Psychology Immersion

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This immersion reflects the central themes of psychology, including topics such as the study of cognitive, developmental, social, and abnormal psychology. The study of behavior includes many different topics, but the unifying theme is that these courses all include the study of behavior using or applying the scientific method. 

Notes about this immersion:

  • This immersion is closed to students majoring in psychology.

The program code for Psychology Immersion is PSYC-IM.

Curriculum for Psychology Immersion

Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to the field of psychology. Provides a survey of basic concepts, theories, and research methods. Topics include: thinking critically with psychological science; neuroscience and behavior; sensation and perception; learning; memory; thinking, language, and intelligence; motivation and emotion; personality; psychological disorders and therapy; and social psychology.
Choose three of the following:
   Abnormal Psychology
This course will serve as an introduction to the study of psychopathology and mental illness. The course examines the major categories of mental disorder not only from the descriptive point of view, but also in terms of the major theoretical explanations of the causes of disorder. The major treatment modalities also are covered.
   Honors Abnormal Psychology
Introduction to the field of behavioral neuroscience, the study of neurobiological basis of cognition and behavior. Topics include neuroanatomy and physiology, localization of function, brain injury, research methods in behavioral neuroscience, and biological basis of language, memory, emotion, conscious states, and sexual behavior, with an evolutionary perspective.
   Cognitive Psychology
This course examines how people perceive, learn, represent, remember and use information. Contemporary theory and research are surveyed in such areas as attention, pattern and object recognition, memory, knowledge representation, language acquisition and use, reasoning, decision making, problem solving, creativity, and intelligence. Applications in artificial intelligence and human/technology interaction may also be considered.
This course covers perception in all of the sensory modalities (vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch). We will trace what happens to the physical stimulus as our sensory systems analyze it to produce complicated perceptions of the world around us. We will explore the fact that many complex perceptual phenomena draw upon explanations at the physiological, psychological, and cognitive levels. Topics on sensory perception in non-human animals may also be covered. This is a required course for psychology majors in the visual perception track.
   Social Psychology
This course explores topics related to behaviors and mental processes of individuals in social situations. Topics include: methodology, social perception, social cognition, the self, attitudes, prejudice, attraction, social influence, pro-social behavior, aggression, and behavior in groups. Course activities include lecture, class demonstrations, and assignments.
   Developmental Psychology
This course explores the process of human development, from conception through adolescence and continuing through later adulthood. The developmental approach integrates across many areas of psychology, including perception, cognition, social and emotional development, personality, morality, human factors, and neuroscience. Topics will include such things as infant brain plasticity, the development of identity in adolescence, and memory changes in adulthood. In addition, experimental methods of developmental research will be introduced and practiced, including issues specific to studying children and adults.
   Death and Dying
This course examines the role of loss including death in our lives and the way we give and receive support during difficult times. It also looks at how society enfranchises some grievers and disenfranchises others. Included in this course is an examination of our options as consumers of funeral and burial services, grief counseling and other products and services which can either minimize or abate our grief. Central to the course is an examination of the ethical principles which apply to abortion, euthanasia and suicide and an examination of the ways in which the choices we make may be structured to express our core values. Finally, the course explores how The American way of Death differs from that of other societies and how we might incorporate the wisdom of other cultures into our own practices.
   History & Systems in Psychology
This course explores the history of psychology from ancient to modern times and examines topical and philosophical questions that have persisted. Psychological schools of thought to be covered include pre-modern philosophical influences, Structuralism, Functionalism, Behaviorism, Psychoanalysis, Humanistic Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Psychological Testing, and Positive Psychology.
   Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology is a branch of applied psychology that is concerned with efficient management of an industrial labor force and especially with problems encountered by workers in a mechanized environment. Specific areas include job analysis, defining and measuring job performance, performance appraisal, tests, employment interviews, employee selection and training, and human factors. This course covers the basic principles of the above areas as well as applications of current research in I/O psychology.
   Learning and Behavior
This course covers topics in learning such as non-associative learning, classical conditioning, instrumental conditioning, stimulus control of behavior, reinforcement, generalization and discrimination, and observational learning. Topics on learning and behavior in non-human animals may also be covered.
This course is intended for students who are interested in learning the history and current status of personality theories. Students will learn the strengths and weaknesses of the major personality theories, as well as how to assess, research and apply these theories. As much as possible, application to real life situations will be discussed.
   Psychology of Women
The purpose of this course is to examine the psychology and lives of girls and women. In addition to the influence of culture, biological and genetic differences will be highlighted for each of the different topics. The topics covered include gender stereotypes, the development of gender roles, gender comparisons, love relationships, sexuality, motherhood and violence against women.
   Psychology of Religion
This course examines (primarily social) psychological approaches to religious and spiritual belief, behavior, and experience. Topics include psychological approaches to religion, religious development in children and adolescents, religious development in adults and old age, religious conversion, religious orientation, religious attitudes and behaviors, religion and well-being, group dynamics in religious communities, religion as a total institution‚ cults and deprogramming, need theories and religion, and religion and politics.
   Positive Psychology
This course will provide a survey of the emerging field of Positive Psychology. Topics covered will include defining and assessing “the good life”; the relationships between life satisfaction and personal factors such as wealth, education, and longevity; cross-cultural perspectives; virtues and strengths; and biological factors (i.e., genetics and neurological correlates). The focus will be on contemporary empirical psychology literature, though the course will also draw on literature from historical, philosophical, and economic disciplines.
   Human Sexuality
This course provides an overview of human sexuality through the lenses of biology and psychology. What causes sexual behavior and why do some individuals display different sexual behaviors than others? Human sexual physiology, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are highly diverse. Coursework will examine the ways in which human sexuality varies among individuals, across groups, and throughout the lifespan. Multiple explanations for sexual behavior will be considered, drawing from evolutionary psychology, learning theory, social psychology, and biology. Atypical and harmful sexual behaviors will be addressed as well. Throughout the course, students will learn how social science research techniques have been used to expand the field of human sexuality and how empirical inquiry can differentiate myths from facts.
   Health Psychology
A majority of serious diseases today are caused by or exacerbated by behavior and many are preventable. This course provides an introduction to the role of behavior in health. Students will learn about the role of psychology in studying and promoting good health behaviors. Topics include the impact of stress and coping on health, psychological variables related to chronic disease, drug addiction, promoting healthy behavior (e.g. exercise, diet, sleep, sexual health), positive psychology, pain management, critical thinking about health product and alternative medicine claims, and research approaches in health psychology. Students who might elect to take this course include students majoring in related fields who wish to learn more about health behavior (e.g. healthcare technology), students majoring, minoring, or immersing in Psychology, and students looking for a Liberal Arts Elective.
   Topics in Psychology
This course focuses on current issues and subfields in the field of psychology that are not distinctly incorporated in the established Psychology course offerings. This course concentrates on student discussion and interaction related to required readings. Examples of possible topics are forensic psychology, school psychology, neuropsychology, pseudoscience, etc. Part of the Psychology Minor and Immersion. Students may repeat the course but may not repeat the topic.