Psychology is invigorated by the intellectual imperative to understand behavior, the ethical imperative to alleviate human suffering, and the aesthetic imperative to find form and pattern in our lives. The psychology curriculum illuminates the behavior of biological organisms living in social habitats. Students of psychology learn to use empirical methods to investigate behavior and to use critical thinking to interrogate empirical methods. Situated in a liberal arts environment, the psychology curriculum empowers the student with tools for mindful inquiry. Students of psychology construct their learning into a variety of professional careers, including teaching, scientific research, clinical work, medicine, and law.
Students interested in psychology should take Introduction to Psychology and either Introduction to Statistics or Applied Statistics early in their college careers. Students interested in the psychology major should follow these courses to the required Research Methods and the 200-level core program. Research Methods equips the student with tools for inquiry; core courses explore the essential content areas of psychological science. Engagement with the core program aims the student toward advanced courses that permit the study of topics in depth and may provide the impetus for individual research projects. In addition, the department encourages students to pursue experiential learning through internships.
All majors are encouraged to explore the varied elective courses offered by the department and to take advantage of opportunities to do independent work. Liberally educated psychology majors value the breadth of their education. The requirements for the major leave time in the student’s career for courses in mathematics, science, social studies, and humanities. The student is encouraged to discover the natural affinity of psychology with many disciplines and the creative thinking that follows from multidisciplinary competence.
The facilities that support learning in the psychology curriculum afford genuine laboratory experience and creative research. Interactions in these facilities give the student experience with the protocols that inspire awareness of the opportunities for research and teach the ethical responsibilities of researchers. The facilities include a group process laboratory, a behavioral neuroscience suite with a contiguous animal colony, and a freestanding preschool that offers an ongoing curriculum in parallel with its laboratory function.
A minimum of 32 credits in psychology including:
- Psychology 113 Introduction to Psychology
- Psychology 225 Research Methods
- Psychology 495 Senior Seminar
- Twelve additional credits from core courses at the 200 level with at least one course from Group A and one course from Group B
- Group A
- Psychology 243 Behavior Analysis
- Psychology 246 Physiological Psychology
- Psychology 260 Cognitive Psychology
- Group B
- Psychology 214 Social Psychology
- Psychology 233 Developmental Psychology
- Psychology 248 Abnormal Psychology
- Psychology 250 Health Psychology
- Eight additional credits at the 300 level
- Mathematics/Social Studies 115 Introduction to Statistics or Mathematics 209 Applied Statistics
- At least two courses above the 100 level should be laboratory courses
- Independent research and departmental service
To be considered for honors in psychology, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must demonstrate voluntary engagement with and commitment to the values of the discipline, which include, but are not limited to, departmental service and independent research.
An introduction to principles of psychological science and inquiry. Major topics of psychology are covered with consideration of different approaches psychologists take to describe, predict, and explain behavior. Emphasis is placed on theory, research, and application. Laboratory work is required.
Survey of contemporary experimental social psychology. Topics include: attribution theory, social cognition, stereotypes, attitudes, prosocial behavior, aggression, group processes, and applied social psychology. Attention given to interaction between theoretical development and empirical measurement. Laboratory work is required.
An examination of human decision making under uncertainty. Topics include biases resulting from cognitive strategies, probability, utility theory, reasoning, prediction, and issues specific to group decisions.
An investigation of individual differences, learning, and motivation in the context of the work setting. Topics include testing theory, training techniques, and motivational theories.
This course describes experimental designs and attendant statistical techniques. Students learn to use quantitative methods to pose meaningful questions to data. Topics include between-group and within-group designs, analysis of variance for main effects and interactions, the adaptation of statistical inquiry to less than optimal situations, and critical thinking about research methods.
survey of psychological development from the prenatal period through adolescence. Major theoretical perspectives on the nature of developmental change are considered with a focus on empirical validation and application of each perspective. Topics include physical, cognitive, and social development. Laboratory work is required.
The course studies behavior as it occurs in its environmental context. Topics in learning and motivation are analyzed through the experimental approach of behavior analytic psychology. Topics include classical and operant learning, choice, self-control, and extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Laboratory work is required.
An introduction to the physiological control of behavior. Course content: (a) general introduction to neuroanatomy and neurophysiology; (b) neuroregulatory systems, motivation, and emotion; (c) perceptual and motor systems; and (d) processes of learning, memory, and cognition. Laboratory work may be required.
The study of psychopathology. Emphasis is given to experimental models and the underlying psychological processes of abnormal behavior. Some attention is given to treatments. The course is structured around the categories of the DSM IV.
A survey of the psychological and social processes that contribute to health and illness. Topics include health-compromising and health-promoting behaviors, stress and coping, managing chronic illness, and patient-provider communication. Laboratory work may be required.
A survey of the experimental research on human thinking, knowing, and remembering. Topics include attention, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and language. Laboratory work is required.
Historical and philosophical origins of contemporary schools of psychology are considered. The student analyzes the nature of psychological theory and the methods used to disconfirm theories, as well as the reasons for the emergence and decline of schools of psychological thought.
An advanced study of a particular social psychological topic. Emphasis will be placed on a critical analysis of theoretical approaches, experimental findings, and future directions. Topics will vary and may include: stereotypes, interpersonal relationships, cross-cultural psychology, or the social psychology of emotion. Laboratory work may be required.
A survey of classical and contemporary approaches to understanding healthy adult personalities. Emphasis will be placed on the trait approach, the coherence of personality across time and situations, beliefs about the self, social aspects of personality, and empirical research methods used to study personality.
An advanced investigation of substantive topics in developmental psychology. Emphasis is placed on theory and research. Laboratory work may be required.
A consideration of human development during adulthood with emphasis on models and empirical work that illustrate factors that constrain and optimize development. Topics are treated in-depth and include changes in social roles, wisdom, autobiographical memory, dementia, and death. Laboratory work may be required.
In-depth investigation of a selected topic in the area of motivated behavior as addressed from a variety of psychological perspectives (e.g., physiological, behavioral, social, cognitive, developmental). The focus will be on critical analysis methodologies, empirical evidence, and theoretical approaches through examination of the primary literature. Laboratory work may be required.
A laboratory-centered introduction to advanced topics in behavioral neuroscience and basic research techniques used to investigate brain-behavior relationships. Participants will gain experience in stereotaxic neurosurgery, psychopharmacology, and various behavioral measures. A research-team approach is used for both the literature discussion and the laboratory activities each week.
Students will learn about methods of test development, the statistical analysis of test data, and social implications of testing. In lab, students will develop testing instruments and learn multivariate data analysis. Topics covered include intelligence and personality testing, systems of behavioral observation, regression, factor analysis, and theories of test construction.
This course describes psychophysiological and behavioral principles and methods in the context of the biopsychosocial model of health and illness. Topics include behavioral pathogens, stress, pain, psychoneuroimmunology, and behavior management. Laboratory work may be required.
An examination of experimental psycholinguistics. Topics include how humans perceive, comprehend, and produce language; research with brain-damaged individuals; language acquisition; and the role of memory and cognition on processing language. Laboratory work may be required.
An in-depth examination of research on a specific area within cognitive psychology. Possible topics focus on implicit memory, memory in older adults, language in primates, conditional reasoning, and insight in problem-solving. Laboratory work may be required.
This course surveys the psychological research on culture, ethnicity, race, and minority status in the United States. Emphasis will be placed on developing an understanding of the experiences of non-white ethnic minorities through the study of empirical research. Topics will vary and may include: racial identity, racism, acculturation, health disparities, and mental health issues.
A critical exploration of controversial topics of both historical and contemporary significance in psychology with intense interrogation of the field’s diverse perspectives and methods.
- College Catalog