Faculty-Psychology

Psychology

John F. Axelson, Ph.D., Professor

Daniel B. Bitran, Ph.D., Professor

Danuta Bukatko, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Education

Mark Freeman, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society; Chair

Suzanne R. Kirschner, Ed.D., Professor

Charles M. Locurto, Ph.D., Professor

Richard C. Schmidt, Ph.D., Edward A. O’Rorke Professor in the Liberal Arts

Florencia K. Anggoro, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Alo C. Basu, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Stephenie R. Chaudoir, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Gregory J. DiGirolamo, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Mark C. Hallahan, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Jumi Hayaki, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Patricia E. Kramer, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Alison Bryant Ludden, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Noah Berman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Neal E. Lipsitz, Ph.D., Lecturer

Gary Senecal, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor

Veronica Romero, Cand. Ph.D., Visiting Instructor

Leslie E. Adams, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer

 

 

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental life. The discipline is broad, with different fields of study that range from conducting basic research in laboratory or field settings, to meeting the needs of individuals or groups in clinical settings, to addressing philosophical questions of the discipline. The department represents these various orientations, encouraging students to engage in the analysis of psychological phenomena from diverse perspectives.

Majors in the class of 2018

Psychology majors must take a minimum of 10 courses in psychology.

Required courses – 4 courses:

PSYC 100 – Introduction to Psychology

PSYC 200 – Statistics

PSYC 201 – Research Methods in Psychology

PSYC 305 – History and Theory of Psychology

One course in each of the following 4 areas:

Biological Psychology

PSYC 221 – Physiology and Behavior

PSYC 223– Learning

PSYC 253 – Evolution of Behavior

Cognitive Psychology

PSYC 220 – Perception and Social Neuroscience

PSYC 235 – Cognitive Neuroscience

PSYC 236 –  Cognition and Memory

PSYC 237 – Psychology of Language

Developmental Processes

PSYC 225– Developmental Psychology

PSYC 228 – Psychology of Adolescence

PSYC 239 – Psychology of Aging

PSYC 361 – Culture and Development

Individual and Social Processes

PSYC 226 – Personality

PSYC 227 – Social Psychology

PSYC 229 – Abnormal Psychology

Electives (1)

300 level elective (1)

Majors in the class of 2019 and subsequent class years

Psychology majors must take a minimum of 10 courses in psychology.

Required courses – 4 courses:

PSYC 100 – Introduction to Psychology

PSYC 200 – Statistics

PSYC 201 – Research Methods in Psychology

PSYC 305 – History and Theory of Psychology

One course in each of the following 3 areas:

Biological Processes

PSYC 220 – Perception and Social Neuroscience

PSYC 221 – Physiology and Behavior

PSYC 235 – Cognitive Neuroscience

PSYC 253  – Evolution of Behavior

Cognitive and Behavioral Processes

PSYC 223 – Learning

PSYC 225 – Developmental Psychology

PSYC 236 –  Cognition and Memory

PSYC 237 – Psychology of Language

Individual, Social, and Cultural Processes

PSYC 226 – Personality

PSYC 227 – Social Psychology

PSYC 228  – Psychology of Adolescence

PSYC 229 – Abnormal Psychology

Any level electives (2)

300 level elective (1)

Note: Majors must take at least one social science course outside the psychology department. Similarly, majors must take at least one natural science or mathematics course outside the department. Academic advisors can assist students in selecting courses that help provide a coherent, well-integrated program of study.

The psychology department provides students with ample opportunity to work independently under the individual direction of their professors, including courses for advanced study (Directed Readings - Psychology 470) and research (Research Projects - Psychology 480). Our faculty is actively engaged in research on a variety of topics, including the effects of hormones and drugs on behavior, individual differences in animal intelligence, cognitive development in children, interpersonal coordination, face perception, the neuropsychological basis of attention, social and cultural psychology, emotional dysregulation and eating disorders, and stigma. Many of the department's majors have presented papers at regional and national undergraduate and professional meetings and have published their work in professional journals. The undergraduate liberal arts degree in psychology also provides students with many advanced-study and career options and has led to students being placed in graduate programs in psychology and medicine as well as a wide variety of workplaces.

Advanced Placement Credit: Students with AP credit in psychology (a score of 4 or 5) are awarded advanced placement in the curriculum and forfeit that credit if they take Psychology 100, Introduction to Psychology. AP credit counts toward the minimum number of courses required in the major. Students with AP credit in Psychology should contact the department chair to discuss enrollment in an appropriate 200-level course.

Minor in Neuroscience

The College has recently established a new interdisciplinary minor in Neuroscience, drawing on psychology, biology, and related disciplines. Students interested in pursuing a program of study in neuroscience should contact the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies for information.

Courses

Psychology Courses

Psychology
100
Introduction to Psychology
Fall, spring

An introduction to the principles and methodology of psychology as emerging from the various areas of the field, such as physiological, sensation and perception, learning, cognition and memory, social, personality, and abnormal. Required for the psychology major. One unit.

Psychology
200
Statistics
Fall

An introduction to descriptive and inferential statistical methods in analysis and interpretation of psychological data. Required for the psychology major. One and one-quarter units.

Psychology
201
Research Methods in Psychology
Spring

A thorough survey of methods and techniques employed in psychological research. Topics include observational research, surveys, case studies, experimental designs, and ethical issues in research. Emphasis is on critical evaluation of research. Students develop the skills to design an experiment, statistically analyze and interpret the results, and to present the findings in a written and oral report. One and one-half units.

Psychology
220
Perception and Social Neuroscience
Annually

The two major contemporary theories of perception are discussed for each of the sensory/perceptual systems (e.g., vision, audition, and haptics). For both theoretical approaches, a critical examination is made of the relation of sensory processes, perceptual abilities, and action systems with the goal of explaining how we are able to perceive the world. One unit.

Psychology
221
Physiology and Behavior
Fall, spring

The structure and function of the nervous system is studied to provide an appreciation of the biological basis of behavior. The first half of the course emphasizes neuroanatomy, basic cell physiology, effects of drugs on behavior, and the autonomic nervous system. Later topics include physiological influences on sleep-wake and circadian rhythms, reproductive behavior, eating and drinking, learning and memory, emotions, and mental illness. One unit.

Psychology
223
Learning
Alternate years

An intensive evaluation of how behavior is acquired and maintained. Focuses on Pavlovian and operant conditioning in animals and humans. Special topics include the application of these principles to psychotherapy, drug addiction, self-control, and biological influences and constraints on learning. Fulfills the Biological Fundamental Area Requirement. One unit.

Psychology
225
Developmental Psychology
Annually

A survey of theory and research pertaining to both cognitive and social development from birth to adolescence. Special topics include prenatal development, early experience, perception, learning, memory, language, emotions, achievement, moral development, gender role development, parenting, schools, and peer relationships. One unit.

Psychology
226
Personality
Alternate years

Covers several major conceptions of personality such as the psychoanalytic, humanistic, cognitive, trait, and behavioral approaches. The theories of such psychologists as Freud, Maslow, Kelly, Allport, and Skinner are presented to attain a broad understanding of human personality. Fulfills the Individual and Social Processes Fundamental Area Requirement. One unit.

Psychology
227
Social Psychology
Annually

An overview of the methods and research findings of social psychology. Emphasis is on the experimental analysis of topics such as person perception, interpersonal attraction, prosocial behavior, aggression, social exchange, and group behavior. Fulfills the Individual and Social Processes Fundamental Area Requirement. One unit.

Psychology
228
Psychology of Adolescence
Annually

A survey of research and theories related to physical, social and cognitive development during adolescence with a particular emphasis on identity and school, family, and peer contexts. Topics include puberty and brain development, social transitions and culture, peer pressure, motivation and achievement, identity formation, extracurricular involvement, autonomy and moral development, sexuality, problem behaviors, eating disorders, and emerging adulthood. Fulfills the Developmental Processes Fundamental Area Requirement. One unit.

Psychology
229
Abnormal Psychology
Annually

Examines mental illness throughout the life span, with discussions of the developmental, biological, behavioral, psychosocial, cultural, and other theories that attempt to explain emotional and behavioral problems. One goal for the course is to develop an understanding of how information about mental illness and mental health is obtained, and the problems associated with the evaluation and interpretation of this information. One unit.

Psychology
232
Developmental Science and Education
Alternate years

This course considers the ways in which the scientific research in developmental psychology has relevance for practice in educational settings. The course focuses primarily on research on cognitive development and how it helps us to understand children’s literacy, mathematical reasoning, and scientific thinking. Other topics include motivation, social cognition, and specific problems in learning such as ADHD. Students participate in a community based learning project in local schools as part of this course. One unit.

Psychology
235
Cognitive Neuroscience
Annually

This course is a topical introduction to the field of cognitive neuroscience, in which we look specifically at the neural substrates of cognitive function: from how we remember and see, to how we control our own actions and thoughts and have conscious awareness. We will cover the experimental toolkit of cognitive neuroscience (ranging from reaction time tests to functional MRI), and the results of recent research into perception, attention, learning and memory, and their neurological underpinnings. Throughout the course, special attention is given to dysfunctions of cognitive functioning resulting from brain damage or psychopathologies.  One unit.

Psychology
236
Cognition and Memory
Annually

Examines current perspectives on how a physical system can have intelligence and know its world. Historical, cognitive science (computer metaphor), connectionist and embodied cognition perspectives will be surveyed. Of interest is how we can model cognitive ‘machinery’ and how this machinery produces such phenomena as attention, pattern recognition, and information storage. One unit.

Psychology
237
Psychology of Language
Alternate years

An overview of the psychology of language. Language is defined as a shared, symbolic system for communication. Topics will include speech perception, comprehension, and production, as well as language acquisition and  bilingualism. These basic concepts of language are then applied to an understanding of different forms of language use (e.g., spoken, written, sign) and language disorders (e.g., aphasia, dyslexia).  Prerequisite: Psychology 100. One unit.

Psychology
244
Health Psychology
Alternate years

An introduction to the major concepts in health psychology and the role of psychologists in health research and health care. Explores psychosocial influences on illness and health; the psychological sequence of illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, and heart disease; illness prevention and health promotion; pain and pain management; and psychological issues in chronic and terminal illness. One unit.

Psychology
252
Food, Nutrition & Health
Alternate years

The primary goal of this course is to help students consider the importance of diet for our overall health and well-being. Questions addressed in this course include the following. What are the basic macronutrients found in food? What are the differences between reductionistic and wholistic approaches to studying food and nutrition? How does the food industry manufacture processed foods to create desire? How do various environmental factors (e.g., social setting, container size and shape) influence food consumption? This course will emphasize the health and environmental benefits of eating less meat and dairy while increasing consumption of non-processed plant-based foods. This is not a course on eating disorders. Students applying to graduate programs (e.g., Nursing) that require applicants to complete a course in nutrition should know this course does not satisfy that requirement. Format will be lecture and some discussion. One unit.

Psychology
253
Evolution of Behavior
Alternate years

Explores the origins and nature of human nature. Focuses on the evolutionary origins of human nature as revealed through the available fossil record and through analysis of other primate species, particularly chimpanzees. Topics include sex differences, language development, the origins of psychiatric disorders, and the evolutionary basis for human social behavior and human intelligence. One unit.

Psychology
299
Special Topics in Psychology
Annually

A first-time course offering. From time to time courses on particular topics will be offered. One unit.

Psychology
305
History and Theory of Psychology
Fall, spring

An examination in historical perspective of what are considered to be the major systems (e.g., psychoanalysis, behaviorism, existential psychology) of psychology. The course begins by raising a number of philosophical questions regarding the status of psychology as a scientific discipline, moves on to a comprehensive treatment of the systems themselves, and finally, returns to initial questions to determine the extent to which they have been answered. One unit.

Psychology
314
Science, Medicine, and the Holocaust
Annually

What can be learned of biomedical ethics from a study of the Holocaust? How did a healing profession justify its murderous actions? Were physicians and scientists pawns of a totalitarian regime, or were they active contributors to the racial Nazi ideology? Is the study of genetics susceptible to the same political forces that corrupted the field of eugenics? How did the Holocaust come to shape our current code of ethics in human experimentation? This seminar will seek answers to these and many related questions from a voluminous literature that is populated by contributions from historians, biomedical ethicists, philosophers, theologians, journalists, and artists. Far from a value-free discipline, ideological forces will be shown to be at the core of scientific inquiry. This lesson is of particular importance to aspiring scientists and health practitioners. One unit.

Psychology
315
Biology of Mental Disorders
Alternate years

A brief consideration of the historical and philosophical basis of biological psychiatry is followed by a thorough overview of the major neurotransmitter systems and behavioral genetics necessary for an understanding of the biological aspects of major psychological disorders, including anxiety disorders, psychosomatic disorders, affective disorders (unipolar and bipolar depression), schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. For each of these disorders, the current state of knowledge concerning modes of treatment is reviewed, with an emphasis on the relative efficacy of pharmacotherapeutic agents, including minor tranquilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics. Prerequisite: Psychology 221 or Permission of instructor. One unit.

Psychology
316
Drugs of Abuse
Alternate years

Drug addiction is the central theme of this course. Understanding drug action begins with a consideration of how drugs affect the brain. A basic working knowledge of brain chemistry is established with emphasis on information concerning the various major neurotransmitter systems that are affected by drugs of abuse. Considered next are the different addictive drugs, including alcohol, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines, and the hallucinogens, and specific issues pertaining to the drug addict. The impact of drugs and addiction on society is the subject of the last part of the course. Issues with regard to prevention and treatment are considered. The ultimate goal of this course is to provide sound biological and psychological information from which a rational drug policy can be formed. One unit.

Psychology
318
Seminar: Advanced Statistics
Alternate years

Several advanced techniques in inferential statistics are covered, including multivariate analysis of variance, multiple regression, factor analysis, path analysis, and structural equation modeling. One unit.

Psychology
321
Neuroanatomy and Behavior
Alternate years

Open to third- and fourth-year students interested in a comprehensive study of brain and spinal cord anatomy and function. Structure is studied to provide a foundation for understanding clinical implications of nervous system injury and disease. Begins with study of gross anatomy of the sheep brain. Topics include motor and sensory systems, limbic system, cranial nerves, cerebral cortex, and blood supply to the brain.  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. One unit.

Psychology
323
Seminar: Psychology as Science or Pseudoscience
Alternate years

This course evaluates the claims made by psychologists and other social scientists regarding human nature, to determine whether these claims derive from science or are examples of pseudoscience. Topics range from the effects of prayer on health to the accuracy of criminal profiling and whether intelligence can be improved. One unit.

Psychology
326
Cognition Across Cultures
Alternate years

This course examines empirical and theoretical approaches to understanding human thinking across languages and cultures. One unit.

Psychology
328
Adolescent Health
Alternate years

An advanced seminar in the field of adolescent development that focuses on the epidemiology and etiology of health-related behaviors during adolescence.  This course emphasizes a public health perspective and covers topics such as reproductive health, substance use, nutrition and exercise, sleep, violence, mental health, injuries, and disease.  Further, students will explore health disparities, health education, and domestic and global perspectives on adolescent health.  One unit.

Psychology
337
Substance, Use, Misuse, and Abuse
Alternate years

An advanced seminar in the field of clinical psychology that closely examines the substance (ab)use field, with a particular emphasis on alcohol. Students explore topics such as the following: definitions of harmful/hazardous drinking, familial transmission of alcohol use problems; alcohol, sex, and sports on college campuses; legal debates in the substance use field; philosophies regarding, and clinical approaches to, substance abuse recovery. One unit.

Psychology
338
Consciousness and Control
Annually

This seminar focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying cognitive control and consciousness and its disturbances following brain injury or psychiatric illness. We define cognitive control as the ability to flexibly adapt behavior to current demands, by promoting task-relevant information and behaviors over temporally-extended periods and in the face of interference or competition. Consciousness we define as a subjective awareness of the world and free will. These abilities seem central to most higher cognitive functions, and contribute to the unique character of human behavior. Our goals are to define the neural mechanisms that underlie cognitive control and consciousness, to understand how these mechanisms govern behavior, and to use this knowledge to improve our understanding of the relationship between brain and behavior in psychiatric disorders and neurological damage. One unit.

Psychology
340
Mental Health and Culture
Alternate years

An advanced seminar that explores the impact of cultural constructs (e.g., gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation) on the prevalence, diagnosis, nature, and treatment of mental illness. Students examine topics such as the following: psychiatric illnesses that disproportionately affect members of one gender or ethnic group; differences in help-seeking behavior across ethnic groups; diversity and multicultural competence in psychotherapy research and clinical practice. One unit.

Psychology
342
Seminar: Gender-Role Development
Alternate years

Provides an examination of the role that gender plays in psychological development. Topics include depression, self-esteem, aggression, emotion, control and emotion expression, cognition, and social interaction. Theoretical perspectives as well as the empirical literature on gender development will be explored to assess the nature of gender-patterned behaviors and their consequences. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor; Psychology 225 recommended. One unit.

Psychology
344
Seminar: Theories of the Person
Alternate years

Explores classic and contemporary approaches to understanding personality. Questions considered include: How much of personality is determined (by one’s genes, childhood, or environment)? Do people have enduring traits or dispositions, or is personality a function of the situation? Have personality types changed through history, and do they vary across cultures? Can people be classified into “types” or can you only really know a person in her uniqueness? Do different personality theories generate different conceptions of what is normal and abnormal? What are the social consequences of using different theories to classify human beings? Course addresses these issues through reading and discussion of works by psychoanalytic, humanistic, cognitive, behaviorist, and social constructionist theorists. One unit.

Psychology
345
Seminar: Face Perception
Annually

Investigates the vast amount of information available from faces, such as age, gender, emotions, traits, and aesthetics. Discussion focuses on how we encode and remember faces and how we use information from faces in social interactions. One unit.

Psychology
347
Clinical Psychology
Alternate years

A general introduction to the origin, development, and techniques of clinical psychology is covered in this course. Included is a survey of treatment issues, interviewing, importance of assessment and diagnosis. Importance of specific areas, e.g., behavior therapy, to the modern-day approach to clinical psychology is stressed. One unit.

Psychology
348
Science and Politics of IQ
Alternate years

This seminar focuses on the social and biological bases of human intelligence. As this topic is one of the most controversial in modern psychology, our approach will be to survey the various positions on the origins of intelligence and read widely from many different perspectives. Among the specific issues in the course the following questions will be taken up: Do adopted children grow up to resemble more their biological or adoptive parents in intelligence? Is there a single overall intelligence or is human intelligence best considered as consisting of multiple intelligences? Are there group differences in intelligence across cultures and racial/ethnic groups? One unit.

Psychology
349
Psychology of Music
Alternate years

This course explores the psychological foundations of musical experience and behavior and why music has the importance in people’s lives that it seems to have. Topics include the evolutionary origins of music, the processes involved in perceiving musical structure, the development of musical ability and its relationship to other skills, performing and composing music, understanding emotion and meaning in music, and the neural processing of music. One unit.

Psychology
351
Rational Choice/Irrational Mind
Alternate years

Examines the psychology of choice and decision making with a focus on broad questions about the extent to which human behavior can be considered rational. Examples of questions that will be addressed include: What is the source of people’s sense of happiness and subjective well-being? How do people understand risk and uncertainty? How do emotions influence decision making? Do people have stable, well-defined preferences that can be accurately known? To what extent do considerations such as fairness, social norms, and the need for control influence people’s decisions? The course will also explore the social context of decision making in relation to topics such as altruism and cooperation. One unit.

Psychology
353
Language Thought and Culture
Alternate years

Do language and culture affect how people perceive their physical and social world? This seminar will examine a variety of topics relevant to this question. Specific topics will include cross-linguistic differences in areas ranging from color categorization to person perception; the universal and culture-specific effects of status on interpersonal communication; gender differences in communication style; cultural differences in the understanding of the self and their effect on basic psychological processes; and expert-novice differences in perception, categorization, and communication. One unit.

Psychology
354
Psychology of Stigma
Alternate years

This is a seminar course that provides students with the opportunity to more deeply understand the phenomenological experience of stigmatization and to critically evaluate the empirical psychological literature examining the causes and consequences of stigmatization. Prerequisite: Psychology 227 or instructor permission. One unit.

Psychology
355
Seminar: Resilience and Development
Alternate years

Covers risk and resiliency from early childhood through adulthood and focuses on defining resilience; sources of risk and protection within families, schools, and communities; and prevention programs. Special topics will include strengths-based models of resiliency, child maltreatment and health, problem-solving and creativity, resiliency across cultures, mentoring, and school- and community-based prevention and intervention. One unit.

Psychology
359
Stress and Neuroplasticity
Annually

This advanced seminar explores the short- and long-term effects of psychosocial stress on the nervous system, and the role of stressful experience in adaptation and survival. Questions will include: How does activation of physiological stress responses affect the structure and function of the brain? In what ways might these effects be adaptive or deleterious? How do these effects relate to risk of neurological and psychiatric disorders? Through reading and discussion of scholarly literature in neuroscience, students will encounter current approaches to understanding the brain as a mediator of stress response and explore mechanisms of stress-induced neuroplasticity. Prerequisite: PSYC 221 or BIOL 267. One unit.

Psychology
361
Culture and Development
Alternate years

Examines the diversity of ways in which humans grow and change throughout life. The varied socio-cultural environments to which humans adapt are explored, highlighting both the universals and the variations that characterize development from birth to old age.  One unit.

Psychology
366
Seminar: Mind, Body, Health and Medicine
Alternate years

Examines a range of topics related to mind-body interactions, health care, and life style. Topics include mind-body relationships, placebo, stress and stress-reduction therapy, and a critical analysis of complementary and alternative medicine. This course should be of particular interest to premedical students considering a career in health care. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.  One unit.

Psychology
399
Seminar Special Topics
Annually

A first-time course offering. Seminars are offered in a variety of topics within psychology, are smaller than lecture courses, and provide an opportunity for more student participation and discussion. One unit.

Psychology
470
Directed Readings
Fall, spring

A reading program conducted under the supervision of a faculty member, generally focusing on an area of psychology not covered in-depth in course offerings. One unit.

Psychology
480
Research Projects
Fall, spring

Students may undertake an independent research project under the direction of a particular faculty member. One unit.