Psychology Courses

101WL and 101NL. Introductory Psychology. (with lab and without lab)

This course surveys the scientific study of behavior and mental processes as natural phenomena. Basic psychological areas such as biopsychology, perception, learning, memory, motivation and emotion are typically addressed. Broader, integrated topics such as development, personality, and social and abnormal psychology are also explored. Students who enroll in 101WL gain additional focus on how psychologists formulate research questions, gather data and interpret findings based on the major conceptual approaches in the field of psychology. PSYC 101WL or 101NL is a prerequisite for all other courses, and is also required for the neuroscience major.

205.        Research Methods in Psychology.

This course presents students with conceptual approaches and practical techniques for applying the scientific method to behavioral research. Students learn about observational, correlational and experimental research designs and have the opportunity to apply these designs in the laboratory while investigating relevant psychological phenomena. Appropriate statistical procedures and computer software are used to analyze the data from these labs; therefore, students must take a course in statistics prior to 205. This course also covers research ethics and emphasizes effective communication through scientific writing and oral communication. Counts toward the minors in public health and statistics and the neuroscience major (behavioral track). Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL, an additional Psychology course at any level and STAT 113; or permission of the instructor.

206.        Motivation and Emotion.

What drives us to do the things we do, think the thoughts we think and feel the emotions we feel? Why do we sometimes fail to do the things we seem to really want to do? Why do some people seem motivated to engage in actions or hold believes that are actively harmful to themselves or others? Are emotions merely fleeting (if sometimes powerful) states that compromise our ability to think rationally or is their experience crucial to maintaining our well-being? Are some emotions always inherently ‘good’ (like happiness) and some inherently ‘bad’ (like anger)? This introductory course will address these and related questions by providing a survey of current theory and research on motivation and emotion.

207.        Developmental Psychology.

This course is intended to describe and explain the changes in bodies, minds, and behavior of people that occur from conception until death. While emphasis is placed on the early years of most rapid change, appropriate topics are covered throughout the life span. This course explores physical, cognitive, and socioemotional milestones across the lifespan and theories about various kinds of development. Attention is also paid to factors that contribute to individual differences and atypical development. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL.

215.          Cultural Psychology.

This course is designed to introduce students to current theories and research about the ways in which our sociocultural contexts influence human mind and behavior. Topics will highlight cultural similarities and differences in basic psychological processes, including human development, personality, motivation, cognition, emotion, health, morality, and social relationships. Students will also learn how to consider issues of culture in interpretation of personal experience and in application of cultural diversity issues to various settings. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL. Also offered through Peace Studies.

232.        Laboratory Animals: Ethics, Care and Techniques. (0.5 unit)

This half-unit course introduces students to the techniques, use and care of laboratory animals. Students gain knowledge and hands-on experience in the areas of anesthetics/analgesics, surgical techniques and proper animal handling and husbandry. Topics covering the ethical use of animals in research, appropriate and humane care, and the functions of regulatory agencies are covered. Concurrently, students explore the relationships between humans and animals used in teaching and research. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL or BIOL 101 or permission of instructor.

233.        Neuroscience of Fear (Summerterm study abroad)

Brain structures that control the fear response are shared across humans, mammals, birds, and reptiles. These structures have been evolutionally preserved because fear helps to protect us from danger, injury, and death. Though the dangers of modern society differ substantially from those of our ancient past, aspects of our primal fear instincts remain. Are such emotions merely intrusions from another time or do they still have a function in our consciousness today? With a focus on the fear response, we will examine the evolutionary aspects of emotions, how they are displayed in infancy, develop over time, and tie into decision-making in our everyday lives. We will examine this issue from a multidisciplinary perspective, synthesizing recent work from the fields of biology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy.

237.        Psychology of Gender 

This lecture course examines the complex role of social, cultural, psychological, evolutionary and biological processes involved in gender identity. By using an interdisciplinary approach, we will explore how gender identities are developed, expressed and perceived by others. Over the course of the semester we will discuss a variety of topics and issues, including: gender norms, gender as a social construct, trans and nonbinary gender identities, cultural differences in gender expression and expectations, prejudice and discrimination, mental and physical health outcomes related to gender, and intersections between race, gender, and sexuality. Our goal in this exploration will be to think critically about the influence of gender identity and gendered expectations on our everyday lived experiences, self-perceptions and relationships with others.

238.        Psychology and Law.

This course explores the contributions psychological science can make and has made to legal policy and the legal system through examination of several topics within the field of psychology and law. Students will also learn about legal concepts and the functioning of the legal system. Topics may include eyewitness identification, false confessions, policing, the insanity defense, jury behavior, and the death penalty.. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL.

253.        Personality.

Personality theories provide a framework with which to understand a person’s development, motivation, and behavior. This course examines traditional and contemporary theories of personality, focusing on representative theorists from the psychoanalytic, trait, behavioral, cognitive, and phenomenological approaches. Evaluation of theories on logical and empirical grounds is discussed. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL.

255.        Sport Psychology. (with lab and without lab)

This course is designed to develop an understanding of human behavior and mental processes in sport and exercise settings. Topics examined include (a) psychosocial aspects (e.g., motivation, psychological responses to injury, aggression) involved in the sport training process and competition among adults and youth at all skill levels; (b) psychological skills training for athletic performance (e.g., relaxation, self-talk); (c) social influences (e.g., leadership, cohesion); and (d) major exercise psychology concepts and issues (e.g., exercise adherence, motives for participation, and exercise and psychological well-being). Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL.

270.     Introduction to Biological Psychology.

This course will introduce students with limited background in biology to the myriad of theories and research pertaining to the biological foundations of behavior and cognition. Using genetic, evolutionary, endocrine, and neuroscience perspectives, we will investigate the biological basis of perception, action, learning, memory, emotion, sleep, mating, health, language, personality, and mental health. We will also consider the ethical dilemmas surrounding the use and potential misuse of new genetic and neuroscientific biotechnologies to study and alter behavior in humans and other animals. Prerequisites: PSYCH 101WL or 101NL or Instructor Permission.

256.        Health Psychology.

Health psychology is an applied field devoted to understanding psychological influences on health and illness in our society. This course examines a variety of social and behavioral factors that affect our physical well-being, including the impact of life stress on the immune system, the influence of social determinants of health on specific illnesses, and inequities within the health care system. Other topics may include obesity, heart disease, stress management, social justice, victim blaming, sexual health, and behavioral therapy.  Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL.

313.        Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Designed to acquaint the student with major applications of psychological findings and techniques to problems of management and industry, this course includes human factors engineering, personnel procedures and organizational behavior. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and STAT 113. Also offered through Peace Studies.

317.        Abnormal Psychology.

This course is designed to study the major psychological disorders, and how stress plays a role in their appearance and severity.  The course uses case histories, lecture, movie excerpts, discussion, and extensive use of primary literature to explore the latest thinking in how our biology, psychology, and social environment intertwine to create mental illness and mental health.   Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and STAT 113.

318.        Environmental Psychology. (with lab)

This lecture-laboratory course studies the relationships between humans and physical environments — both natural and built. Topics include environmental assessment, attitudes and behavior toward the environment and the psychological effects of such environmental factors as crowding, architectural design, extreme environments, pollution and natural disasters. The laboratory is required of all students. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL; if taken for psychology credit, PSYC 205. Also offered as ENVS 318 and through Peace Studies.

322.        Positive Psychology. (with lab)

While there is no shortage of lay theories and self-help literature that offer advice on how to achieve “the good life,” this lecture-laboratory course will examine the nature of positive emotions and well-being from the viewpoint of empirical psychology research. Recent empirical research will be reviewed, and students will apply the information in class discussion, written assignments, and hands-on experiences. By examining the relationship between happiness and such topics as life circumstances, character strengths, the conflicted mind, reciprocity, social relationships, trauma, and spirituality, we will understand and apply empirically-supported ideas for enhancing well-being. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and PSYC 205. Also offered through Peace Studies.

325.        Social Psychology. (with lab)

This lecture-laboratory course covers the theory and research of how individual humans think, feel, and behave when influenced by their social environment. Topics include the social self, thinking about people and situations, attributions, attitude formation and change, conformity, affiliation and attraction, altruism, aggression, prejudice and group dynamics. The laboratory is required of all students. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and PSYC 205. Also offered through Peace Studies.

326.        Hormones and Behavior. (with lab and without lab)

This lecture-laboratory course provides an introduction to the field of behavioral endocrinology. The interplay between hormones and behavior is explored by reviewing current knowledge derived from human and animal research in the field. Topics include the influence of hormones on reproductive behavior, parental behavior, aggression, sexual orientation, moods and emotions, psychiatric disorders and perceptual and cognitive abilities. Environmental and experiential influences on endocrine function are also examined. May be taken as an elective toward the neuroscience major (behavioral track) with permission of instructor. Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL; if taken for laboratory credit, PSYC 205.

327.        Sensation and Perception. (with lab and  without lab)

This is a lecture-laboratory course that examines the ways in which humans experience the world around them through the sensory systems of vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. The course will emphasize cognitive and biological perspectives and includes topics such as color vision; depth, size, and object perception; sound localization; speech perception; development; sensory and perceptual disorders; and non-human animal sensory systems. Counts toward the neuroscience major (behavioral track). Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL; if taken for laboratory credit, PSYC 205.

350.      Language Analysis. (with lab)

Language, as the primary medium of human communication, offers profound insights into psychology. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the links between natural language and psychological processes. This course is much more applied than theoretical; it is tailored for students eager to enhance their research toolkit, explore the nexus between language and psychology, and equip themselves with hands-on skills in language analysis. We will embark on a journey to understand the principles of language analysis in psychology, discover its applications, and gain hands-on experience using tools such as the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) and RStudio for in-depth text data analysis. As an integral component of the course, students will learn to work with existing corpora and to build novel corpora and will undertake their own research projects throughout the semester, culminating in a formal APA formatted paper and an oral presentation of their findings at the semester's end. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and PSYC 205

401.        Learning and Behavior. (with lab)

A lecture-laboratory course covering the major psychological principles that underlie behavior and its modification through environmental manipulation. An emphasis is placed on the experimental analysis of human and non-human behavior. Topics include the theoretical and historical underpinnings of a science of behavior, classical and operant conditioning, aversive control, choice and preference, conditioned reinforcement, behavior modification, Applied Behavior Analysis, and advanced statistical data analysis. The lab component involves extensive work in and outside of class conducting research with rats. Counts toward the neuroscience major (behavioral track). Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and PSYC 205.

402.        Memory and Cognition. (with lab and without lab)

This lecture-laboratory course (can be taken with or without lab) offers a fairly comprehensive study of human cognition. In addition to extensive coverage of human memory, the course includes an analysis of major areas such as object perception, attention, knowledge, problem-solving, and decision-making.” Where possible, students consider evidence that sheds light on the neural correlates of cognition, drawn mainly from the related disciplines of neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. In addition to providing an introduction to leading theories and empirical findings, the course also examines several applied domains, such as repressed and recovered memories and eyewitness testimony. Counts toward the neuroscience major (behavioral track). The lab emphasizes the use of classic and contemporary empirical techniques to understand the nature of mental representations that underlie various phenomena in the domains of basic and applied cognition. Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL; if taken for laboratory credit, PSYC 205.

413.     Community Psychology.

This seminar-internship course has two objectives: to provide an introduction to some basic issues, concepts and methods in community psychology, and to offer experiential learning through an internship placement in a community setting (approximately 80 hours over the course of the semester). Topics include the ecological perspective, stress and coping, and prevention and evaluation research. Possible internships include Head Start, Maplewood nursing home, and substance abuse-related treatment settings. Students are required to meet with the professor prior to registration, and generally internships are arranged, with assistance from the instructor, in the semester prior to enrollment. Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL, PSYC 205, and permission of instructor.

432.        Animal Behavior. (with lab)

This lecture-laboratory course examines various forms of behavior as they appear throughout the phylogenetic scale. The roles of evolution, genetics and the neural system in the control of diverse behaviors from feeding to territoriality and human aggression are considered. Counts toward the neuroscience major (behavioral track). Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and PSYC 205.

438.        Human Neuropsychology.

This seminar course will examine the function of the human nervous system as it relates to cognition and behavior. Topics covered will include: language, attention, memory, motor skills, visual-spatial processing, problem solving, emotion, and consciousness. Special attention will be paid to the modern methodologies used to study brain-behavior interactions in normal and neuropathological populations. Lectures, discussions, and projects will make use of both empirical and clinical case materials. Prerequisites: BIOL/NRSCI 288. Also offered as NRSCI 438.

443.        Introduction to Clinical Psychology.

This course examines the field of contemporary clinical psychology, focusing on the problems and procedures related to psychological diagnosis, the interaction between theory and practice, and important aspects of research in clinical populations. Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and PSYC 317.

459.        Cognitive Science

Analogies such as ‘the mind is a blank slate’ or ‘the brain is like a computer’ reflect different models of how humans acquire and process information. Cognitive science is the study of how the mind works from an interdisciplinary perspective. In this seminar, we will critically analyze theoretical approaches and scientific evidence related to human cognition through the lens of psychology, computer science, philosophy, anthropology, and linguistics. Topics include perception and action, learning, memory, decision-making, human-computer interaction, spatial cognition, development, language, and social cognition.  Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and PSYC 205.

461.     Psychological Science and Critical Thinking.

Do you know people who believe that: psychics can communicate with the dead, Bigfoot exists, homeopathic medicine is effective, houses can be haunted, people have been abducted by aliens, some folks are literally possessed by the devil, and vaccines are a cause of autism? In this seminar we will examine the evidence behind a variety of claims that generally fall under one or more of the overlapping headings of parapsychology, the paranormal, pseudoscience, or alternative medicine. More importantly, what psychological processes and statistical errors help us to understand the development of such beliefs? Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL, PSYC 205, and permission of the instructor. Interested students without the recommended background should see the instructor.

464.      Perceptual Development in Infancy.

SEM: Perceptual Development in Infancy To communicate effectively with another person face-to-face, we must share a language system while providing and responding to nonverbal social cues. This process requires knowledge of the sounds and rules of the language, familiarity with the meaning or intentions of gestures, and competence with emotion processing and expression. Despite being born with extremely limited perceptual abilities, we become capable users of such communicative skills within a relatively short period of time. In this course, we will explore the development of unisensory and multisensory perception and how perceptual improvements impact cognitive and socioemotional development during the first two years of life. We will focus specific attention on the perceptual development necessary for acquiring language and for navigating the social world. We will also touch on ways in which these kinds of development can proceed atypically. Prerequisites: Psychology 101WL or 101NL, Psychology 205, and Psychology 207.

465.     Applied Behavior Analysis

Over the last several decades, Applied Behavior Analysis, which uses learning principles to change behavior, has become the defining treatment for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Over the same period of time, though, behavior analytic principles have also been used to train giant rats to find land mines, get people to stop smoking and start exercising, and improve the welfare of zoo animals. In this seminar, we survey the empirical, theoretical, and methodological literature surrounding the application of basic research in behavior analysis to a range of socially significant problems. Topics include: developmental and intellectual disabilities, drug and alcohol abuse and treatment, animal training, zoo management, health and exercise, environmentally-conscious behavior, and safety-related behavior. Pre-requisites: PSYC-100 or PSYC-101 or PSYC-101WL or PSYC-101NL and PSYC 205

467.     Psychology of Human Sexuality.

This seminar course examines human sexual and gender identities, with an emphasis on those within the LGBTQ+ community. By using a biopsychosocial framework, we will explore how these identities are developed, expressed, and perceived by others. Importantly, while we will spend some time investigating research on the biological determinants of gender and sexuality, this course will emphasize the social and cultural factors surrounding in these identities. Over the course of the semester we will discuss a variety of topics and issues, including: queer and transidentities, essentialism vs. identity fluidity/flexibility, intersectional identities, sex positivity and sexual behaviors, body positivity and physical diversity, social perceptions, prejudice and discrimination, and mental and physical health outcomes related to minority stress. Fulfills DIV13.

3000-3999. Special Topics for Non-Majors.

These courses are offered occasionally in specific areas of psychology at an intermediate level between Psychology 101 and advanced-level courses. Topics and formats vary depending upon the instructor. The content of each course or section will be announced each semester. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL.

4000-4999. Special Topics for Majors & Minors

These courses cover special topics not regularly offered in the curriculum. The courses are designed for juniors and seniors and are taught in either a seminar or a regular class format, possibly with laboratory. The content of each course or section will be announced each semester. Prerequisite: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and sometimes PSYC 205; may be restricted to Psychology majors and minors.

468,469. SYE: Independent Research.

This course offers an opportunity for seniors to engage in empirical research. Prerequisites: Psychology 101WL or 101NL, PSYC 205, senior status and permission of instructor.

471,472. Independent Study in Psychology.

This course offers students the opportunity to engage in in-depth documentary investigation of a particular topic in psychology. Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL and permission of instructor.

489, 490. SYE: Independent Study.

This course offers senior students the opportunity to synthesize, integrate and expand their knowledge in the field of psychology by engaging in detailed documentary investigation of a particular topic in psychology. Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL, PSYC 205, senior status, and permission of instructor.

496, 497. Independent Research in Psychology.

This course offers students the opportunity to engage in empirical and/or experimental research in psychology. Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL, PSYC 205, and permission of instructor.

498, 499. SYE: Senior Project.

In this two-semester capstone course, students integrate acquired research skills and/or subject knowledge. Students are credited with 0.5 units in 498 and 1.0 unit in 499. Requirements include a proposal presented to faculty and other senior project students; a final colloquium on the project and/or a poster or oral presentation at the annual Festival of Science; attendance at colloquia of others doing senior projects; and a final written paper to be bound and filed with the department, the project supervisor, and the library. Prerequisites: PSYC 101WL or 101NL, PSYC 205, senior status, and permission of instructor.