Darcie R. Sell, chair
Albert E. Bartz, psychologist-in-residence
Mona M. Ibrahim
Mark J. Krejci
Susan J. Larson
Philip C. Lemaster
Mikel L. Olson
Dwight J. Peterson
Anna M. Semanko
Lisa M. Sethre-Hofstad
The psychology department prepares majors for graduate study in psychology, applications in human service settings, or utilization of the concepts and methods from psychology in a variety of other careers. The curriculum is organized to ground students in the science of psychology while offering the flexibility to pursue individual interests. Beyond traditional course offerings, the department offers an animal laboratory experience, international study/travel experiences, Cooperative Education experiences and a variety of opportunities for collaborative research with faculty.
The psychology department provides learning experiences that prepare students to achieve the following outcomes:
- knowledge of the scientific methodology employed in the field of psychology
- knowledge of the major theoretical approaches to psychology, the development of theory and research efforts to answer theory-driven questions
- knowledge of major advances in both experimental and applied aspects of psychology
- the ethics and inclusiveness associated with psychology
- the ability to communicate in the discipline
Students who are eligible can apply for membership in Psi Chi, the international honor society for undergraduate psychology majors. The psychology department also sponsors an honors program for exceptional students. For details, see the department chair.
The fundamental facts and principles of psychology. Special emphasis is placed on how psychologists answer questions and on processes related to normal functioning.
A lifespan approach (from conception to death) to developmental literature and research. The psychological, cognitive and social development of the individual throughout the lifespan is emphasized. Course includes lectures, films and discussion.
Beginning psychology, with content adapted to the consideration of teacher education, especially principles of learning, motivation, and child and adolescent development. Emphasis is placed on the application of those principles in teaching situations. Registration is restricted to education majors only.
The principles and practices of behavior modification, the systematic application of learning principles and techniques to assess and change individual behavior, will be covered in this course. Students will apply behavior modification principles to their own behavior and they will have the opportunity to consider the ethics of behavior modification, the research basis for behavioral analysis, and how treatment programs might be developed.
This course examines how the various dimensions of culture influence self-concept, which, in turn, influences thoughts and behaviors in different domains including parenting, emotions, social relationships, and health. Issues of global significance such as ethnocentrism and prejudice will also be discussed. This course includes a 40-hour out-of-class experiential learning requirement.
This course surveys topics from the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science to examine how scholars from diverse fields (e.g., psychology, neuroscience, linquistics, artificial intelligence, philosophy, anthropology) conceptualize and study the human mind. This course requires at least 35 outside-of-class hours in addition to regular class meetings.
A survey of empirical approaches to understanding personality and adjustment. Personality issues such as emotion, perception, motivation, self-research, and healthy development will be covered.
A treatment of the basic statistical methods underlying research and measurement in the behavioral sciences. Both descriptive and inferential statistics are studied, with special emphasis on applications to psychological testing and research. Prerequisite: high school higher algebra or consent of instructor. This course can also count toward the global studies program and the environmental and sustainability studies program.
A study of research design in psychology and a survey of variables affecting the results and analysis of research. Students design and carry out research projects in consultation with the instructor.
A study of the basic principles of learning and behavior, with a research emphasis. Topics include simple reflexive behavior, Pavlovian conditioning, and operant conditioning. The role of learning in the lives of both human and nonhuman animals will be addressed. An animal laboratory component allows students to employ the basic principles of learning.
A study of the fundamental physiological correlates of behavior and mental processes. Topics include: the structure and function of the nervous system, neural communication and how neural activity corresponds with behavior. Methods used to study the nervous system and recent findings in behavioral neuroscience will be discussed.
This course begins with the anatomy of the sense organs and the physics of stimuli. Building from this foundation, we explore the information processing centers of the brain to understand how we organize conscious perceptions. Idiosyncrasies of this process produce illusions that show the constructed nature of our mental lives. We also explore cases of neural damage that give rise to surprising and informative deficits in perception.
The objective of this course is to introduce you to the topic of behavioral pharmacology. We will cover topics such as basic pharmacology, neurophysiology of drug effects, drug tolerance and drug abuse. Some issues we will cover include: Why do people take drugs? What effects do drugs have on the body? What is drug addiction? These questions will be considered from behavioral, pharmacological and neurophysiological perspectives.
This interdisciplinary field of psychology and medicine is explored through an investigation of the development and integration of behavioral and biomedical knowledge and techniques. The application of this knowledge and these techniques to chronic pain, cardiovascular problems, headaches and other traditionally stress-related disorders is considered.
This course addresses the progression of normative human development during late life. Students will study foundational developmental theories of aging, research methods and ethics involved in the study of aging populations, and complex issues that affect aging individuals. This course is designed to be taken after completing an introductory-level course on human development.
This course will provide a comprehensive understanding of brain and nervous system physiology. The focus will be on how the nervous system governs behavioral and cognitive processes. Functional and dysfunctional physiology and what this tells us about maladaptive behaviors will also be discussed.
This course introduces students to the culture and psychology of Arab-Muslim societies. The cross-cultural validity of major psychological theories and research findings will be examined in relation to Arab-Muslim culture. Topics addressed will include lifespan influences on personality development, Islamic beliefs and their influence on daily life, gender schemas and gender roles, poverty and social class dynamics, the system of honor, social codes of behavior, family structure and roles, the urban lifestyle compared to rural and tribal lifestyles, and the tension between tradition and modernity.
This course focuses on the many facets of sport and exercise psychology. Topics include sport socialization and motivation to participate, performance enhancement, coaching, team building and leadership, and the role of sports and exercise in the lives of children, adolescents and adults.
This course explores an empirical investigation into the role that religion plays in people's lives. Current and historical research that explores psychological dimensions of religion is reviewed. Students read original works in the field and analyze recent research investigating a wide range of religious behavior and thinking.
This course presents psychological principles important to an understanding of human interaction and emphasizes how interaction in the social world influences individuals' thoughts and behaviors. The role of research in identifying these principles is stressed. Topics examined include attitudes, prejudice, love, human sexuality, conformity, compliance and obedience.
A systematic examination of personality maladjustment and disorganization. A clinical approach is emphasized, and case studies are included. Among topics discussed are affective disorders, psychoses, substance use disorders, personality disorders, mental retardation and treatment approaches.
This course addresses major theories and classical research in cognitive psychology. An emphasis will be placed on applying these theories to the full spectrum of everyday experiences. This course will also investigate, and attempt to explain, cognitive disturbances caused by neurologic insults.
This course is an introduction to clinical fields in psychology. It addresses three primary topics: careers in mental health settings, theoretical approaches to psychotherapy, and an introduction to therapeutic skills. Students will gain insight into the life of a clinician and further their understanding of the relationship between psychological science/theory and practice.
Courses covering various topics of interest in this particular discipline are offered regularly. Contact department or program chair for more information.
Designed to orient the student to the practice, instruction and research of psychology in the United States. The student is also introduced to historical, cultural and socioeconomic factors that influence the development of psychology in the United States as well as in Europe. This course prepares students for the May Seminar.
The course focuses on gender as a factor in the human experience. The course is designed to be taken after completing at least one introductory level psychology course, or a relevant social sciences course in another discipline. Students will study research investigations of gender and whether or not gender differences exist, as well as consider how race, ethnicity and class interact with each other to produce individual differences in the human experience. Topics studied include stereotypes, gender development, politics and work, and "isms" such as sexism, racism, heterosexism and classism. Special emphasis is given to methodology, research findings, and theory in explaining how and why individuals differ. This course can also count toward the women's and gender studies program.
This course focuses on the professional and personal lives of female psychologists. Students will learn about the scientific contribution of their work, as well as the challenges and rewards they have experienced in their careers and personal lives. Issues that are addressed include: balancing a career and a life, finding a voice, and developing an identity. This course can also count toward the women's and gender studies program.
A study of the principles of assessment in psychology. Personality and intellectual assessment serve as the focus, with such issues as test construction and administration, reliability, and validation strategies discussed.
This course exposes students to the history of cross-cultural psychology, cross-cultural research methods, and the major dimensions of cross-cultural variability. Research on the cross-cultural similarities and differences in basic psychological and developmental processes, conceptions of health, self construals, personality, abnormal behavior, and interpersonal behavior will be discussed. Cultural influences on ethnocentrism, prejudice, attributions, language and communication, treatment of abnormal behavior, and intergroup relations will be explored. This course can also count toward the global studies program.
A philosophy, theory and technology of behavior acquisition and change is presented and critically evaluated. Individual and institutional examples of behavioral interventions are examined with a special emphasis on techniques used to change behavior in these settings. This course also stresses the acquisition and use of behavior management skills through demonstrations and assignments.
Despite notable advancements in investigatory science, 'the law' is an intensely social process in which psychological processes influence enforcement and adjudication. We will apply social psychological fundamentals such as diagnosis, attribution, and prejudice to understand that law includes human judgments with their strenthts and limitations.
A study of the historical antecedents to contemporary psychology and related issues. The course traces the philosophical, medical, clinical, physiological and scientific history of psychology. These areas are considered in light of contemporary issues in psychology.
A course in which seniors form a community of scholars as they revisit and reflect on cornerstone topics in the discipline and integrate their psychology major with their future plans.
This course provides an opportunity for individual students to conduct in-depth study of a particular topic under the supervision of a faculty member. Contact the department or program chair for more information.
This course provides an opportunity for individual students to conduct research in a specific area of study, completed under the direction of a faculty mentor. Specific expectations of the research experience to be determined by the faculty. Repeatable for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.