FALL 2013 PSYCHOLOGY COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
100 Introductory Psychology
Overview of psychology. The natural science and social science 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.
Overview of psychology. The natural science and social science 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. This section has a required discussion section in addition to the lecture. Students may register for either an in-person discussion or an online section.
Overview of the natural and social science sub-areas of psychology, including biological, social, developmental and clinical psychology. Relating research and theories to contemporary issues and problems in day-to-day life. Three exams, comprehensive final (required for anyone missing one of the three exams). Daily use of Personal Response System, required as part of grade. Five in-class reaction papers and five OWL homework assignments. Optional extra-credit peer-led weekly discussion groups. Other optional extra credit opportunities include OWL exercises and psychology department experimental credit. Text and Lecture Notes required.
Principles of Biology
The purpose of this course is to give students a basic understanding of the biological concepts needed to be successful in Behavioral Neuroscience and/or Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. Students who have not taken college level Intro Bio or AP Bio are strongly encouraged to take this course before enrolling in Behavioral Neuroscience. The course is designed as a survey of biological processes related to Neuroscience. Topics covered will include the structure and function of DNA, animal cells, and neurons.
240 Statistics in Psychology
Lecture, lab. This course provides an 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, correlation, regression, producing data, basic probability, inference, the t-test, the chi-square test, and analysis of variance.
This course provides an introduction to those descriptive and inferential statistical techniques that are fundamental to contemporary psychological science. Both conceptual understanding and method application are emphasized. Topics covered include frequency tables, histograms and bar graphs, statistical indices of central tendency and variability, the logic of Hypothesis Testing including probability theory, confidence intervals, effect size, power estimation, and use of the following data analytic techniques: the Z – test, the Single Sample t – test, the t – test for Correlated Means, the t – test for Independent Means, the Analysis of Variance (conceptual coverage only), Correlation, Regression, and Chi – Square. Class meetings are devoted to lectures explaining the concepts and ideas involved in each topic covered; Lab meetings are devoted to completing in – class work sheets illustrating the application of those concepts and ideas, especially with respect to problem – solving. Course requirements include: weekly graded home work assignments, lab work sheets, and in – class quizzes, as well as three mid-term and one final comprehensive examination.
241 Methods of Inquiry in Psychology
Lecture, lab. Research methods in psychology including observation, correlation, small n, and laboratory experiment. Emphasis on hands-on experience in labs and on written research reporting.
295H Departmental Honors Seminar
Orientation to Departmental Honors program. Classes primarily consist of presentations by faculty members in the department who describe their current research programs and interests. Strongly recommended for sophomores and juniors considering Departmental Honors or with interests in research and independent study.
305 Educational Psychology
Lecture. Comprehensive introduction to educational psychology. Covers major theories and research relating to teaching and learning. Topics include development, motivation, learning, individual differences, assessment, and cultural/community influences.
315 Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive Psychology, Honors
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.
320 Learning and Thinking
Covers theories and empirical findings of Classical and Operant conditioning in animals and people: their use in understanding and controlling behavior. Also covers problem solving, human memory and information processing. Student performance is evaluated on the basis of four in-class essay exams, a non-comprehensive final exam and several homework assignments.
330 Behavioral Neuroscience
An introduction to the neurobiological basis of behavior in humans and animals. Topic include basic neuroanatomy, neuronal structure and function (neurotransmission) as well as fundamental processes such as sleep, learning and memory, stress, emotion and drug addiction.. Students will learn how these processes are related to normal and pathological behavior from the level of the cell to behavior.
335 Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
This course will cover the basic principles of behavioral neuroendocrinology, from a molecular to organismic level. Vertebrate and invertebrate research models will be examined 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.
350 Developmental Psychology
Developmental Psychology, Honors
The primary goal of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the field of Developmental Psychology—the scientific study of how we become who we are. The course will cover current research spanning a broad range of topics within the major domains of development from the prenatal period to early adolescence: biological, cognitive, social, and emotional development, although no one topic will be covered exhaustively. Students will gain exposure to the central questions driving the field of developmental psychology and become familiarized with the scientific basis for making the decisions one may someday face as a parent, teacher, social-policy maker, or voter.
An overview of child development from the prenatal period through adolescence. Topics covered include: genetics, brain development, ethology, memory, language, learning, perception, and social behavior. The emphasis of this course is on typical developmental processes, however, atypical development will also be examined. Development will be presented as an interaction between experiential and biological factors, and there will be a focus on methods used to study development at different ages.
360 Social Psychology
Major theories, research and applications in social psychology. Topics include: attitudes, social influence, helping, aggression, groups, and interpersonal attraction.
360H Social Psychology, Honors
This course provides an overview of social psychological theory and research. Topics covered include how people explain their own and others' behavior, how and why people change their attitudes, why prejudice exists, how people maintain romantic relationships and why people help or harm others. Requirements include 4 exams and several short essays.
380 Abnormal Psychology
A review of various forms of psychopathology including: addictive, adjustment, anxiety, childhood, dissociative, impulse control, mood, personality, psychophysiological, schizophrenic, and sexual disorders. Based on a review of contemporary research findings, lectures will focus on the most relevant approaches for understanding, diagnosing, and treating psychological disorders. Students are required to take three out of four examinations.
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.
The Psychology of Adoption
This seminar explores the psychology of adoption from multiple perspectives: adopted persons, adoptive parents, birth parents, and the individuals or entities that arranged the adoption. In addition to the primary psychological focus, we will examine how adoption is affected by cultural, historical, geopolitical, and economic contexts in which it occurs. We will also critically evaluate the research literature relating to adoption and discuss issues regarding practice (clinical and psychoeducational) and policy (from the agency level to that of international treaties). The seminar requires a commitment to active participation by all students.
Abnormal Child Psychology
This course will examine psychological disorders that typically begin during childhood, and consider them in the context of “normal” development. We will examine theory and research about the causes underlying these disorders, and seek to understand more about how these disorders manifest themselves across different developmental stages.
This course compares current philosophical and psychological perspectives on consciousness with those found in religious scriptures. For example, on the one hand, first person vs. third person perspective, the relation of consciousness to brain, the existence of qualia, blindsight, zombies, inverted spectra, what it is like to be a bat, and on the other hand, pure consciousness, the unity of mystical thought, heaven within, Buddha nature, Samadhi, Dhyana and Prajna, suchness, the prayer of quiet, the cloud of unknowing, all this is that.
Testimony of eyewitnesses to crimes is frequently compelling to jurors, but is eyewitness memory reliable? In this course, we will read selections from the primary literature on both basic memory processes and memory in eyewitness situations. Example topics will include memory for faces, the misinformation effect, lineup fairness, and the relationship between confidence and accuracy. Assessment will be based on class participation, a readings journal, a midterm, and a final paper.
391 GC Seminar
Inernational Justice in an Age of Global Conflict
This course examines the role that international justice plays in globalized conflicts around the world, specifically taking into account psychological and other social scientific perspectives (e.g., political science). While the literature and concepts studied in this course draw on many conflicts around the world, the course will focus on international justice in ongoing conflicts – of which there currently are at least 41 in the world – and specifically on the ongoing violence in regions in (Darfur, Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains) and around Sudan (border regions to South Sudan, Chad). Thus, we will apply the knowledge we will gain and the concepts we will learn about to this ongoing violence, and possible solutions for it in terms of international justice.
There are two parallel, interconnected and interwoven parts to this course: the study of international justice, and the active engagement in international justice. In short, the study part of the course is what you would expect in any course on a given subject: reading, discussing, understanding the subject matter. We will start by looking at different forms of justice, their limitations and dangers, and how they were and are applied in international conflicts (e.g., Nuremberg trials, truth and reconciliation commissions such as the ones in South Africa, international criminal tribunals such as for the former Yugoslavia, native justice traditions such as those in Rwanda). We will then examine the relationships between justice on the one side and truth, reconciliation, tolerance, and peace on the other side. While doing so, we will make connections to collective action, passive and active bystandership, the Responsibility to Protect and the Duty to Aid, and humanitarian interventions. Over the course of the semester you will also learn about International Criminal Law, human rights, and legal bodies such as the International Criminal Court. Throughout the course we will grapple with the question of how to promote global justice, and the connected problem of when, where, and whom to give justice (e.g. international interventions in Serbia or Lybia, but not in Rwanda, Syria, Darfur).
In the active engagement part of the course, you will develop and carry out a project of your own choice and making, addressing issues of international justice in Darfur. You will do so in collaboration with some of your class mates, me, and a partner organization. The projects can take any shape or form. It may be a campaign to increase awareness for the ongoing genocide in Darfur on the UMass campus and in the Amherst community; a journalistic project creating narratives of the violence with refugees from Sudan and/or South Sudan; a project lobbying local and state politicians to take action on Darfur; organization of a conference on the violence in and around Sudan; developing workshops to educate people on how single persons can make a difference even in large and remote conflicts; … These are just examples. What exactly you will do lies in your own hands (which will be helped and guided by me and the partner organizations).
Importantly, the active engagement part of the course will go hand in hand with the study part of the course, and both will inform each other. For instance, should you plan a project to collect donations for Darfur, there would be many questions that needed to be discussed, such as: Can donations really make a difference in this conflict? Are they helpful, and if so, how are they most helpful? Do they save people from starvation, only to be eventually killed by an unchecked genocidal regime? Do they prolong the conflict by diverting money that could/should be spent on ending violence and making peace? Is it useful to shame or guilt people into donating money? … Such questions will be discussed based on scientific theories and empirical research, particularly in the context of past conflicts and, if available, similar efforts attempted in the past. Also, your experiences in your projects will be discussed and analyzed, informed by scientific theory and research, as well as informing said theory and research.
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 humans and animals. Students are expected to actively participate during class, give presentations and write a research project proposal.
Scientific Studies of Consciousness
Research in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience is constantly revealing new facts about how we see, hear, speak, move, recognize, remember, learn, and reason. The goal of these scientific studies is to explain these mental processes thoroughly and completely. However, many people feel that there is something about our consciousness or inner mental life that can never be explained by any scientific theory, no matter how advanced. In this seminar, we will ask what consciousness is, and will assess what current science can tell us about it. We will consider the different ways in which philosophers have tried to explain consciousness and the relationship between mind and body. Then we will examine how far science has progressed in explaining the workings of the mind, considering evidence from many different sources, including psychological experiments, brain imaging, neuronal recordings, and the effects of brain damage and drugs on experience and behavior. Finally, we will examine what is still unexplained, and will ask whether science can ever explain everything about the mind.
Social and Emotional Development
This course will examine core issues in social and emotional development from birth through adolescence. Emphasis will be on the key concepts and theoretical approaches that guide our understanding of emotion processing and its impact on social behavior. Biological and contextual factors that influence trajectories of social and emotional development will be considered across typical and atypical populations of children.
Prejudice and Intergroup Relations
This course introduces students to psychological theories of prejudice and intergroup relations with a strong emphasis on applying these theories to the multi-ethnic context of the United States. The course begins with an overview of key issues in the study of intergroup relations with references to perceptions and experiences of many native and immigrant groups in the United States. We will then review classic and contemporary theory and research on prejudice and intergroup relations with special attention to examples from social psychology. At the end of the course, we will focus on applications of such theory and research to social issues such as racial segregation in schools and affirmative action. The course will consist primarily of lectures, with some large-group and small-group discussions and workshops to be conducted in small groups. It has been designed for students to explore a variety of perspectives concerning how people perceive, evaluate, and interact with each other as members of different groups. My hope is that students will leave this course with a broader understanding of factors that contribute to dynamics between groups, and with their own thoughtful analysis of how our theories relate to group members’ experiences in the real world.
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 Seminars
Psychology 392A 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.
Titles and instructors will not be available until shortly before the beginning of the semester.
480 Intellectual Disability; Concepts and Controversies
This is the foundational course for the Developmental Disabilities and Human Services (DDHS) Specialization Program in the Department of Psychology. It provides an introduction to the psychological, sociological, philosophical and social policy issues in the field of Intellectual Disability.
Impact of Disabilities on Families
The course will address the impact and consequences of developmental disabilities and related disorders on the psychological functioning of families - parents, siblings, grandparents, and other extended family members. It will also include a focus on the sociological and public policy implications of disability for society.
494RI Interdisciplinary Directions in Psychology
The Psychology IE course will focus on the content areas of Psychology as they relate to real-world problems. We will consider areas of Psychology where our majors may be employed after graduation. The course will be organized into a series of six units. Each unit will be introduced and discussed in a lecture and carried over into recitation sections. Course content will represent each of the five areas of the department in various themes throughout the course; some themes will cross disciplinary boundaries contained within the department. Lectures, assignments, and activities will allow the students to integrate principles learned in general education courses by applying them to the psychology major. Over the course of the semester students will evaluate historical perspectives, generate written assignments, critique scientific research, give oral presentations, evaluate ethical principles, examine multicultural perspectives, and reflect on career development. Topics may include: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), Neuroethics: The Use and Implications of Brain Research, Psychology and the legal system, Multitasking, Underrepresented minority participation in research and practice and Psychology and public policy. Satisfies the Integrative Experience requirement for BA-Psych and BS-Psych majors.
499D Honors Thesis Seminar
Explorations in Psychological Practice
This is an intensive seven-credit, one-semester Culminating Experience course that fulfills the Commonwealth College Culminating Experience requirement. Students in this course will be doing the workload traditionally completed over two semesters and should expect to spend a weekly average of 12 hours outside of class meetings on associated coursework. This is a capstone class primarily for students who wish to pursue careers in the mental health fields, particularly psychology. The content of the course will cover the important aspects of clinical psychology as it pertains to both current and future practices. A history of the field, clinical assessment and diagnosis, ethics, psychological interventions, biological foundations of behavior, and specialty areas such as child, family, and forensic and health psychology will be covered. The class will include extensive reading on the part of the students, several papers, a midterm and a final Culminating Experience paper suitable for archiving. The class format will consist of lectures, discussion, and experiential exercises. Particular interest will be given to diversity and multicultural concerns. Registration by consent of instructor only.
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. If you
- love research, and have already arranged a way to be research active in the fall
- really enjoy, and derive a personal sense of satisfaction from, helping people
- have a passionate interest in the field of Clinical Psychology as a scientific discipline, and
- hunger for an intense immersion in the work that Clinical Psychologists actually do,
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.
617 Cognitive Psychology
This course explores the underlying representation and processes of adult cognition. The history of cognitive psychology, concepts and categories, memory, judgment and decision-making, problem solving, language. Includes an introduction to models of cognition.
640 Statistical Inference in Psychology I
Application of statistical procedures to analysis of psychological data and to problems of measurement in psychology and related fields.
660 Advanced Social Psychology
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with social psychological theory and research in an attempt to demonstrate how social psychologists think about human behavior. Rather than move from one social psychological topic to another (e.g., attribution to attitudes to group processes), we will consider the field in light of selected contemporary issues. For a given social problem or issue, we will bring to bear research and theory from different areas of social psychology (e.g., attitudes, social cognition, and group processes). Hopefully by the end of the course, students will not only be familiar with social psychology, but will also be more likely to think about old problems in new ways.
Introduction to alternative views of abnormality; Clinical theory and research on psychopathology.
681 Advanced Assessment
The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to and an intensive overview of psychological and neuropsychological assessment techniques in the field of clinical psychology. By the end of this course, you will have a strong foundation in the principles of adult assessment and be prepared to begin assessment work on practicum. Topics include clinical interviewing, intelligence testing, assessment of other neuropsychological constructs (e.g., executive functions, memory); test selection, scoring, and interpretation; integrative report writing; providing feedback; assessment as intervention; and cross-cultural and ethical issues. There also will be an emphasis throughout the course on theories of test construction and psychometrics.
762 Social Cognition
Attribution and other social judgment processes. Implicit causal theories in the interpretation and explanation of own and others' behavior. Motivational and cognitive biases in social cognition.
The purpose of this course is to critically examine contemporary issues and topics in the field of human development. The course will provide an overview of current theory and research related to development across the life course. Special emphasis will be placed on issues and debates that have dominated the field and continue to be a source of controversy and impetus for research. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will explore social, physical, and biological factors that can shape the course of human development. Attention will also be paid to how cultural context shapes and gives meaning to development.
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
This seminar is designed specifically for those graduate student TAs teaching a section of undergraduate Junior Year Writing in Psychology.
Landmark Paper in Behavioral Neuroscience
This course will introduce graduate students to landmark papers in Behavioral Neuroscience. Each week, a student will discuss a landmark journal article in the field. They will put the paper in historical perspective by answering the following questions: What led to the publication? Was it accepted by the field, or was it rejected, because it contradicted dogma. Did it result in a paradigm shift? What came next? How did it change the development of the discipline? Although there will be no final exam, there will be a term paper.
Hierarchical Linear Modeling
The hierarchical linear model provides a conceptual framework and a flexible set of analytic tools to study a variety of educational, social and developmental processes. One set of applications focuses on data in which persons are clustered within social contexts such as couples, families, classrooms, schools, or neighborhoods. A second set of applications concerns individual growth or change over time. Interest focuses on the shape of mean growth, the variability in individual growth curves around the mean growth curve, and person-level characteristics that predict differences in growth curves.
The course will consider the formulation of statistical models for these applications. Topics include an introduction to the basic two-level model for continuous outcomes, assessment of fit, checking model assumptions, single and multiparameter hypothesis testing, and the extension to three-level models. Special topics include univariate and multivariate models for dyads.
Participants will be exposed to a wide variety of examples, with emphasis on the interpretation and reporting of results. Each class session will be divided into a lecture-demonstration, where basic conceptual material will be presented and discussed, and a computer lab time, where participants will use the HLM5 program to develop models and become familiar with the features of the program. A basic understanding of statistical inference and skill in interpreting results from multiple regression are strongly suggested as preparation for the course.
Raudenbush, S. W. & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical Linear Models: Applications and Data Analysis Methods. 2nd edition. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Techniques in Teaching
This seminar is designed specifically for those graduate student TAs teaching discussion sections of the undergraduate Integrative Experience in Psychology.
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).
The term “multicultural” is applied broadly to include issues of minority or marginalized status, as related to race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, spirituality, class, and the elderly. This course utilizes principles and concepts of multicultural and cross-cultural psychology to attempt to acquire an increased understanding of diverse, underrepresented groups, with an emphasis on understanding racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism and ageism. It utilizes the multicultural competencies perspective to facilitate learning how to perform effective research and clinical work with individuals who are of different cultures, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic status, ages, ability, religion and spirituality.
We will explore multiple types of phonological learning in several populations and using several different approaches. Phonological learning includes how infants initially form categorical representations of speech sounds, how listeners learn the phonotactic rules of a language, how both infants and adults learn to recognize boundaries between words in continuous speech, the types of phonological patterns that are more and less difficult to learn, and the phonological knowledge native speakers share about their language. We will base our discussions on both empirical evidence and computational models of learning. This course will meet jointly with the Linguistics Seminar with the same name, taught by Joe Pater.
In this seminar, we will read and critically evaluate current theory and research on close relationships, and especially romantic relationships. Readings will include many journal articles and book chapters. Assignments will include leading discussions, writing reaction papers, and preparing a grant proposal for an original research idea relevant to close relationships.
893A Cognitive Seminar
This provides a forum for Cognitive Area (and other interested) faculty and graduate students to exchange ideas, report research, discuss current trends, etc. Graduate students in Cognitive are expected to enroll; others may do so with permission of the instructor.
893B Child Seminar