Courses

FYS 305 Corporal Culture: Body and Health in America

This seminar addresses a variety of topics related to body and health, from body image to body dysmorphia. Students read both primary sources (largely research) and first-person accounts related to eating disorders, diet and nutrition, body image, drug and alcohol use, smoking, sexuality, cosmetic pharmacy, fashion, definitions of physical and psychological “health,” sex and gender, exercise, and organ transplantation. The seminar involves weekly writing assignments, occasional in-class assessments, student presentations, and a final writing project.

FYS 308 Searching for the Good Life

What constitutes a good life? How can such a life be achieved and sustained? These questions motivate this seminar. Multidisciplinary in nature, this course draws on psychology, economics, philosophy, political science, and sociology, with an emphasis on quantitative and qualitative empirical analysis. It begins with a focus on the ways that well-being is a function of individual choice, and expands to explore the ways that well-being can be secured collectively, including an examination of the role of government to either undergird or undermine well-being. Students contribute to discussion in each class session, and assignments include quizzes, papers, and podcasting.

FYS 395 The Sporting Life

Sporting events with such names as the Super Bowl, World Cup, Olympic Games, and March Madness suggest the magnitude of importance of sports in many people’s lives. The fact that so many people so passionately engage in sports as participants and spectators also indicates its significance. The import of sport can be considered from a myriad of perspectives, from the social and natural sciences to the humanities. In this interdisciplinary course, students consider a variety of sources including academic articles, personal memoir, fiction, film, and observation.

FYS 570 The Psychology of Wrongful Convictions

This course introduces first-year students to the interface of psychology and law, particularly in the context of wrongful convictions and systemic injustice. In both contexts, psychological research is instrumental in providing explanations of injustice and – more importantly – solutions to prevent further injustice. In addressing the problem of wrongful convictions, psychological science has produced a robust set of empirically-validated recommendations that currently inform police procedures and court operations around the world.

PSYC 101 Principles of Psychology

This course provides students with a thorough and rigorous introduction to the study of behavior and mental processes, and prepares students 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. The course is a prerequisite for all other courses in the department.

PSYC 160 Introduction to Neuroscience

In this course, students learn how the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems support mind and behavior. Topics include neuroanatomy, developmental neurobiology, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, and neuropsychiatry. The course is designed for prospective majors and nonmajors who are interested in exploring a field in which biology and psychology merge, and to which many other disciplines (e.g., chemistry, philosophy, anthropology, computer science) have contributed. Not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 215.

PSYC 210 Social Psychology

This course introduces students to theory and findings in social psychology, which involves empirical study of human behavior and mental processes in social situations. Topics include impression formation, interpersonal attraction, and persuasion, as well as prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. The readings, lectures, and discussions consider these and other topics in a variety of domains. The course also examines the research methods used by social psychologists, especially experiments, with an emphasis on recent efforts within the field to strengthen the quality of evidence on which we base our conclusions. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC 215 Medical Psychology

This course explores how regulation and dysregulation of mind results from differential brain activity. Following an introduction to the structure and function of the central nervous system, students consider examples of neurological and psychiatric pathology and discuss psychological and neuroscientific approaches to intervention. Topics include neuronal signaling, neuroanatomy, neuroplasticity, psychopharmacology, states of consciousness, categories of mental illness, models of psychotherapy, and human/machine interactions. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101. Not open to students who have received credit for NS/PY 160.

PSYC 218 Statistics

A course in the use of statistical methods for describing and drawing inferences from data. Experimental and correlational research designs are studied by analyzing data for numerous problems. Topics covered include sampling theory, correlation and regression, t-tests, chi-square tests, and analysis of variance. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101 or NS/PY 160 or 200.

PSYC 230 Cognitive Psychology

This course provides an overview of contemporary research and theories concerning the structure and processes of the mind. Topics covered include information processing, artificial intelligence, sensory memory, masking effects, object recognition, attention, short-term/working memory, long-term memory, false memories, language, and decision making. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC 235 Abnormal Psychology

This course reviews the etiology, symptoms, and treatment of the major mental illnesses. Topics range from affective disorders to psychosomatic presentations to dissociative disorders. Students master diagnostic criteria, review case material, andevaluate research on a variety of topics related to psychopathology. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC 237 Environmental Psychology

This course explores research methods in the psychological and emotional response to the complex environment of modern Western society. The course proceeds from a perspective of the biological basis of psychological states such as stress and well-being and related environmental stimuli to that of neuroendocrine activity. Many aspects of our contemporary environment can act as stressors and can, thus, lead to a wide spectrum of unhealthy stress-induced behaviors and conditions. This course examines the epidemiological, laboratory, and neuroendocrine evidence of environmentally-induced psychological stress as well as metrics of well-being. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC 240 Developmental Psychology

A comprehensive introduction to current thinking and research in developmental psychology, including theoretical, empirical, and applied issues. This course covers prenatal development through old age and death, and considers the physical, cognitive, and socioemotional dimensions of development. Topics include attachment, language acquisition, gender, play, development across cultures, and interactions between dimensions of development. This course emphasizes critical thinking, research, and applications to everyday life. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC 250 Biopsychology of Motivation and Emotion

The course examines the mechanisms involved in activating and directing behavior and in forming, expressing, and perceiving emotions. Analysis includes evaluation of the role of physiological, environmental, and cognitive variables in mediating the behavioral processes such as thirst, hunger, sex, arousal, reward, stress, choice, consistency, and achievement. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or PSYC 101.

PSYC 253 Music and the Embodied Mind

An exploration of the nature of musical experience in cognitive, neuroscientific, and bodily terms. Does music belong to an altered state of consciousness or is it a function of our ordinary state of consciousness and bodily? Why does music compel us to move? Are the emotions that we experience through music the same as those that spring from our personal experiences? Is music essentially an interior experience, and if so, how does it connect us so powerfully to others? What are the relationships between music and language in the brain? How can music and speech become one in song? These questions, long fascinating to philosophers, are now being considered through the scientific study of the brain and mind. Recommended background: previous study of music, neuroscience, or psychology.

PSYC 257 Asian American Psychology

This course provides an overview of the major theories and research findings in Asian American psychology. The course also explores documented and lived experiences among Asian Americans in the United States, drawing upon interviews, memoirs, films, the arts, traditional healing, interdisciplinary ethnic studies, Asian studies, and multicultural psychology. The course critically explores various topics such as culture, race, ethnicity, immigration, acculturation, stereotyping and discrimination, intergenerational conflicts and trauma, and interracial relationships as they pertain to diverse Asian American communities. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC 260 Cultural Psychology

This course provides an introduction to the theoretical perspectives and research findings of cultural psychology, with an emphasis on comparisons between North American and East Asian cultural groups. Topics include defining culture as a topic of psychological inquiry; the methods of conducting cross-cultural research; the debate between universality versus cultural specificity of psychological processes; acculturation and multiculturalism; and cultural influences on thought, emotion, motivation, personality, and social behavior. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC 261 Research Methods

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 American Psychological Association style. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 218.

PSYC 262 Community-Based Research Methods

This course introduces research methods through collaborative community partnerships. Students collaborate with local professionals, such as teachers, 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. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 218 or EDUC 231.

PSYC 274 Educational Psychology

Students explore the contributions of psychological science to the study and practice of education and learn how education provides a unique context for psychological science research. How can developmental psychology theories apply to education? What does research say about effective and ineffective ways to support motivation? What role does motivation play in learning? What are the applications of developmental and cognitive psychology for learning and instruction? How can empirical research in psychological science be used to debunk popular myths? What are the challenges in translating psychological research to educational practice? A thirty-hour field placement experience is required. Prerequisite(s): EDUC 231 or PSYC 101.

PSYC 275 Psychology of Sport, Exercise, and Performance

Sport, exercise, and performance are familiar physical experiences that have strong psychological components. Many of these aspects can apply to numerous other forms of performance (e.g., dance, theater). This course examines the science and application of the biopsychosocial connections of these pursuits. Topics include arousal/anxiety, motivation, team/group dynamics and leadership, injury and stress, exercise adherence, and performance enhancement strategies. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC 280 Emerging Adulthood: Exploring the Third Decade of Life

This course provides an in-depth psychological understanding of the development of individuals from about the age of 18 to 35, often referred to as “emerging adulthood.” Does this age range truly represent a separate stage of development from adolescence and adulthood? If so, what are its characteristics, influencing factors and implications? Students explore a number of different topics that affect people in the third decade of life in an attempt to understand underlying psychological processes. The course focuses primarily on positive and developmental psychology but may cover topics that span across all of psychology. The goals of the course are both learning more about this stage of life and practicing ways to flourish and excel during it. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC 302 Sensation and Perception

The course examines the field of perception: how we organize and interpret sensory information so that we can understand the external world. Topics covered include principles of psychophysics; the eye and brain; pattern perception; color vision; perception of depth, size, and motion; hearing and auditory system; touch; taste; and smell. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262. Recommended background: PSYC 222, 230, or NS/PY 160.

PSYC 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, health disparities, 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. Recommended Background: PSYC 218. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level PSYC course.

PSYC 305 Animal Learning

The course examines historical and recent trends in animal learning. Topics include classical and operant conditioning, biological constraints on learning, and cognitive processes. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: NS/PY 160 or 200, PSYC 222, 230, or 250.

PSYC 306 Positive Psychology

This course provides intensive coverage of theory and research regarding well-being. Students explore well-being from both a hedonistic perspective, which focuses on happiness, or maximizing positive emotion and minimizing negative emotion, and a eudaimonic perspective, which focuses on living life in a meaningful, authentic way. Topics include defining well-being, the set point model of well-being, the causes and consequences of well-being, individual and cultural differences, and cultivating strengths and virtues. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 218. Only open to juniors and seniors.

PSYC 309 The Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity

This course examines the experiences of LGBTQ people from a psychological perspective. Topics include identity development, coming out, LGBTQ relationships and communities, prejudice toward LGBTQ people, mental health outcomes and disparities, and resilience and thriving in LGBTQ people. Emphasis is placed on psychological experiences at intersections of sexual orientation/gender identity and other social identities, including ethnicity, religion, age, and ability status. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level psychology course. Only open to juniors and seniors.

PSYC 312 Psychology of Religion

This course examines religion from a social-psychological perspective, focusing on current psychological science to understand why some humans find religion compelling and the implications of religious faith (or lack thereof). Topics include the psychological benefits of religious faith, negative outcomes of religious faith, the role of religion in inter-group conflict, how thoughts of the divine affect perceptions of physical space, and how mental systems make sense of information about religion. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 218.

PSYC 317 Psychology and Law

In the American criminal justice system, the administration of justice is influenced by a broad range of variables, many of which have been the subject of empirical research in social and cognitive psychology. This course examines how psychological research informs the dialogue surrounding controversial issues in the criminal justice system. Topics covered include eyewitness testimony, confession evidence, detection of deception, expert testimony, and reconstructed/repressed memories. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 323 Counseling Psychology

This course acquaints students with the profession of counseling psychology, which is a specialty within professional psychology that facilitates clients and communities to remedy problems, engage in prevention strategies, and help them to develop, enhance, and affirm their strengths, skills, and cultural authenticity. The course covers the history of counseling psychology, the theory and practice of psychotherapy, diagnosis, assessment, career and work psychology, multiculturalism, social justice and advocacy, prevention/consultation, suicide, ethics, and various applications of counseling psychology. The course also includes opportunities to explore career options and trajectories in the profession. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101. Only open to juniors and seniors.

PSYC 324 Neuroscience of Vision

We encounter hundreds of thousands of visual stimuli every day. How is this information organized meaningfully in the brain? By what biological and perceptual mechanisms does our brain translate simple light signals into the complex visual scenes of our daily lives? This course will explore the neuroscience and methodologies of vision science, covering topics such as visual attention, color perception, object recognition, spatial perception, visual memory, and many others. The course will be structured with a mix of lecture and discussion of relevant research articles. Students will develop the skills to recognize the current questions, issues, and methods in vision research, read and critique peer-reviewed scientific articles, and think critically about the applications of vision science in daily life. Prerequisite(s): NRSC 160/PSYC 160 or PSYC 215.

PSYC 325 Animal Cognition

This course focuses on the basic principles of comparative cognition. Topics include language and communication, mental representations and symbolic capacities, tool manufacture and use, creativity, and the interaction of these mental abilities. Discussions of an extensive reading list will focus on the cognitive skills of animals such as bees, birds, dogs, dolphins, elephants, and nonhuman primates. Prerequisites: PSYC 261 or 262. Recommended background: PSYC 230.

PSYC 330 Cognitive Neuroscience/Lab

This course explores how the neurological organization of the brain influences the way people think and act. Particular emphasis is given to the brain systems that support object recognition, spatial processing, attention, language, memory, and executive functions. Students also investigate clinical syndromes and unusual cognitive phenomena. A wide range of research techniques is introduced, including positron emission topography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, neuropsychological assessment, event-related potentials, magnetoencephalography, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: NS/PY 160 or 363 or PSYC 215, 222, or 230.

PSYC 331 Cognitive Neuroscience

This course explores how the neurological organization of the brain influences the way people think and act. Particular emphasis is given to the brain systems that support object recognition, spatial processing, attention, language, memory, and executive functions. Students also investigate clinical syndromes and unusual cognitive phenomena. A wide range of research techniques is introduced, including positron emission topography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, neuropsychological assessment, event-related potentials, magnetoencephalography, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 or 363 or PSYC 215, 222, or 230.

PSYC 336 Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychologists play a crucial role in the criminal justice system. Typically this role involves conducting an evaluation of a defendant to provide an opinion to the court regarding a variety of issues, including competence to stand trial, restoration of competence, state of mind at the time of offense, competence to waive Miranda, risk assessments, and dispositional alternatives. Students will gain exposure to relevant psychiatric conditions and how these interface with the questions forensic psychologists must answer. Topics will also include malingering, ethics, testimony, and assessment of special populations (e.g., juveniles, psychopaths, sex offenders, cognitively limited individuals). Issues are explored through examination of cases, relevant empirical literature, media coverage of current cases, and review of court decisions. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 235, and PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 342 Theories of Psychotherapy

This course provides an overview of common theories of psychotherapy, including psychoanalytic, existential, person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, and feminist approaches. When considering each theory, students learn about the origins of the theory, how the theory explains psychological distress and psychological change, treatment approaches using the theory, and the research background for the theory. Multicultural considerations for using each theory are explored. Students have the opportunity to apply practices from various theoretical approaches through weekly activities. Only open to junior and seniors. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 235.

PSYC 343 Women, Culture, and Health

This course examines a variety of perspectives on women’s health issues, including reproductive health, body image, sexuality, substance use and abuse, mental health, cancer, AIDS, heart disease, poverty, work, violence, access to health care, and aging. Each topic is examined in sociocultural context, and the complex relationship between individual health and cultural demands or standards is explored. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level psychology course.

PSYC 357 Computational Neuroscience

In this course, students examine formal models of brain function to determine how neurons give rise to thought. Examining real datasets, students explore how the brain encodes and represents information at cellular, network, and systems scales, and they discuss ideas about why the brain is organized as it is. Specific topics include spike statistics, reverse correlation and linear models of encoding, dimensionality reduction, cortical oscillations, neural networks, and algorithms for learning and memory. All assignments and most class work emphasizes computer programming in Python, though no programming background is assumed or expected. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160.

PSYC 360 Independent Study

PSYC 362 Psychopharmacology

This course examines the effects that drugs have on human behavior, including the ability to cause addiction as well as treat a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions. By exploring how drugsalter neurotransmitters, students better understand how the brain mediates cognition, emotion, and sensorimotor functioning. Strategies, techniques, and challenges of psychopharmacological research are addressed, and new approaches to drug discovery are covered in depth. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: NS/PY 160, 319, 330, or 331; or PSYC 215, 302, or 305.

PSYC 363 Physiological Psychology/Lab

The course is an introduction to the concepts and methods used in the study of 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, development of neurosurgical and histological skills, and behavioral testing of rodents. Prerequisite(s): NRSC 160/PSYC 160 or BIO 308/NRSC 308.

PSYC 366 Physiological Psychology

The course is an introduction to the concepts and methods used in the study of 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. Prerequisite(s): BI/NS 308, NS/PY 160, or PSYC 215.

PSYC 371 Prejudice and Stereotyping

Two issues that have long held the interest of social psychologists and that are of great social importance are prejudice and stereotyping. This course explores traditional and contemporary social psychological research on unconscious and covert forms of prejudice as well as cognitive and emotional functions served by stereotyping. The course concludes with an examination of the challenges to prejudice reduction and stereotype change. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 218.

PSYC 372 Racial and Ethnic Identity Development

This course is designed to develop students’ understanding of how individuals from different backgrounds come to define themselves in terms of race or ethnicity. Students explore theories that explain how racial/ethnic identity develops among individuals from Caucasian, African American, Asian, Hispanic, immigrant, and mixed-race backgrounds. They also consider the role that others play in the identity development process and how identity relates to important life outcomes. As a final project, students are given the opportunity to analyze their own experience by applying course material to their own life through the creation of an autobiography. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level psychology course.

PSYC 373 Racism: A Multilevel Approach

Students in this course engage with psychological research relevant to race relations, reviewing, evaluating, and applying both classic work (such as social identity theory) and contemporary work (such as implicit bias research). After studying the limitations of intrapsychic and interpersonal approaches, students also consider the roles that institutions and policies play in maintaining racial hierarchies. Throughout the course, students aim to remain grounded in historical context and, consistent with an intersectional approach, they also remain cognizant of the ways that race’s impact is also influenced by other category memberships, such as gender and class. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 218 or SOC 206.

PSYC 377 Psychology of Oppression and Liberation

This course examines how psychology continues to uphold the interests of those in power (e.g., ruling/owning class), thus reproducing systems of oppressions (e.g., white supremacy). The course also explores how psychology might be transformed in order to realize people’s liberatory potential. Topics include the ways that psychology has been dehumanized (as Martín-Baró says, psychology “erases the very real thing of life that make up what we are as human beings”); how to embed human experiences within the historical, sociopolitical, and economic context; and how to place psychology in the service of human liberation, especially for those who have hitherto been ignored or relegated to the margins of consideration. Recommended background: PSYC 261 or 262. Only open to juniors and seniors

PSYC 379 The Development of Youth Community Engagement

The course delves deeply into why and how youth decide to act to improve and transform their communities. We examine forms of engagement (e.g., service, political participation, advocacy) and use developmental theories and empirical research to consider how youth across contexts and identities choose to participate. Opportunities and barriers to engagement are explored and considered within broader sociopolitical context. To culminate the semester, students apply learning to both lived experiences and current youth programs. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 240 and 261.

PSYC 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 stereotyping. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 218.

PSYC 381 The Self

This course is intended to provide intensive coverage of classic and contemporary theory and research regarding the self. Topics include self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-regulation, self-presentation/impression management, and miscellaneous topics (e.g., developmental issues). Human diversity regarding these topics will be explored as well. Lectures and class discussions prepare the class for a student-driven group research project. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 399 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. Topics change from year to year and with the expertise of the faculty member. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160. Only open to juniors and seniors.

PSYC 457A Senior Thesis/Empirical Research

This type of thesis involves empirical research and report writing supplemented by individual conferences with an advisor. Students register for PSYC 457A in the fall semester. Majors writing a two-semester or honors thesis register for both PSYC 457A and 458A. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 457B Senior Thesis/Community-Based Research

This type of thesis involves community-based research and report writing in collaboration with a community partner and faculty advisor. Students complete 50 to 60 hours of work in a community placement and meet regularly for structured reflection about ethics, the cultural context of students’ work, individual and social change, and other topics specific to students’ placements. In the fall semester, students register for PSYC 457B and participate in a weekly seminar. Unless there are compelling circumstances that preclude it, students electing to complete a one-semester community-based research thesis are expected to do so in the fall seminar, rather than in the winter. Majors writing a two-semester or honor thesis register for both PSYC 457B and 458B. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 457C Senior Thesis/Theoretical Review and Integration

This type of thesis involves a comprehensive and critical review of extant literature using resources available in Ladd Library and supplemented by individual conferences with an advisor. Students register for PSYC 457C in the fall semester. Majors writing a two-semester or honors thesis register for both PSYC 457C and 458C. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 457D Empirical Research Thesis Seminar

This type of thesis involves empirical research and report writing supplemented by participation in a weekly seminar. Students work individually to test novel hypotheses with human participants. Through the course of their research and seminar discussions, students gain experience with research ethics training and certification, data analysis, scientific writing in APA style, and professional development. Depending on the instructor, the seminar may have a topical focus (e.g., social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology), and this will be communicated to interested students before they register. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 457E Senior Thesis/Clinical Seminar

This type of thesis involves empirical research and report writing supplemented by individual conferences with an advisor. Students register for PSYC 458A in the winter semester. Majors writing a two-semester or honors thesis register for both PSYC 457A and 458A. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 458A Senior Thesis/Empirical Research

This type of thesis involves empirical research and report writing supplemented by individual conferences with advisor. Students register for PSYC 458A in the winter semester. Majors writing a two-semester or honors thesis register for both PSYC 457A and 458A. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 458B Senior Thesis/Community-Based Research

This type of thesis involves community-based research and report writing in collaboration with a community partner and faculty advisor. Students complete 50 to 60 hours of work in a community placement and meet regularly for structured reflection about ethics, the cultural context of students’ work, individual and social change, and other topics specific to students’ placements. In the winter semester, students register for PSYC 458B and engage in individual conferences with an advisor. Unless there are compelling circumstances that preclude it, students electing to complete a one-semester community-based research thesis are expected to do so in the fall seminar, rather than in the winter. Majors writing a two-semester or honor thesis register for both PSYC 457B and 458B. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 458C Senior Thesis/Theoretical Review and Integration

This type of thesis involves a comprehensive and critical review of extant literature using resources available in Ladd Library and supplemented by individual conferences with an advisor. Students register for PSYC 458C in the winter semester. Majors writing a two-semester or honors thesis register for both PSYC 457C and 458C. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 458D Empirical Research Thesis Seminar

This type of thesis involves empirical research and report writing supplemented by participation in a weekly seminar. Students work individually to test novel hypotheses with human participants. Through the course of their research and seminar discussions, students gain experience with research ethics training and certification, data analysis, scientific writing in APA style, and professional development. Depending on the instructor, the seminar may have a topical focus (e.g., social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology), and this will be communicated to interested students before they register. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC 463 Capstone Seminar on Human Cognitive Neuroscience

Open to seniors with permission of the program faculty, this seminar focuses on the end-to-end process of scientific discovery using the tools of human cognitive neuroscience. Students work in groups to uncover an open empirical question in the areas of perception, attention, or memory, then design and execute an experiment aimed at answering this question using electroencephalography or eye tracking in human subjects. Students gain experience in modern data analysis techniques including multivariate pattern analysis, time-frequency analysis, image processing, and representational similarity analysis. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 and either BIO 244, NRSC 205, or PSYC 218.

PSYC 464 Capstone Seminar in Systems Neuroscience

Open to seniors with permission of the program faculty, in this seminar investigates the mouse olfactory bulb, with the goal of testing student-designed hypotheses on this structure’s molecular and functional organization. Students use a wide interdisciplinary set of approaches to interrogate olfactory circuits at cellular scale, including electrical recordings, imaging, histology, modeling, and informatics. Additional features of the course include training in research design, data analysis using MATLAB, instruction in proposal writing and science writing and professional development. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 and one of the following: BI/NS 308, NS/PY 330, 357, or 363.

PSYC S29 Cultivating Joy: Exploring the Science of Happiness

Almost every day, we are bombarded with endless messages from news, social media, and pop psychology on happiness hacks that promise us joy-filled, meaningful lives. But how well do these claims hold up when tested empirically? In today’s world, it’s important to be critical consumers of this onslaught of information. We must learn to effectively analyze the utility and accuracy of these messages to separate fad from fact. In this course, students explore empirical research in happiness while engaging in experiential learning activities to gain valuable insights into enhancing well-being from a psychological lens. Students process their learning to gain a deeper understanding of the science of happiness through daily, reflective journal prompts. The course culminates with final presentations and short paper, synthesizing knowledge gained through the intertwinement of theory and practice.

PSYC S31 Positive Emotions

This course provides intensive coverage of research regarding positive emotions. Students consider relevant theories that relate to positive emotions as a group, such as the broaden and build theory of positive emotions, as well as consider how different positive emotions are displayed in nuanced ways across cultures. The course provides in-depth review of several specific positive emotions including gratitude, awe, happiness, love, hope, and amusement. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 218. Only open to juniors and seniors.

PSYC S34 Psychology of Aging

This course introduces the major theories and issues in the field of adulthood and aging. The focus is on social, cognitive, and physical development in the adulthood and late adulthood years. Topics include research methods in adulthood and aging; social, personality, and cognitive development among older adults; and death. The role of context, race, race and ethnicity, and culture are considered throughout the course. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101 and 240, and PSYC 261 or 262.

PSYC S35 Political Psychology

Students in this course engage with issues at the intersection of the fields of political science and psychology. In particular, students examine the relevance of psychological processes to such topics as the evaluation of electoral candidates, what it means to identify as politically conservative or liberal, media effects (including social media), race and politics, foreign policy, and political reasoning. In addition to frequent readings (including empirical reports utilizing quantitative analyses), course participants also engage with relevant multimedia content, including podcasts and videos. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: DCS 105; ECON 250; MATH 233; PLTC 218; PSYC 218; or SOC 205 or 206.

PSYC S38 The Social Psychology of Film

This course examines historic and current themes in social psychology through the lens of popular cinema. Students examine motifs, topics, and themes from selected films to review, analyze, and critique research in both classic and contemporary social psychology. Research areas and related films focus on the following areas: foundations of social psychological research; processes of attitude change; social influences on conformity, compliance, and obedience; self-concept and the pursuit of self-esteem; person perception and attribution; stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination; and group influences on performance. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 101.

PSYC S50 Independent Study