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Psychology provides students with a broad introduction to the study of behavior and its underlying processes with emphasis on psychology as an experimental science. The Department of Psychology offers a disciplinary major and minor. To count toward the major or minor, courses must be passed with a grade of C- or better. In order for courses to count toward the psychology major or minor, the following prerequisites must be met: 200-level courses require PSY 100 as a prerequisite; 300-level non-lab courses require PSY 100 and at least one 200-level course, which might be specified; 300-level lab courses require PSY 100, PSY 210, and at least one other 200-level course, which might be specified. Refer to individual course descriptions for specific 200-level prerequisites.
The department recommends strongly for students planning to major or minor in psychology to take PSY 100 as soon as possible and then PSY 210. Furthermore, the department recommends strongly that PSY 210 be either completed (with a grade of C- or higher), or in progress (with student in good standing), before students declare the psychology major (before the end of their sophomore year), or before they declare their psychology minor (Junior year). In addition, after taking PSY 100, students interested in majoring or minoring in psychology should take only one 200-level elective course before enrolling in PSY 210. Students who earn below a C- in more than one psychology course may be restricted from retaking psychology courses or enrolling in psychology courses from the same category (e.g., 200-level, laboratory courses, etc). In such cases, students are urged to consult with their psychology advisers or the Department Chair to consider available options and/or alternate plans. These recommendations are intended to support student success in choosing and completing psychology as a major/minor. All students are encouraged to work closely with their adviser to meet the Psychology Department’s recommendations.
Advanced Placement: Students who score a 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology Exam may enroll in courses for which PSY 100 is a prerequisite without having taken PSY 100. However, psychology majors and minors who bypass PSY 100 must complete the same number of departmental courses as any other psychology major and minor (see below). To meet this requirement, they must complete one additional psychology course at the 200-level or higher in place of PSY 100.
Students are eligible to receive academic credit toward their psychology major for a maximum of two courses taken at institutions elsewhere. Students pursuing the psychology minor may transfer a maximum of one course toward their psychology minor. A grade of C- or higher must be earned for all transfer courses. Students planning to transfer courses from another institution while they are students of Hobart and William Smith Colleges must consult with and secure approval from the Psychology Department chair prior to enrolling in a course. Online courses are not eligible for transfer credit. For those transfer students who had previously matriculated at another institution prior to their attendance at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the number of transfer courses accepted toward the major or minor is negotiable. In such cases, the Psychology Department Chair determines which courses can count toward the HWS psychology major or minor.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR (B.A.)
disciplinary, 11 courses
PSY 100 and PSY 210; one course from laboratory group A; one course from laboratory group B; two 300-level non-lab courses; four additional psychology courses, only one of which may be at the 400-level, one of which must be the prerequisite for a 300-level group A lab course, and one of which must be the prerequisite for the 300-level group B lab course; and one course from outside the department that provides another perspective on behavior. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted towards the major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR (B.S.)
disciplinary, 16 courses
All of the requirements for the B.A. in psychology, plus five additional courses in the natural sciences, approved by the adviser, assuming the course that provides a perspective on behavior from a discipline other than psychology is in the natural sciences. Otherwise, six additional natural science courses are needed. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted towards the major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR
disciplinary, 6 courses
PSY 100 and PSY 210; one psychology laboratory course (either group); and three additional elective psychology courses, only one of which may be at the 400-level. One of the electives must be a prerequisite for either a group A or B laboratory course. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted towards the minor.
200-LEVEL ELECTIVE COURSES
PSY 203 Introduction to Child Psychology
PSY 205 Adolescent Psychology
PSY 220 Introduction to Personality Psychology
PSY 221 Introduction to Psychopathology
PSY 227 Introduction to Social Psychology
PSY 230 Biopsychology
PSY 231 Cognitive Psychology
PSY 245 Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology
PSY 299 Sensation and Perception
Crosslisted with Psychology Major:
WMST 223 Social Psychology
WMST 247 Psychology of Women
300-LEVEL LABORATORY COURSE GROUPS
PSY 310 Research in Sensation and Perception
PSY 311 Research in Behavioral Neuroscience
PSY 331 Research in Cognition
PSY 321 Research in Developmental Psychology
PSY 322 Research in Personality Psychology
PSY 327 Research in Social Psychology
PSY 347 Research in Cross-Cultural Psychology
PSY 350 Research in Clinical Psychology
Crosslisted with Psychology Major:
WMST 323 Research in Social Psychology
300-LEVEL NON-LABORATORY COURSES
PSY 309 Topics in Sensation & Perception
PSY 344 Topics in Personality Psychology
PSY 346 Topics in Cross-Cultural Psychology
PSY 352 Topics in Clinical Psychology
PSY 359 Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience
PSY 370 Topics in Developmental Psychology
PSY 373 Topics in Social Psychology
PSY 375 Topics in Cognitive Psychology
Crosslisted with Psychology Major:
WMST 357 Self in American Culture
WMST 372 Topics in Social Psychology
PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology This course offers a comprehensive survey of the methodology and content of present day psychology. Emphasis is placed on the development of a critical evaluative approach to theories and empirical data. (Fall and Spring, offered annually)
PSY 203 Introduction to Child Psychology This course provides an overview of the major theories that guide the study of child development, as well as the normative physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes that take place from infancy through late childhood.. This course also considers contextual influences (i.e., the family, peers, schools, the media) on development and several key themes, such as how children shape their own development, the sequence and timing of developmental changes, sociocultural factors, individual differences, and the use of research findings to promote children’s well-being. Students can take either PSY 203 or PSY 205 (not both), and exceptions can be considered on a case-by-case basis. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Kingery, offered at least alternating years)
PSY 205 Adolescent Psychology This course examines the developmental processes and social forces that contribute to adolescence as a distinct part of the life span. Emphasis is placed on major theories, research findings, and the biological, cognitive, and social changes that occur during adolescence. This course also focuses on contextual influences (i.e., the family, peers, schools, neighborhoods, the media) on development and issues such as intimacy, identity, sexuality, autonomy, and psychological problems (e.g., eating disorders, depression, antisocial behavior). Students can take either PSY 203 or PSY 205 (not both), and exceptions can be considered on a case-by-case basis. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Kingery, offered at least alternating years)
PSY 210 Statistics and Research Methods A survey of basic procedures for the analysis of psychological data, topics in this course include basic univariate and bivariate descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, and a variety of analyses to use with single group, between group, within group, and factorial designs. A study of experimental methods is also conducted with laboratory. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Rizzella, Greenspon, offered each semester)
PSY 220 Introduction to Personality Major theoretical approaches and contemporary research are evaluated to assess the current state of knowledge about intrapsychic, dispositional, biological, cognitive, and sociocultural domains of personality functioning. The personal, historical, and cultural contexts of theory development are emphasized. Application of personality concepts to individual lives is encouraged to enhance understanding of self and others. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Staff, offered annually)
PSY 221 Introduction to Psychopathology This course primarily focuses on the theoretical models, diagnosis and assessment of adult psychological disorders. Childhood disorders, relevant controversies and prevention are also covered, time permitting. Typical readings assigned beyond the primary text include case studies and autobiographical accounts of mental illness. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Bodenlos, offered annually)
PSY 227 Introduction to Social Psychology This course introduces students to theory and research in social psychology, the study of the nature and causes of individual and group behavior in social contexts. Emphases are placed on understanding social psychological theories through studying classic and current research and on applying social psychological theories to better understand phenomena such as person perception, attitude change, prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal attraction, romantic relationships, conformity, aggression, and intergroup relations. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Fisher, offered annually)
PSY 230 Biopsychology This course examines how the human nervous system is related to behavior. Lectures are designed to concentrate on aspects of biopsychology that are interesting and important to a broad audience. The intent is to make connections among several areas of specialization within psychology (e.g., developmental; cognitive; and clinical) and between other disciplines (e.g., philosophy; biology; chemistry). A format is employed that presents basic content to support the presentation of contemporary topics. Information is presented assuming knowledge from an Introductory level Psychology course. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Greenspon, offered annually)
PSY 231 Cognitive Psychology This course is designed to provide a general understanding of the principles of cognitive psychology. Cognitive psychology is the scientific approach to understanding the human mind and its relationship to behavior. The course introduces students to classic and contemporary empirical research in both theoretical and practical aspects of a variety of cognitive issues. Topics included are pattern recognition, attention, mental representation, memory, language, problem solving and decision-making. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Rizzella or staff, offered annually)
PSY 245 Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology Cross-cultural psychology is the systematic, comparative study of human behavior in different sociocultural contexts. This course examines theory and research that pertain to cross cultural similarities and differences in human experience and functioning. The cultural antecedents of behavior are emphasized. Course readings focus on the diversity of human experience in domains such as cognition and intelligence, emotion and motivation, socialization and development, social perception and interaction, and mental health and disorder. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Ashdown, offered annually)
PSY 299 Sensation and Perception Perception of the world through the senses is one of the most sophisticated yet least appreciated accomplishments of the human brain. This course explores how people experience and understand the world through the senses, using frequent classroom demonstrations of the perceptual phenomena under discussion. The course introduces the major facts and theories of sensory function and examines the psychological processes involved in interpreting sensory input, as well as the evolutionary foundations of human perception. The primary emphasis is on vision, though other senses are considered as well. Prerequisite: PSY 100. (Graham, offered annually)
PSY 309 Topics in Sensation and Perception This course provides an in-depth exploration of a specific topic in sensory perception using advanced readings from the primary literature. Topics covered vary from semester to semester; recent instantiations have examined relations between human artwork and the human visual system. Other topics might include study of a particular sensory system (e.g., hearing or touch), study of a particular sensory ability (e.g., color vision), or study of a particular issue in perception (e.g., perceptual development). Prerequisites: PSY 100 and PSY 299 or permission of the instructor. (Graham, offered occasionally)
PSY 310 Research in Sensation and Perception In this introduction to conducting research on the senses (with laboratory), students explore contemporary issues in sensation and perception through classroom discussion and hands-on research experience. Students will conduct experiments that recreate or simulate classic studies in the history of sensory perception, and they will develop their own experiments and demonstrations concerning important perceptual phenomena. Areas to be addressed in laboratory include the ionic basis of neural signaling, retinal inversion, receptive fields, binocular rivalry, and other topics. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 210, and either PSY 299 or PSY 230. (Graham, offered annually)
PSY 311 Research in Behavioral Neuroscience This course exposes students to basic concepts of psychological research in the area of neuroscience. A systems approach is utilized that assumes the organized activity of different parts of the nervous system is important for determining behavior. Currently, the focus of research in this course involves investigating how music is organized in the nervous system and how this impacts other behaviors such as language and other cognitive abilities. Emphasis is placed on theoretical and methodological issues. Specifically, the history of questions to which theory and method have been applied, the logic implicit to answer certain kinds of questions, and the strengths and limitations of specific answers for providing insights into the nature of the brain-behavior relationship are examined. The development of conceptual and theoretical skills is emphasized. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 210 and PSY 230 or PSY 299, or permission of instructor. (Greenspon, offered annually)
PSY 321 Research in Developmental Psychology This course provides an overview of the research designs and methods used by developmental psychologists. Attention is given to ethical issues involved in human research, critical evaluation of published developmental research, and interpretation of research findings. Students gain direct experience with research methods such as questionnaires, parent and/or child interviews, behavioral observations, and other laboratory tasks that assess children’s development. Research is conducted in both lab and community settings. Students design and conduct a research study or develop their own research proposal during this course. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 210, and PSY 203 or PSY 205. (Kingery, offered annually)
PSY 322 Research in Personality Psychology This course provides an introduction to a variety of methods employed in the service of three complementary objectives of personality research: 1) holistic understanding of the unique organization of processes within individuals, 2) explanation of individual differences and similarities, and 3) discovery of universal principles that characterize human personality functioning. Practical, ethical, and theoretical considerations for assessing and studying personality characteristics and processes are emphasized, as are interpretation and critical analysis of published research. Students design, carry out, and report original research. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 210 and PSY 220. (Staff, offered annually)
PSY 327 Research in Social Psychology This course is designed to acquaint students with experimental research approaches in social psychology. Through examination of classic and contemporary studies and innovative as well as traditional methods in the discipline, the practical and ethical challenges of designing, conducting, and interpreting social psychological research are explored. Students design and carry out original research. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 210 and PSY 227 or WMST 223. (Fisher, offered annually)
PSY 331 Research in Cognition The importance of the scientific method is emphasized in this course. Students read primary literature and discuss theoretical principles and experimental methodology in the field of cognitive psychology. Students conduct an experiment in a topic of their choice using reaction time and accuracy measures. Prerequisites: PSY 210 and PSY 231. (Rizzella, offered annually)
PSY 344 Topics in Personality This course explores classic and current theory and research pertaining to fundamental and often controversial issues in personality psychology. The course follows a seminar format that emphasizes critical analysis and articulation of ideas, both in discussion and in writing. Topics are announced in advance. Possible topics include personality and culture; personality development; self and identity; personality and interpersonal relationships, ethnic identity, personality and emotion. Prerequisites: PSY 100 and PSY 220, or permission of instructor. (Staff, offered annually)
PSY 346 Topics in Cross-Cultural Psychology This course provides an in-depth examination of a contemporary topic in cross-cultural psychology. Topics may include: culture and cognition; cultural contexts of emotional experience; culture and communication; culture, mental health, and psychopathology; social perception across cultures; cultural influences on social behavior; diversity and intercultural training; prejudice and discrimination; or ethnic identity. Course activities draw upon extensive readings in the primary literature of the selected topic. Prerequisites: PSY 100 and PSY 245. (Ashdown, offered annually)
PSY 347 Research in Cross-Cultural Psychology This course concentrates on the study of human behavior and experience as they occur in different cultural contexts and/or are influenced by cultural factors. Special attention is devoted to cross-cultural research methodology. Claims about the generality or universality of psychological laws and theories are evaluated. Students use knowledge gained in this course to design and carry out a research project. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 210, and PSY 245. (Ashdown, offered annually)
PSY 350 Research in Clinical Psychology This course provides an introduction to the scientist-practitioner model of clinical psychology. Students examine a variety of theoretical models of psychotherapy and research regarding the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. Contemporary treatment issues and ethics are also considered. Students are introduced to clinical research methods and design a research proposal in an area of clinical psychology. The laboratory component provides an opportunity for students to develop research skills by developing and carrying out a research study. Prerequisites: PSY 100, PSY 210 and PSY 221. (Bodenlos, offered annually)
PSY 352 Topics in Clinical Psychology This course provides an in-depth analysis into specific topics in health psychology and behavioral medicine. These topics are reviewed from a clinical perspective, including the review of evidence-based treatments and clinical case studies. Topics that may be explored in-depth in this course include stress and illness, stress reduction techniques, substance use disorders and treatment, obesity, physical activity, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and emotional eating. Prerequisites: PSY 100 and PSY 221. (Bodenlos, offered annually)
PSY 359 Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience This course surveys literature and theory representative of an important contemporary conceptual issue in behavioral neuroscience. Each year, topics for the course are announced in advance. The course is designed to include a nonspecialized group of students having a varied distribution of psychology courses and interested in developing conceptual relationships among different subdivisions within psychology. Prerequisites: PSY 100 and at least one other psychology course. (Greenspon, offered occasionally)
PSY 370 Topics in Developmental Psychology This course surveys the theoretical and empirical literature associated with a contemporary issue in child and/or adolescent development. Topics are announced in advance. Possible topics include developmental psychopathology, peer relationships and friendship, and developmental transitions. Across topics, emphasis is placed on risk factors, the protective factors that contribute to positive adjustment, and the development of resilience. Prerequisites: PSY 100 and PSY 203 or PSY 205. (Kingery, offered occasionally)
PSY 373 Topics in Social Psychology This seminar surveys the empirical and theoretical literature associated with a significant contemporary issue in social psychology. Topics are announced in advance. Possible topics include stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, political psychology, interpersonal relationships, persuasion and social influence, altruism and prosocial behavior. Prerequisites: PSY 100 and PSY 227 or WMST 223. (Fisher, offered annually)
PSY 375 Topics in Cognitive Psychology This seminar involves an in-depth exploration of a variety of related topics in cognition. Topics covered in the recent past include language, psycholinguistics, memory representation, autobiographical memory, memory reliability and cognitive aging. Students are expected to play an active role in the class by making substantive contributions to class discussion. Prerequisites: PSY 231. (Rizzella, offered occasionally)
PSY 450 Independent Study
PSY 495 Honors