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Psychology

Year:

2022-23

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 Kneeland, Palmquist, and Totton.  Spring semester:  Professors Cohen and Totton.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

122 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: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 30 students. Fall semester: Fall: McQuade.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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. Fall semester: Professor Turgeon.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in 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.

Prerequisite: Psych 122 Statistics. Limited to 18. Offered Fall semester. Professor Kneeland.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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. Offered Fall 2022: Professor Cohen.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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. Offered Fall semester.  Professor Sanderson.  Spring semester: Professor Totton.

 

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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. Offered Fall semester. Professor Demorest.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

224 Intergroup Dialogue on Race

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, 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 Fall semester.  Professors Hart and Aries.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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 Fall semester: Professor O'Carroll.  Spring semester: Prof. Palmquist.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

228 Clinical 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.

This course involves three exams. Typically there will be two empirical articles to read each week. Each week students will also respond to preparation questions on an individual and group basis. Students will read a memoir and write a 5-page paper. At the end of the semester, students will complete a 5-7 page research paper. 

Requisite: PSYC 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 Amherst college students. Offered Fall semester: Professor McQuade.  Spring semester: Prof. Kneeland.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Sanderson.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

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.

2022-23: 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 2022-23. Professor Sanderson.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2018, January 2022, Spring 2022

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.

Fall semester. Professor Palmquist

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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. Spring semester. Professor Turgeon.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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. Offered Fall semester. Professor Totton.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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 2022-23. Professor Baird.

2022-23: 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 2022-23. Professor Raskin.

2022-23: 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. Offered Fall semester. Professor Cohen.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

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. Omitted 2022-23. Prof. Palmquist.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

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 2022-2023. Professor Hart.

2022-23: 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

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 2022-2023. Professor Raskin.

2022-23: 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. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Schulkind.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Fall 2019

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 2023-2023. Professor Schulkind.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Spring 2021

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.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

498D Senior Honors

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

Fall semester. The Department.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

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

Spring semester. The Department.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022