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Psychology Course Offerings

PSYC 100 General Psychology (Core: IS, WI)
This course provides a survey of the many aspects of behavior that 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. Note: Some sections of this course are writing intensive (Core: WI). These sections may be particularly helpful for students majoring/minoring in psychology and/or the other social or natural sciences.

Note: This course may be taught with a community-engagement component; check the detailed timetable in Knightline for current information. To learn more about community-engaged courses, visit the community engagement webpage. 

PSYC 210 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 100.

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. Fall semester and even-year spring semesters.

PSYC 220 Lifespan Human Development
The course provides an examination of the physical and psychosocial factors that 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 is on the normative social, cognitive, emotional and physical development of people across the lifespan, while acknowledging the important role of biological and cultural factors. Spring semester and even-year fall semesters.

PSYC 230 Adult Development and Aging
This course is designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of older adults. In this course. students explore the social, cognitive and physical aspects of human aging. Some topics covered, include brain development, biological aging, stress and health; gains and losses in cognitive functioning; and parenting practices and beliefs. Research findings are discussed in terms of a broader cultural context, stereotypes and social-policy implications. Emphasis is placed on the normative aspects of adulthood and aging. This is a service-learning course, and students are expected to complete 30 hours of service. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or instructor's consent. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

PSYC 281 Environmental Psychology
Students in this course 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 provide students with an opportunity to practice relevant skills. Prerequisites: PSYC 100 and SSCI 224.

PSYC 302 Adolescent Development
During adolescence the body and brain are changing dramatically, as are societal expectations and realities. Due to these changes, adolescence is a time of great potential and vulnerability. Broadly defined, adolescence begins at puberty and ends at 25 years old. The goal of this course is to understand the physical and social changes occurring during adolescence. This course filters our knowledge of adolescent development through the eyes of Western psychological research as students explore the biological, cognitive and social changes taking place during adolescence. Fall semester, even-numbered years.

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 are 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: SSCI 224. Prior completion of PSYC 301 recommended. Fall semester, even-numbered years.

PSYC 315 Childhood Adversity & Resilience
This course is designed to give students 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. Childhood adversity and its influence on the child’s social attachments, biological health and mental well-being is also be examined. Emphasis is placed on understanding how the biological realities of early adversity contribute to various emotional and behavioral problems later in life. Students 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 the forms of adversity faced by children, students serve children at risk for these experiences during the semester by 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, odd-numbered years.

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 (e.g. 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 semester, even-numbered years.

PSYC 331 Sensation and Perception With Laboratory
Students in this laboratory course explore how humans sense and perceive the world via visual, auditory, chemical and skin senses. Physiological, psychophysical and cognitive approaches are 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 that provide in-depth applications of course concepts. Prerequisite: PSYC 301 or instructor’s consent. Fall semester.

PSYC 345 Psychological Interventions With Laboratory
Focuses on intervention (i.e. psychotherapeutic treatment and psychological assessment) as an ongoing scientific process, often focused on single or small groups of individuals. Prominent theoretical orientations used in clinical psychology today are described, and principles of testing are discussed in relation to these orientations. Students “try on” each orientation’s goals, techniques and assessments via weekly skills-practice activities. Effective collaboration with partners and a willingness to engage in critical self-reflection is essential. Prerequisite: PSYC 301. Spring semester.

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 395 Professional Issues
This course is offered concurrently with PSYC 495 (Internship & Professional Issues).  Whereas students in PSYC 495 must secure and complete and internship, this course only requires participation in the class meetings; students who plan to complete an internship when taking this course should instead enroll in PSYC 495.  Class meetings focus on professional development (e.g., professional networking, ethical conduct), evidence-based practices, and topics relevant to the practice of psychology in real-world settings.  There are limited spots available in PSYC 495/395 each year; priority will be given to students enrolling in PSYC 495.  Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and instructor consent. Spring semester.

PSYC 410 Cross-Cultural Psychology
This course situates psychology within a larger cultural context. Students 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, are introduced as a means of assessing the universality of psychological theories (i.e. whether such theories can be generalized to all human beings). Students also are exposed to cross-cultural research so that they may better appreciate the effects of culture on psychological processes. Prerequisite: senior standing. Fall 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 (4 credits)
Appropriate work or volunteer experience may be undertaken for course credit when it is directly related to psychology and to the educational goals of the student. Student interns must have junior or senior standing, have a minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA, complete a Special Course Registration Form, and also complete an Internship Course Learning Agreement Form (see Academic Internships on the College website). Students may seek out any Psychology faculty member to serve as their instructor. Prerequisites: instructor consent and approval of the Associate Dean of Social Sciences.

PSYC 495 Internship and Professional Issues. (4 credits)
Course requires both class meetings and work activities at local internship sites. Class meetings focus on professional development (e.g., professional networking, ethical conduct), evidence-based practices, and topics relevant to the practice of psychology in real-world settings. The internship should offer an opportunity to practice some or all of the following skills: evaluation/assessment of group and individual psychosocial functioning, plan/policy development and implementation, intervention, referral, advocacy, collaboration, cultural competence and application of professional ethics. Students are responsible for obtaining placement at an internship site (approved by instructor), with the student onsite within the first two weeks of the course. Students are expected to work 10 to 12 hours per week at the internship site throughout the semester. Note: internship sites will likely be “off-campus” and thus require that students have a means of transportation. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, cumulative GPA of at least 2.50, and instructor consent. 

PSYC 499 Senior Assessment (0 credits)
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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