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Psychology

Applicable for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Psychology Website

Professors DRISCOLL, ERDAL, HORNER, JACOBS, ROBERTS (chair), WATERS; Associate Professors CHAN; Assistant Professor WEAVER; Visiting Associate Professor MARTIN.

Consistent with the liberal arts tradition, the Psychology Department at Colorado College is dedicated to providing an academic program that helps students develop the necessary skills and knowledge for achieving an intellectually enriched life, preparing them for both graduate studies and professional work. The psychology department provides broad coverage of academic psychology, emphasizing empirical research and a scientific understanding of human and non-human animal behavior. Psychology majors are expected to gain methodological competence in a variety of research techniques, which are introduced in research design and elaborated in the upper-level courses. Ethical responsibility is inherent in psychology, both in the treatment of research participants (human and non-human) and in the preparation of academic and professional work, and psychology majors are trained to uphold these principles. Psychology majors acquire a knowledge base in core areas of psychology, with an expectation for depth of inquiry in advanced study. Majors are expected to demonstrate effective oral and written communication and to show critical evaluation of assumptions and evidence regarding psychological phenomena.

Major Requirements

Major Requirements (instituted 2016-17 and going forward)

Download the printer-friendly summary of the Psychology Major Requirements.

Grading Requirement
A grade of C-minus or better is required for all courses used to fulfill the major. If a lower grade is received for a required course, the course must be repeated. Grades of D, D+, or CR may count toward graduation requirements but NOT toward major requirements.

(See "Credit and Grades" in the Academic Policies section of the Catalog of Courses.)

Required Courses
A minimum of 12 courses over 13 blocks are required to complete the major - Ten (10) courses from within the Department of Psychology and two (2) courses from outside the department. These courses are listed below.

Note: Any substitutions or transfer courses must be approved by the psychology department.
(Submit your petitions to the department chair.)

  1. ONE Introduction to Psychology course:

PY100: Introduction to Psychology: Bases of Behavior OR

PY101: Introduction to Psychology: Enduring Ideas and Present Principles (2 block FYE) OR

PY105: Introduction to Psychological Science

 

  1. ONE Methods and Statistics course:

PY202: Research Design (2 blocks)

 

  1. FIVE"Core" Psychology courses, one from each content area, plus one:
    A) PY296 Functional Neuroscience*...OR...PY299 Neuroscience (2 blocks)*t
    B) PY281 Personality* ...OR... PY362 Abnormal Psychology
    C) PY309 Social Psychology ...OR... PY374 Lifespan Developmental Psychology
    D) PY332 Learning and Adaptive Behavior ...OR... PY344 Cognition ...OR... PY321 Perception

+1 Core (from those listed heret)
* PY202 is a prerequisite for all Core courses except for PY281, PY296, and PY299.

t  Because it is a 2 block course, PY299 can count as a core course and the +1 requirement.

 

  1. TWO 400-Level Psychology Department seminar courses

Thesis courses (PY451, PY452, PY453, PY454) are not seminar courses and do not satisfy this requirement.

 

  1. ONE Block of Research Experience (PY251 or PY451)

PY251 Psychological Investigations
PY451
 Final Project   

 

  1. ONE Mathematical Competency course:
    MA125 Pre-Calculus & Calculus ...OR... MA126 Calculus ...OR... CP115 Computational Thinking ...OR... CP122 Computer Science I

    Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) credit may be used to fulfill the Mathematical Competency requirement.

 

  1. ONE Scientific Breadth course
    Any non-psychology course from the Natural Sciences Division: Molecular biology, organismal biology and ecology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, physics, or human biology and kinesiology (not including adjunct certification courses).

    Some environmental science (EV) courses, excluding policy courses, and some Studies in the Natural Sciences (NS) courses may fulfill this requirement.  Consult with the psychology department about whether specific EV or NS courses qualify before enrolling.

    MA117 (Probability and Statistics) cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.

    Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) credit cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.

 

Course Sequencing
The program of study for the psychology major is highly structured with most courses requiring the completion of key prerequisites. For this reason it is important to carefully plan your progression through the major and begin completing prerequisite courses early.

First Year:
PY100 Intro. (or PY101 or PY105) is a prerequisite for all required courses in the major.
Recommended: Take an intro course during the first year.

First or Second Year:
Completing PY100 (or PY101 or PY105) allows access to required courses: PY202, PY281, and PY296 or PY299.
Recommended: You may take these 200-level courses during the the first or second year.

Second and Third Years:
Completing PY202 allows access to required courses:  PY362,  (PY309 or PY374), (PY321, PY332 or PY344).
Complete PY296 or PY299.
Recommended: Complete all five Core courses during the second and third year.  Seek PY251 opportunities where available.

Third and Fourth Years:
400-level seminars generally require an intro course, PY202, and an additional Core course.
Recommended: Take 400-level seminars during the third or fourth years.

PY251 Psychological Investigations requires Intro Psych, PY202, and Consent of Instructor (COI) and may be taken any year.

PY451 Final Project requires Intro Psych, PY202, and Consent of Instructor (COI) and is usually taken during the fourth year.

Courses

Psychology

Examination of psychological phenomena from biobehavioral and sociobehavioral perspectives. Contemporary issues in psychology such as intelligence, development, perception, learning, abnormal behavior, language, and social behavior are explored. Scientific methodology and its application to psychological phenomena are stressed. (Meets the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.) (No credit if taken after 101.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Learning: SA requirement.

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Psychological concepts traced from Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, through the Middle Ages, and Renaissance, to the 19th and 20th centuries. Current psychological data and theory, ranging from brain mechanisms to learning, motivation, cognition, personality and social psychology. (Meets the laboratory/field requirement for the natural sciences.) (No credit if taken after 100.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Examination of psychological phenomena from biobehavioral and sociobehavioral perspectives. Contemporary issues in psychology such as intelligence, development, perception, learning, abnormal behavior, language, and social behavior are explored. Scientific methodology and its application to psychological phenomena are stressed. (No credit if taken after 100 or 101.) Does not fulfill the lab/field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. (Not offered 2021-22).

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This course will cover the sociological, psychological, religious, and biological contributions to what is called mental illness inside and outside of the United States. Care will be taken to place our current diagnostic system in historical context and to note the Western frame that currently permeates much of the world's attention to mental illness. Select disorders will be chosen to focus on rather than surveying a broad swath of diagnoses, and stigma emanating from medicalization in the West will be addressed. (Not offered 2021-22).

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In this course, we will be applying a feminist psychological science lens to the study of the body and the self, asking how is gender embodied and how are bodies gendered? We will pay special attention to examining the ways in which the body is always experienced and evaluated within contexts of power, and will focus particularly on how women’s bodies are disproportionately targeted for objectification, commodification, medicalization and exploitation. In addition to readings, we will be interrogating and curating works of art to explore how embodiment is integral to aesthetic experience, can serve to undermine the objectifying gaze, and hence may provide a foundation for feminist political resistance.

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Introduces students to the theories and methods of studying culture and psychology. Focus is on psychological research that links culture to mental processes and the comparative study of cultural effects. Several topics are covered: development and socialization, self and personality, diversity and multicultural ideologies, ethnic and racial identities, bi/multiculturalism and intersectionality, stereotyping and bias, enculturation and acculturation, intergroup contact, motivation, cognition and perception, judgement and decision making, close relationships, emotion and mental health, and morality and justice. May meet either the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures or Social Inequality requirement. Meets the Critical Learning: SHB requirement. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Major psychoanalytic perspectives of the late 19th and 20th centuries on the concept of the unconscious in theory, case studies, and fiction. Emphasis on unconscious processes as they relate to the formation of identity. Reading from such authors as Freud, Jung, Klein, Winnicott, Kohut, and Yalom. Meets the Critical Learning: AIM requirement. Meets the Critical Learning: SHB requirement. (Not offered 2021-22).

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WWII presented a unique set of social and identity-based challenges for Japanese Americans. We examine the manner in which the events of WWII influenced Japanese American identity. We also examine the perspectives of policy makers and non-Japanese Americans. The course includes a field trip. Meets the Critical Learning: CP requirement. (Not offered 2021-22).

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What does it mean to “gaze?” What can psychological theories and research about emotion expression and empathy tell us about how and what we see in works of art such as frescoes, paintings, portraiture and sculpture? How is our appreciation of art embodied? How do expressive features in art works of the Renaissance tell a story about the emergence of individuality? How are genders depicted differently in such art works, and how do socio-cultural norms, values and beliefs about gender influence how we see the faces, bodies and emotions of others portrayed in art? How does our “gazing” itself proscribe and police the faces, bodies and emotions we see depicted in art and the real humans we see in the world? These are the questions that will guide our studies in both a classroom and in the “laboratory” of the museums, chapels, galleries, gardens and squares of Florence, Italy. Meets the Critical Learning: AIM requirement.

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Whenever people make decisions that depend upon what others do or are expected to do, they are playing games. Game theory explores how people should play games in order to achieve the best outcome. However, failing to employ an optimal strategy can reveal a great deal about the psychological processes involved in decision making. This course offers an introduction to game theory and explores why people fail to make optimal decisions. (Cannot be taken for credit after PY 435.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement.

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An examination of research and theory on psychological gender differences and similarities. This course will explore the ways in which gender is a system of meanings that operate at the individual, interactional, and cultural level to structure people's lives. Special attention is made to methodological issues, and to feminist critiques of traditional methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement. (Not offered 2021-22).

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What does it mean to be 'mad'? Is madness in the eyes of the beholder? This course examines the concept of madness as it has been applied to women from historical, psychological, social and feminist perspectives. Our goal will be to critically examine the diagnostic criteria used by the psychiatric community and popular culture to define deviance. Using case material we will investigate the 'logic' of madness, asking to what extent madness might be a reasonable response to unreasonable conditions? The course will include a careful consideration of the rising use of psychopharmacology, particularly in the treatment of depression in women. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement.

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Introduction to cognitive ethology, with a focus on non-human animal cognition, emotion, and communication systems. Several species are examined, including parrots, corvids, elephants, non-human primates, and dolphins. Emphasis placed on formal, academic writing.1 unit.

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Introduction to a problem of classic or contemporary interest covering source material in depth, and stressing history, theory and method.

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What are racism and sexism? Why are people prejudiced? What can be done to improve the strained relationship between groups? This course will introduce students to various frameworks for understanding prejudice, intergroup perception/relations, and the management of conflict between social groups. Students will examine case studies, psychology theories, and will think about their own perceptions of and interactions with people from different social groups. Students will also reflect on the notions of multiculturalism and social justice. (Proposed cross-listing with American Cultural Studies.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality requirement. Meets the Critical Learning: SHB requirement. Meets the Equity and Power: EPUS requirement. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Introduction to how psychological processes influence behaviors that help or hurt the environment, and how psychology can help encourage environmental conservation. Readings will be drawn from all areas of psychology. Investigates psychological theories relevant to environmental conservation and how to design research-based interventions to promote conservation. (Not offered 2021-22).

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This course introduces students to the common methods used in psychological science, as well as the statistical, written, and graphical tools for appropriately conveying research in psychological science. Topics covered include critical thinking in evaluating quality of information, the process of scientific inquiry in psychology, ethics of research with both human and non-human animals, basic issues in measurement, reliability and validity, inferential statistical thinking, and the American Psychological Association’s stylistic conventions for writing about and presenting empirical research.

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The course introduces students to principles of psychological tests that are used in making decisions in educational, business, legal, and medical settings. Principles to be considered include test reliability, validity, ethics of assessment, and steps in developing psychological tests. Some specific aptitude, achievement, intelligence, and personality tests will be studied in addition to behavioral assessment. An aim of the course is to make students critical consumers of methods of psychological assessment. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Research in an area supervised by a faculty member. The project may be a review of the literature or a research apprenticeship with a faculty member.

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Research in an area supervised by a faculty member and completed in its entirety in a single block. The project may be a review of the literature, a research apprenticeship with a faculty member that may include participant runs, data analysis or lab work, or a directed field study.

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Research in an area supervised by a faculty member and completed in its entirety in a single block. The project may be a review of the literature, a research apprenticeship with a faculty member that may include participant runs, data analysis or lab work, or a directed field study.

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What is happiness? Do we really know what will make us happy? This course will introduce students to the science of positive psychology, which encompasses the study of positive experiences, character strengths, relationships, institutions and practices that facilitate well-being. We will address questions of how meaning, compassion, fulfillment and resilience relate to happiness and living a satisfying life. We will learn about the basic areas of theory and research in positive psychology and the methods that researchers use to study happiness. We will discuss how the scientific findings related to happiness can be put into practice to allow us to live a happier and more fulfilling life. Finally, we will also discuss how to apply these findings beyond our own lives to enable our communities to flourish.

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Explores the intersection of developmental psychology and learning theories from early childhood through adolescence. Across the course, the focus is on understanding which developmental milestones facilitate learning, how people learn, and what teachers do to capitalize on students' cognitive and social skills. Issues of development and learning will be discussed with reference to continuity, sources of development, and classroom practices. It is strongly recommended students take this course after ED260 or equivalent research methods course.

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This course will be an in-depth exploration into the lives and theories of a number of influential personality theorists. We will cover several theories from their earliest versions, through changes and modifications with time and research, in order to explore the process of theory-building with respect to understanding people. We will also delve into a number of scientific controversies surrounding personality. For example, what units shall be used to measure personality? Are humans more the product of their dispositions or of the situations in which they find themselves? Is the concept of the self useful and necessary? What is the unconscious? Why do or don't people change?

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This course provides an introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the psychological study of human experience and performance in the workplace. Topics include personnel selection, performance appraisal, professional mentoring, assessment validity, motivation and attitudes, leadership, etc. An important objective of this course is to use an anti-racist approach to understand workplace and organizational dynamics so as to contribute to building future workplaces that are equitable and just. Meets the Critical Learning: SHB requirement. (Not offered 2021-22).

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An introduction to the neural bases of behavior, cognition, and emotion. Focus is on neurofunctional systems involved in information processing, plasticity, endocrine regulation, sensation and perception, learning and memory, motivation, and motor systems. Cannot be taken after PY299.

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An in-depth exploration of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neuropharmacology. The neural substrates and functional underpinnings of processes such as sensation, movement, emotion, memory, and (sub)cortical processing are examined.

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Provides students with the opportunity to explore topical areas of psychology in depth, study the current literature, and conduct empirical research.

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Building on the statistical skills developed in PY205, students will explore more advanced statistical techniques. Each section of PY305 will emphasize different areas of statistics and may use different software, so check the department website for more details on each section. Example topics include: Statistical Analyses with R, Experimental Designs using ANOVA, and Mechanisms and Interactions. In all sections, students will design, conduct, and write up their own study.

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This half-block course provides students with the opportunity to explore topical areas of neuroscience through current publications. These readings will consist of recent trade books, review articles, journal articles, and/or neuroscience information in the popular press. The course will be conducted in a seminar format with heavy emphasis on discussion of the relevant readings. May be repeated multiple times for credit. (Half block) 0. (Not offered 2021-22).

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A research-based analysis of perceptual processes associated with vision, audition, somatosensory, and the integration of these senses. Emphasis will be placed on psychophysical methods and experimental techniques used to investigate sensation and perception. Lecture, discussion and laboratory. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Functional relations between animal and environment that defines learning. The course emphasizes the significance of behavior and plasticity in adaptation and concentrates on learning and how evolutionary processes affect learning. Experimental work involves a range of animals. Lecture, discussion and laboratory.

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The process of knowing explored from an empirical perspective. Topics include remembering, thinking, categorizing, meaning, representing, problem solving, imaging, sensing, perceiving and acting. The course has a significant laboratory component of original research using human subjects. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Surveys major psychological disorders as scientific as well as sociocultural constructs. Prevalence, assessment, causal factors, treatment approaches, and the legal and ethical implications of 'abnormality' are addressed.

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An investigation into the efficacy claims of controversial assessment techniques, diagnoses, and forms of psychotherapy. Assessment of whether claims are empirically supported according to scientific as well as legal standards of evidence. The Commercialization of mental health treatments will also be addressed.

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An in-depth exploration of the psychological science of emotion, examining theoretical, philosophical, and empirical research on the nature of emotional experience, expression, and biopsychosocial construction. (Not offered 2021-22).

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A research-based analysis of perspectives, issues, and influences on human development from conception to death. Content areas to be examined include aspects of cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. Course combines lecture, discussion and laboratory work.

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Social psychology is the scientific study of the way people think, feel, and behave in social situations. Topics include attitudes and persuasion, conformity and obedience, social cognition, aggression, prejudice, self-justification, and attraction, with emphasis on critical thinking about integrating theory, research, and everyday situations.

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For advanced students to do intensive study in a special area of current faculty interest.

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For advanced students to do intensive study in a special area of current faculty interest.

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For advanced students to do intensive study in a special area of current faculty interest.

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An in-depth consideration of the functional organization of the human central nervous system. General topics explored include neurology (e. g., language, spatial memory, sensorimotor, and emotional disorders), brain imaging techniques, and neuropsychological assessment. Field experience with brain-damaged/impaired individuals.

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An empirically-based survey of the prevalence, etiology, course and treatment of child and adolescent psychological disorders. Biological and sociocultural aspects of psychopathology are addressed and ethical implications of common treatment strategies are discussed.

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Introduction to basic neuroscience laboratory and research methodology. Students will gain experience in nonhuman behavioral analyses, drug administration, and perfusion techniques; tissue preparation, histology, and sectioning; quantitative neuromorphology and stereology techniques. (Not offered 2021-22).

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This course provides an overview of cognitive ethology (the study of animal behavior/cognition in the natural environment), with a focus on the underlying neural structures and non-human animal communication systems. Several species will be examined, including, birds, non-human primates, elephants, and cetacea. In addition, the course will explore attempts to teach non-human animals human-based artificial languages.

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An in-depth exploration of the scientific research on emotion, paying particular attention to new theoretical frameworks, and new experimental investigations into the nature of emotional experience and expression.

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This course will examine questions of morality, moral behavior and conflict in humans and non-humans from a wide variety of angles within psychology. We will place special emphasis on social psychology's efforts to unravel the causes and consequences of 'evil. ' Finally, we will conduct an in-depth analysis of a current area of moral and political conflict - capital punishment, abortion, global sustainability, etc. - in an effort to apply the lessons learned from psychology to its resolution. (Not offered 2021-22).

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An exploration of psychological variables that impact sport participation and behavior in sport settings. Applied, experimental, and clinical aspects of sport psychology are covered in a discussion-based format. Specific topics, which originate from core psychological principles, include but are not limited to sport-related motivation, superstition, and anxiety, the use of imagery and drugs, and how age, gender, race, and spectators impact sport. (Not offered 2021-22).

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This course is a community-based learning experience in which students examine the psychology of morality from developmental, social and clinical perspectives. Readings range from historical and philosophical renderings of morality to recent empirical investigations of moral development and prosocial behavior. A 6-8 hour/week internship combined with journal entries, short papers, and a final research paper provide opportunities for students to integrate psychological research as it is reflected in community practice. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Is 'storm and stress' a normal part of adolescence? Is adolescence a discrete developmental stage or a social construction? This course examines the adolescent experience from theoretical, empirical, cross-cultural, and biographical perspectives. A case analysis approach is used to examine the implications of cognitive, socio-emotional and physical changes that occur during adolescence. The course investigates the nature of the adolescent passage in its typical and atypical forms and examines socio-cultural factors that contribute to healthy or maladaptive adolescent development. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Neuroscience is based on the premise that thoughts, sensations and actions are, at some level, encoded in chemical and electrical signals. This course explores central nervous system pharmacology at multiple levels, including the cellular and molecular bases of neurochemical signaling and its modulation, mechanisms of action of pharmacological agents on neurotransmitter system dynamics, and foundations of behavioral pharmacology. Having covered these fundamentals, the course explores current topics, including cellular models of learning and memory, pharmacology of neurological diseases and their treatment, and drug abuse and dependence.

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Game Theory is used in a variety of fields to explore how people (and other animals) should make decisions when the actions of others are involved in the outcome. Game theory can tell us the optimal solution in these kinds of interactions. However, failing to employ an optimal strategy can reveal a great deal about the psychological processes involved in decision making. This course offers an introduction to game theory and explores why organisms fail to make optimal decisions. (Cannot be taken for credit after PY 135.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement.

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This course explores the impact of natural selection on human and animal behavior. It begins with an overview of evolutionary processes and covers such topics as: emotion, morality, mate selection, learning, altruism, parent-offspring interaction, ownership and irrationality. The course focuses on primary reading from Darwin through contemporary scholarship in biology and psychology. Critiques of this approach are also discussed. (Not offered 2021-22).

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Languages differ dramatically in how they carve up the world. Do these differences lead speakers of different languages to think about the world differently? Or might they instead point to underlying commonalities in human thought? Critical evaluation of classic arguments and recent empirical research on these and related questions (Not offered 2021-22).

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In depth exploration of a particular topic under the supervision of a faculty member. A final project may take several forms: (a) supervised independent research leading to a publishable paper, (b) a review of the literature to address a particular issue, or (c) directed field study.

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In depth exploration of a particular topic under the supervision of a faculty member. A final project may take several forms: (a) supervised independent research leading to a publishable paper, (b) a review of the literature to address a particular issue, or (c) directed field study.

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In depth exploration of a particular topic under the supervision of a faculty member. A final project may take several forms: (a) supervised independent research leading to a publishable paper, (b) a review of the literature to address a particular issue, or (c) directed field study.

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