Introductory Psychology

Fall, 2008

Jonathan Mack

jmack@marlboro.edu

This course is designed to introduce you to the wide range of topics that fit under the rubric of psychology. People who call themselves psychologists do everything from performing intensive psychoanalysis; to exploring how we develop from infancy to old age; to studying cellular neurochemical reactions under a microscope; to looking at the brain in action with imaging technology.

Even at this level, there is much to absorb to get a decent foundation in the multiple realms of psychology. Information must be derived and retained from careful reading and committing to memory.

We will use our class time primarily to delve more deeply into selected topics. We will look at some large, overarching questions, such as the relationship between psychology and science, and we will also explore issues specific to a given line of research, phase of development, or approach to psychotherapy, for example.

CREDITS: 4. There’s no Intro-Lite. All requirements pertain to all students.

REQUIREMENTS:

ATTENDANCE: Attendance is required for this course. Class discussions are essential to understand the context of the material. Class will always meet unless I’m eaten by a bear. If I am only partially eaten by the bear or something else prevents me from coming, I will post an online forum for the class to discuss. We will hold class on the Monday preceding the Thanksgiving holiday.

PAPERS:

There are four papers that are due during the semester. The first is worth 5 points, the next two are 10 each and the last is 15 points. The first of these papers will be an “opinion piece” that will not require anything more than your own thoughtful consideration. Subsequent essays build a thesis statement, with supporting reasoning and references. The essays range in expected length from 2 pages for the first essay to 7 pages for the last. Occasionally, there will be a milestone, like turning in a topic proposal or thesis statement. Meeting these milestones will be worth 5 points also.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ONLY PAPER (Sorry, trees) COPIES of assignments are acceptable. I cannot accept emailed thesis statements or papers because I have to write my comments on the physical paper. Please be considerate about this.

TESTS:

There are three tests, but no “final.” The first is worth 5 points, the second 10 and the last 15. The tests will be in class and their formats will vary. There will be some normally be multiple-choice focused on the material in the textbook and an essay drawn from in-class discussions. There is no final exam as such.

CLASS PARTICIPATION:

Class participation counts. Different people participate differently. A quiet, attentive person deserves just as much credit than a person who’s naturally outgoing. It’s the degree of preparation, the quality of thoughtfulness of comments and respect for sharing ideas that will matters most.

DUE DATES:

The dates on the following Course Outline are the dates readings or essays are due. The due date is the beginning of class.

The “Courses” website:

I will use the Courses website to post material relevant to the course, including this syllabus, forums and possibly class discussion material if a class has to be cancelled.

If anything changes, it will be posted on the website. Please become acquainted with this website early so you will know where it is when you need it.

Course Outline:

Week

Day

Date

Reading

1

M

8-Sep

Introduction to the course and each other

Worlds of Psychology: What do psychologists study?

Chapter 1

TH

11-Sep

How do we know? The role of science, experimentation and other modes of knowing in psychology, including:

Scientific Method as applied in psychology

Qualitative / Quantitative approaches in psychology

Optional reading: http://www.cdli.ca/~elmurphy/emurphy/cle2.html

2

M

15-Sep

Body and psyche: The brain and nervous system

Chapter 2

TH

18-Sep

Body and psyche: The relationship between nature and nurture

Chapter 3

3

M

22-Sep

Essay #1 due

The developmental process

Chapter 4

TH

25-Sep

Development, continued

4

M

29-Sep

First test

TH

2-Oct

Behavioral and cognitive learning theories

Chapter 7

5

M

6-Oct

Behavioral and cognitive learning theories, continued

TH

9-Oct

Essay #2 due

6

M

13-Oct

Sensation and Perception

Chapter 5

TH

16-Oct

Memory

Chapter 8

7

M

20-Oct

Walter Hendricks’ Days – No classes

TH

23-Oct

Emotions and Stress

Chapter 11

8

M

27-Oct

Thinking, language, and Intelligence

Chapter 9

TH

30-Oct

Test #2

9

M

3-Nov

Personality

Chapter 12

TH

6-Nov

Topic proposal for essay #3

10

M

10-Nov

Social Psychology

Chapter 15

TH

13-Nov

Essay #3

11

M

17-Nov

Psychological Disorders

Chapter 13

TH

20-Nov

Psychological Disorders, continued

12

M

24-Nov

Topic proposal for Essay #4

Psychotherapy

Chapter 14

TH

27-Nov

Essay #4

13

M

1-Dec

Discussion: How do people change?

TH

4-Dec

Test #3

14

M

8-Dec

Final discussions

All required reading is from Meyers, David. Exploring Psychology. You are encouraged to find additional readings, particularly original source material, to supplement this reading. The initial essay will not require additional readings, but subsequent essays will require additional sources to support your reasoning.

Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011, 9:18 AM