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Amherst College Courses

Amherst College Courses

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Psychology

Professors Baird, Demorest , Hart, Sanderson, Schulkind, and Turgeon, Associate Professors McQuade, and Palmquist (Chair), Assistant Professors Cohen and Kneeland*. Visiting Assistant Professor Bair.

Major Program. 

The Psychology major is designed to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the content of the discipline and the skills required to work within it.  Psychology majors are required to elect nine full courses, including Psychology 100 (Introduction), Psychology 122 (Statistics), and either Psychology 200 (Research Methods) or a lab class in psychology (as described below). None of these nine courses may be taken Pass/Fail. Psychology majors must complete both Psychology 100 and Psychology 122 (or place out of these classes, as described below) by the end of the sophomore year, and must complete Psychology 200 or a lab class in psychology by the end of junior year.  For the class of 2024, students may place out of Psychology 100 if they scored a 4 or 5 on the Psychology Advanced Placement exam, 5 or better on the Psychology International Baccalaureate exam, or completed an introductory psychology course at another college or university. Starting with students in the class of 2025, students may not place out of taking Psych 100 by taking AP Psych. Students may not enroll in PSYC 122 if they completed STAT 111 or 135, ECON 360, or a statistics course at another college or university.

To provide skills for understanding and conducting research in psychology, students must complete either a research methods class (PSYC 200) or a lab class in psychology. Lab course options include:

PSYC 204: Emotion, PSYC 205: Sex Differences in Psychology, PSYC 206: Psychology of Play, PSYC 208: Creativity

To provide a thorough understanding of fundamental areas within psychology, students must choose at least one intermediate course from each of the three areas below:

Area 1:  Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYC 211), Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYC 212), Neuroscience: Systems and Behavior (PSYC 213) Area 2:  Developmental Psychology (PSYC 227), Cognitive Psychology (PSYC 233), Area 3:  Social Psychology (PSYC 220), Personality (PSYC 221), Clinical Psychology (PSYC 228)

To provide vertical depth in the major, students must also choose one seminar from at least TWO of the following six areas. However, the thesis counts toward the seminar requirement in the area of the thesis, such that students who write a thesis need to only take one seminar in a different area than their thesis.

Area 1:  Biological: Appetite (PSYC 317), Psychopharmacology (PSYC 325), Neurophysiology of Motivation (PSYC 356), Consciousness (PSYC 361), Human Neuroscience (PSYC 367) Area 2:  Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology (PSYC 364),  Psychotherapy: Theory and Practice (PSYC 369) Area 3:  Cognitive: Music Cognition (PSYC 366), Autobiographical Memory (PSYC 368) Area 4:  Personality: Personality and Political Leadership (PSYC 338), Understanding Individual Differences (PSYC 353) Area 5:  Social: Psychology of Diversity (PSYC 321), Stereotypes & Prejudice (PSYC 337), Close Relationships (PSYC 354), Psychology and the Law (PSYC 363) Area 6: Developmental:  Risk and Resilience (PSYC 323), Development of Nonverbal Communication (PSYC 362)

Students may complete the required number of courses by taking additional distribution courses, lab classes, seminars, and/or by taking any of the following electives: Intergroup Dialogue on Race (PSYC 224), Sport Psychology (PSYC 235), Health Psychology (PSYC 247),  Social Norms, Social Change (COLQ 338). Special Topics classes (PSYC 490) and thesis work (PSYC 498/499D) also count as elective courses towards the major. Students who write a thesis get three-course credits. 

Departmental Honors Research.  A limited number of majors will engage in honors research under the direction of a faculty member during their senior year.   Honors research involves credit for three courses (usually one-course credit during the fall and two credits during the spring semester) and culminates in a thesis.  These three courses count towards the nine classes required for the major.  The thesis usually involves both a review of the previous literature pertinent to the selected area of inquiry and a report of the methods and results of a study designed and conducted by the student.  Any student interested in pursuing honors research in psychology should discuss possible topics with appropriate faculty before preregistration in the second semester of the junior year.

†On leave fall semester 2023 ‡ On leave spring semester 2024 *On leave 2023-2024

100 Introduction to Psychology

An introduction to the nature of psychological inquiry regarding the origins, variability, and change of human behavior. As such, the course focuses on the nature-nurture controversy, the processes associated with cognitive and emotional development, the role of personal characteristics and situational conditions in shaping behavior, and various approaches to psychotherapy.

Not open to five college students. Limited to 40 students in the fall semester (20 seats reserved for first-year students) and limited to first-year students in the spring semester. Fall semester: Professors Sanderson, Baird, Hart, and TBA.  Spring semester:  Professors Cohen and TBA.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, January 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

122 Statistics for Behavioral Sciences

This course covers the basic statistical procedures used by behavioral scientists  including: confidence intervals, t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), correlation, and regression.  Although the course will teach students how to calculate relevant statistics, equal emphasis will be placed on the theoretical background that underlies the practice of statistics.  Primary source articles will be discussed to illustrate how statistical inferences yield theoretical conclusions.  Students will learn both how to present data to a scientific community and how to evaluate statistical claims that they encounter in scientific and other contexts.

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 30 students. Fall semester:  Professor Schulkind. Spring semester: Professor McQuade.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

200 Research Methods

This course is designed to explore the principles of behavioral science research and the rationale underlying various research methodologies. The course will take a hands-on approach to research design, data collection, and data analysis. Students will learn how to understand and critically evaluate original research reports, independently design and execute psychological investigations, and write scientific reports in APA format. Topics include the reliability and validity of measures, content analysis, correlational designs, randomized experiments and causal inference, experimental control, and ethical considerations. Time in class will be split between lectures, small group exercises and design of research projects, and data analysis using SPSS.

Requisite: PSYC 122. Limited to 18 students.  Spring semester: Professor Demorest.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

204 Emotion

This course will help students better understand how psychological science has been used to investigate a broad range of human emotions. During the semester, students will explore questions such as: What are emotions, and how can we study them? How do personal factors, like our culture or gender, influence the emotions we experience and express? Can we regulate our emotions, and what influences our ability to do so? What factors are associated with greater happiness and emotional well-being? Students in this course will read existing empirical and theoretical literature focusing on how psychologists scientifically study emotions. Working in small groups, students will develop and execute original research studies in the area of emotion. These research projects will include data collection, data analysis, and the written and oral presentation of study findings. The goal of this course is for students to explore the existing research centering on the study of emotion, and to develop empirical answers to the fundamental questions of when, how, and why we feel the ways we do. This course fulfills the lab/research methods requirement for the Psychology major.

Prerequisite: Psych 122 Statistics. Limited to 18. Omitted 2023-24. Professor Kneeland.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

205 Sex Differences in Psychology 

Are men more aggressive? Do women talk more? We will consider sex and gender as variables in psychological research, focusing on areas in which sex differences have been noted, such as spatial reasoning, play behavior, aggression, and mental illness. We will examine the literature in these areas and consider the arguments for and against the notion that these differences are meaningful. We will engage with both human and animal literature to attempt to disentangle the roles of biological variables and societal influence in creating these differences. We will also consider how researchers consider sex and gender as separate variables and how research can better accommodate a more nonbinary gender model. During the course of the semester, students will work in groups to develop research proposals which they will present to the class for feedback.  Research teams will then design their studies and collect their data with frequent "lab meeting" style group discussions.  The semester will conclude with group presentations and individual research-style write-ups of the experiments. This course fulfills the lab/research methods required for the Psychology major.  

Requisites: Psychology 100 and either Stats 122, Stats 111, or Stats 135. Limited to 18. Fall semester. Professor Turgeon.

Pending Faculty Approval

Other years: Offered in Fall 2023, Spring 2025

206 Psychology of Play

(Offered as PSYC 206 and EDST 206) This course will explore how children learn through play. The first part of the course will focus on defining play and exploring researchers’ differing perspectives on whether children can learn by playing. The second part of the course will involve visits to the Beneski Museum, the Holyoke Children’s Museum, and Amelia Park Children’s Museum to explore the role of museums in studying and advancing children’s playful learning. Students will learn about the unique strengths and weaknesses of museum-based research and how socio-economic, educational, ethnic, and racial factors affect how children and families interact with museum exhibits. The third part of the course will be devoted to designing interventions that will encourage playful learning goals established in cooperation with the director and administrators at Amelia Park Children’s Museum in Westfield, MA. These interventions will be designed in small groups and implemented in the museum. This class requires a significant amount of work and travel that takes place outside of class meeting time. Enrollment will be decided via an interview process during preregistration. This course fulfills the lab/research methods requirement for the Psychology major.

Requisite: PSYC 100. Limited to 15 students. Offered Spring semester. Professor Palmquist.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2023, Fall 2024

208 Creativity

Students in this course will design and execute an original research project related to creativity. Psychologists have defined creative ideas as those that are original, useful, and surprising. Creativity can be observed in many contexts (e.g., the arts, science, athletics, politics, and business), and can refer both to ideas as well as the people and social environments that foster such ideas. The semester will begin with a careful reading of the literature which will help students develop individual research proposals; group projects will be selected from amongst these proposals. The rest of the semester will be devoted to conducting the group projects; this will include designing experimental procedures, developing stimuli, and data collection and analysis. Written and oral presentations will accompany each step in the process to enable students to receive and offer constructive feedback. The semester will culminate with oral and written presentations of the experimental projects.  This course fulfills the lab/research methods required for the Psychology major.

Requisite: PSYC 122 or STAT 135, or equivalent. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester: Professor Schulkind.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

211 Cognitive Neuroscience

(Offered as PSYC 211 and NEUR 211) Historically, psychologists and neuroscientists have worked somewhat in parallel to one another. While psychologists have traditionally focused on how humans think, feel, and behave, neuroscientists have primarily focused exclusively on the workings of the brain. Cognitive neuroscience is a relatively new discipline that lies at the intersection of these fields and seeks to understand the neurobiological processes that underlie cognition. This course serves as a broad introduction to the field of cognitive neuroscience and will focus on a variety of questions, including the following: How does the brain obtain and process information about the environment via sight, taste, and touch? How does the brain support our capacity to learn and speak different languages? What happens to the brain when it is afflicted with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, amnesia, schizophrenia, and autism? This course will provide students with a foundational understanding of modern cognitive neuroscience and the ways in which researchers examine the relationship between the mind and the brain.

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Cohen.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

212 Behavioral Neuroscience

This course will examine how brain function regulates a broad range of mental processes and behaviors. We will discuss how neurons work and how the brain obtains information about the environment (sensory systems), regulates an organism’s response to the environment (motor systems), controls basic functions necessary for survival such as eating, drinking, sex, and sleep, and mediates higher cognitive function such as memory and language. We will also consider the consequences of brain malfunction as manifested in various forms of disease and mental illness.

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. PSYC 212 does not count as credit toward the neuroscience major. Students interested in the Neuroscience major should enroll in 213. Limited to 40 students.  Spring Semester: Professor Baird.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

213 Neuroscience: Systems and Behavior

(Offered as PSYC 213 and NEUR 213) This course will examine how brain function regulates a broad range of mental processes and behaviors. We will discuss how neurons work and how the brain obtains information about the environment (sensory systems), regulates an organism’s response to the environment (motor systems), controls basic functions necessary for survival such as eating, drinking, sex, and sleep, and mediates higher cognitive function such as memory and language. We will also consider the consequences of brain malfunction as manifested in various forms of disease and mental illness. Laboratories will include basic neuroanatomy and behavioral experiments. Three class hours and three hours of laboratory per week.

Requisite: BIOL 191 or PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Cannot be taken if PSYC 212 has been taken because of substantial overlap between the two courses. Limited to 36 students. Spring semester. Professor Turgeon.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2023, Fall 2024

220 Social Psychology

The individual’s behavior as it is influenced by other people and by the social environment. The major aim of this course is to provide an overview of the wide-ranging concerns characterizing social psychology from both a substantive and a methodological perspective. Topics include person perception, attitude change, interpersonal attraction, conformity, altruism, group dynamics, and prejudice. In addition to substantive issues, the course is designed to introduce students to the appropriate research data analysis procedures.

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40. Preference to Amherst College students. Fall semester: Professor Sanderson.  Spring semester: Professor Bair.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

221 Personality Psychology

This course examines how psychologists understand the patterns of experiencing and behaving that constitute an individual’s personality. Personality psychologists are concerned with the ways in which a person is like all other people in these patterns (common psychological processes), like some others (individual differences), and like no one else (uniqueness). In examining these questions, we study the “grand theories” of Freud, Skinner, and Rogers, as well as the contemporary models of traits and scripts. We explore what professional observations led to the major theoretical ideas in personality psychology, and we critically examine how these ideas have been tested in empirical research. Furthermore, we study the lives of the theorists to examine how their professional ideas were informed by their personal lives. Students will also take personality assessment devices throughout the semester as a way to better understand the models, and perhaps themselves as well.

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 students. Fall semester. Professor Demorest.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

224 Intergroup Dialogue on Race

(Offered as PSYC 224 and EDST 224) This highly interactive course brings together students to examine the roles race and other intersecting identities play in their lives. Course work includes an interdisciplinary blend of scholarly readings, in-class dialogue, experiential learning activities, reflective writing, and an intergroup collaborative research project. Students in this course bring their own experiences with race into the classroom as a legitimate and valued source for learning. The course readings link students’ personal experiences around race to a socio-historical understanding of individual, institutional, and structural discrimination--to the ways social inequality is embedded in social institutions and individual consciousness, constraining life chances. Early in the course students engage in structured activities that develop trust among participants.  Coursework and learn skills at intergroup dialogue--suspending judgment and listening for understanding--in order to create respectful, sustained dialogues around racial divisions.  Students engage in small mixed-race teams to research a racial inequality/inequity on campus. Students do reflective writing weekly,, linking their in-class experiences to the readings, as well as reflective writing at the end about their learning throughout the semester. The course exposes participants in a very intimate way to how classmates of different races see and experience the world, to the pain and trauma students of color may have undergone due to race, and to the privilege White students possess, whether or not they are aware of it.   Offered Spring semester, 2024.  Professors Hart and Schmalzbauer.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2022, Fall 2024

227 Developmental Psychology

(Offered as PSYC 227 and EDST 227) A study of human development across the lifespan with an emphasis on the general characteristics of various stages of development from birth to adolescence and on the determinants of the developmental process. The class will explore: 1) prenatal development, 2) the development of motor skills, cognitive skills, language, emotional understanding, attachments, and morality, and 3) the role of family systems in development. Students will engage with this content using contemporary research and real-world applications.   

Requisite: PSYC 100 or 212 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 students per section. Offered Spring semester: Prof. Palmquist.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

228 Clinical Psychology

This course will expose students to many of the psychological disorders of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, such as mood, anxiety, schizophrenia spectrum, trauma-related, dissociative, eating, disruptive, and addictive disorders. Based on a review of contemporary research findings, lectures and discussion will focus on the most relevant approaches for understanding, diagnosing, and treating psychological disorders. The biopsychosocial model will serve as a basis for explaining the etiology of psychological disorders. Students will read and critique empirical research articles investigating the presentation, causes, and treatment of psychological disorders and will use clinical case examples to apply course content.

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 Amherst college students. Fall and Spring semesters. Professor McQuade.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

233 Cognitive Psychology

This course will examine how the mind extracts information from the environment, stores it for later use, and then retrieves it when it becomes useful. Initially, we will discuss how our eyes, ears, and brain turn light and sound into colors, objects, speech, and music. Next, we will look at how memory is organized and how it is used to accomplish a variety of tasks. Several memory models will be proposed and evaluated: Is our brain a large filing cabinet? A sophisticated computer? We will then apply these principles to understand issues like intelligence, thinking, and problem-solving. Throughout the course, we will discuss how damage to various parts of the brain affects our ability to learn and remember.

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 students. Spring semester. Professor Schulkind.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

235 Sports Psychology

The field of sports psychology examines psychological variables that impact athletic participation and behavior. This course introduces students to theories and research across diverse areas of psychology, including social, cognitive, developmental, and clinical. Topics will include the role of goals and equity in providing motivation, strategies for successful performance, the use of imagery, attributions for successful versus unsuccessful performance, the predictors of aggression, the causes of the “homefield choke,” effective approaches to coaching, the “hot-hand effect,” the role of personality, the predictors of injury, and the impact of gender on athletics. This course will involve intensive participation in class discussion and many written assignments.

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 25 students. Spring semester: Professor Sanderson.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2025

236 Psychology of Aging

An introduction to the psychology of aging. Course material will focus on the behavioral changes which occur during the normal aging process. Age differences in learning, memory, perceptual and intellectual abilities will be investigated. In addition, emphasis will be placed on the neural correlates and cognitive consequences of disorders of aging such as Alzheimer’s disease. Course work will include systematic and structured observation within a local facility for the elderly.

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Raskin.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Spring 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

247 Health Psychology

The field of health psychology examines how psychosocial factors, including personality, social influences, and culture, influence physical health in a variety of ways. The three central issues that we will focus on in this course are the promotion and maintenance of health (e.g., how psychosocial factors influence health-promoting and health compromising behaviors, such as smoking, alcohol use, obesity, and disordered eating), the experience and development of pain and illness (e.g., how psychosocial factors influence pain, chronic illness, and life-threatening disease), and the treatment of illness (e.g., how psychosocial factors influence health care interactions, screening behavior, and adherence to medical regiments).

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2023-24. Professor Sanderson.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2018, January 2022, Spring 2022, Spring 2025

317 Appetite

Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Spring 2025

321 Psychology of Diversity

This course provides a deep investigation into issues of diversity from a psychological perspective, including how we can understand both the value of and the threats to diversity with regard to gender, race, age, weight, and more. We will review theory and research from social psychology that provides insight into what we understand about intergroup relations and diversity. We will also consider historical and systemic forces that impact our attitudes and approaches to addressing diversity. Through reading, discussion, short writing assignments and independent research, students in this course will be expected to understand and critique key theories related to the psychology of diversity and intergroup relations, to integrate and apply these theories in the analysis of real-world issues, and to consider diversity issues within a historical and systemic context.

Requisite: PSYC 220. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Bair

Other years: Offered in Fall 2023, Spring 2025

323 Risk and Resilience

This course will explore the roles of risk and resilience in early development. Using existing empirical research, we will examine: 1) how risks are manifested prenatally, in infancy, and in childhood, 2) how to support resilience in childhood, and 3) how to develop interventions to address risks and promote resilience. Over the course of the semester, students will complete four independent projects exploring teratogens, contaminated food, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and intervention development. Through reading, discussion, short writing assignments, and more in-depth independent projects, this course aims to help students understand risk and resilience in childhood, and learn how empirical research can be used to develop and evaluate potential interventions.

Omitted 2023-24. Professor Palmquist

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2024

325 Psychopharmacology

(Offered as PSYC 325 and NEUR 325) In this course we will examine the ways in which drugs act on the brain to alter behavior. We will review basic principles of brain function and mechanisms of drug action in the brain. We will discuss a variety of legal and illegal recreational drugs as well as the use of psychotherapeutic drugs to treat mental illness. Examples from the primary scientific literature will demonstrate the various methods used to investigate mechanisms of drug action, the biological and behavioral consequences of drug use, and the nature of efforts to prevent or treat drug abuse.

Requisite: PSYC 212/NEUR 213, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Not open to five college students. Fall semester. Professor Turgeon.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2025

331 Childhood and Adolescence

(Offered as PSYC 331 and EDST 331) This course will explore conceptualizations of childhood and adolescence in the United States today. Using both academic articles and media resources, the course will address topics such as early education and school readiness; play and extracurricular involvement; college access and attendance; mental health, self-esteem, and social media; and youth activism. We will use developmental psychology as the lens for most of our readings and discussion, although the course will integrate concepts from sociology, history, and education. We will also examine the roles of relationships (e.g., family, teachers, and peers) and contexts (e.g., policy, schools, and culture) on youth experience. In this reading-intensive course, students will be expected to engage in class discussions, write weekly response papers, conduct a youth interview and write an interview report, and develop a final presentation.

Requisite: PSYC 227. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2023-24.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022, Spring 2023

337 Stereotypes and Prejudice

This advanced seminar provides students with an overview of the social psychological study of stereotyping and prejudice. Through weekly discussions of empirical and theoretical articles, students will examine stereotypes, microaggressions, systems of privilege, oppression, and institutionalized discrimination that influence and help maintain racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism and their psychological consequences on the individual and society. Students will be expected to actively participate, lead class discussions/activities, provide weekly critical discussion questions, and develop a final research proposal. 

Requisite: PSYC 100 and PSYC 220. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2023-24. Professor Totton.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

338 Personality and Political Leadership

In this course we will examine how to apply psychological theories to understand the lives of political leaders. We begin this course with a consideration of the role of personality in political leadership. We then examine psychological theories that can be fruitfully applied to the study of individual lives. Over the course of the semester, we will evaluate existing psychobiographies of important figures and students will conduct their own psychobiographical analyses of figures of their choice.

Requisite: PSYC 220, 221, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Demorest.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

353 Understanding Individuals

This course examines methods used by psychologists to understand the  psychology of individual personalities. The primary focus is on three psychological assessment tools: the Early Memories Procedure, the Thematic Apperception Test, and the traditional interview. Students will take these devices themselves, read the theory behind them, examine case studies by prominent psychologists using these devices, and conduct their own interpretations of responses given by college students and by psychotherapy patients. In the process, students should develop a good understanding of the complexity of the clinical thought process.  

Requisite: PSYC 221 or 228 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Demorest.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, January 2021, January 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2023, Spring 2025

354 Close Relationships

An introduction to the study of close relationships using social-psychological theory and research. Topics will include interpersonal attraction, love and romance, sexuality, relationship development, communication, jealousy, conflict and dissolution, selfishness and altruism, loneliness, and therapeutic interventions. This is an upper-level seminar for the major requirement that requires intensive participation in class discussion and many written assignments.

Requisite: PSYC 220. Open to seniors. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Sanderson.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2024

356 Neurophysiology of Motivation

(Offered as PSYC 356 and NEUR 356) This course will explore in detail the neurophysiological underpinnings of basic motivational systems such as feeding, addiction, fear, and sex. Students will read original articles in the neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, and behavioral scientific literature. The key goals of this course will be to make students conversant with the most recent scientific findings and adept at research design and hypothesis testing.

Requisite: PSYC 212 or 226 and consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Open to juniors and seniors.  Omitted 2023-24. Professor Baird.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018

357 History of Psychiatry

Though the history of madness is as old as humanity, the field of psychiatry has come of age over the past 300 years. The understanding and treatment of mental illness within the psychiatric profession has drawn upon neurological and medical, as well as psychological and psychodynamic points of view. An emerging field, Neuropsychoanalysis, attempts to integrate the two. This course will survey psychiatry’s evolution, with special emphasis on the major contributions that have changed perspectives and directions in psychiatric medicine. We will also review the history of how mentally-ill patients have been housed, from custodial asylums to de-institutionalization and community-based programs, as a reflection of changing attitudes towards mental disease. Seminar. One class meeting per week.

Requisite: PSYC 212 and 228, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2023-24. Professor Raskin.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

361 Consciousness and the Brain

(Offered as PSYC 361 and NEUR 361) Although curiosity about the nature of consciousness has animated the work of philosophers, artists and others, this course will approach the topic from a scientific perspective. How do electrochemical signals in our brain produce our experience of colors, sounds, tastes and our awareness of ourselves? We will read and discuss primary source scientific journal articles drawn from both psychology and neuroscience with a focus on questions including: What kinds of brain activity distinguish conscious from unconscious states? Can objects in the environment (e.g., advertisements) affect our behavior even if we are not consciously aware of those objects? Are there different types of consciousness? Is consciousness peculiar to human beings (does it require language?) or is consciousness experienced by other species, as well? Does science have the tools necessary to achieve a complete understanding of human consciousness? Overall, the goal of this course is to provide students with a thorough understanding of the current states of the scientific study of consciousness.

Requisite: PSYC 211, PSYC 212, PSYC 233, or PSYC/NEUR 213. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Cohen.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

362 Development of Non-Verbal Communication

This course will examine how infants learn to communicate through gestures, body language, and preverbal vocalizations, and how nonverbal communication develops through childhood and adulthood. The course will also examine how nonverbal communication in humans compares to communication in nonhuman species such as dogs, chimpanzees, and dolphins. As a precursor to these discussions, we will explore the theoretical controversies surrounding the definition of "communication." Students will read empirical work, engage in collaborative research design, conduct naturalistic observations, and will develop a final paper that explores the communicative content of nonverbal interactions.

Requisite: PSYC 227. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester: Professor Palmquist.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2023

363 Psychology and the Law

Psychology strives to understand (and predict) human behavior. The law aims to control behavior and punish those who violate laws. At the intersection of these two disciplines are questions such as: Why do people obey the law? What are the most effective means for punishing transgressions so as to encourage compliance with the law? The idea that our legal system is the product of societal values forms the heart of this course. We will repeatedly return to that sentiment as we review social psychological principles, theories, and findings addressing how the principal actors in legal proceedings affect each other. We will survey research on such topics as: criminal versus civil procedure, juror selection criteria, juror decision-making, jury size and decision rule, the death penalty, insanity defense, and eyewitness reliability. To a lesser degree the course will also consider (1) issues that arise from the impact of ideas from clinical psychology and other mental health-related fields upon the legal system, and (2) the impact that the legal system has had upon the field of psychology.

Requisite: PSYC 220. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2023-2024.  Professor Hart.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2021

364 Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology

This course examines the development, maintenance, and treatment of psychopathology in children and adolescents. Disorders discussed will include behavioral (e.g., Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder), anxiety (e.g., the phobias and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), mood (e.g. Depression), and developmental (e.g. Autism). Using a developmental perspective, topics will focus on risk factors, theory and etiology, family and social influences, and evidence-based psycho-social treatments. Course readings will come predominantly from empirical research articles and will be discussed in-depth in class. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions, to provide written reaction papers, and to develop a final research proposal.

Requisite: PSYC 228. Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 15 students.  Fall semester.  Professor McQuade.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2023, Fall 2023

365 Psychology of Attachment

Attachment theory has long been a framework for understanding the development of mental health and psychopathology. To what extent do infant attachments enhance, or disrupt, later adult relationships? Do early traumas in attachments affect the development of psychopathology? Can brain development be influenced by infant attachments? What role do adult relational attachments play in mental health? In this seminar, we will examine attachment theory from a psychodynamic and psychobiological perspective. We will review some of the classic attachment literature of psychoanalytic theorists, for example, John Bowlby, Melanie Klein, and D.W. Winnicott. We will read the empirical evidence that measures attachment styles in children and adults, and we will discover how translational research from animal models reveals the possible neural and physiological correlates that mediate attachment behaviors. This is an upper-level seminar, which requires full student participation in class discussion as well as weekly writings, and student presentations.

Requisite: PSYC 212, 221, 227, or 228, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2023-2024. 

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

366 Music Cognition

Current theories of cognitive psychology will be evaluated in light of what is known about the effects of musical stimuli on learning, memory, and emotion. The course will begin by examining how musical information is stored and, subsequently, retrieved from memory. Particular attention will be paid to comparing learning and memory of musical and non-musical stimuli. The course will also compare the behavior of trained and untrained musicians to determine how expertise influences cognitive performance. Finally, the course will consider the ability of music to elicit emotional responses and the psychological basis for its use in applied settings.

Requisite: PSYC 233. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Schulkind.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Fall 2019

367 Human Neuroscience

(Offered as PSYC 367 and NEUR 367) This course will be an in-depth exploration of contemporary issues in the field of human neuroscience. Topics include a rigorous examination of the methods neuroscientists use to study the human brain, how the brain changes throughout the lifespan, the ways in which researchers have developed brain/machine interfaces, and the neural processes that support decision-making. For each topic, we will read several empirical articles and discuss them with an emphasis on experimental design, factors that may be confounding the data, and interpretation of the data. Assignments will include weekly response papers, an oral presentation, in-class debates, and a research proposal. Overall, the goal of this course is for students to gain an understanding of the cutting edge of human neuroscience research and to increase their ability to think like scientists.

Requisite: PSYC 211 or PSYC 212 or PSYC/NEUR 213 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Offered spring semester. Professor Cohen.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

368 Autobiographical Memory

Autobiographical memory encompasses everything we know about our personal past, from information as mundane as our Social Security number to the most inspirational moments of our lives. This course will begin by evaluating several theoretical frameworks that structure the field. We will consider how personal knowledge influences our sense of self and will examine both the contents of autobiographical memory and the contexts in which it functions, including eyewitness testimony, flashbulb memories, and the false/recovered memory controversy. We will discuss individual differences (gender and age) in autobiographical memory and will also examine the neurobiology of long-term memory and the consequences of damage to the system (i.e., dementia and amnesia). Finally, we will explore how social groups retain memories for important cultural events.

Requisite: PSYC 233. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2023-2024. Professor Schulkind.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2021, Spring 2025

369 Psychotherapy: Theory and Practice

This course will be an in-depth examination of major theoretical models of psychotherapy. The course will focus on theoretical models and empirical support for the second wave (e.g., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and third wave (e.g., Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) psychotherapies. Students will examine how different psychotherapeutic approaches conceptualize mental illness and approach the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Issues related to ethics and the empirical evaluation of treatment outcomes will also be discussed. Readings will come predominantly from theoretical and empirical research. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions, to compose weekly written responses to assigned readings, and to develop a final research proposal. Overall, the goal of the seminar is for students to learn to think like clinical scientists.

Requisite: Psychology 228. Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2023-24. Professor Elizabeth Kneeland.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023, Fall 2024

490 Special Topics

This course is open to qualified students who desire to engage in independent reading on selected topics or conduct research projects. Preference will be given to those students who have done good work in one or more departmental courses beyond the introductory level. A full course.

Open to juniors and seniors with consent of the instructor. Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

498, 498D Senior Honors

A double course. Open to seniors majors in psychology who have received departmental approval. 

Spring semester. The department.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

Open to senior majors in Psychology who have received departmental approval.

Spring semester. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025