Courses

Department of Psychology Courses

Course descriptions listed on this page for the Department of Psychology are from the 2021-2022 College Catalog. For more information on the courses offered during the fall and spring semesters, please log in to the course schedule through STAR.

PSYC 100 — Introduction To Psychology

An introduction to the principles of psychology as emerging from the areas of physiological, sensation and perception, development, learning, cognition, and memory, social, personality, and abnormal. Required for the psychology major.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

PSYC 100-IB — Introduction To Psychology

An introduction to the principles of psychology as emerging from the areas of physiological, sensation and perception, development, learning, cognition, and memory, social, personality, and abnormal. Required for the psychology major.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science

PSYC 200 — Statistics

An introduction to descriptive and inferential statistical methods in analysis and interpretation of psychological data. Required for the psychology major.
GPA units: 1.25
Common Area: Mathematical Science
Typically Offered: Fall

PSYC 201 — Research Methods

A thorough survey of methods and techniques employed in psychological research is covered. Topics include observational research, surveys, case studies, experimental designs, and ethical issues in research. Emphasis is on critical evaluation of research. Students develop the skills to design an experiment, statistically analyze and interpret the results, and to present the findings in a written and oral report. Required for the psychology major. One and one-half units.
GPA units: 1.5
Typically Offered: Spring

PSYC 214 — Life-Span Development

GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 220 — Perception&Social Neuroscience

The two major contemporary theories of perception are discussed for each of the sensory/perceptual systems (e.g., vision, audition, and haptics). For both theoretical approaches, a critical examination is made of the relation of sensory processes, perceptual abilities, and action systems with the goal of explaining how we are able to perceive the world.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Natural Science
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 221 — Physiology and Behavior

The structure and function of the nervous system is studied to provide an appreciation of the biological basis of behavior. The first half of the course emphasizes neuroanatomy, basic cell physiology, effects of drugs on behavior, and the autonomic nervous system. Later topics include physiological influences on sleep-wake and circadian rhythms, reproductive behavior, eating and drinking, learning and memory, emotions, and mental illness.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Natural Science
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

PSYC 223 — Animal Learning

An intensive evaluation of how behavior is acquired and maintained. Focuses on Pavlovian and operant conditioning in animals and human subjects. Special topics include the application of these principles to psychotherapy, drug addiction, self-control, and biological influences and constraints on learning.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Natural Science
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 225 — Developmental Psychology

A survey of theory and research pertaining to both cognitive and social development from birth to adolescence. Special topics include prenatal development, early experience, perception, learning, memory, language, emotions, achievement, moral development, gender role development, parenting, schools, and peer relationships.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 226 — Personality and the Life Story

Covers several major conceptions of personality such as the psychoanalytic, humanistic, cognitive, trait, and behavioral approaches. The theories of such psychologists as Freud, Maslow, Kelly, Allport, and Skinner are presented to attain a broad understanding of human personality.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 227 — Social Psychology

An overview of the methods and research findings of social psychology. Emphasis is on the experimental analysis of topics such as person perception, interpersonal attraction, prosocial behavior, aggression, social exchange, and group behavior.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

PSYC 228 — Psychology of Adolescence

A survey of research and theories related to physical, social and cognitive development during adolescence with a particular emphasis on identity and school, family, and peer contexts. Topics include puberty and brain development, social transitions and culture, peer pressure, motivation and achievement, identity formation, extracurricular involvement, autonomy and moral development, sexuality, problem behaviors, eating disorders, and emerging adulthood. One unit.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 229 — Psychopathology

Examines mental illness throughout the life span, with discussions of the developmental, biological, behavioral, psychosocial, cultural, and other theories that attempt to explain emotional and behavioral problems. One goal for the course is to develop an understanding of how information about mental illness and mental health is obtained, and the problems associated with the evaluation and interpretation of this information.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 232 — Developmental Science & Educ

GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 235 — Cognitive Neuroscience

This course is a topical introduction to the field of cognitive neuroscience, in which we look specifically at the neural substrates of cognitive function: from how we remember and see, to how we control our own actions and thoughts and have conscious awareness. We will cover the experimental toolkit of cognitive neuroscience (ranging from reaction time tests to functional MRI), and the results of recent research into perception, attention, learning and memory, and their neurological underpinnings. Throughout the course, special attention is given to dysfunctions of cognitive functioning resulting from brain damage or psychopathologies.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Natural Science
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 236 — Cognition & Memory

Examines current perspectives on how a physical system can have intelligence and know its world. Historical, cognitive science (computer metaphor) and connectionist perspectives will be surveyed. Of interest is how we can model cognitive 'machinery' and how this machinery produces such phenomena as attention, pattern recognition, and information storage. One unit.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Natural Science
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 237 — Psychology of Language

An overview of the psychology and neuropsychological bases of language. Language is defined through the evaluation of human and animal communication. Topics such as Chomsky's linguistic principles, speech perception, speech production, language acquisition, reading and bilingualism are included. These basic concepts of language are then applied to an understanding of different forms that language can take: spoken, written, and sign, and language disorders (e.g. aphasia, dyslexia).
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 238 — Judgment and Decision Making

This course will provide an overview of the psychological research on human choice and decision making. It will investigate sources of bias and error in decision making and consider whether the actual choices that people make in their own lives align with theories that prescribe how decisions should ideally be made. Topics will include risk and uncertainty, emotion and intuitive judgment, self-control, moral decisions, and social influences on decision making. When possible, the course will consider how existing research findings can be applied to reduce biases and improve the quality of decision making.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 244 — Health Psychology

This course provides an introduction to major theories, methodologies, and concepts in health psychology. Students will consider what health means; appraise strengths and weaknesses of biomedical and Ayurvedic health care approaches; identify how health behaviors and stress contribute to the onset of chronic illnesses (e.g., diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease); appreciate how sociopolitical and historical contexts shape the etiology and treatment of HIV/AIDS and cancer in the U.S.; and improve the ability to locate, read, and synthesize original research.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 305 — History & Theory

An examination in historical perspective of what are considered to be the major systems (e.g., psychoanalysis, behaviorism, existential psychology) of psychology. The course begins by using a number of philosophical questions regarding the status of psychology as a scientific discipline, moves on to a comprehensive treatment of the systems themselves, and finally, returns to initial questions to determine the extent to which they have been answered.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

PSYC 314 — Science, Medicine & the Holocaust

What can be learned of biomedical ethics from a study of the Holocaust? How did a healing profession justify its murderous actions? Were physicians and scientists pawns of a totalitarian regime, or were they active contributors to the racial Nazi ideology? Is the study of genetics susceptible to the same political forces that corrupted the field of eugenics? How did the Holocaust come to shape our current code of ethics in human experimentation? This seminar will seek answers to these and many related questions from a voluminous literature that is populated by contributions from historians, biomedical ethicists, philosophers, theologians, journalists, and artists. Far from a value-free discipline, ideological forces will be shown to be at the core of scientific inquiry. This lesson is of particular importance to aspiring scientists and health practitioners.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 315 — Biology of Mental Disorders

A brief consideration of the historical and philosophical basis of biological psychiatry is followed by a thorough overview of the major neurotransmitter systems and behavioral genetics necessary for an understanding of the biological aspects of major psychological disorders, including anxiety disorders, psychosomatic disorders, affective disorders (unipolar and bipolar depression), schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease. For each of these disorders, the current state of knowledge concerning modes of treatment is reviewed, with an emphasis on the relative efficacy of pharmacotherapeutic agents, including minor tranquilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 316 — Drug Abuse: Brain and Behavior

Drug addiction is the central theme of this course. Understanding drug action begins with a consideration of how drugs affect the brain. A basic working knowledge of brain chemistry is established with emphasis on information concerning the various major neurotransmitter systems that are affected by drugs of abuse. Considered next are the different addictive drugs, including alcohol, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines, and the hallucinogens, and specific issues pertaining to the drug addict. The impact of drugs and addiction on society is the subject of the last part of the course. Issues with regard to prevention and treatment are considered. The ultimate goal of this course is to provide sound biological and psychological information from which a rational drug policy can be formed. Fulfills the Advanced Course Requirement or the Elective Course Requirement.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 321 — Neuroanatomy & Behavior

Open to third- and fourth-year students interested in a comprehensive study of brain and spinal cord anatomy and function. Structure is studied to provide a foundation for understanding clinical applications of nervous system injury and disease. Begins with study of gross anatomy of the sheep brain. Topics include motor and sensory systems, limbic system, cranial nerves, cerebral cortex, and blood supply to the brain.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 326 — Cognition Across Cultures

This course examines empirical and theoretical approaches to understanding human thinking across languages and cultures.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 328 — Adolescent Health

An advanced seminar in the field of adolescent development that focuses on the epidemiology and etiology of health-related behaviors during adolescence. This course emphasizes a public health perspective and covers topics such as reproductive health, substance use, nutrition and exercise, sleep, violence, mental health, injuries, and disease. Further, students will explore health disparities, health education, and domestic and global perspectives on adolescent health.
GPA units: 1
Common Area: Social Science
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 332 — Processes in Psychotherapy

What are the common mechanisms by which psychotherapy works? To answer this question, this seminar will examine the theoretical foundations of contemporary psychotherapies, such as psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and acceptance-based treatments. Through readings, videos, and lectures by experts in the field, we will consider how change occurs within and across the types of therapy and the best practices for studying symptom change over time. Additionally, by integrating research methodology into the course structure, we will examine how randomized controlled trials test the efficacy of psychological therapies.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 334 — Eating and Its Disorders

An advanced seminar in the field of clinical psychology that closely examines contemporary research in the eating disorder field. Students explore topics such as the following: problems in the assessment, diagnosis, and classification of eating disorders; risk factors for developing disordered eating; comorbidities between eating pathology and other psychiatric conditions; the roles of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and culture in the etiology and maintenance of disordered eating; prevention and treatment of eating disorders.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 337 — Substance Use, Misuse and Abuse

An advanced seminar in the field of clinical psychology that closely examines the substance (ab)use field, with a particular emphasis on alcohol. Students explore topics such as the following: definitions of harmful/hazardous drinking, familial transmission of alcohol use problems; alcohol, sex, and sports on college campuses; legal debates in the substance use field; philosophies regarding, and clinical approaches to, substance abuse recovery.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 338 — Consciousness & Control

This seminar focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying cognitive control and consciousness and its disturbances following brain injury or psychiatric illness. We define cognitive control as the ability to flexibly adapt behavior to current demands, by promoting task-relevant information and behaviors over temporally-extended periods and in the face of interference or competition. Consciousness we define as a subjective awareness of the world and free will. These abilities seem central to most higher cognitive functions, and contribute to the unique character of human behavior. Our goals are to define the neural mechanisms that underlie cognitive control and consciousness, to understand how these mechanisms govern behavior, and to use this knowledge to improve our understanding of the relationship between brain and behavior in psychiatric disorders and neurological damage.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 342 — Seminar: Gender-Role Development

Provides an examination of the role that gender plays in psychological development. Topics include depression and self-esteem, aggression, emotion control and emotion expression, and social interaction. Theoretical perspectives as well as the empirical literature on gender development will be explored to assess the nature of gender-patterned behaviors.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 344 — Theories Of The Person

This seminar draws on classic and contemporary readings in psychology, sociology, anthropology, and the humanities to explore several influential perspectives on what a person is. We study perspectives that emphasize conflict, relationships, authenticity and performance. Each perspective is scrutinized in terms of its views of human nature, social life, and the methods that most faithfully advance knowledge of persons. The course also covers the implications of the neurobehavioral turn in psychology for how personhood is conceived. Fulfills the Advanced Course Requirement or the Elective Course Requirement.
GPA units: 1

PSYC 345 — Seminar: Face Perception

Investigates the vast amount of information available from faces, such as age, gender, emotions, traits, and aesthetics. Discussion focuses on how we encode and remember faces and how we use information from faces in social interactions.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 351 — Rational Choice/Irrational Mind

Examines the psychology of choice and decision making with a focus on broad questions about the extent to which human behavior can be considered rational. Examples of questions that will be addressed include: What is the source of people's sense of happiness and subjective well-being? How do people understand risk and uncertainty? How do emotions influence decision making? Do people have stable, well-defined preferences that can be accurately known? To what extent do considerations such as fairness, social norms, and the need for control influence people¿s decisions? The course will also explore the social context of decision making in relation to topics such as altruism and cooperation.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 353 — Seminar: Language Thought and Culture

Do language and culture affect how people perceive their physical and social world? This seminar will examine a variety of topics relevant to this question. Specific topics will include cross-linguistic differences in areas ranging from color categorization to person perception; the universal and culture-specific effects of status on interpersonal communication; gender differences in communication style; cultural differences in the understanding of the self and their effect on basic psychological processes; and expert-novice differences in perception, categorization, and communication.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 354 — Psychology of Stigma

This is a seminar course that provides students with the opportunity to more deeply understand the phenomenological experience of stigmatization and to critically evaluate the empirical psychological literature examining the causes and consequences of stigmatization.
GPA units: 1

PSYC 355 — Seminar: Resilience and Development

Covers risk and resiliency from early childhood through adulthood and focuses on defining resilience; sources of risk and protection within families, schools, and communities; and prevention programs. Special topics will include strengths-based models of resiliency, child maltreatment and health, problem-solving and creativity, resiliency across cultures, mentoring, and school- and community-based prevention and intervention. Fulfills the Advanced Course Requirement or the Elective Course Requirement.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 359 — Stress & Neuroplasticity

This advanced seminar explores the short- and long-term effects of psychosocial stress on the nervous system, and the role of stressful experience in adaptation and survival. Questions will include: How does activation of physiological stress responses affect the structure and function of the brain? In what ways might these effects be adaptive or deleterious? How do these effects relate to risk of neurological and psychiatric disorders? Through reading and discussion of scholarly literature in neuroscience, students will encounter current approaches to understanding the brain as a mediator of stress response and explore mechanisms of stress-induced neuroplasticity.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 362 — Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 363 — Psychology & Economic Behavior

This course will examine psychological aspects of economic behavior. Examples of questions that will be addressed include: Do people make choices in way that could be considered rational? How do people respond to scarcity and uncertainty? What conditions are important for producing happiness and well-being? To what extent do people accurately know their own preferences and make choices that are in their own best interest? Does thinking about exchanges in terms of money and markets influence whether people will be fair, ethical, and cooperative? When possible, we will discuss applications for public policy, market events such as panics and bubbles, and individual financial decision making. The course will primarily cover psychological research on human choice and decision making but also will include some research on other species and from other academic disciplines.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Annually

PSYC 364 — Psychopathology In Cinema

Why do some individuals who experience significant trauma emerge as stronger and more resilient, while others develop chronic psychopathology? What individual, familial, or societal factors help explain such different trajectories? This seminar will examine these questions by exploring pathways by which psychopathology develops in children, adolescents and young adults. More specifically, students will learn about the well-known risk (e.g., abuse, loss, peer victimization) and resilience factors (e.g., community involvement, parental acceptance) that influence the development of mental illness, as well as contemporary approaches (and challenges) for preventing the onset of psychological conditions. Each week, students will learn about these concepts by reading peer-reviewed journal articles, watching award-winning films, and leading class discussions. The semester culminates with a final project, in which students apply a developmental psychopathology framework to a character in a major motion picture. Please note that, due to the scope of this course, many of the films portray upsetting content (e.g., child maltreatment).
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Alternate Years

PSYC 370 — Mindfulness Meditation Prayer

The goal of this course is to explore the experiences and practices of mindfulness. Weekly topics will allow us to examine the process, content and health benefits of such contemplative activities. The topics will include the psychological and neurophysiological bases of mindfulness, how it is practiced in specific activities such as eastern meditation and western spiritual exercises as well as how it appears in everyday life. One Unit.
GPA units: 1

PSYC 470 — Directed Readings

A reading program conducted under the supervision of a faculty member, generally focusing on an area of psychology not covered in-depth in course offerings. Fulfills the Elective Course Requirement.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

PSYC 480 — Research Projects

Students may undertake an independent research project under the direction of a particular faculty member. Fulfills the Elective Course Requirement.
GPA units: 1
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring