The material on this page is from the 1996-97 catalog and may be out of date. Please check the current year's catalog for current information.


Professors Wagner, Moyer (on leave, 1996-1997), Bradley, and Kelsey, Chair; Associate Professor Nigro; Assistant Professors Low, McCormick, Stevens, and McKinley; Mr. McDonald

The courses in psychology have a twofold purpose. For the liberal-arts student with a general interest in the field, the aim is to present the fundamental facts, principles, and applications of modern psychology. For the student who wishes to specialize in psychology or related fields, the necessary background is offered in subject matter, methods, and techniques for critical and systematic study on the student's own initiative and as preparation for graduate work.

A major consists of at least 11 courses in the field. Psychology 360 may count as only one of these courses. All majors are required to complete successfully:

  1. Psychology 101, 218 and 261. Psychology 101 may be waived for students who achieve a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in Psychology or who pass a Departmental examination.

  2. Four courses from one of the three areas listed below (A, B, or C); only one may be a 200-level course. With permission of the major advisor, a student may substitute a relevant 300- or 400-level course or Short Term unit from Psychology or another department or program for a course in this category, so long as that course is not used to fulfill other departmental requirements.

  3. Two courses from each of the two remaining areas listed below; only one in each area may be a 200-level course.


  1. Biological Psychology
    230. Cognitive Neuroscience.
    250. Motivation and Emotion.
    303. Health Psychology.
    345. The Environment and the Developing Brain.
    355. Behavioral Endocrinology.
    363. Physiological Psychology.
    40l. Junior-Senior Seminar in Biological Psychology.

  2. Individual Psychology
    202. Human Sexuality.
    211. Psychology of Abnormal Personality.
    301. Visual Perception.
    305. Animal Learning.
    313. Advanced Personality Theory.
    333. Advanced Topics in Abnormal Psychology.
    380. Social Cognition.
    402. Junior-Senior Seminar in Individual Psychology.

  3. Sociocultural Psychology
    210. Social Psychology.
    240. Developmental Psychology.
    341. Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology.
    370. Psychology of Women and Gender.
    376. Psychology of Social Conflict.
    403. Junior-Senior Seminar in Sociocultural Psychology.

All majors must (a) write a senior thesis, or (b) complete a service-learning project, which may be in conjunction with independent study (Psychology 360), or (c) pass a comprehensive examination. Beginning with majors in the class of 1999, the comprehensive examination will no longer be an option. A thesis may be written during the first and/or second semester of the senior year. Topics for theses must be approved by the Department. For fall-semester and two-semester theses: (1) students register for Psychology 457; (2) proposals must be submitted by Friday of the second full week of classes (September 20, 1996). For winter-semester theses: (1) students register for Psychology 458; (2) proposals must be submitted by the second Monday in November (November 11, 1996). Candidates for the honors program are invited by the Department from among those seniors conducting two-semester thesis projects who have shown a high degree of initiative and progress by the end of November of the fall semester. The faculty thesis advisor must assure the Department that the student's work is of honors caliber and is progressing satisfactorily before the Department will invite the student.

Students choosing the service-learning option should submit a proposal for Departmental approval describing the service activity and, if appropriate, the independent project. The deadline for submission is the same as that established for thesis proposals. Students should consult with the Associate Director of the Center for Service-Learning, as well as with a faculty member who will supervise the service learning. A contract, signed by a representative of the organization and by the student, must be submitted prior to embarking on the service-learning activity. Students fulfilling the requirement in conjunction with Psychology 360 are expected to complete at least 50 hours of service in the field, in addition to the requirements of the faculty supervisor. Otherwise, students are expected to complete at least 30 hours of service in the field. A written document must be submitted for credit in the Psychology 360 course.

Seniors writing a thesis or completing a service-learning project will make a presentation at a general meeting of the Department at the end of the semester. Presentations will take the form of a ten-minute talk or a poster that describes the thesis or service-learning project.

The comprehensive examination requirement may be fulfilled by attaining a score of 500 or better on the Advanced Psychology section of the Graduate Record Examination. The GRE must be taken on or before the December test date of the senior year. Students are advised to take the GRE at least once before the December test date. Students who have taken but do not pass the GRE by the deadline may fulfill the requirement by passing a departmental comprehensive examination scheduled during the Short Term of their senior year.

General Education. The following sets are available: Psychology 101-202, 101-210, 101-211, 101-230, 101-240, 101-250, 101-363. If Psychology 101 has been waived, any pair of the aforementioned 200-level courses may constitute a set. The quantitative requirement may be satisfied through Psychology 218. A student may request that the Department approve a two-course set not currently designated.

101.  Introductory Psychology.  A general course intended to introduce the student to the study of behavior in preparation for more advanced work in psychology and related fields. Fundamental psychological laws and principles of human behavior are examined in the light of the scientific method. Prerequisite for all other courses in the Department. Enrollment is limited to 100. Staff.

202.  Human Sexuality.  The course is an introduction to issues of human sexuality. Some of the topics covered include sexual anatomy and physiology, sexual behaviors and life-styles, and sexual health. Human sexuality is discussed from psychological, biological, and cross-cultural perspectives. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Open to first-year students. Enrollment is limited to 50. C. McCormick.

210.  Social Psychology.  A study of people in social settings. Topics covered include group composition and structure; conformity; self-identity; interpersonal attraction; and attitude formation and change. Theoretical principles are applied to such social phenomena as social conflict, sex-role behavior, competition, and leadership. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Open to first-year students. Enrollment is limited to 50. R. Wagner.

211.  Psychology of Abnormal Personality.  The course introduces the fundamentals of personality and abnormal psychology. Topics include a variety of personality theories, the trait debate, physiological factors which may shape personality, assessment of personality and psychopathology, approaches to personality research, and application of theory to psychopathology. Readings include Freud, Erikson, Rogers, and topics in abnormal psychology. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Open to first-year students. Enrollment is limited to 50. K. Low.

218.  Statistics and Experimental Design.  A laboratory course in the use of statistical methods for describing and drawing inferences from data. Experimental and correlational research designs are studied by analyzing computer-simulated data for numerous problems. Topics covered include sampling theory, correlation and regression, t tests, chi-square tests, and analysis of variance. Prerequisites: Psychology 101 and any 200-level psychology course. Enrollment is limited to 30. D. Bradley.

230.  Cognitive Neuroscience.  The human brain is a fascinating system in terms of its structure and function. The main questions addressed in the course are: How are brain structure and organization related to how people think, feel, and behave? Conversely, how are thoughts and ideas represented in the brain? Although these questions are examined from a variety of research approaches, the main one is the study of brain-damaged individuals. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Enrollment is limited to 50. C. McCormick.

240.  Developmental Psychology.  A comprehensive introduction to current thinking and research in developmental psychology. Topics include attachment, cognitive development, language acquisition, play, socialization, and moral development. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Open to first-year students. Enrollment is limited to 50. G. Nigro.

250.  Motivation and Emotion.  The course examines the mechanisms involved in activating and directing behavior and in forming emotions. Analysis includes evaluation of the role of physiological, environmental, and cognitive variables in mediating the following behavioral processes: hunger, sex, aggression, arousal, reward, stress and psychosomatic diseases, choice, achievement, and consistency. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Open to first-year students. Enrollment is limited to 50. J. Kelsey.

261.  Research Methodology.  This course provides comprehensive coverage of the major methods used in psychological research, with special emphasis on experimental design. Students receive extensive practice in designing, conducting, analyzing, and interpreting the results of research studies, and writing reports in APA style. Prerequisite: Psychology 218. Enrollment is limited to 15 per section. Staff.

262.  Action Research.  Action research often begins with a general idea that some kind of improvement or change is desirable. For example, a teacher who is experiencing discipline problems in a classroom may seek an understanding of this issue with the help of trusted observers. In this course, students collaborate with local teachers or service providers on research projects that originate in their work sites. Class meetings introduce design issues, methods of data collection and analysis, and ways of reporting research. May be taken instead of Psychology 261 to fulfill the major requirements. This course is the same as Education 262. Enrollment is limited to 15. G. Nigro, S. Wortham.

301.  Visual Perception.  The course examines perceptual phenomena at several levels of analysis, ranging from the physiology of vision to the cultural determinants of perception. Topics covered include color vision, the perceptual constancies, depth perception, perceptual adaptation, visual illusions, perceptual organization, and form perception. Prerequisite: Psychology 261. Enrollment is limited to 50. D. Bradley.

303.  Health Psychology.  This course introduces health psychology from a biopsychosocial perspective. The course first describes the theoretical underpinnings of the biopsychosocial model, and the fundamentals of anatomy and physiology. The course then reviews the current research on stress, coping and illness, and stress-management techniques. Research on psychosocial contributors to heart disease, cancer, chronic pain syndromes, and other illnesses is reviewed, along with implications for prevention and treatment. Prerequisite: Psychology 211 or 250 or 363. Enrollment is limited to 50. K. Low.

305.  Animal Learning.  The course examines historical and recent trends in animal learning. Lecture and laboratory topics include classical and operant conditioning, cognitive processes, and biological constraints on learning. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Recommended background: Psychology 250 or Biology 262. J. Kelsey.

313.  Advanced Personality Theory.  An in-depth analysis of five or six different theorists, including Freud, Jung, and Rogers. This course proceeds through discussion of primary sources and includes a comparison and critique of the theories based on their personal and social relevance. Prerequisite: Psychology 211. R. Wagner.

318.  Advanced Topics in Statistics.  A laboratory course in the use of advanced statistical methods for analyzing data. Multiple regression and correlation, curvilinear regression, complex analysis of variance, and post hoc statistical methods are covered. Students learn to use statistical packages and specialized computer programs for analyzing data. Prerequisite: Psychology 218 or the equivalent. D. Bradley.

333.  Advanced Topics in Abnormal Psychology.  A consideration of contemporary categories of abnormality from several points of view: psychoanalytic, biological, and cognitive-behavioral. Additional topics include differential diagnosis, treatment methods, and legal issues related to mental illness. Prerequisites: Psychology 211 and 261. K. Low.

341.  Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology.  A seminar that examines the concepts and methods of developmental psychology. Topics include infant perception, language learning, aggression and altruism, the concept of risk, and the cultural contexts of development. Students do projects in local settings, such as child-care facilities. Prerequisites: Psychology 240 and 261. G. Nigro.

345.  The Environment and the Developing Brain.  This course involves the study of how signals from the prenatal and postnatal environment interact with genetic events to shape the development of the brain. The course explores the consequences of variation in neural development for behavior through studies of environmental perturbations in people and experimental animals. Course material is drawn from many disciplines (e.g., embryology, developmental neuroscience, neuropsychology). Prerequisite: Psychology 230 or 240 or 363. C. McCormick.

355.  Behavioral Endocrinology.  Behavioral endocrinology is the study of the relationship between hormones and behavior. Seminars explore topics such as the involvement of hormones in sexual behavior, in the regulation of feeding, in mechanisms of stress, and in cognition. Laboratories involve research projects in the field and focus on the development of a variety of research skills. Prerequisite: Psychology 363. C. McCormick.

360.  Independent Study.  Study by an individual student guided by a single faculty member. Proposals for independent study must be discussed with the faculty member and approved by the Department before the beginning of the semester in which the study is undertaken. Students are limited to one independent study per semester. Staff.

363.  Physiological Psychology.  The course is an introduction to the concepts and methods used in the study of the physiological mechanisms underlying behavior. Topics include an introduction to neurophysiology and neuroanatomy; an examination of sensory and motor mechanisms; and the physiological bases of ingestion, sexual behavior, reinforcement, learning, memory, and abnormal behavior. Laboratory work includes examination of neuroanatomy and development of surgical and histological skills. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Recommended background: Psychology 230 or 250 or Biology 101s. J. Kelsey.

365.  Special Topics.  Offered from time to time for small groups of students working with a faculty member on specialized projects or experiments. Written permission of the instructor is required. Staff.

370.  Psychology of Women and Gender.  This course takes a critical look at psychology's theories and findings about women and gender. Students examine topics such as menarche, mothering, and menopause from a variety of perspectives; the ways that race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, and age modify women's experiences are considered. The utility of psychological knowledge for effecting social change is explored. Prerequisite: Psychology 261 or Women's Studies/African American Studies/American Cultural Studies 250. G. Nigro.

376.  Psychology of Social Conflict.  This course considers the bases and consequences of social conflict and its resolution, from interpersonal to cultural and political conflict. Topics may include escalation of conflict, ethnic and international conflict, negotiation, third-party intervention, and building community and peace. Prerequisites: Psychology 210 and at least three courses in psychology. R. Wagner.

380.  Social Cognition.  Every day we characterize and evaluate other people, endeavor to understand the causes of their behavior, and try to predict their future actions. This course examines these social judgments and the cognitive processes upon which they depend. Topics include attribution theory, biases in social-information processing, impression formation, and prejudice. Prerequisites: Psychology 210 and 261. Staff.

381.  Advanced Topics in Experimental Psychology.  A series of advanced laboratory courses covering such topics as (a) learning, (b) perception, (c) physiology, and (d) social psychology. Open to juniors and seniors. Prerequisites: Psychology 261. Written permission of the instructor is required. R. Moyer.

401.  Junior-Senior Seminar in Biological Psychology.  A course designed to give junior and senior majors an opportunity to explore a significant new area in biological psychology. The topic changes from year to year and with the expertise of the staff member. Possible topics include neural bases of memory, of sexual behavior, and of stress. Prerequisites: Psychology 261 and appropriate 200- or 300-level courses. Enrollment is limited to 15. Staff.

402.  Junior-Senior Seminar in Individual Psychology.  A course designed to give junior and senior majors an opportunity to explore a significant new area in individual psychology. The topic changes from year to year and with the expertise of the staff member. Possible topics include decision-making and children's eyewitness testimony and memory. Prerequisites: Psychology 261 and appropriate 200- or 300-level courses. Enrollment is limited to 15. Staff.

403.  Junior-Senior Seminar in Sociocultural Psychology.  A course designed to give junior and senior majors an opportunity to explore a significant new area in sociocultural psychology. The topic changes from year to year and with the expertise of the staff member. Possible topics include conflict resolution, cultural psychology, and social policies toward children. Prerequisites: Psychology 261 and appropriate 200- or 300-level courses. Enrollment is limited to 15. Staff.

457, 458.  Senior Thesis.  Research and report writing, supplemented by individual conferences and group meetings. All theses are due on the last day of classes for the semester. Students register for Psychology 457 when completing thesis in the fall semester, and for Psychology 458 when completing thesis in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both Psychology 457 and 458. Staff.

Short Term Units
s28.  Action Research in Psychology and Education.  Students learn from and with members of the local educational community, by collaborating with them on research projects. The projects address significant community problems related to schooling, such as the high pupil-transfer rate or the low homework-return rate. Teams of students and local teachers collaborate in the design, implementation, and final presentation of projects. This unit is the same as Education s28. Recommended background: one course in psychology and one course in education. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 15. G. Nigro, S. Wortham.

s30.  Contemporary Psychotherapies with Practicum.  This unit surveys a variety of contemporary psychotherapies, ranging from dynamic approaches to behavior modification. The unit is "hands on," in that students are asked to role-play therapy sessions on videotape as part of the unit requirements, and practice a variety of therapeutic techniques. The unit also includes opportunities to observe treatment on videotape. Prerequisite: Psychology 333. Enrollment is limited to 12. K. Low.

s31.  Animal Models of Behavioral Disorders.  The unit examines how we can understand and develop treatments for human behavioral and neurological disorders by developing animal models of these disorders. Emphasis is on laboratory development and examination of environmental and physiological (particularly neurochemical) determinants of these behavioral disorders in animals. Possible topics are schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, addiction, obesity, ulcers, hyperkinesia, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Huntington's chorea. Prerequisite: at least one psychology course beyond the introductory level or one course in biology. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 10. J. Kelsey.

s32.  Group Dynamics.  Major contemporary approaches to the study of small groups. Topics include group composition, development, performance and leadership, and the use of groups as effective educational mechanisms. Readings in theoretical and experimental literature, and experience observing small groups. Prerequisite: Psychology 210. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 15. R. Wagner.

s34.  New Directions in Developmental Psychology.  The unit provides students with an opportunity to explore a significant new area in developmental psychology. Students spend two weeks reading, reviewing methods in developmental psychology, and designing projects. During the remainder of the unit, students carry out the projects and produce written research reports. Topics might include social policy about children, children and the law, memory development. Prerequisite: Psychology 240. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 15. G. Nigro.

s37.  Computers in Psychology and Aviation.  Explores the use of microcomputers for teaching, research, and simulation in the field of psychology. Students participate in the design, testing, and implementation of software to conduct experiments and to demonstrate visual illusions and other perceptual phenomena. The unit also explores the use of computer flight simulators for teaching perceptual-motor, spatial orientation, information processing, and navigational skills. Flight simulation projects include a detailed analysis of students' performance in replicating (for example) Lindbergh's 1927 transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. Recommended background: Psychology 101, one other course in psychology, and some degree of proficiency with computers. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 10. Open to first-year students. D. Bradley.

s39.  Perspectives in Cognition.  A study of issues of contemporary concern in cognitive psychology. Prerequisite: Psychology 261. R. Moyer.

s50.  Individual Research.  Registration in this unit is granted by the Department only after the student has submitted a written proposal for a full-time research project to be completed during the Short Term and has secured the sponsorship of a member of the Department to direct the study and evaluate results. Students are limited to one individual research unit. Staff.

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