Spring 2013 Psychology Course Descriptions
100 Elementary Psychology
Overview of psychology. The natural and social science sub-areas of psychology. Includes biological psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology. Examines research and theory in psychology and their relevance to day-to-day life.
217 Psych of Cruelty and Kindness
Important forms of kindness and cruelty (from helping and harming among individuals to violence between groups and genocide). Historical conditions, cultures, personal characteristics that lead to kindness or cruelty. Devaluation, scapegoating, the role of ideology; prosocial values, empathy, feelings of responsibility. Socialization, experience with peers, culture promoting kindness or cruelty.
240 Statistics in Psychology
Introduction to the logic of statistical reasoning and to basic techniques for describing and drawing inference from data. Topics include: frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and variability, probability, chi-square, regression and correlation, the t-test, and analysis of variance.
240H Statistics in Psychology, Honors
Basic conceptual knowledge of statistical reasoning, skill in applying common statistical techniques. Topics include probability; measures of central tendency, variability, and correlation; and statistical inference involving one- and two-group means. The R statistical environment (R Development Core Team, 2011) is also introduced, but not extensively.
The substance of the honors course will be expanded to include: two-factor and multi-factor analyses of variance; repeated measurement analyses of variance; multiple linear and curvilinear regression analysis; an expanded set of probability distributions including the geometric distribution, the negative binomial distribution, and the Poisson distribution; contrast score analysis, and, if time permits, an introduction to linear mixed models. Coverage of techniques for graphing data will be expanded from histograms, boxplots, and scatterplots to include: graphing cumulative distribution functions; sampling distributions of statistics; graphs that display the power of a statistical test as a function of the sample size, significance level, effect size, and population variance; plotting of multiple scatterplots on the same graph, and others, time permitting. Students will be expected to gather their own data sets and apply the statistical techniques to their data, using both the analytic and graphical methods we have learned.
241 Methods of Inquiry in Psychology
297TC Psychology of Risk
This course explores risk from numerous psychological perspectives. Most of that exploration will be through current psychological theory and research as reported in recent journal publications. The class will also be challenged to think about risk through literary accounts of some popular (and not-so-popular) historical figures. Students will write brief papers in response to the weekly readings and will also apply their learning to their own behavior. Topics include: probability; the biology of risk; high and low intensity risk; everyday risks; risk-taking and personality factors; gambling; interpersonal risk; and media influences on perception of risk.
305 Educational Psychology
Major theories and research of psychology applied to education. Topics include learning, development, motivation, social and personality factors.
307 Industrial Psychology
310 Sensation and Perception
We will examine the perceptual abilities of the human brain, including vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell. We will include discussions of the methods used by neuroscientists to examine perceptual abilities, the capabilities and limitations of perception, the current knowledge of the underlying neural bases of perception, and the various types of brain damage and experience that may affect perception.
315 Cognitive Psychology
An introduction to human cognition. Topics include how cognitive psychologists study human thought processes and research findings in perception, representation, attention, memory, language, problem solving, and decision making.
318 Psychology of Language
Psycholinguistics (psychology of language) is the study of the cognitive processes enabling humans to acquire, comprehend, and use language. The class will provide an introduction to a variety of topics within the field of Psycholinguistics, including language comprehension, language production, language acquisition, bilingualism, language and the brain, and language and thought.
320 Learning and Thinking
Course description: Principles of learning and memory incorporating findings from both animals and humans. Multidisciplinary approach emphasizing behavioral processes, brain systems and clinical perspectives.
330 Behavioral Neuroscience
An introduction to the neurobiological basis of behavior in humans and animals. We will focus on fundamental processes such as sleep, memory, stress, drug addiction, and perception. Students will learn how these processes are related to normal and pathological behavior from the level of the cell to behavior.
335H Behavioral Neuroendocrinology-Honors
This course will cover the basic principles of behavioral neuroendocrinology, from a molecular to organismic level. A comprehensive approach to vertebrate and invertebrate research models will be emphasized to explore how the endocrine and nervous systems interact to control functions such as reproductive behaviors, aggression, biological rhythms, and learning. The course will also examine how the brain modifies hormone levels to cope with changing environmental conditions and stress. This honors course will include short essay exams and class presentations of papers from the contemporary primary literature. Students will be required to deliver a final research proposal poster covering their chosen topic in behavioral neuroendocrinology.
350 Developmental Psychology
An overview of developmental psychology beginning with prenatal development continuing through infancy, childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Topics include prenatal and infant development, language and cognitive development, social and emotional development and the biological foundations of development.
350H, Developmental Psychology, Honors
An overview of developmental psychology beginning with prenatal development continuing through infancy, childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Topics include prenatal and infant development, language and cognitive development, social and emotional development and the biological foundations of development.
355 Adolescent Psychology
An overview of theories of adolescent psychosocial development. Topics include cognitive development, physical maturation, sexuality, achievement, peer and family influences, and relationships.
360 Social Psychology
This course will cover the major theories, research, and applications in social psychology. Topics include the self, attitudes, social influence, helping, prejudice, aggression, groups, and interpersonal attraction.
360H Social Psychology, Honors
What is social psychology? The goal of social psychology is to understand and explain how our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. At the heart of social psychology is the recognition that our responses are greatly influenced by social situations (and the people within them) and are not simply the product of our individual personalities. The field of social psychology has broad-ranging applications, including marketing and organizational behavior, law and health issues among others.
Why should I study social psychology? In much of your waking life, you are interacting with others. Think about how you begin each day. It is likely that you get dressed, have breakfast, make small chat with a family member or a roommate, pack your things, and leave the house. You arrive on campus and meet other friends.
Now examine these interactions as a social psychologist would. At the heart of our interactions is our attempt to influence other persons. (At breakfast, if I compliment dad on his tie, will he be more likely to let me use his sports car this weekend to impress that new boy/girl down the street? If I agree to see the latest Jessica Alba movie with my best friend, will he/she be more likely to loan me that sweater that looks better on me than him/her? If I offer my social psych notes to a friend I see on campus, will he/she take notes for me in cog psych next Wednesday? …) Our attempts to influence others begin with how we perceive others, what attitudes we hold toward others, and finally, our behavior directed toward others. Understanding how you come to conceptualize your social world should be very beneficial in explaining why you (and others) act the way you (and they) do.
What is this course about? This course will provide you with a broad overview of research and theory in social psychology. Social psychologists are interested in understanding a wide range of phenomena. Some topics of interest that we will explore in this course include: social perception, social cognition and information processing, attitudes and persuasion, conformity and obedience, stereotyping and discrimination, social influence and group behavior, romantic relationships, aggressive behavior, and helping behavior. Throughout the course, there will be strong emphases on (1) research methodology and (2) the application of social psychological research to your everyday lives. In order for you to fully appreciate research and be able to differentiate good research from bad research, it is important that you are able to critically evaluate it. This ability will be useful to you in your everyday life in numerous ways, particularly as you are constantly bombarded with the results of research in the media. Regardless of your career goals, social psychology can benefit your understanding of human nature and improve your interactions with other people.
Core themes running through this course:
The first goal in this course is to have you learn social psychological theories of human behavior; how theories are translated into research questions and tested empirically inside and outside the laboratory; and how resulting findings help illuminate social phenomena in everyday life and sometimes help create interventions. The second goal is to have you learn to critically evaluate the merit of scientific studies so that you can differentiate good science from pseudo-science (“pop psychology”). The third goal is for you to understand the dynamic nature of individuals and groups, and how they are affected by social situations. Your readings, class exercises, homework, quizzes and exams all reflect these goals.
By the end of the semester, you should be able to:
It is expected that the course will take the form of “mini lectures,” class exercises, discussion, and interactions. All students are expected to participate actively in class by participating in exercises and discussions, asking questions, making comments, and arguing when necessary. Students’ participation will determine to a large extent how successful the course is; a systematic discussion of the ideas and empirical findings we read about is the best way to ensure the understanding of the topic at hand. The more you actively participate, the more you will learn, the more you will enjoy this class, and the better your final grade will be.
We will sometimes discuss new information that will not be covered in the textbook. I expect you to know and be conversant in course material covered in the textbook as well as in class. Regular class attendance is therefore very important.
I encourage you to explore the material presented in this class, risk making mistakes in discussing the material, and ask for help in understanding the material.
380 Abnormal Psychology
This is a course designed to introduce students to clinical psychology, a field that deals with research and clinical work in the areas of diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of psychological disorders. This course will review various forms of psychopathology including: anxiety, mood, eating, dissociative, addictive, childhood, impulse control, personality, psychophysiological, psychotic, 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.
383 Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy
Survey of the major theories of counseling and psychotherapy. Introduction to the techniques used by different counselors and psychotherapists.
The Science of Happiness
Evaluates scientific research on human happiness. Integrates research from psychology, economics, and neuroscience in the evaluation of personal and public policy choices.
Brain and Cognitive Development
No description available at this time.
This is a seminar on infant development. The course will be part lecture and part student presentation. Grades will be based on student participation, student presentations, midterm, and final paper.
Treating Childhood Disorders
Overview of the research literature on treating childhood disorders in psychology.
Advanced Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience
Train Your Brain: Assessing Intervention-Based Neuroscience Research
The potential plasticity of the nervous system has therapeutic implications that have, in recent years, been marketed to help people “train their brains” to improve cognitive function. This class will discuss the biological mechanisms of neural plasticity, as well as the theory and methodology that underlies intervention- or training-based neuroscience research. Most importantly, we will assess the validity of interventions designed to improve brain function by critically evaluating the primary research articles that are the basis of this rapidly growing field.
Obesity is a big and growing problem that threatens to overwhelm the US health delivery system. This course looks at the many facets that contribute substantially to the obesity epidemic. They include--poor decisions by individuals, overeating as an epidemic, exercise, addiction, USDA policies against individuals and for corporate advancement. We will identify how each factor contributes to the obesity explosion and discuss how each source can be remedied. Grades will be based on 1 or 2 class presentations, two papers and a final exam.
Event Memory in Life and the Lab
This course will explore episodic (event) memory in both theoretical and ecological terms. We will cover theories of recognition memory and empirical results from the laboratory that have been used to advance these theories. We will also cover research on the brain areas and mechanisms that support event memory. Finally, we will explore the fallibility of memory in real-world settings, especially eye-witness testimony in court cases.
Child, Family and Community
This course will examine children’s development and socialization in the context of families, communities, and the larger social context. An ecological perspective will be used that highlights the multiple levels of influence that shape a child's life and which recognizes the active role of the individual in shaping, as well as being shaped by, social contexts. The complex interactions among families, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, government, and historical time period will be explored as they serve to provide opportunities and risks for the developing child. Ultimately, the goal of this course is to focus on the developing child in the real world. To understand humans we must understand the groups from which they come, the context of their human community, and the complex interplay between the individual and these settings.
391H Seminar, Honors
This seminar will examine how we make sense of ourselves, of other people, and of our social world, in general. This course will apply the theories used in a variety of areas in cognitive psychology (e.g. attention, memory and decision making) to questions and issues typically examined in social psychology. These questions include: How do we form impressions of others? Why are we attracted to certain people but not others? What kinds of information about people are important to us, and why? How do we explain our behavior; and how do we explain others’ behavior? How do we organize all of this information about individuals and groups into something understandable? How do we form attitudes and stereotypes? Do our moods effect how we behave? Class meetings will include discussion, debates and exercises.
Moral psychology has received a great deal of attention in recent years; researchers from diverse areas of psychology have contributed to a new understanding of morality. In this seminar, we will explore the nature of morality from these diverse psychological perspectives, including neuroscience, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology and psychopathology. Among other investigations, we will examine the relationship of both cognition and emotion to moral judgment and behavior, and we will try to understand when and why people act (im)morally. We will also use our knowledge of morality to explore broad cultural and political differences.
Advances in the field of neuroscience have generated ethical questions regarding the implications of brain research. Neuroethics evaluates concerns related to how this research can be used to identify, predict, and change the neural correlates of human behavior. Topics to be covered may include lifetime drug therapy, the use of drugs to "normalize" behavior in atypical populations, the use of cognitive enhancing drugs in healthy populations, implications of brain imaging, and memory manipulation. Students will read and critique scientific articles, participate in weekly discussion, and write weekly reaction papers regarding each topic. At the end of the semester students will write a summary of a specific topic related to neuroethics and present their findings to the class.
Advanced Topics in Neuroscience
The focus of the course is stress and disease. Students will learn about the neural circuits and biochemical mechanisms underlying the body's response to stress and how stress impacts disease. The bulk of the reading material for this course will consist of primary (peer-reviewed) research and review articles on stress and disease in animal models (some clinical papers in humans may also be covered). Students are expected to actively participate during class, give presentations, and write a research project proposal.
Intellectual Disability and Mental Health
Intellectual Disability and Mental Health: An introduction to the “other” dual diagnosis. People with MR are more likely than the general population to develop a mental illness at some point in their lives. Students will be introduced to how mental illness is manifested in this population and the medical, behavioral, and psychotherapeutic options for treatment. This course will be helpful to those going into such fields as human services, special education, medicine, and communications disorders. This is a core course for the DDHS certificate program. Text: Dual Diagnosis: An Introduction to the mental health needs of persons with developmental disabilities, Dorothy M. Griffiths, Ghrissoula Stavrakaki, and Jane Summers, editors. Published by Habilitative Mental Health Resource Network, Plaza 69 Postal Outlet, 1935 Paris Street, Box 21020, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3E6G6.
Psychology of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Experience
Students in this course will explore psychological theory and research pertaining to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. Topics include sexual orientation, sexual identity development, stigma management, heterosexism & homonegativity, gender roles, same-sex relationships, LGB families, LGB diversity, and LGB mental health.
392A Junior Writing Seminar
This is a writing-intensive course that fulfills the University’s Junior Writing requirement. Each section focuses on a particular aspect of current issues in psychology. The topic is selected based on the expertise of the teaching staff. All sections share similar writing assignments, ranging from in-class short writing assignments to lengthy papers that include literature review. Classes emphasize discussion and extensive peer review of written work. Topics for individual sections will not be available until shortly before the start of the semester.
494RI Interdisciplinary Directions in Psychology
591H Seminar, Honors
Laboratory in Clinical Psychology
PSY 591 is a true laboratory course in Clinical Psychology. It offers students the opportunity to actually provide direct services, under supervision, in two clinical settings. In the first, after receiving training to become a Certified Decisional Trainer, students meet for weekly individual sessions to conduct a manualized Cognitive Behavior Therapy problem – solving treatment with a person currently incarcerated in the Hampshire County Jail and House of Corrections, a Northampton facility which has been recognized as one of the most progressive correctional facilities in the nation. In the second, students interested in gaining more clinical experience with adults assist staff in one of the acute psychiatric wards at the VAMC in Leeds (which was the first VA facility in the nation established to work exclusively with psychiatric patients), while students interested in gaining more clinical experience with children assist staff working with children in need of anger – management skills at the People’s Institute Day Care and After School Programs in Northampton.
Because this course is designed to be a Laboratory in Clinical Psychology and not a laboratory in Psychotherapy, all students enrolled in the course must be concurrently enrolled for at least three academic credits in a research activity. That activity may involve working as a Research Assistant for a faculty member or graduate student, conducting Honors Thesis or Capstone Research, or being enrolled in a graded Independent Study that involves research work. Simultaneous involvement in research and clinical work is the keystone of Clinical Psychology, and class discussions will integrate scientific and practice concerns throughout.
Many past 591 students have applied for graduate school in Clinical Psychology. When they have returned from interviews, they typically report that their interviewers were initially incredulous that they had actually done the work they reported doing in 591. The interviewers’ most common first response is said to be “No place in the country lets undergraduates have their own patients.” We are fortunate indeed that one of the most progressive Sheriffs in the United States serves as the Sheriff for Hampshire County [see Table 2 on page 589 in Poehlmann, J., Dallaire, D. Loper, A.B. & Shea, L.D. (2010). Children’s contact with their incarcerated parents: Research findings and recommendations, American Psychologist, 65, 575 – 598. doi: 10.1037/a0020279], and that past 591 students have earned the reputation of being the stars of the Decisional Training Program in his jail. It is of course important to me for 591 students to continue to enjoy that reputation, by continuing to provide exemplary clinical services. For that reason, I am extremely careful about selecting students to enroll in this course.
then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you have realized you are interested in this course so that I can send you an application for it.
618 Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
An overview of systems neuroscience, with special emphasis on cognition, including perception, recognition, attention, and motor control. Includes both theoretical and lab components covering neuroanatomy, neurohistology, brain imaging, and behavioral analysis.
641 Statistical Inference in Psychology II
Continuation of Psych 640. ANOVA, regression, logit/probit, factor analysis.
643 Research Methods in Social Psych
Introduction to the scientific methods and practical aspects of conducting research in social and personality psychology. Experiemtnal design, construction of reliable and valid measurement procedures, critical analysis of research literature and effective writing of empirical papers.
645 Nature and Methods of Inquiry in Clinical Psychology/Psychometrics
Fundamentals of research, the varieties of method, and practicalities of application in clinical psychology research. Generally limited to beginning graduate students in clinical psychology. Required of clinical psychology students. Others by consent of instructor.
Prejudice, Stereotyping and Social Identity
This course is designed to enhance knowledge about basic social psychological research on intergroup relations, prejudice, stereotyping, and social identity, so that you can work with diverse populations in terms of your research. For the purpose of this course, we will use a broad definition of social groups, although particular attention will be focused on race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and age. The first part of this course will examine how people's own group membership and the culture in which they live influence their attitudes and behavior toward others who belong to the same group ("ingroup") or to different groups ("outgroups"). The second part of this course will focus on evaluating interventions that may help alleviate interindividual and intergroup conflicts that arise during social interactions among people of differing cultural backgrounds. The final part of this course will focus on the different ways in which cultural stereotypes affect members of disadvantaged groups (e.g., in terms of mental health, physical health, performance, achievement, self-esteem etc.). In this section of the course, we will also pay attention to the different ways in which individuals from various disadvantaged groups protect themselves and show psychological resilience.
Self and Identity
This seminar is designed for graduate students to engage in discussion and analysis of social psychological research and theory concerning functions and motivations of the self, as well as aspects of identity that comprise the self. Students will explore how motivations of the self can influence and bias people’s perceptions and evaluations of themselves and others. Students will also consider how self-perceptions and self-evaluations may vary in the contexts of social relationships, group memberships, and cultural backgrounds, and how personal and social aspects of identity contribute to the self-concept. Students are expected to be actively involved in class discussions, working to develop their own views and insights regarding the functions, motivations, and components of the self.
Personality and Social Psychology
This seminar is offered on a continuous basis as part of the Personality and Social Psychology Brown Bag Series. It covers contemporary topics in personality and social psychology. Presentations and discussions by students and faculty in personality and social psychology as well as by invited speakers from the outside.
Teaching Writing in Psychology
Research in Eyewitness Memory
False identifications are a leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. In this course, we will explore the cognitive factors relevant to eyewitness memory. Topics will include encoding issues (perception, attention, emotion), retrieval factors (source memory, identification issues), and meta-cognition.
Adult Theories and Techniques of Psychotherapy
This seminar provides clinical psychology graduate students with a thorough foundation regarding the nature, history, evolution, and current status of the adult psychotherapy field from theoretical, empirical, and clinical perspectives.
Techniques in Teaching
This course will provide clinical psychology graduate students with training in 1) DSM-IV-TR criteria for the most common mental disorders encountered in clinical practice, 2) unstructured, symptom-oriented clinical interviewing using the DSM-IV-TR, 3) structured clinical interviewing using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders (SCID), 4) structured clinical interviewing using the International Personality Disorder Examination (IPDE), and 5) an overview of procedures for intake and psychotherapy in the Psychological Services Center (PSC).
Ethics and Professional Development
This course will examine core issues in socio-emotional development from birth through adolescence. The first part of the course will provide an overview of key concepts and theoretical approaches in the study of emotion processing. Special emphasis will be given to the social dynamics that influence affective reactivity and regulation in the developing child. In the second part of the course, biological and contextual factors that shape children’s socio-emotional development will be examined. The third part of the course will be dedicated to exploring the role of socio-emotional processing in trajectories of behavioral adjustment and mental health issues throughout childhood.
Structural Equation Modeling
Structural equation modeling (SEM) refers to a family of methods that all involve tests of a priori statistical models of covariances. It is useful when the researcher has multiple indicators of many constructs and wishes to test the appropriateness of complex hypothesized networks among these constructs. SEM subsumes many more familiar techniques – for instance, simple and multiple regression analysis, exploratory factor analysis, and analysis of variance. However, SEM also provides powerful generalizations of these basic techniques. Specific techniques in the SEM family include path analysis (PA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), and the evaluation of structural regression models (SR), which are hybrid models with features of both path analytic and factor models. The method can incorporate many outcomes and many predictors simultaneously and is particularly useful for modeling mediational processes. Additionally, SEM permits measurement error variance to be separated from the observed variance so that relationships among true underlying constructs can be examined. Thus, the methodology blends aspects of psychometrics with traditional statistical analysis. It is increasingly used in many areas of the social sciences to test a wide variety of hypotheses, including those about causality, measurement, and change over time. Psych 891W will provide you with the computer and statistical skills that you will need to perform covariance structure analysis sensibly. In this course you will learn to plan, carry out, and interpret analyses using the LISREL8.7 computer program. The emphasis will be on applying, understanding, and interpreting this technique in a psychological context.
Theories and Techniques in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy
This graduate seminar covers the theoretical approaches to and general issues (such as ethics) in clinical psychological practice and
Issues in Clinical Practice and Research
893A Cognitive Seminar
Presentations of current research and theory in cognitive psychology.
893B Child Seminar
This seminar covers current topics in Developmental Psychology.