Introduction to Psychology: SS-510 (Writing Intensive)

COURSE DESCRIPTION (from College Catalog):

Introduction to the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Topics include research methods, biological bases of brain and mind, sensation-perception, sleep and states of consciousness, learning-memory, development, cognition-intelligence, motivation-emotion, personality, abnormal psychology-therapy, and social psychology. Research findings and principles related to everyday life.

Text Book:

Lefton, Lester & Brannon, Linda.Psychology (ninth edition).

Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 2006.

COURSE POLICY:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: the department of Social Sciences Academic Integrity Policy adheres to the standards described in the Academic integrity Policy of Queensborough Community College (see College Catalog). Within the framework of the college policy sanctions for violations of academic integrity are left to the discretion of the instructor. Students may appeal sanctions to the department chair who may refer the appeal to a departmental Committee on Academic Integrity for review.

WRITING: weekly informal writing (5%) and two formal writing projects (25%) as well as essays on two exams (approximately 5%) are required and will determine about 35% of the final grade for the course.

ATTENDANCE: you are expected to follow the College Catalogue attendance requirements (from the first day, 15% of class meetings, excessive lateness, etc.). Please note that your grade may be affected by an attendance record that does not meet the College standards.

EXAMS: all three exams must be taken in order to receive a final grade. Make-up exams will be given only due to extraordinary circumstances that are appropriately documented.

FINAL GRADES: no exam grade or writing assignment grade will be dropped and no final grade will be changed.


WRITING REQUIREMENTS:

INFORMAL WRITING

At the beginning of every class there will be a question presented usually based on recently covered material. You will be required to answer one of these questions each week by writing a two or three paragraph response.

These brief exercises will be graded as either acceptable or not acceptable. Your collective grade on these assignments, based on the number of satisfactory responses, will determine 5% of your final grade.

FORMAL WRITING

Two longer written assignments (totaling 10 to 12 word-processed pages) will be assigned as the semester proceeds.

The first paper (4 to 5 pages), which is autobiographical in nature, will be assigned at the very beginning of the semester.

The second paper (6 to 7 pages) will be assigned after the due date of the first paper and will be accomplished in two steps: an initial draft will be read, and returned with corrections but without a grade; then a revised version will be submitted for a grade. This paper will involve either the design of an experiment or a point/counterpoint format for a controversial psychological issue.

Exact topics, guidelines, and specific requirements for these papers will be distributed and discussed in class at the appropriate time.

The combined grades on these two formal writing papers will determine 25% (5% for the autobiographical paper and 20% for the revised paper) of your final grade.

EXAM WRITING

Each of the first two exams will have 45 multiple-choice questions along with an essay question.

Each essay will be worth ten points and together will be about another 5% of the written component of your final grade for the course.

WRITING REQUIREMENTS, THEREFORE, WILL DETERMINE APPROXIMATELY 35% OF YOUR FINAL GRADE FOR THE COURSE.

THE REMAINDER WILL BE DETERMINED PRIMARILY BY THE MULTIPLE CHOICE PORTIONS OF THE THREE EXAMS.

READING REQUIREMENTS:

OBJECTIVE:

This course offers an introductory survey of significant concepts and subjects in the discipline of psychology. A diversity of psychological knowledge is interpreted through fundamental research studies, various theoretical orientations, and relevant practical applications. Lectures on topics selected from the following, along with the accompanying

textbook readings, will be explored:

AN INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY: definition, scope, and goals of psychology; what psychologists do and areas of specialization within the field; major approaches in the history of scientific psychology and current trends that shape contemporary psychology

CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?

RESEARCH METHODS: the scientific method and the importance of research for the science of psychology; description and explanation of a variety of research designs and methodologies including experimental and descriptive techniques; correlation, causation and the evaluation of research findings

CHAPTER 2: THE SCIENCE OF PSYCHOLOGY

PHYSIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY: the biology and chemistry of behavior, especially neurotransmitters and hormones; how the nervous system is organized and how the brain functions; from the individual neuron to the central and peripheral nervous systems; the role of the endocrine system

CHAPTER 3: NEUROSCIENCE: THE BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR

EXAMINATION I: CHAPTERS 1, 2, 3

PERCEPTION: sensation versus perception; the role of selection, organization, and interpretation in perceiving the environment; distance, depth, and perceptual constancy; illusions and perceptual expectations

CHAPTER 6: SENSATION AND PERCEPTION (pages 176-182; 198-206)

STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS: levels of and ways to alter consciousness; stages and functions of sleep as well as sleep disorders; dreaming and the purposes of dreams; hypnosis, meditation, and biofeedback; psychopharmacology and psychoactive drugs; drug use and abuse

CHAPTER 7: CONSCIOUSNESS

LEARNING: Pavlov’s model for classical conditioning and Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning; use of reinforcement and punishment; other paradigms including observational and cognitive learning; learning to learn

CHAPTER 8: LEARNING

EXAMINATION II: CHAPTERS 6, 7, 8

MEMORY: types and models of memory; storing memories in sensory, short-term, and long-term memory; retrieving memories and methods to measure memory; how and why people forget; special forms of memory

CHAPTER 9: MEMORY

MOTIVATION: why we do what we do; definition and theories of motivation; physiological-biological drives (such as hunger or sexual behavior) and social-psychological needs (such as achievement or affiliation)

CHAPTER 12: MOTIVATION AND EMOTION (pages 414-439)

PERSONALITY: how personality is defined and assessed; the psychodynamic perspective of Sigmund Freud; development of personality according to Freud’s psychosexual stages; the id, ego, superego structure of personality and the use of defense mechanisms; neo-Freudian and other contemporary viewpoints

CHAPTER 13: PERSONALITY AND ITS ASSESSMENT (pages 454-465)

PSYCHOPATHOLOGY: controversy over the definition and labeling of normal versus abnormal behavior; diagnosing maladjusted behavior according to DSM; anxiety, mood, and dissociative disorders; schizophrenia; personality and other psychological disorders

CHAPTER 16: PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS

PSYCHOTHERAPY: psychological and biological therapy systems involving a variety of verbal, behavioral, and/or medical approaches to treatment; an evaluation of different therapies (psychodynamic, humanistic, behavioral, cognitive, etc.)

CHAPTER 17: THERAPY

EXAMINATION III: CHAPTERS 9, 12, 13, 16, 17