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Psychology Course Offerings

PSYC 100 General Psychology (Core: IS)
This course provides a survey of the many aspects of behavior which are of interest to psychologists. This includes a survey of the nervous system and biological bases of behavior, mental processes, human development, learning theory, personality, mental health and abnormality, interaction and group dynamics, and other aspects of social behavior. The course introduces the scientific methods used in all the basic fields of modern psychology and covers alternative ways of understanding the human experience. The focus of the course is on the complex interplay between external and internal stimuli and the environmental, individual, social and cultural factors affecting human behavior and relationships.

PSYC 212 Abnormal Psychology
Examines the diagnostic criteria for a range of mental disorders, encouraging students to consider the similarities and differences across forms of psychopathology. Although emphasis is placed on the symptoms and features of disorders, the prevalence, causes, and treatments for disorders are also discussed. A priority is also placed on developing and practicing critical awareness skills in relation to mental health and illness. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or instructor’s consent. Spring semester and alternate fall semesters.

PSYC 220 Lifespan Human Development
The course provides an examination of the physical and psychosocial factors which influence human development from birth until death. The work of various scholars, both historical and contemporary, is considered in an attempt to provide several perspectives on the process of development throughout the human lifespan. Emphasis will be on the normative social, cognitive, emotional, and physical development of people across the lifespan, while acknowledging the important role of biological and cultural factors.

PSYC 221 Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Psychological principles and research methods are used to understand individuals’ work-related thoughts, feelings and actions. Major topics in human resources (e.g. selection and training), organizational psychology (for example, leadership and motivation) and workplace characteristics (e.g. safety and health and workplace technology) are surveyed. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or instructor’s consent. Spring, odd-numbered years.

PSYC 230 Adult Development and Aging
This developmental science course focuses on change and stability in the later part of the lifespan. Some topics to be covered include brain development, biological aging, stress and health, gains and losses in cognitive functioning, and parenting practices and beliefs. Research findings will be discussed in terms of broader cultural context, stereotypes, and social policy implications. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or instructor’s consent. Spring, odd-numbered years.

PSYC 281 Environmental Psychology
Students in this course will examine how we affect the built and natural environments and how they affect us. Topics include cognitive mapping, personal space, territoriality and environmental design (e.g. residential, learning, work and leisure environments). The course concludes with a discussion on how we might promote more harmonious and environmentally constructive interactions with our planet. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or instructor’s consent. Fall, odd-numbered years.

PSYC 289 Special Topics (2 or 4 credits)
A course on a special topic in psychology designed primarily for first- and second- year students. Offered whenever a mutual interest exists for a member of the faculty and a sufficient number of students. Prerequisite: PSYC 100.

PSYC 301 Basic Principles and Methods of Psychological Research
This course provides an introduction to many of the basic principles involved in research, including hypothesis formulation and testing, experimental control, measurement issues and research ethics. The course also addresses a variety of basic research methods and issues in data collection and analysis. Laboratory experiences will provide students with an opportunity to practice relevant skills. Prerequisites: PSYC 100 and SSCI 224.

PSYC 302 Adolescent Development
Adolescence is a time of great potential and vulnerability, beginning at puberty and ending at 25 years old. In this class students will be provided with a perspective that links one’s own teenage years to the main themes found in adolescent development. From a biological perspective, students will focus on pubertal and brain changes. From a social perspective, students will explore the role of the family, early experiences, and gender roles as they influence adolescent development. Students will also learn about the main theories of cognitive development and the main contributors to adolescent decision making. This is also a service-learning course, and we will be working with a community partner throughout the semester. Student are expected to complete 30 hours of service. Prerequisite: PSYC 220. Spring semester.

PSYC 310 Chemical Substances and Behavior
This course is designed to provide a broad, general introduction to behavioral pharmacology by examining the neurological, physiological and psychological mechanisms of drug action. Topics covered include tolerance, side effects, drug interactions, and abuse potential of both recreational and therapeutic drugs. In addition, societal issues associated with drug use and abuse will be examined (for example, decriminalization and public costs of drug dependence). Prerequisites: PSYC 100 or BIOL 121 and sophomore standing. Spring, even-numbered years.

PSYC 312 Personality Psychology
Provides an introduction to the theories, research methods, and assessment approaches in personality psychology, addressing questions such as: What is personality? How does personality develop? Can personality change? What does personality “do” in people’s everyday lives? Historical and contemporary perspectives are described and critiqued. Active student participation during frequent in-class discussions and in partner/group work is essential. Prerequisite: PSYC 100. Fall, alternate years.

PSYC 315 Childhood Adversity and Resilience
This course is designed to give a multilevel perspective on the social, biological, and neurological consequences of childhood adversity, such as poverty, maltreatment, and institutionalization. Students will learn about the importance of timing and duration of adversity as well as type of adversity. Emphasis will be placed on understanding how the biological realities of early adversity contribute to emotional and behavioral problems later in life. Students will also consider how some children appear resilient in the face of these challenges while other children face lifelong obstacles due to their experiences. In addition to learning about forms of adversity, we will be serving children at risk for these experiences during the semester, working with a pre-selected community partner. Students are expected to complete 30 hours of service during the course of the semester. Prerequisites: PSYC 100, PSYC 301. Fall semester.

PSYC 320 Abnormal Behavior in Childhood
A survey of the major forms of problem behavior in childhood and adolescence, including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, eating disorders and anxiety and mood disorders. Reviews issues concerning the assessment, diagnosis, causes and treatment of these problems from diverse perspectives. Emphasis is placed on the developmental context of these problems and their relationship to healthy development. Prerequisites: PSYC 220 and junior or senior standing or instructor’s consent. Fall, even-numbered years.

PSYC 321 Social Psychology
The influence of others on the thoughts, feelings and actions of the individual is examined. Major topics in social cognition (person perception, attribution), social evaluation (attitudes, prejudice), social influence (obedience, conformity) and social interaction (altruism, aggression) are surveyed. Differing theoretical perspectives and research methodologies are analyzed. Prerequisite: PSYC 301 or instructor’s consent. Fall semester.

PSYC 325 Group Dynamics
The interplay of groups and group members is examined. Major topics in group development and formation (e.g., affiliation, norms), influence and interaction within the group (e.g., conformity, leadership), group performance (for example, teamwork, decision-making) and group conflict (e.g., conflict within groups and conflict between groups) are surveyed. Prerequisites: PSYC 100 and SSCI 224 or instructor’s consent. Spring, even-numbered years.

PSYC 331 Sensation and Perception with Laboratory
Students in this laboratory course will explore how humans sense and perceive the world via visual, auditory, chemical and skin senses. Physiological, psychophysical and cognitive approaches will be used to help explain how perceptions arise from the conversion of physical energy in the environment to electrochemical signals and how the brain then processes these signals. Topics include perceptual development, clinical aspects of vision and audition, music, speech, and pain perception as well as applications with respect to art, education and health. Prerequisite: PSYC 301 or instructor’s consent. Spring semester.

PSYC 337 Memory and Cognition with Laboratory
Examines historical and contemporary research in the study of human cognitive processes, with particular emphasis on the area of memory. Topics covered include attention, perception of symbolic material, mental imagery, problem-solving and language. The course includes labs which provide in-depth applications of course concepts. Prerequisite: PSYC 301 or instructor’s consent. Fall semester.

PSYC 345 Psychological Interventions
A survey of the major systems of psychotherapy, including psychodynamic, humanistic / existential, behavioral, cognitive and systems perspectives. Representative approaches within each perspective are reviewed, with coverage of the goals, therapeutic techniques and procedures, therapist/client relationship, and strengths and limitations of each approach. Prerequisite: PSYC 212. Spring semester.

PSYC 360 Psychological Testing
This course surveys the psychological tests used to assess constructs such as intelligence and personality and those used in clinical, educational and business settings. Emphasis is placed on building skills in informed selection and use of psychological tests and on familiarity with the basic procedures used to establish their norms, reliability and validity. Social and ethical issues surrounding psychological testing are also addressed. Prerequisite: SSCI 224 or instructor’s consent. Spring odd-numbered years.

PSYC 370 Physiological Psychology with Laboratory
The purpose of this laboratory course is to relate behavior to bodily processes, especially the working of the brain. Topics covered include functional neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, brain evolution, motor control and neural plasticity, regulation of internal states, sexual behavior, emotions, memory and cognition, and neurological disorders. Different research methodologies employed to investigate the biological underpinnings of behavior are also analyzed. Prerequisite: PSYC 301. Fall semester.

PSYC 373 Behavioral Medicine and Health Psychology with Laboratory
A laboratory course surveying the interdisciplinary field which develops and integrates psychological and medical science knowledge and techniques and applies them to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of such disorders as heart disease, chronic pain, cancer and various stress-related disorders. The laboratory component is focused on training in measurement of stress-related arousal and in biofeedback and related stress management skills. Prerequisite: PSYC 301 or instructor’s consent. Spring semester.

PYSC 410 Cross-Cultural Psychology
This course situates psychology within a larger cultural context. Students will examine how Western culture has shaped the field by influencing psychologists’ theories and research. Approaches in cross-cultural psychology, as in the study of people across ecological settings and sociocultural contexts, will be introduced as a means of assessing the universality of psychological theories, i.e., whether such theories can be generalized to all human beings Students will also be exposed to cross-cultural research so that they may better appreciate the effects of culture on psychological processes. Prerequisite: senior standing. Fall semester.

PSYC 420 A History of Psychology
This course places psychology within its historical context. The factors outside of psychology that have had an impact on theory and research and the dynamics within psychology that have shaped the field are examined. The contributions of philosophy and physiology to the founding of modern psychology are considered at the outset, while the majority of the course is devoted to the history of psychology since 1879. The course is organized around the development of the major schools of modern psychological thought and focuses on the lives and contributions of prominent psychologists. Prerequisite: senior standing. Spring semester.

PSYC 489 Special Topics (2 or 4 credits)
An advanced-level course for junior and senior students on a special topic in psychology. Offered whenever a mutual interest exists for a member of the faculty and a sufficient number of students. Prerequisite: PSYC 301.

PSYC 490 Independent Study (2 or 4 credits)
Individual study of an approved topic in psychology under the direction of a psychology faculty member. Permits faculty and students to explore together some subject of special or personal interest. Reading and tutorial discussion are required, written work is optional. Prerequisites: instructor’s consent and approval of the associate dean of social sciences.

PSYC 492 Directed Research (2 or 4 credits)
Qualified students may perform psychology research projects under the supervision of a psychology faculty member. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent and approval of the associate dean of social sciences.

PSYC 494 Internship and Professional Issues
This course requires both class meetings and engagement in work activities at local internship sites. Class meetings focus on professional development (e.g., mentoring relationships, ethical conduct) and current issues in the practice of psychology in real-world settings. Each student is responsible for obtaining a placement at an internship site prior to the start of the course, and all students also work as a team on service learning activities. Between internship and service learning activities, each student will accumulate 120 hours of experience outside of the classroom. Interested students are required to meet with and receive instructor consent prior to registration. Prerequisite: Junior/Senior standing; instructor consent; minimum GPA of 2.50. Note: internship sites will likely be “off-campus” and thus require that students have a means of transportation.

PSYC 499 Senior Assessment (0 credit)
This course consists of a single three-hour session during which students complete standardized tests of knowledge of the major field and/or other measures of the intended learning outcomes of the psychology program. The data gathered during the session assists members of the psychology faculty in their efforts to monitor and improve the program. Students should register for the assessment as part of their final semester of coursework at the college.

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