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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
This course examines diagnostic criteria, suspected causal factors and therapeutic interventions for a wide variety of abnormal behaviors, ranging from anxiety and mood disorders to schizophrenia. Emphasis is placed on critical evaluation of theoretical accounts and empirical findings emerging from psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, biomedical and integrative perspectives. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or instructor’s consent. Fall semester.

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 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 Theories of Personality
This course consists of an examination of theories of personality from Freud to the present day. The dispositional, psychodynamic, phenomenological, behavioral and cognitive perspectives of personality are reviewed. For each perspective, the course will examine founders and leading proponents, essential theoretical concepts, methods of assessing personality and assumptions concerning human nature, problem behavior, and behavior change. Students will be encouraged to compare, contrast and critically evaluate the various perspectives. Prerequisite: PSYC 100. Fall, odd-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 Approaches to Psychotherapy
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, even-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.

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
Course requires both class meetings and work activities at local internship sties. 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 on-site within the first two weeks of the course. Students are expected to work 10-12 hours per week at the internship site throughout the semester. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and instructor’s consent.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.