CORE 154: INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY

 

Master Syllabus

 

I. DESCRIPTION:

 

A survey of basic core topics, concepts, and principles, including child development, learning, memory, motivation, physiological influences, stress and coping, personality dynamics, social functioning, abnormal behavior, and psychotherapy. Special emphasis is given to showing how psychology is applied to important issues in society, such as delinquency, child abuse, learning disabilities, crime and violence, profiling and forensics, managing stress, the widespread use psychotropic medications, addictions, brain injury, and “greening” the environment.

 

At the end of this course, it is expected students will understand (a) the research principles that make psychology a scientific discipline, and be able to critically evaluate statements about behavior; (b) the biological and psychological factors involved in cognitive and emotional development from birth to old age; (c) anxiety pathologies and psychotic disorders; (d) different counseling techniques; and (e) how to evaluate the use of prescription medication for treating mental disorders.

 

Three credits. Fulfills Social Science Core.

 

II. PURPOSE

 

An understanding of modern-day American society ultimately requires an understanding of how individuals think, behave, and interact. Psychology is the study of these processes in individuals. Whatever the issue – crime, stress, health, mental illness, problem-solving, marketing, political policy, prescription and recreational drug use, poverty, terrorism, pollution, and many others – a thorough study and understanding quickly brings us to analysis at the level of the individual.

 

This course introduces the student to psychological perspectives about behavior within a three-axis structure: Foundations, Connections, and Applications.

 

Foundations

 

A consideration of basic core topics, concepts, and principles, including child development, learning, memory, motivation, physiological influences, stress and coping, personality dynamics, social functioning, abnormal behavior, and psychotherapy.

 

Connections

 

Foundational concepts cannot be considered in isolation. Therefore, in this course core principles will be connected to and integrated with principles from other social science areas. For example, child development can be discussed in the context of juvenile delinquency and the juvenile court system; our legal adoption system; psychotropic pharmaceuticals marketed for use in children; the American education system; media influences; and sociological changes in the nuclear family.

 

Applications

 

A fundamental tenet of psychology is that knowledge gained from the systematic study of how individuals think and behave should be applied to better our society. Thus, in this core course, not only will students learn about foundational concepts and how they are connected to other social sciences, but they also will be encouraged to explore how the foundations and connections suggest applications that can be made in everyday life.

 

A.     Objectives for the student:

 

·        Understand the major psychological approaches to the study of behavior and mental processes

·        Know the history of psychology and its major contributors

·        Know research findings, concepts, and basic terminology of the discipline

·        Understand the methods used by psychologists and the strengths and limitations of each

·        Understand the unique issues psychologists deal with when applying the scientific method to psychological research

·        Know the fundamental ethical rights of human participants in psychological experiments

·        Know the various career opportunities within the profession of psychology

·        Understand and critically evaluate the developmental theories and research findings that account for psychological development throughout the lifespan

·        Understand and critically evaluate psychological theory and research related to the main domains of psychology including such topics as memory, learning, development, consciousness, psychological disorders, motivation, and intelligence.

·        Be able to apply course concepts to one’s self, others, and societal issues

·        Understand  the relationship between psychology and other social and natural sciences

 

 

B.     Goals for the student: It is hoped that by taking this course, the student will:

 

·        Develop an intellectual curiosity about human behavior and cognitive processes

·        Develop heightened observation skills to help become a more enlightened observer of human behavior and social processes

·        Recognize the strengths and limitations of the scientific method including biases in experiments, observations, and  reporting scientific data

·        Develop a critical attitude toward all generalizations and an ability to draw conclusions on the evidence on which they are based

·        Develop an intellectual skepticism about accepting unwarranted “truths” whether you encounter them in your everyday lives, in the mass media or by “credentialed authorities”

·        Increase your knowledge and tolerance of the behavior of yourself and others

·        Understand the forces which influence your behavior and cognitive processes from the past (guilt, unrewarded experiences, shyness), from the present (social pressures to conform, current rewards and punishments) and the future (goals and aspirations)

·        Appreciate the uniqueness and relatedness of the social and natural sciences in investigating and understanding human behavior and mental processes

·        Appreciate how psychology is applied to significant social issues and concerns

 

 

C.     General Learning Outcomes:

 

At the end of this course the student will be expected to:

 

Understand the nature of interpersonal and intergroup relationships       

 

 

III. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:

 

  1. Texts:

Instructors will choose from over 100 standard introductory psychology textbooks. The same text will not necessarily be used in all sections of the course.

 

 

  1. Academic Integrity:

Honesty and integrity are crucial to academics at King’s College. All instructors of Core 154 will expect students to follow the “Student Conduct Code” as described in the Student Handbook, 2007-2009 (pp. 50-51).

 

  1. Common Assessments:

Techniques include objective testing (multiple-choice/true-false), essay tests, written assignments, attendance and in-class participation, and team presentations. The precise weight of each assessment technique will vary from section to section.