College Course Descriptions

20000. Fundamentals of Psychology. This course introduces basic concepts and research in the study of behavior. Principal topics are sensation, perception, cognition, learning, motivation, and personality theories. J. Cacioppo. Autumn. 

20100. Psychological Statistics. Psychological research typically involves the use of quantitative (statistical) methods. This course introduces the methods of quantitative inquiry that are most commonly used in psychology and related social sciences. PSYC 20100 and 20200 form a two-quarter sequence that is intended to be an integrated introduction to psychological research methods. PSYC 20100 introduces explanatory data analysis, models in quantitative psychology, concept of probability, elementary statistical methods for estimation and hypothesis testing, and sampling theory. PSYC 20200 builds on the foundation of PSYC 20100 and considers the logic of psychological inquiry and the analysis and criticism of psychological research. W. Goldstein. Autumn.

20200. Psychological Research Methods. This course introduces concepts and methods used in behavioral research. Topics include the nature of behavioral research, testing of research ideas, quantitative and qualitative techniques of data collection, artifacts in behavioral research, analyzing and interpreting research data, and ethical considerations in research. A. Henly. Winter.

20300. Biological Psychology. PQ: Some background in biology and psychology. This course does not meet requirements for the biological sciences major. What are the relations between mind and brain? How do brains regulate mental, behavioral, and hormonal processes; and how do these influence brain organization and activity? This course introduces the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain; their changes in response to the experiential and sociocultural environment; and their relation to perception, attention, behavioral action, motivation, and emotion. PQ: Some background in biology and psychology. S. London, G. Norman. Winter.

20400. Cognitive Psychology. Viewing the brain globally as an information processing or computational system has revolutionized the study and understanding of intelligence. This course introduces the theory, methods, and empirical results that underlie this approach to psychology. Topics include categorization, attention, memory, knowledge, language, and thought. M.Berman. Spring.

20500. Developmental Psychology. (=CHDV 25900) This is an introductory course in developmental psychology, with a focus on cognitive and social development in infancy through early childhood. Example topics include children's early thinking about number, morality, and social relationships, as well as how early environments inform children's social and cognitive development. Where appropriate, we make links to both philosophical inquiries into the nature of the human mind, and to practical inquiries concerning education and public policy. L. Richland, K. O'Doherty. Autumn.

20600. Social Psychology. (=CHDV 26000) PSYC 20000 recommended. This course examines social psychological theory and research that is based on both classic and contemporary contributions. Topics include conformity and deviance, the attitude-change process, social role and personality, social cognition, and political psychology. W. Goldstein. Winter.

20700. Sensation and Perception. What we see and hear depends on energy that enters the eyes and ears, but what we actually experience – perception – follows from human neural responses. This course focuses on visual and auditory phenomena, including basic percepts (for example, acuity, brightness, color, loudness, pitch) and also more complex percepts such as movement and object recognition. Biological underpinnings of perception are an integral part of the course. K. Le Doux. Spring.

20850. Introduction to Human Development. (=CHDV 20000) This course introduces the study of lives in context. The nature of human development from infancy through old age is explored through theory and empirical findings from various disciplines. Readings and discussions emphasize the interrelations of biological, psychological, and sociocultural forces at different points of the life cycle. TBA. Autumn.

21115. Social Cognitive Development. This advanced seminar will focus on the latest research at the intersection of social, cognitive, and developmental psychology and address the main question: How does our understanding of other people develop throughout early infancy and childhood? Topics will include face processing, understanding others’ intentions, Theory of Mind, imitation, social essentialism, and more. Recent research from developmental neuroscience will be discussed, as well as research on atypical social cognitive development such as congenital prosopagnosia and Autism spectrum disorder. K. O'Doherty. Winter.

21850. The Well-Timed Brain. How does our brain know the time of day? How do we change our biology and behavior over the course of the day and night? Beginning with basic physiology and foundational theories of chronobiology, this course aims to establish the mechanisms by which time-of-day information is processed on a neural level, and communicated to multiple systems to alter biology, behavior, and cognition. Specifically, topics in this course will consider the bidirectional relationships between the circadian system, reproduction, immune function, stress and cognition. Having established the influence of accurate timing on the circadian system, we will examine the consequences of a mistimed or absent circadian clock on these systems. This course emphasizes the study of multiple levels of analysis, and critical examination of primary empirical research. Because it is heavily influenced by molecular and physiological level of analysis, students are encouraged to have a moderate background in biology. PQ: PSYC 20300 Biological Psychology suggested, but not required. E. Cable. Autumn.

21950. Language, Culture, and Thought. Survey of research on the interrelation of language, culture, and thought from the evolutionary, developmental, historical, and culture-comparative perspectives with special emphasis on the mediating methodological implications for the social sciences. J. Lucy. Spring.

22500. Cognitive Development. This survey course will provide students with an advanced understanding of current theories and research on the development of children’s cognition, including topics such as perception, memory, language, concepts, executive function, and problem solving. Traditional theorists such as Piaget and Vygotsky will be covered as well as recent research from developmental psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience. K. O'Doherty. Spring.

22580. Child Development in the Classroom. This discussion-based, advanced seminar is designed to investigate how preschool and elementary students think, act, and learn, as well as examine developmentally appropriate practices and culturally responsive teaching in the classroom. This course emphasizes the application of theory and research from the field of psychology to the realm of teaching and learning in contemporary classrooms. Course concepts will be grounded in empirical research and activities geared towards understanding the nuances and complexities of topics such as cognitive development (memory, attention, language), early assessment systems, standardized testing, “mindset”, “grit”, exercise/nutrition, emotion regulation, and more. K. O'Doherty. Spring.

22831. Debates in Cognitive and Social Neuroscience This course will survey some of the current debates in the fields of cognitive and social neurosciences. The readings and discussions will cover a variety of topics ranging from the functional specificity of brain regions supporting face processing to the network of brain regions believed to support mental state inferences about others. Discussions and response papers will emphasize careful consideration of each perspective on these topics. J. Cloutier. Spring.

23300. Cultural Psychology. There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space. At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism, which states that the study of "normal" psychology is the study of multiple psychologies and not just the study of a single or uniform fundamental psychology for all peoples of the world. Research findings in cultural psychology thus raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups. In this course we analyze the concept of "culture" and examine ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization, and reasoning. R. Schweder. Autumn.

23601. Infancy. Is the infant mind a blank slate? Or are humans born with an understanding of the objects, animals, and people in the world around them? A variety of novel research methods (e.g., measuring eye gaze, heart rate, and brain waves) have allowed scientists to examine these types of human development questions from the prenatal period to early childhood. This survey course will focus on typically developing infants' cognitive (including language), social-emotional, and physical (including neurological) development, as well as examine some aspects of atypical development such as toxic stress and Autism spectrum disorder. K. O'Doherty. Winter.

23800. Introduction to Learning and Memory. This course examines basic questions in learning and memory. We discuss the historical separation and division of these two areas as well as the paradigmatic differences in studying learning and memory. We also discuss basic research methods for investigating learning and memory and survey established and recent research findings, as well as consider several different kinds of models and theories of learning and memory. Topics include skill acquisition, perceptual learning, statistical learning, working memory, implicit memory, semantic vs. episodic memory, and memory disorders. D. Gallo. Winter.

23860. Beyond Good and Evil: The Psychology of Morality. Morality is a mysterious and possibly uniquely human capacity that influences how we make decisions in a number of domains. In this course we will explore how and why human beings have the moral intuitions that they do and also where these intuitions come from--what about our moral intuitions are built in and how are these intuitions shaped by experience? To achieve these goals, we will discuss literature from developmental, social, and evolutionary psychology as well as some literature from behavioral economics and experimental philosophy. We will briefly review the history of moral psychology, but spend the bulk of our time discussing contemporary debates and findings from research on moral psychology. A. Shaw. Spring.

24050. Understanding Wisdom. (=BPRO 24000, HUMA 24005) Thinking about the nature of wisdom goes back to the Greek philosophers and the classical religious sages, but the concept of wisdom has changed in many ways over the history of thought. While wisdom has received less scholarly attention in modern times, it has recently re-emerged in popular discourse with a growing recognition of its potential importance for addressing complex issues in many domains. But what is wisdom? It’s often used with a meaning more akin to "smart" or "clever". Is it just vast knowledge? This course will examine the nature of wisdom—how it has been defined, how its meaning has changed, and what its essential components might be. We will examine how current psychological theories conceptualize wisdom and consider whether, and how, wisdom can be studied scientifically; that is, can wisdom be measured and experimentally manipulated to illuminate its underlying mechanisms and understand its functions? Finally, we will explore how concepts of wisdom can be applied in business, education, medicine, the law, and in the course of our everyday lives. Readings will be drawn from a wide array of disciplines including philosophy, classics, history, psychology, behavioral economics, medicine, and public policy. PQ. Third-or fourth-year standing. C. GilpinA. Henly. Winter.

24249. Neurobiology of Seeing. This course focuses on the neural basis of vision, in the context of the following two questions: 1. How does the brain transform visual stimuli into neuronal responses? 2. How does the brain use visual information to guide behavior? The course covers signal transformation throughout the visual pathway, from retina to thalamus to cortex, and includes biophysical, anatomical and computational studies of the visual system, psychophysics and quantitative models of visual processing. PQ: BIOS 24203 or consent of instructor. Note(s): This course is designed as an advanced neuroscience course for undergraduate and graduate students. The students are expected to have a general background in neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. W. Wei, M. Sherman, J. Maunsell, S.Shevell. Winter.

25101. The Psychology of Decision Making. We constantly make decisions, determine our preferences and choose among alternatives. The importance of our decisions range from ordering a meal at a restaurant to choosing what college to attend. How do we make such decisions? What are the rules that guide us and the biases that shape our decisions? What determines our preferences? What impacts our willingness to take risks? In this course we consider how the way we go about gathering information affects our judgment, and how the way we frame problems affects our perceptions and shapes the solutions to problems. We learn what governs choice and the systematic way it deviates from normative rules. We consider how we think about the future and how we learn from the past. The course focuses on the psychology behind making decisions with implications for a wide range of areas such as public policy, law and medicine. This course is a PQ for PSYC 25700 The Psychology of Negotiation. B. Keysar. Autumn.

25650. Social Identities. n this class we will explore how different social identities develop, intersect and overlap with each other and how those intersections affect our own sense of identity as well as our perceptions and treatment of others. Using psychological research and media examples as our guide, we will investigate the ways that various types of social identities are formed and internalized by members of different social groups to examine how different types of social perceptions shape not only who we are, but also influence our interactions with others. S. Gaither. Winter.

25700. The Psychology of Negotiation. Negotiation is ubiquitous in interpersonal interactions, from making plans for a trip with friends or family, to determining working conditions with an employer, to managing international conflicts. In this course we examine the structure of different negotiations and the psychology that governs the processes and outcomes of a negotiation. For instance, we consider the role of perceptions, expectations, intuitions and biases. We evaluate the role of information processing, modes of communication and power in influencing a negotiated outcome. We see how the psychology of trust, reciprocity, fairness, cooperation and competition can affect our ability to benefit from an exchange or contribute to the escalation of conflict. To better understand the dynamics of the negotiation process, we learn both through engaging in a variety of negotiation role-plays and relating these experiences to research findings. PQ: PSYC 25101 The Psychology of Decision Making. B. Keysar. Winter.

25750. The Psychology and Neurobiology of Stress.This course explores the topic of stress and its influence on behavior and neurobiology. Specifically, the course will discuss how factors such as age, gender and social context interact to influence how we respond to stressors both physiologically and behaviorally. The course will also explore how stress influences mental and physical health. G. Norman. Autumn.

PSYC 25950. The Psychology of Stereotyping and Prejudice. This Course introduces concepts and research in the study of stereotyping and Prejudice. Topics include the formation of stereotypes and prejudice; the processes that underlie stereotyping and prejudice; stereotyping and prejudice from the target’s perspective; and prejudice and stereotype reduction. The course will cover a variety of groups (e.g. race, gender, weight, and sexual orientation) and explore the implications of stereotyping and prejudice across a number of settings (e.g. educational, law, and health). J. Kubota. Spring.

29800. Honors Seminar. This course is a reading and discussion of general papers on writing and research, and individual students present their own projects to the group. A literature review, data from ongoing or completed empirical projects, or portions of the thesis paper itself can be presented. Students are expected to give thoughtful feedback to others on their presentations and written work. B. Prendergast. Winter.

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