field we will consider how psychology can help the law and how studying the law enriches psychology. Prerequisite: Psychology 222 with a grade of at least C- or advanced standing in another major, with permission of the instructor. Preference in registration to graduating seniors majoring in psychology.
  • PSYC 440: Social Cognition
    This seminar explores the basic cognitive processes that govern how people understand themselves and others, and how these processes guide human social interaction. Sample topics include impression formation, benefits and pitfalls of efficient thinking, automaticity in behavior, motivated cognition, face perception and memory, cognitive approaches to prejudice reduction, and the emerging field of social neuroscience. The goal of the course is to develop an appreciation of the cognitive mechanisms (e.g., attention, perception, memory) that underpin social thought and behavior.. Prerequisite: Psychology 222 with a grade of at least C- or advanced standing in another major with permission of the instructor. Completion of PSYC 255 is strongly encouraged but not required. Preference in registration to graduating seniors majoring in psychology.
  • PSYC 450: Health Psychology
    This course explores a variety of research and clinical issues in health psychology. Representative topics include the role of behavior in health and disease, the neurobiology of emotion, the major stress-related and behavior-related disorders (e.g., coronary heart disease, cancer, headaches, AIDS), prevention strategies, and psychologically based treatment approaches. Our primary focus will be a methodological and conceptual analysis of the health psychology literature, which we will consider from a scientific perspective. An understanding of these issues, however, should help you become a more critical consumer of health information and health advice offered by the media, and may inspire you to make positive changes in your own health-related behavior and lifestyle. Prerequisite: Psychology 222 with a grade of at least C- or advanced standing in another major, with permission of the instructor. Preference in registration to graduating seniors majoring in psychology or neuroscience.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 450
  • PSYC 460: Psychology of Language
    (Offered Less Frequently)Every major theoretical approach to human behavior has attempted to explain how humans learn and use language. Information-processing theories and computer models of the mind have had an impact on ancient questions concerning verbal behavior. Topics covered include philosophy of language, history of psycholinguistics, the influence of context, common ground and world knowledge in language understanding, lexical processing and lexical ambiguity, syntactic processing, inferences in discourse processing, speech acts, pragmatics, figurative language, conceptual metaphors, and poetic metaphors. Readings include original journal articles and manuscripts in preparation that illustrate the 'cutting edge' controversies in contemporary psycholinguistics. Prerequisite: Psychology 222 with a grade of at least C- or advanced standing in another major, with permission of the instructor. Preference in registration to graduating seniors majoring in psychology.
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  • PSYC 470: Gender-Based Violence
    Gender-based violence is a global problem that occurs in many forms (e.g., dating violence, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault). In this course we will examine psychological research and theory on gender-based violence perpetration, prevention, and treatment. In this examination, we will consider: the prevalence of gender-based violence; the influence of the media influences; the roles of ethnicity, sexual orientation, and culture; the effects of gender-based violence on mental and physical health; and the helpful and unhelpful ways in which communities respond to such violence. Prerequisite: Psychology 222 with a grade of at least C- or advanced standing in another major, with permission of the instructor. Preference in registration will be given to graduating seniors majoring in psychology.