Introduction to Psychology

(Spring 2013)


PSYC 1100: Introduction to Psychology


Dr. Linda M. Woolf

Office Hours:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10:00 - 11:00 or by appointment.

  • 301 WH, Behavioral and Social Sciences Department.

  • Phone 968-6970 or 968-7062


Wade, C., & Tavris, C. (2009). Psychology (10th ed.). Upper Saddle Creek, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN: 9780205711468

Course Description:

Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. Although psychology is most often associated with clinical issues (i.e. abnormal, personality), this makes up only a small portion of the field. Other specialties within the field include, to name a few, physiological, social, organizational, and developmental psychology. We cannot understand ourselves or the individuals around us without looking at how we develop, how we behave in a social context, or the physiological components of our behavior. Thus, this course will serve as an overview of the major fields within psychology with an emphasis on developing an understanding of psychology as the science of human thought and behavior. We will also learn to critically evaluate "common sense" knowledge about how people function.

PSYC 1100 has been coded for the Social Systems and Human Behavior content area.

PSYC 1100 has been coded for the Critical Thinking skill area.

Course Objectives and Outcomes:

  1. Objective: To gain a better understanding of the field of psychology both historic and current.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to identify the major fields of study and theoretical perspectives within psychology and articulate their similarities and differences. You will be able to detail the major fields of study and theoretical perspectives within psychology.

  2. Objective: To become familiar with the research methodology commonly used by psychologists. To become familiar with the scientific method, and examine the benefits and limitations of this method of inquiry as it relates to developmental psychology.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to differentiate between the major observational, correlational, experimental, and quasi-experimental designs used by developmental psychologists and articulate the benefits and limitations of each. Students will be able to critique various studies and theories based on this information. You will be able to describe the scientific method and compare and contrast the various research approaches (observational, correlational, experimental).

  3. Objective: To become familiar with the biological bases of behavior.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to identify and discuss the biological bases of behavior on both the micro (e.g. neurocellular, neurophysiological, and neurochemical) and macro (e.g. central and peripheral nervous system) levels. You will be able to detail the processes and concepts related to the biological bases of behavior and apply this information to everyday settings.

  4. Objectives: To develop an understanding of processes involved in learning and cognition.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to articulate the basic principles, major theories, and research concerning learning and cognition. You will be able to describe the theories, processes, and concepts related to learning, memory, and cognition and apply this information to common situations.

  5. Objective:To develop an understanding of the various types of development that an individual experiences across the life-course.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to discuss the major theories of development, critical research on development, and developmental concepts from across the life course. You will be able to discuss the major developmental theories, methods, and concepts across the life span and apply this information to everyday life.

  6. Objectives: To become familiar with the theories concerning psychological health and disorders.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to discuss the symptomatology, possible etiology, and proposed treatment for the major categories of psychological disorders. You will be able to discuss the theories, processes, and concepts related to psychological health and disorders and apply this information to everyday life.

  7. Objective: To become familiar with the theories concerning human behavior in a social context.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to identify and discuss the major theories and research from the area of social psychology. You will be able to describe the theories, processes, and concepts related to human behavior within social contexts and apply this information to common situations.

  8. Objective: To become familiar with the rapidly growing body of literature on psychology.

    Outcomes: Students will be able to read current literature related to a specific psychological topic and write a paper discussing and evaluating this research.

  9. Objective: To further develop writing skills in conjunction with the use of APA format.

    Outcomes: Students will be able write their paper in APA format.

Incoming Competencies/Prerequisites:

All students should be capable of integrating and evaluating information, critical thinking, and writing at the college level.

Class Meetings:

The class will meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00 - 11:50. Attendance is strongly recommended as material will be presented that is not in the book and missing class can adversely impact your grade.

Course Requirements:

Six exams and a term paper.

All grades will be assigned on a scale of 0 - 10 with:

90 - 100A-, ASuperior Work
80 - 89B-, B, B+Good Work
70 - 79C-, C, C+Satisfactory Work
60 - 69D, D+Passing, but less than Satisfactory (not passing if a requirement for the major or general education)
Less than 60FFailing

Percent of Grade:

Critical Thinking Review Paper15%

Examinations: Six exams will be given and the examination format will include multiple choice, short answer, matching, and essay. They will cover material presented in lecture, readings, and discussion. POLICY STATEMENTS: All exams must be taken on the date scheduled. No make-up exams will only be made available for students with a documented excuse AND who discuss their situation with the instructor prior to missing an exam.

Additional study materials have been placed on eReserves for the class. For example, I will place selected slides from my lecture on this site (not all slides will be put online) and there are also practice tests available for your study and review.

Critical Thinking Review Paper: Students are required to research and write a critical thinking review paper for 15% of their final grade. The specific requirements are given below:

  • At least five references for your paper must come from refereed journals (not Psychology Today or Newsweek, for example). NOTE: Do not rely heavily on popular literature, for example, a book you happen to see on Often times these books are not empirically based. To do an excellent job on the paper, you will most likely need more than the minimum of five journal references.

  • All papers must be typed, double-spaced, 1 inch margins, and in APA style format.

    If you are in doubt as to what this means, see me for details.


    Note that one of the major purposes of the paper is to facilitate your learning of APA format. Thus, you will need to become familiar with this publication format. We will discuss the format in class but you will also need to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) (the library has copies). Note that all journal articles for APA journals such as the American Psychologist are written and referenced in APA format. Twenty percent of your grade will be related to your use of APA format. If you write your paper in an alternate format such as MLA, it will be difficult to earn a passing grade on the paper.

    The paper should be submitted electronically in Word format to Hard copies of the paper will not be accepted.

  • Policy Statements:

    Use of Electronic Devices in the Classroom: Please respect others in the class by turning off all cell phones before entering the room. Text messaging during class is not acceptable. Laptops/tablets may be used in class but are only to be utilized for class related activities (e.g., taking notes). If it becomes apparent you are using the computer for non-class activities (e.g., checking your email, playing games,F ace book) then you may be asked to turn off your computer and refrain from bringing it into class in the future. Laptop use is restricted to the back or sides of the classroom so that other students are not distracted during lecture.

    Plagiarism (attempting to pass off the work of another as one's own) is not acceptable. Plagiarism includes copying all or part of another's writings (even a single sentence), inappropriate paraphrasing, using another student's paper as your own, submitting a paper for more than one class. All papers will be submitted to the university's plagiarism database for review. Plagiarism, either intentional or unintentional, will result in a grade of 0 for that assignment but also may be turned over to the appropriate university source for disciplinary action and a grade of F for the course. In addition, cheating on exams will also result in the same fate. In addition, cheating on exams will also result in the same fate.

    Here are some Web sites that will help you avoid the problem of plagiarism particularly plagiarism resulting from paraphrasing too closely to the original source. -

    It should be noted that, as is common in many university courses, little time will be spent lecturing on topics adequately addressed by the text. Students are expected to arrive at class meetings having already read the material assigned, and to ask questions to clarify any areas that remain unclear. While every attempt will be made to explain or expand upon particularly difficult areas, the primary purpose of classroom lecture is to enhance, rather than to duplicate, the textbook material.

    Late withdraws from this class will not be approved by the instructor except in cases of emergency discussed with the instructor. No late withdraws will be approved on the basis of poor class performance.

    This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor's discretion. All changes concerning course requirements will be provided in writing. Changes concerning exam dates may be made at the instructor's discretion and communicated verbally to the class.

    It is understood that remaining in this course (not dropping or withdrawing from this course) constitutes an agreement to abide by the terms outlined in this syllabus and an acceptance of the requirements outlined in this document.


    Week Ending

    Topic and Readings

    January 18 Introduction to the Class
    What is psychology?


    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 1
    January 25 How Psychologists do Research


    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 2
    Exam I - January 25

    February 1
    February 8
    The Brain: Source of Mind and Self

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 4

    Paper topic due - February 8
    February 15 Body Rhythms and Mental States

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 5

    Exam II - February 15

    February 22 Learning and Conditioning

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 7
    March 1
    March 8
    Thinking and intelligence

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 9
    Exam III - March 8: Do not schedule early travel for Spring Break!

    March 22
    March 29
    Development over the Lifespan

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 13

    April 5 Theories of Personality

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 14

    Exam IV - April 5
    April 12 Psychological disorders

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 15

    April 19 Approaches to Treatment and Therapy

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 16
    Exam V - April 19
    April 26
    May 3
    Behavior in Social and Cultural Context

    • Wade & Tavris, Chapter 8

    Paper due - April 27
    Check Final Exam Schedule Exam VI

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