Spring 2020 Course List • Fall 2020 Course List
Download the course requirements for majoring in Psychology here.
PSY 121: History and Systems in Psychology
Over the course of the semester we study theoretical insights and conceptual attempts to understand human behavior. These are traced from the speculations within the Ancient World to current scientific thinking and methods guiding the study of psychology and other social science disciplines. Importantly, because a discipline is also about people who advance it, students are introduced to the lives and times and ideas of individuals who have made significant contributions to the field. Particular attention is given to such figures as James, Pavlov, Freud, Skinner and Asch, to mention just a few. Illumination will also come from a consideration of correspondence between and among pivotal individuals in the field. Critical analyses and integrations are juxtaposed with historical renderings.
PSY 128: The Science of Behavior
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior. How does the mind create the reality we perceive? How do experiences shape the brain, and how do processes in the brain influence thought, emotion, and behavior? This course investigates these and similar questions by studying the science of the human mind and behavior. The course covers topics such as memory, perception, development, psychopathology, personality, and social behavior. We will focus on the biological, cognitive, and social/cultural roots that give rise to human experience, and consider how behavior differs among people, and across situations. Writing, speaking, group, and hands-on laboratory experiences will augment readings from the text, popular culture, and research journals.
PSY 141: Introduction to Psychological Science
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior. How does the mind create the reality we perceive? How do experiences shape the brain, and how do processes in the brain influence thought, emotion and behavior? This course investigates these and similar questions by studying the science of the human mind and behavior. The course covers topics such as memory, perception, development, psychopathology, personality, and social behavior. A focus is on the biological, cognitive, and social/cultural roots that give rise to human experience. Additionally, the course will consider how behavior differs among people, and across situations.
PSY 203: Statistics for Psychology
This course provides an introduction to the concepts and methods of statistics and is aimed at helping the student to gain a fundamental understanding of the tools needed to understand and conduct research in psychology. Topics to be covered include frequency distributions and probability, descriptive statistics, simple correlation and regression, sampling distributions, t-tests and basic and factorial analysis of variance. Non-parametric tests such as Chi-square will also be introduced. The course will focus on the interpretation and communication of statistics. This course is the first of a two-course sequence in statistics and research methods that is required of all prospective psychology majors. The course is ordinarily taken in the first semester of the sophomore year. Prerequisite: Introduction to Psychological Science or its equivalent.
PSY 204: Research Methods in Psychology
This course provides an introduction to the research methods and data analyses used in the study of psychology. Students will gain an understanding of research methods and design through a combination of readings, lectures, class discussions, and hands-on laboratory experience. Students will work both individually and in groups to design and conduct observational studies, surveys, and experiments. There will be a strong emphasis on learning to present research results in different ways. Ethical issues will be discussed at each stage of the research process, and students will develop their ability to assess research critically. This course has a choice of labs; students must register separately for a lab. Prerequisite: PSY 203 or equivalent.
PSY 210: Adult Abnormal Psychology
This course is designed to examine various forms of adult psychopathology (i.e., psychological disorders) within the contexts of theoretical conceptualizations, research, and treatment. It also involves questioning the uses of the term “abnormal.” Etiology and pathogenesis of symptoms (both core and associated), diagnostic classifications, and treatment applications will be addressed. Adult forms of psychopathology that will receive the primary emphasis of study include the anxiety, mood, eating, and substance-related disorders. Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychological Science or permission of instructor.
PSY 211: Child Abnormal Psychology
This course investigates the early and multiple factors contributing to psychopathology emerging in childhood, as well as the diagnostic and treatment standards now in practice. We will emphasize an empirically-based developmental psychopathology perspective, with an emphasis on the risk and protective factors that shape abnormal and normal developmental trajectories. We will explore various models for understanding maladaptive development (e.g, the role of genes, psychosocial influences) through the examination of current research and diagnostic practices in specific diagnostic areas (e.g., autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Throughout this course, students will be encouraged to relate empirical findings to the field’s theoretical models in considering the genetic, biological, cognitive, and cultural influences on child development. Prerequisite: Introduction to Psychological Science or permission of instructor.
PSY 212: Personality Psychology
This course focuses on personality as a theoretical and empirical field. We will consider theoretical perspectives and their implications for personality development, psychological adjustment, and everyday behavior. Specific themes include psychodynamic, humanistic, trait, social-cognitive and biological perspectives. We will examine topics such as motivation and cognition, how we relate to others, the stress-depression link, and identity as we consider the biological, cultural and social context of personality. Particular focus will be given to the applications of personality theory to behavior in clinical (focusing on personality disorders) and healthy populations. Research methods and assessment strategies for understanding personality will be explored and critically evaluated. Prerequisite: Introduction to Psychological Science or permission of instructor.
PSY 218: Emotions
This course explores the psychological process and experience of emotion. Emotions influence what we pay attention to, what we remember, and how we behave. In this course we will discuss current psychological understanding of emotional processing. We will discuss theories of emotion including evolutionary accounts, categorical theories, and dimensional approaches. We will learn about the neural and physiological processes underlying emotions as well as the psychological processes that affect emotional perception, expression, and regulation. We will also cover how the dysregulation of emotions can result in psychopathology. This course fulfills the major’s Cluster A requirement. Prerequisite: PSY 141 (Introduction to Psychological Science)
PSY 220: Social Psychology
Cross-listed: Gender and Sexuality Studies; Sociology. Social Psychology is the scientific study of human thought, behavior, and feelings in their social contexts. This class will survey many of the processes that influence and are influenced by our interactions with others, such as attitude formation and change, conformity and persuasion. We will also use principles of social psychology to understand the ordinary origins of benevolent (e.g., altruism, helping behavior) and malevolent (e.g., aggression, prejudice) aspects of human behavior. Throughout the course, we will emphasize the influence of culture, race, and gender on the topics addressed. Students should have completed Introduction to Psychological Science or its equivalent.
PSY 221: Developmental Psychology
To develop is to change. What accounts for the individual differences between us, but also the similarities that define people of a certain age? How do developmental scientists frame these questions empirically, and interpret the answers they get? In this class, we will study the balance of growth and decline across the lifespan from birth to death, and think carefully about the unique characteristics of people at each life stage. We will explore the many causes of change from infancy through old age, including: cognition, physical maturation, social interaction, language, and cultural influence. Textbook, research articles, and popular writings will be used to facilitate discussion and writing. Prerequisite: PSY 141.
PSY 224: Child Development
This is a specialized course that prepares students to understand the biological, motor, perceptual, cognitive (including intelligence), language, emotional, social, and gender development of children. The process of human development from conception through early adolescence is studied. Emphasis is placed on what enables children to reach physical, mental, emotional and social maturity, and helps us to address the question “What environments promote optimum development for children?” Child development history, theory, and research strategies will be discussed, as well as the effect of family, peers, media, and schooling. This class would be good for those interested in children, education, or the cognitive and social development of humans. This class is not appropriate for students who have already taken Psych 216 (Developmental Psychology). Prerequisite: PSY 141 or PSY 128.
PSY 230: Cognitive Psychology
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior. Cognitive psychology is the study of mind: how we perceive the world, remember, represent knowledge, acquire new information, become aware of our emotions, make plans, reason, and use language. In this course we examine the empirical foundations that determine our understanding of mind, including classic research designs, recent advances in computational modeling, philosophical perspectives, and changes in cognition throughout the lifespan. The course also considers the neural underpinning of these topics. Prerequisite: Introduction to Psychological Science or permission of instructor.
PSY 231: Neuroscience
The ability to express thoughts and emotions and to interact with the environment largely depends on the function of the nervous system. This course examines basic concepts and methods in the study of brain, mind, and behavior. Topics include the structure and function of the central nervous system, brain development, learning and memory, emotion, sensory and motor systems, the assessment of human brain damage, and clinical disorders such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.
PSY 232: Social Neuroscience
Social Neuroscience aims to elucidate the links among mind, brain and social behavior. We will focus on theories and methods from neuroscience used to address classic social psychological questions. You will gain a working knowledge of current findings while investigating the brain systems underlying social behavior. We will cover basic neuroanatomy and explore research on the neural underpinnings of social judgments, culture and cognition, emotion recognition, embodied cognition, empathy, attachment, theory of mind, sexual attraction, endocrine responses, love, and neuroeconomics, among other related topics. Through this process you will learn about a variety of neuroscience methods involving social psychology paradigms, lesion studies, patient research, and neuroimaging. Prerequisite: Introduction to Psychological Science or an Introductory Biology course or permission of Instructor.
PSY 234: Learning and Memory
Memory is fundamental to all aspects of learning and behavior. It helps remind us to pick up a friend after class and where we left our keys; it acts as a repository for driving skills and the meaning of a stop sign; it also can incite flashbacks to an earlier car crash. How does the brain—in humans and non-humans alike—support memory? How do these capacities develop across the lifespan, what problems arise, and what can we do to improve our memory? To begin to answer these questions, we will evaluate theories and evidence from behavioral experiments, brain imaging methods, and cases of impaired memory. Along the way, we will consider ongoing debates in the field, such as the role of memory suppression and the malleability of our memories. Prerequisite: 100-level course in Psychology, a 5 on the AP Psychology exam, or permission of the instructor. This class may be of interest to students interested in pursuing Computer Science and/or the Mind, Brain & Behavior concentration. It is not appropriate for students who have already taken PSY 243 (“Human Memory”).
PSY 237: Drugs and Human Behavior
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior; Science, Technology & Society. This course will explore the biological bases for the behavioral effects of several psychoactive substances including therapeutic compounds, such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, and drugs of abuse. The course will focus on mechanisms of drug action and physiological and behavioral effects. Broader societal issues such as drug addiction, drug policies and drug testing, and controversial therapeutic interventions will be discussed in relation to selected compounds. Prerequisite: An introductory Psychology or Biology course, or consent of the instructor.
PSY 238: Human-Computer Interaction
Cross-listed: Computer Science; Experimental Humanities; Mind, Brain, & Behavior. The field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) sits at the intersection of computer science and cognitive psychology. The guiding question of HCI is how can we leverage what we know about human information processing to design efficient interfaces between humans and computers? In this course, students will gain theoretical knowledge and practical experience in the fundamental aspects of human perception, cognition, and learning as it relates to the design, implementation, and evaluation of human-computer interfaces. In addition, this course will consider the ways in which the nature and ubiquity of human-computer interactions are changing the way we think, behave, and interact with one another. Prerequisites: PSY 141 or CMSC 141. Preference will be given to psychology and computer science majors. This course fulfills the Cluster C requirement for the Psychology Major.
PSY 243: Human Memory
Memory is fundamental to all aspects of learning and behavior in all animal species. However, the study of human memory presents a special case because humans use language. Language provides a unique mechanism for encoding and retrieving memories, but language also biases memory. This course is an overview of classic theories and current research in human learning and memory. We will evaluate models of memory, including debates on the cognitive representations of knowledge. We will also examine the role of awareness in memory, false memory, the biological bases of memory, diseases and disorders of memory, and methods for brain imaging. Prerequisite: 100 level course in Psychology or Biology or permission of the instructor.
PSY 251: The Man and Experiment that Shocked the World: The Work and Legacy of Stanley Milgram
Cross-listed: Human Rights; Social Studies. It has now been more than fifty years since the original work of Stanley Milgram demonstrated the remarkable and very widely unpredicted and unexpected finding that large numbers of individuals in multiple samples of American men and women studied were willing to “punish” another person when ordered to do so by an experimenter; this in the stated but false context of a psychology experiment on learning and memory. The prominence of the initial work and the continued salience of such study and accumulated findings in the domain of social psychology cannot be over-stated. And it very much has not reached the stage of dormancy as the publication of studies, literature reviews and conferences on the topic of obedience to authority continue to appear in unabated fashion. It is even the case that as recently as six years ago a replication of the original study, with slight modifications, and with concordant results was published (J. Burger, January 2009). Further revealing of prominence is that fact that a relatively new full-length movie version of the original study (a biopic) appeared this year. In addition, a diligent search of current psychology or cross-disciplinary archives uncovers further studies that provide evidence that obedience and indeed destructive obedience is very much prevalent in our society and in many others as well and in a myriad of contexts. The domain of the “Milgram study” is especially worthy of continuing interest. This because of the vastness of both criticism and praise of the original work but also because of historical and significant events in the intervening years between 1960s and stretching to our current time. The continuing study of obedience is vital for the betterment of institutions, even in a democratic society. Social scientists should and must find a way to safely and ethically investigate the conditions that promote destructive obedience and thereby begin to learn the rudiments of how such can be minimized. This is a college seminar. It is not limited to psychology or social studies or for that matter majors in any particular discipline. The two criteria for membership are a willingness to read with care and then with conviction share with others the results of such reading and study. Over the course of the semester a sizable portion of the work contained in the body of the obedience literature is reviewed. Admission by permission of the instructor.
PSY 260: Psychology of Gender
Psychology of Women involves an integrated study of women’s behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and social experiences, as well as a variety of issues faced by women both historically and currently. This course is designed to provide a broad overview of relevant topics including, but not limited to: sex differences and similarities in personality and cognition, gender development, sexuality, love relationships, media portrayals, physical and psychological health, and violence against women. Several disciplinary domains of psychology (e.g., personality, abnormal/clinical, social, developmental) will provide the theoretical and research lenses through which these topics are contextualized. Lectures, discussions, films, writings, and experiential exercises will be the primary vehicles for learning in this course; and critical examination and integration of material will be strongly encouraged. Admission by permission of the instructor.
PSY 271: Judgement and Decision Making
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior. What career will you choose? Is the person across the street likely to be a criminal? How do public policies affect decisions to save for retirement, seek preventive medical care, or conserve environmental resources? John F. Kennedy captured a truth about human decision-making when he noted that “the essence of ultimate decision remains impenetrable to the observer – often, indeed to the decider himself.” In this course, we will heed Kennedy’s reminder that conscious reflection and verbal report often lead to inaccurate descriptions of the causes of our judgments and decisions. Our focus will be on trying to ascertain the underlying causes of these mental processes by relying on contemporary research in fields such as psychology, neuroscience, economics, political science that offer the systematic study of how people make decisions given limited time and vast uncertainty. Sources will include empirical articles as well as review papers, videos, and case studies. We will consider applications of this work to domains such as finance, politics, the environment, and medicine. This course is open to students with all backgrounds, although comfort with algebra will be assumed.
Upper College Seminars
PSY 314: Social & Emotional Development
This course will examine some of the main theories and topics in social and emotional development, such as the development of self-perception and empathy, emotional regulation and impulse control, and the ability of individuals to identify their own emotions as well as the emotional cues of others. These topics will ultimately be discussed in terms of how they influence the development of social relationships with caregivers and peers. The readings for this course will focus largely on primary research articles, and students will be expected to analyze and critique the methodology used in these studies. Students will submit reaction papers to weekly readings, as well as a final paper and presentation on a related topic of their choosing. Prerequisite: Moderation into Psychology.
PSY 319: Current Treatments of Psychological Disorders
The field of psychotherapy has changed significantly over the past 50 years, with new therapies focusing on helping people change their thinking or behaviors and in some instances placing a greater focus on the social and interpersonal context in which symptoms occur. Newer therapies, grounded in clinical psychological science, place a greater emphasis on the biopsychological bases of behavior, present functioning, achieving change within shorter time periods, and demonstrating treatment efficacy. In this course, we will focus on common treatments for common mental illnesses, including anxiety and mood disorders, personality disorders, and substance use disorders. Readings will consist of original research and both primary and secondary sources. Students will be expected to make oral presentations of material in class and to write a substantial research/review paper. Prerequisites: Moderated in psychology and a course in either Adult or Child Abnormal Psychology (PSY210 or PSY211), or permission of instructor.
PSY 322: Executive Control of Thought and Action
Sit on a bus and you are immediately aware of a variety of stimuli: the sound of people talking, the sight of passing cars, the smell of the person next to you. Now imagine reading a newspaper on that bus. The conversation, cars, and passengers are now irrelevant sources of information. This demonstrates a fundamental function of executive control: the biasing of information processing in the service of internally generated goals. This course investigates the mechanisms that underlie executive control, particularly in situations where individuals must rapidly switch attention among multiple tasks.
PSY 323: Human Visual Perception
In 2015, the world was divided into two groups: those who saw The Dress as black and blue, and those who saw it as white and gold. This division highlights a fundamental question in the study of visual perception, how can the same visual stimulus lead to such different perceptual experiences? This seminar will begin to address this and related questions by studying the anatomy and physiology of the visual system along with the cognitive processes that turn raw sensory information into our perception of the world. We will explore what happens when things go right, what happens when things go wrong, and the factors that influence what different people actually “see”. Readings will include empirical articles and philosophical perspectives on visual perception and students will get hands-on experience conducting research using eye-tracking technology. This course is intended for moderated psychology majors and moderated MBB students; non-psychology students may enroll with permission from the instructor.
PSY 325: Anxiety and its Disorders
“…For [some] individuals, anxiety is a curse – something they could live without. But could we all live without anxiety? Many of our most prominent philosophers, psychologists, and psychiatrists think not” (David Barlow). Everyone feels anxious at various points in their lives. For some, however, such anxiousness becomes extreme, incapacitating, and perceived as beyond the person’s control. Similar to the pervasiveness of anxiety in general, anxiety disorders specifically are the most prevalent of all psychological illnesses. They also are among the most treatable. This course will provide a detailed overview and critical analysis of the anxiety disorders with particular focus on the etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of such disorders; and state-of-the-art psychological/cognitive-behavioral conceptualizations and approaches, and related empirical findings, will be emphasized. Prerequisite for this course is PSY 245 (Personality), PSY 241 (Abnormal Psychology), or PSY 264 (Adult Psychopathology).
PSY 332: Cognitive Aging
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior. Healthy aging is associated with changes in the efficiency of cognitive and neural processes. While particular processes decline (such as attention and memory), others improve (such as emotion regulation). In the current course, we will examine current theoretical accounts of cognitive aging with a primary focus on identifying and evaluating the strategies older adults implement to deal with age-related changes in cognition. Although the course will primarily look at healthy aging, it will also include an examination of age-related diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease), allowing for a discussion of the ways in which the effects of disease differ from those of healthy aging. Readings in the course will be composed of theoretical articles as well as empirical studies that rely on a variety of research methods including behavioral testing and functional neuroimaging. The course will culminate in the proposal of a novel training paradigm designed to improve functioning of older adults in daily life. This course is open to moderated psychology majors, moderated MBB students, or with permission of the instructor.
PSY 334: The science of goal pursuit
As human beings, we have to choose from myriad behaviors to engage in and/or refrain from—whether it is eating, drinking, exercising, socializing, playing, working, sleeping, or binge watching, just to name a few. How do we know exactly which behaviors are most congruent with our goals, and which are at odds with those goals? When certain patterns of behavior undermine health and wellbeing, are there any evidence-based cognitive or motivational strategies that can meaningfully change human behavior? How much truth is there in the saying “old habits die hard?” In this seminar, we will take a deep dive into the science of goal pursuit and behavior change, discussing both the promise and challenges of this area of study. Foundational readings from the psychological and brain sciences will cover important theoretical models of self-regulation and goal pursuit as well as the empirical evidence of these respective models to date. Students are expected to give in-class presentations of course material (individually and in groups), critically evaluate and propose alternatives to popular apps and devices advertised to promote behavior change, and write a final research-oriented paper (e.g., a study proposal or a review paper). The course is open to all moderated psychology and MBB students, or with permission of the instructor.
PSY 335: The Science of Forgetting
Forget something? Of course, we all have. From annoying tip-of-the-tongue moments to more embarrassing (or worse) memory lapses, forgetting is a regular and sometimes even advantageous occurrence. But we still have a lot learn about exactly how and why these episodes occur. In this seminar, we will consider leading psychological and neuroscientific theories of forgetting, as well as the empirical evidence for them. Do memories simply decay over time or is interference to blame? Can memories be repressed only later to be recovered? How do drugs, alcohol, and traumatic head injuries affect memory consolidation? By the end of the course, you will have acquired the scientific background necessary to address these questions in relation to forgetting in your own life, as well as notorious cases of memory failures in the public sphere. This course is open to moderated students who have completed at least one of the following prerequisites: Cognitive Psychology (PSY 230), Human Memory (PSY 243), Neuroscience (PSY 231), or with instructor’s permission.
PSY 336: The Social Psychology of Emotion, Cognition, and Bias
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior. There is a common misconception that cognition and emotion are two opposing psychological processes. Cognition is often thought of as cold, rational, and accurate. Emotion is seen as irrational and biased; as something that spoils our otherwise accurate cognitive processes. This course will be an exploration, from a social psychological perspective, of how emotions and cognition interact to influence our thoughts, perceptions, and behavior. The class will begin by examining the relationship between emotion and cognition from a variety of psychological perspectives. As the class progresses, we will focus more on how emotion and cognition influence social perceptions, social interactions, and intergroup relations. Students will be expected to read primary research articles in psychology. Prerequisite: Moderation in psychology or instructor permission.
PSY 337: Prejudice and Stereotyping
This course will focus on the empirical study of intergroup relations and provide an overview of the social psychological study of issues in prejudice and stereotyping. We will consider the cognitive, affective, and motivational processes that underlie manifestations of stereotyping and prejudice as well as the consequences of being a target of prejudice and stereotypes. We will focus on how prejudice and stereotyping operate outside of conscious awareness and unfold in the current sociopolitical climate, and, ultimately consider empirically-based approaches to reducing prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Source material will include empirical readings from social, cognitive, and developmental psychology and neuroscience as well as videos and articles written for a general audience. Prerequisites: Moderation into Psychology or MBB, or permission of the instructor.
PSY 341: Predicting Behavior
One of the primary goals of the science of psychology is to understand and predict human behavior. Linear regression is an important statistical tool in psychological research as it allows for the estimation of the relationship between two or more continuous variables and the translation of this relationship into prediction. This seminar will serve as an introduction into the development, theory, and use of simple and multiple linear regression in the context of psychological research. Topics will include data visualization, hypothesis testing, model selection, parameter estimation, and estimation of model fit. Students will read and evaluate empirical articles that implement regression analyses across a range of psychological topics. Students will get hands-on experience conducting their own regression analyses on existing datasets and the course will culminate in a data collection project where students apply regression techniques to answer a psychological question of their choosing. This course is intended for moderated psychology majors and moderated MBB students; non-psychology students may enroll with permission from the instructor.
PSY 345: Recent Developments in Pharmacotherapies for Mental Illness
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior. This seminar will examine newly discovered drug treatments for several mental illnesses. Initial class meetings will focus on in-depth readings that will provide a background for understanding the methods used for identifying and testing potential new therapies. Subsequent meetings will consist of student-led discussions of topics of interest. This course is open to moderated psychology students and other students at the discretion of the instructor.
PSY 347: Brain Mechanisms and Addictive Behaviors
Rapid strides have been made recently in our understanding of the neurological underpinnings of addiction. This research conference will begin with a brief history of our understanding of the mechanisms of brain reward systems and how the findings in this area have led to modern concepts of addictive behavior. An in-depth analysis will be made of contemporary theoretical and neurobiological approaches to conceptualizing and treating addictive behaviors, particularly drug abuse. Some consideration will be given to the extension of the addiction concept to such behaviors as gambling, eating, sexual activity and others. Primary source journal articles will be used in addition to excerpts from texts, and thus familiarity with research methods and statistics is required. Students will be expected to make frequent presentations in class.
PSY 348: The Work & Legacy of Stanley Milgram
It has now been more than fifty years since the original work of Stanley Milgram demonstrated the remarkable and very widely unpredicted and unexpected finding that large numbers of individuals in multiple samples of American men and women studied were willing to “punish” another person when ordered to do so by an experimenter; this in the stated but false context of a psychology experiment on learning and memory. The prominence of the initial work and the continued salience of such study and accumulated findings in the domain of social psychology cannot be over-stated. And it very much has not reached the stage of dormancy as the publication of studies, literature reviews and conferences on the topic of obedience to authority continue to appear in unabated fashion. It is even the case that as recently as six years ago a replication of the original study, with slight modifications, and with concordant results was published (J. Burger, January 2009). Further revealing of prominence is that fact that a relatively new full-length movie version of the original study (a biopic) appeared this year. In addition, a diligent search of current psychology or cross-disciplinary archives uncovers further studies that provide evidence that obedience and indeed destructive obedience is very much prevalent in our society and in many others as well and in a myriad of contexts. The domain of the “Milgram study” is especially worthy of continuing interest. This because of the vastness of both criticism and praise of the original work but also because of historical and significant events in the intervening years between 1960s and stretching to our current time. The continuing study of obedience is vital for the betterment of institutions, even in a democratic society. Social scientists should and must find a way to safely and ethically investigate the conditions that promote destructive obedience and thereby begin to learn the rudiments of how such can be minimized. This is a college seminar. It is not limited to psychology or social studies or for that matter majors in any particular discipline. The two criteria for membership are a willingness to read with care and then with conviction share with others the results of such reading and study. Over the course of the semester a sizable portion of the work contained in the body of the obedience literature is reviewed. Admission by permission of the instructor.
PSY 353: Sleep!
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain & Behavior. People spend roughly one-third of their lives asleep. All too many spend the rest of their lives chronically underslept. What are the pressures that drive us to sleep? What are the benefits of sleep and the risks of not sleeping enough? In this upper-level seminar, we will attempt to answer such questions by reviewing the empirical literature and designing studies to better understand how we can get the most out of sleep. The course, which also may be of interest to students pursing a concentration in Mind, Brain, and Behavior (MBB), is open to moderated students who have the instructor’s permission or have already completed at least one of the following possible prerequisites: Cognitive Psychology (PSY 230), Learning & Memory (PSY 234), Neuroscience (PSY 231), or Introduction to Neurobiology (BIO 162).
PSY 358: Preschoolers Thinking: Cognitive Development Between 2-5 Years of Age
The primary focus of this course will be the cognitive developmental underpinnings of children’s burgeoning concepts about the social and biological world around them. Children undergo enormous changes in their thinking in the years before they enter school, and these changes have alternately been described as continuous and discontinuous, qualitative and quantitative in nature. In particular, a large amount of research has targeted children’s theory of mind, or the understanding that outward behaviors are caused by internal states (thoughts, beliefs), and not necessarily the actual state of affairs. Does a 3-year old understand that two people can have different perceptions of the same experience? When do children realize that thoughts and dreams cant be touched, the way a toy can? Our discussions will focus on readings from empirical papers, theoretical essays, and books. Open to third and fourth year students with consent of the instructor.
PSY 359: Comparative Cognition
Comparative cognition explores the evolutionary origins of the human mind by comparing the cognitive abilities of humans and other animals. The primary focus of this course will be the evolutionary underpinnings of social cognition. We will investigate this topic through discussion of scientific, empirical literature comparing the abilities of human children and nonhuman animals (including apes, monkeys, dolphins, birds, and dogs). In particular, a large amount of research has targeted “theory of mind”, or the understanding that outward behaviors are caused by internal states (thoughts, beliefs), and not necessarily the actual state of affairs. Do chimpanzees interpret others’ behaviors in the same way we do? Are there differences in the perspective-taking abilities of domesticated mammals and wild mammals? What experimental methodologies might be used to answer these questions, and how might these change based on the species we’re investigating? Our discussions will focus on readings from empirical papers, theoretical essays, and books. Open to upper college students with consent of the instructor.
PSY 363: Wild Chimpanzees
As our closest living phylogentic relative, chimpanzees are one of the best tools we have for understanding our own evolution. This course will explore the methods and findings of research devoted to chimpanzee natural social ecology, collected from the field over the past 60 years. What conditions and competencies give rise to complex social behavior, and how is this reflected in the physical body (and the physical environment)? We will augment our reading of literature on the complex behavior of non-human apes living in the wild with examples of studies reporting competencies of these animals living in captivity. This course is part of the Thinking Animals Initiative, an interdivisional collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of animals and human-animal relationships. Prerequisites: either Psych 141(Introduction to Psychological Science) or Bio 202 (Ecology & Evolution).
PSY 365: Sex, Brain, & Behavior
Reproduction encompasses a broad range of behaviors that occur across the life cycle of an organism. From sexual differentiation to partner preference to parental care, sex-related behaviors help to shape and drive processes that allow an organism to adapt to its environment. This course will examine research related to sex-related behavior in human and non-human animals and discuss the neural and hormonal mechanisms that regulate these behaviors. Seminars will emphasize evolutionary, neuroendocrinological and social-psychological perspectives and explore topics related to male-female differences and similarities, the development of gender and sexual identity, therapeutic approaches to sexual pathology, and the interface between sex behavior and the law. Readings will consist of primary journal articles and text excerpts. Coursework will include critical reading and analysis, in-class presentations, and a final paper. Prerequisites: PSYCH 103 and at least one of the following courses: Neuroscience (230), Health Psychology (237), Social Neuroscience (223), or Drugs and Behavior (252) or permission of the instructor.
PSY 371: Science and Identity
Who does science, and why? In this course we will take a social psychological approach to understanding the dynamics that shape how people participate in and construct science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Questions we might ask include: How can a multilevel approach to understanding human behavior explain why women are underrepresented in some fields of science but not others? How do stereotypes and beliefs – even when not consciously endorsed – affect participation in science? How do children engage with science over the course of development? How do bias and objectivity coexist in scientific work? Students will develop skills in scientific writing, data analysis, research design, and analysis of media representations of science. Source materials will include empirical research, popular press, social media, and personal narratives. This course is intended for moderated psychology majors and moderated MBB students; non-psychology students may enroll with permission from the instructor.
PSY 375: The Talking Cure: Podcasts as Exploration of Disordered Experiences
Cross-listed: Experimental Humanities. Despite the history of the term “talking cure,” we often focus almost entirely on the written word in courses introducing the basics of psychological disorders. In the rise of podcasts, however, we have an increased ability to learn about mental illness and treatment directly from people who are willing to share their experiences. In this seminar, each class meeting will revolve around a podcast episode that provides insight into some aspect of mental illness, accompanied by reading primary source research articles and theory. Topics will include cognitive processing therapy, gender identity, major depression, couples therapy, and opiate addiction. Students will be expected to make oral presentations of material in class and to write a substantive research paper, which may have auditory elements. Prerequisites: This course is limited to moderated students who have taken PSY 141 (Introduction to Psychological Science). A course in either Adult or Child Abnormal Psychology (PSY 210 or PSY 211) is also required, or permission of instructor.
PSY 381: Classic and Contemporary Research in Social Psychology
The discipline of social psychology as we know it; that is as the scientific study of the effects of the presence of other people in our life space, can be traced around the beginning of the 20th century. Norman Triplett published the first research based article (1898) in the field. He investigated in a controlled manner the effects of the presence of other individuals on an aspect of timed human performance. More definitively the field of social psychology was established with the publication of two “textbooks” about the discipline in 1908. The English psychologist William McDougall and the American sociologist Edward Ross are given credit for establishing the original boundaries and cross discipline domain of the field of study. Beyond this Floyd Allport placed emphasis on the use of experimental methodology, and thus may be considered the founder of the discipline as we largely know it today. Social Psychology is thus a century in duration and as such it has been significantly marked by a recent publication by Psychology Press of “The Handbook of the History of Social Psychology” (2012). This seminar is designed primarily for moderated students in psychology, but is open to others across many disciplines who have a background in reading original source materials in the literature of their chosen field. Assignments will be paired classic and contemporary studies compiled from within topics investigated within the domain of social psychology; these drawn from persistent topics of the field namely, attitude measurement, theory and change and the study of social influence. Such topical studies are reviewed in order to assess the persistence over time of the issues explored by those who seek to understand the particulars of social behavior. In this manner we will also study the history of the discipline
PSY 391: Psychobiology of Stress and Mental Illness
Recent advances in the understanding of the neurobiology and physiology of stress have changed the way stress is viewed, both as a primary phenomenon and as a secondary factor that precipitates or causes a variety of psychiatric disorders. The latter include phobias, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and schizophrenia. This research conference will examine recent findings on the mechanisms and biological consequences of stress and will explore links between these effects and psychiatric disorders as reported in journal articles. Students will be expected to read and develop critiques of these articles as well as make class presentations. This seminar is intended for students who have moderated in psychology or biology, but is open to students with suitable background.
Advanced Methodology Courses
Advanced Methodology courses are 2-credit courses open to first-, second-, and third-year students with the permission of instructor. They can be taken for a maximum of eight credits, and must be taken twice to fulfill the Laboratory Science distribution requirement. Students are expected to enroll for at least two consecutive semesters.
PSY CL: Clinical Psychology: Advanced Methodology
In this course, students will participate in laboratory research
related to clinical psychology. Specifically, students will work on projects relevant to understanding the relationship between mood and cognition. There will be a weekly lab meeting in which we will discuss progress on ongoing projects, and students will take turns presenting relevant empirical articles. In addition to rotating weekly presentations, students will be required to complete two short papers and have the opportunity to participate in all levels of the research process. Students will learn to conduct basic clinical interviews and to program experiments. Open to non-senior students with consent of the instructor.
PSY COG: Cognitive Psychology Advanced Methodology
Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior. In
this course, students will gain experience working in a cognitive neuroscience laboratory
. Using controlled experiments and brainwave recordings, we will investigate the cognitive processes that allow for the adaptive encoding, consolidation, retrieval, and forgetting of associative memories. Students will participate in all phases of the research process including experiment design, stimulus development, programming, data collection, analysis, and presentation.
PSY PERCE: Bard Attention and Performance Lab
In this course, students will gain experience working in a cognitive psychology laboratory
. Students will work individually and in groups on research projects related to perception and attention. A primary focus will be on face perception. Students will participate in all phases of the research process including experimental design, development of stimuli, programming studies, and collecting and analyzing data. Requirements will include a lab presentation, and other assignments throughout the semester.
PSY DEV: Developmental Psychology Advanced Methodology
In this course, students will participate in laboratory research
in child developmental psychology. Special emphasis will be placed on 3- to 5-year olds’ social cognition, perspective-taking, and memory in the context of games. The majority of time in this course will consist of independent laboratory work and research, and students will work with young children, parents, and members of the community to initiate research protocols in our Preston-based laboratory . There will be a weekly laboratory meeting, readings, assignments, two short papers (a literature review and a summary of your empirical project) and student presentations.
PSY NEU: Neuroscience Advanced Methodology
In this course, students will participate in laboratory research in developmental psychopharmacology, behavioral neuroscience, neuroanatomy and/or neurobehavioral teratology using the zebrafish as an animal model. Within these general fields, specific roles of neurotransmitter systems in normal behavioral development and the neurobehavioral effects of chemical insults during early development will be investigated. The majority of time in this course will consist of independent laboratory work and research. There will be a weekly laboratory meeting, readings, assignments, two short papers (a literature review and a summary of your empirical project) and student presentations.
PSY SOC: Social Psychology Advanced Methodology
This course provides hands-on experience in the practice of Social Psychology. Students will work individually and in teams on ongoing research projects in the Social Psychology Laboratory
. The realm of topics to be studied includes the roots of unconscious bias, the gender disparity in the sciences, and behavior change. Students will participate in all phases of the research process, including developing stimuli, programming studies, conducting experimental sessions, and coding and analyzing research data. Requirements include attendance at weekly lab meetings, two papers, a lab presentation, and other assignments throughout the semester.
PSY REACH: REACH Lab: Advanced Methodology
In this course, students will gain meaningful, hands-on laboratory experience by conducting supervised research in the Regulation of Everyday Affect, Craving, and Health (REACH) Lab
. Specifically, we will employ multiple methods, including personality assessment, behavioral paradigms (in-lab and online), ecological momentary assessment, and recordings of peripheral physiology (e.g., heart rate variability) to observe and/or alter cognitive and motivational processes that promote successful self-regulation and goal pursuit in daily life. An overarching goal of this research is to align people’s habits of mind and behaviors with their goals in order to promote health and wellbeing. Students are expected to attend weekly lab meetings and participate in all stages of the research process, namely: idea generation and theory development, experimental design and preregistration, recruiting and running participants, data wrangling, statistical modeling and analysis, and interpreting and disseminating research findings. Given the importance of the Open Science Movement in psychology, students will also be exposed to best practices when it comes to conducting open and reproducible science.