Psychology

Fall 2007/Spring 2008 Course Catalog

The information below is taken from the printed catalog the college produces each year. For more up to date information, including links to course websites, faculty homepages, reserve readings, and more, use the 'courses' or semester specific link to your left.

11. 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.

Limited to 175 students. First semester. Professor Sanderson.

12. Introduction to Biological Psychology. 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.

Limited to 75 students. First and second semesters. Professor Baird.

17. Psychology of Food and Eating Disorders. Food shapes our lives in many ways that extend far beyond mere ingestive acts. Through a broad survey of basic and clinical research literature, we will explore how foods and food issues imbue our bodies, minds, and relationships. We will consider biological and psychological perspectives on various aspects of eating such as metabolism, neural mechanisms of hunger and satiety, metabolic disorders, dieting, pica, failure to thrive, starvation, taste preference and aversion, obesity, anxiety and depression relief, food taboos, bulimia, and the anorexias. Strong emphasis will be placed on biological mechanisms and controlled laboratory research with both human and animal subjects.

Requisite: Psychology 11 or 12. Limited to 15 students. First semester. Professor Baird.

20. Social Psychology with Lab. The individual’s behavior as it is influenced by other people and by the social environment. The major aim of the 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. Three class hours and three hours of laboratory per week.

Requisite: Psychology 11. Limited to 50 students. Second semester. Visiting Professor Foels.

21. Personality Psychology with Lab. A consideration of theory and methods directed at understanding those characteristics of the person related to individually distinctive ways of experiencing and behaving. Prominent theoretical perspectives will be examined in an effort to integrate this diverse literature and to determine the directions in which this field of inquiry is moving. These theories will also be applied to case histories to examine their value in personality assessment. Three class hours and three hours of laboratory per week.

Requisite: Psychology 11. Limited to 40 students. First semester. Professor Demorest.

22. Statistics and Experimental Design. An introduction to and critical consideration of experimental methodology in psychology. Topics will include the formation of testable hypotheses, the selection and implementation of appropriate procedures, the statistical description and analysis of experimental data, and the interpretation of results. Articles from the experimental journals and popular literature will illustrate and interrelate these topics and provide a survey of experimental techniques and content areas.

Requisite: Psychology 11 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 30 students. First semester: Visiting Professor Foels. Second semester: Visiting Professor Stein.

25. Psychopharmacology. 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.

Requisites: Psychology 12 or Psychology/Neuroscience 26, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 students. Second semester. Professor Turgeon.

26. Introduction to Neuroscience. (Also Neuroscience 26.) See Neuroscience 26.

Requisite: Psychology 12 or 15 or Biology 18 or 19. Limited to 36 students. Second semester. Professors George and Turgeon.

27. Developmental Psychology. A study of human development across the life span with emphasis upon the general characteristics of various stages of development from birth to adolescence and upon determinants of the developmental process.

Requisite: Psychology 11 or 12. Limited to 25 students. First semester. Professor Olver.

28. Abnormal Psychology. A review of various forms of psychopathology including addictive, adjustment, anxiety, childhood, dissociative, impulse control, mood, organic, personality, psychophysiological, schizophrenic, and sexual 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, and discussion will focus on empirically supported interventions for treating these conditions.

Requisite: Psychology 11 or 12, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 students. First semester. Professor Halgin of the University of Massachusetts.

32. Psychology of Adolescence. This course will focus on the issues of personal and social changes and continuities which accompany and follow physiological puberty. Topics to be covered include physical development, autonomy, identity, intimacy, and relationship to the community. The course will present cross-cultural perspectives on adolescence, as well as its variations in American society. Both theoretical and empirical literature will be examined.

Requisite: Psychology 11. Limited to 25 students. Second semester. Professor Aries.

33. 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: Psychology 11 or 12. Limited to 40 students. First semester. Visiting Professor Stein.

34. Memory. This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the study of memory. We will begin by examining empirical research on memory for different kinds of content: factual information vs. personal events vs. cognitive skills. This research will be used to evaluate several contemporary models of memory. From there, we will examine how memory theories have been applied to understanding "real world" issues such as eyewitness testimony, and the false/recovered memory debate. We will also discuss developmental changes in memory--from infancy to old age. We will supplement our analysis of memory with evidence from the rapidly growing field of cognitive neuroscience.

Requisite: Psychology 11. Limited to 40 students. Second semester. Visiting Professor Stein.

35. 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: Psychology 11. Limited to 15 students. Second semester. Professor Sanderson.

36. 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: Psychology 11 or 12. Limited to 20 students. First semester. Professor Raskin.

38. Psychobiography: The Study of Lives. Psychobiography aims to apply psychological theory to understand the lives of significant figures. We begin this course with a consideration of what constitutes good and bad psychobiography. We then examine psychological theories that can be fruitfully applied to the study of individual lives, from traditional psychodynamic theories of the whole person (e.g., those of Freud, Adler, Horney) to models focusing on important organizing variables (e.g., motives, interpersonal styles). Next, we evaluate existing psychobiographies of important figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Emily Dickinson, and Woodrow Wilson. Finally, each student prepares a psychobiographical term paper on a figure of his or her choice.

Requisite: Psychology 11. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2007-08.

40. Sex Role Socialization. An examination of the processes throughout life that produce and maintain sex-typed behaviors. The focus is on the development of the psychological characteristics of males and females and the implications of that development for participation in social roles. Consideration of the biological and cultural determinants of masculine and feminine behaviors will form the basis for an exploration of alternative developmental possibilities. Careful attention will be given to the adequacy of the assumptions underlying psychological constructs and research in the study of sex differences.

Requisite: Psychology 11 or 12 and consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Second semester. Professor Olver.

41. Self and Social Identity. People identify themselves in various ways, including personal traits (e.g., smart), relationships (e.g., friend), and group membership (e.g., ethnicity). The self, therefore, consists of three main aspects: personal, relational, and social. The self historically has been viewed in Western society in terms of personal aspects only. However, social psychological research increasingly has demonstrated that the other aspects of the self play an important role in interpersonal interactions and psychological well-being. This course examines all three aspects of the self, with an emphasis on more social aspects. The course also examines the role of social identity in intergroup relations, that is, how one’s group membership influences beliefs about, and interactions with, other groups.

Requisite: Psychology 20. Limited to 15 students. First semester. Professor Foels.

43. Science and Gender. This course will explore a number of interrelated questions regarding gender and science. We will start by describing gender stereotypes: beliefs about the characteristics, abilities, traits, and behaviors that distinguish women and men. We will then examine the empirical investigations and scientific theories from the fields of biology and psychology that purport to define and explain gender differences. We will consider, for example, gender identity, sexual orientation, cognitive abilities and preferences, parenting, and communication styles. We will draw on scientific literature from the fields of evolutionary psychology, behavioral endocrinology, developmental biology, genetics, and developmental psychology. We will look closely at the nature of the evidence from both human and animal research as well as consider the political and social contexts in which gender differences and similarities are studied. We will conclude by questioning whether the doing of science is itself a gendered activity. This course will pay particular attention to the development of the students’ skills in both writing and oral presentation.

Requisite: Psychology 11 or 12. Limited to 30 students. First semester. Professors Olver and Turgeon.

44. The Social Psychology of Race. (Also Black Studies 52.) An interdisciplinary investigation of the social psychology of race in the United States examining the nature and causes of racial stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. We will discuss alternatives to more traditional cognitive approaches that regard stereotyping primarily as a bias produced by the limits of individual processing. While grounded in social psychological theory, we will examine the emergence of race as an important social variable resulting from the interplay of various socio-historical forces. Readings will range from scientific journal articles to personal and intellectual accounts by some key figures in race research including G. Allport, W.E.B. Du Bois, N. Lemann, J.H. Stanfield, S. Steele, and C. West.

Requisite: Psychology 11. Limited to 15 students. Second semester. Professor Hart.

46. Environmental Psychology. The field of environmental psychology emerged in response to our society’s increasing concern about environmental problems. While it deals with applied problems, the field makes use of theory and research on basic psychological processes to study the relationship between people and their environments. This course introduces students to the methods and findings of the field. In the first half of the course we will examine empirical research on topics such as the effects of environmental qualities (e.g., temperature, light, air pollution) on human functioning; differences in environmental attitudes and activism as a function of various human factors (e.g., culture, personality, gender); and the influence of interventions (e.g., education, reward, punishment) on promoting conservation behavior. In the second half of the course, students will design and conduct their own research projects which focus on one of the topics previously studied.

Requisite: Psychology 22 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Open to juniors and seniors. Second semester. Professor Demorest.

47. Health Psychology. An introduction to the theories and methods of psychology as applied to health-related issues. We will consider theories of reasoned action/planned behavior, social cognition, and the health belief model. Topics will include personality and illness, addictive behaviors, psychoneuroimmunology, psychosocial factors predicting health service utilization and adherence to medical regimens, and framing of health-behavior messages and interventions.

Requisite: Psychology 11 or 12. Limited to 15 students. First semester: Professor Sanderson.

52. Cognitive Development. How do infants and young children acquire knowledge about the world? This course will cover key theoretical perspectives and research findings concerning the development of children's thinking from birth through the early school years. We will focus on both the content of children's knowledge across a variety of domains and the abilities that contribute to the acquisition of this knowledge (e.g., mechanisms of change) as well as the interaction between children and their environment. We will examine how infants learn to make sense of the world around them, discover how they think and reason, and explore such topics as the development of memory, language, and social cognition.

Requisite: Psychology 27 or 33. Limited to 15 students. First semester. Visiting Professor Stein.

53. Clinical Inquiry. This course will examine methods used by clinical psychologists to understand the psychology of individual personalities. The first half of the course will focus on the analysis of narrative imagery to decipher the dominant patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that reflect the way an individual organizes his/her experience of the world. We will study narratives freely generated (i.e., autobiographical reports) as well as those generated to a standard psychological test (i.e., the Thematic Apperception Test). In the second half of the course, students will each pick a psychological test to study in detail and will lead class meetings devoted to those tests.

Requisite: Psychology 21 or 28. Limited to 15 students. Open to juniors and seniors. Second semester. Professor Demorest.

54. 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: Psychology 20 or 21. Open to juniors and seniors. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Second semester. Professor Sanderson.

56. Neurophysiology of Motivation. This course will explore in detail the neurophysiological underpinnings of basic motivational systems such as feeding, fear, and sex. Students will read original articles in the neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, and behavioral scientific literature. 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 Psychology 12 or 26 and consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Second semester. Professor Baird.

57. 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: Psychology 11 and 12, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. First semester. Professor Raskin.

59. Hormones and Behavior. This course will analyze how hormones influence the brain and behavior. We will focus on the role gonadal hormones play in animal behaviors such as aggression and sex and consider whether these hormones greatly influence human behaviors. Sexual orientation, maternal behavior, cognitive abilities, the menopause, etc., will be addressed from the point of view of science and from a social, historical and cultural perspective. Students must have a strong science background; knowledge of biology or neuroscience is preferred.

Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. First semester: Professor Turgeon.

60. Developmental Psychobiology. A study of the development of brain and behavior in mammals. The material will cover areas such as the development of neurochemical systems, how the brain recovers from injury, and how early environmental toxins influence brain development. Emphasis will be placed on how aberrations in the central nervous system influence the development of behavior.

Requisite: Psychology 12 or 26 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Raskin.

63. 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: Psychology 20 and consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. First semester. Professor Hart.

66. 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: Psychology 33. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Schulkind.

68. 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. The 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: Psychology 33 or 34. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Schulkind.

77, 78, 78D. Senior Departmental Honors.

Open to senior majors in Psychology who have received departmental approval. First and second semesters.

97, 97H, 98, 98H. 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 or a half course.

Open to juniors and seniors with consent of the instructor. First and second semesters.

 

Trees on the Quad