Introduction to Psychology

(Summer 2007)


PSYC 1100: Introduction to Psychology (SCI)


Dr. Linda M. Woolf

Office Hours:

  • By appointment.

  • 301 WH, Behavioral and Social Sciences Department.

  • Phone 968-6970 or 968-7062


Wade, C., & Tavris, C. (2003). Invitation to Psychology. Upper Saddle Creek, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Course Description:

Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. . While psychology is most often associated with clinical issues (i.e. abnormal, personality), this makes up only a small portion of the field. Other specialties within the field include, to name a few, physiological, social, organizational, and developmental psychology. We cannot understand ourselves or the individuals around us without looking at how we develop, how we behave in a social context, or the physiological components of our behavior. Thus, this course will serve as an overview of the major fields within psychology with an emphasis on developing an understanding of psychology as the science of human thought and behavior. We will also learn to critically evaluate "common sense" knowledge about how people function.

This course is coded for the Scientific Understanding goal in the General Education program. Scientific Understanding is defined as the analysis of the concepts of a scientific discipline and its methods, limitations, and impact in the modern world.

Course Objectives and Outcomes:

  1. Objective: To gain a better understanding of the field of psychology both historic and current.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to identify the major fields of study and theoretical perspectives within psychology and articulate their similarities and differences.

  2. Objective: To become familiar with the research methodology commonly used by psychologists. To become familiar with the scientific method, and examine the benefits and limitations of this method of inquiry as it relates to developmental psychology.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to differentiate between the major observational, correlational, experimental, and quasi-experimental designs used by developmental psychologists and articulate the benefits and limitations of each. Students will be able to critique various studies and theories based on this information.

  3. Objective: To become familiar with the biological bases of behavior.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to identify and discuss the biological bases of behavior on both the micro (e.g. neurocellular, neurophysiological, and neurochemical) and macro (e.g. central and peripheral nervous system) levels.

  4. Objectives: To develop an understanding of processes involved in learning and cognition.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate the basic principles, major theories, and research concerning learning and cognition.

  5. Objective:To develop an understanding of the various types of development that an individual experiences across the life-course.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to discuss the major theories of development, critical research on development, and developmental concepts from across the life course.

  6. Objectives: To become familiar with the theories concerning psychological health and disorders.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to discuss the symptomatology, possible etiology, and proposed treatment for the major categories of psychological disorders.

  7. Objective: To become familiar with the theories concerning human behavior in a social context.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to identify and discuss the major theories and research from the area of social psychology.

  8. Objective: To become familiar with the rapidly growing body of literature on psychology.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to read current literature related to a specific psychological topic and write a paper discussing and evaluating this research.

  9. Objective: To further develop writing skills in conjunction with the use of APA format.

    Outcomes: Students will be able write their paper in APA format.

Incoming Competencies/Prerequisites:

All students should be capable of integrating and evaluating information, critical thinking, and writing at the college level.

Class Meetings:

The class will meet on Mondays from 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.. Attendance is strongly recommended as material will be presented that is not in the book.

Course Requirements:

Three exams and a term paper.

All grades will be assigned on a scale of 0 - 10 with:

90 - 100A-,ASuperior Work
80 - 89B-,B,B+Good Work
70 - 79C-,C,C+Satisfactory Work
60 - 69D,D+Passing, but less than Satisfactory
Less than 60FFailing

Percent of Grade:

Term Paper10%

Examinations: Three exams will be given and the examination format will include multiple choice, short answer, matching, and essay. They will cover material presented in lecture, readings, and discussion. Each exam will constitute 30% of your final grade. A comprehensive optional comprehensive final will also be available on the night of the final which can be used to replace one exam grade (if it is higher). POLICY STATEMENTS: All exams must be taken on the date scheduled except in case of an emergency. In case of the above, the instructor must be notified in advance that a test is going to be missed. No extra credit work will be made available to make-up for a poor test grade. However, the comprehensive final can be used to replace one of the exam grades (if it is higher).

The class Web site provides a link to the publisher's companion Web page for your text. Included in this material are practice tests. A good way to get a sense of how prepared you are for the test is to take the practice tests. Take the test and then calculate your score as follows: Total number you got correct divided by the total number of questions and then multiply this number by 100. This will give you your percent correct. Compare to the above grading scale. Thus, if you got an 85% correct, your practice test was in the B range. However, if you only score a 64%, you need to go back and restudy the material. Note that this will only give you a ballpark figure as it does not include the additional material provided in lecture.

Term Paper: Students are required to research and write a term paper for 10% of their final grade. The specific requirements are given below:

  • At least five references for your paper must come from refereed journals (not Psychology Today or Newsweek, for example). NOTE: Do not rely heavily on popular literature, for example, a book you happen to see at Borders Books. Often times these books are not empirically based. Also, do not take the bulk of your paper from one source or from secondary sources. I want an integration, analysis, and critique of all of your readings, in particular, the current research in the area you have chosen to study.

    Click here for some rules of thumb regarding literature reviews/papers

  • All papers must be typed, double-spaced, 1 inch margins, and in APA style format.

    If you are in doubt as to what this means, see me for details.


    Note that one of the major purposes of the paper is to facilitate your learning of APA format. Thus, you will need to become familiar with this publication format. We will discuss the format in class but you will also need to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.) (the library has copies). Note that all journal articles for APA journals such as the American Psychologist are written and referenced in APA format. Forty percent of your grade will be related to your use of APA format.

    The paper should be submitted electronically in Word format to Hard copies of the paper will not be accepted.

  • Policy Statements:

    Plagiarism (attempting to pass off the work of another as one's own) is not acceptable. Plagiarism includes copying all or part of another's writings (even a single sentence), inappropriate paraphrasing, using another student's paper as your own, submitting a paper for more than one class. All papers will be submitted to the university's plagiarism database for review. Plagiarism, either intentional or unintentional, will result in a grade of 0 for that assignment and will be turned over to the appropriate university source for disciplinary action. In addition, cheating on exams will also result in the same fate.

    Here are some Web sites that will help you avoid the problem of plagiarism particularly plagiarism resulting from paraphrasing too closely to the original source. -

    It should be noted that, as is common in many university courses, little time will be spent lecturing on topics adequately addressed by the text. Students are expected to arrive at class meetings having already read the material assigned, and to ask questions to clarify any areas that remain unclear. While every attempt will be made to explain or expand upon particularly difficult areas, the primary purpose of classroom lecture is to enhance, rather than to duplicate, the textbook material.

    Late withdraws from this class will not be approved by the instructor except in cases of emergency discussed with the instructor. No late withdraws will be approved on the basis of poor class performance.

    This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. All changes concerning course requirements will be provided in writing. Changes concerning exam dates may be made at the instructor's discretion and communicated verbally to the class.

    It is understood that remaining in this course (not dropping or withdrawing from this course) constitutes an agreement to abide by the terms outlined in this syllabus and an acceptance of the requirements outlined in this document.



    Topic and Readings

    June 4 Introduction to the Class
    What is psychology?
    How psychologists do research


    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 1
    June 11 No Class - we will have a make-up date later in the term

    June 18 Neurons, hormones, and the brain
    Consciousness: Body Rhythms and Mental States

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapters 4 and 5

    Paper topic due
    June 25 Thinking and intelligence

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapters 7 and 9
    Exam I (Chapters 1, 4, and 5)
    July 2 Theories of personality

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 2

    July 9 Development over the life span

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 3

    Exam II (Chapters 7, 9, and 2)
    July 16 Psychological disorders
    Approaches to treatment and therapy

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 11 and 12
    TBA Behavior in social and cultural context

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 10

    Paper due
    July 23 Exam III (Chapters 3, 11, 12, and 10) and Comprehensive Final Exam

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