UCSSCPSY11: Introduction to Psychology
This course treats psychology as a science and a profession, emphasizing scientific theories, empirical research, and their applications. We begin with the development of psychology as a discipline devoted to answering centuries-old questions about human nature and behavior. We cover traditional fields of psychology including biological psychology, sensation and perception, learning and motivation, cognition, emotion, child development, personality, psychopathology, psychotherapy, social psychology, and applied psychology.
UCSSCPSY21: Social Psychology
This course demonstrates how social psychology can illuminate our understanding of social relationships and processes. It introduces the history, theories, and methods of social psychology. We review classic and recent social psychology studies in environmental conservation, medicine, law, and sports.
UCSSCPSY22: Developmental Psychology
The course centers on three main themes: changes over lifespan in several domains, relationships between age-related and individual changes, and the methods and designs used to study these topics. Whereas general psychology seeks to explain human behavior and experience, lifespan developmental psychology attempts to account for regular changes that take place throughout an individual’s complete lifespan. Lifespan development, however, does not obey universal and eternal laws. Rather, it occurs within a historical and cultural context. This course, then, explores the concepts of culture, cohort/ generation, and Zeitgeist in relation to patterns of change.
Prerequisites: Methods and Statistics I (UCACCMET11) and Introduction to Psychology (UCSSCPSY11)
UCSSCPSY23: Clinical Psychology
The course looks closely into the area of psychology concerned with the study, diagnosis, and treatment of abnormal behavior or psychological disorders. It examines the leading theories of why people develop problems, focusing on how each theory has led to a distinct approach to therapy.
The class integrates didactic, interactive, and participatory methods. Two sessions are held weekly. The first session consists of a topical lecture, which is followed by class discussion. In the second meeting, the class engages in various activities. Students view films that demonstrate experienced practitioners at work with patients, varying modes of clinical intervention, and issues in diagnosis and treatment. They also discuss the readings, role-play, and work in small groups so to gain experimental knowledge of the various tools of effective clinical psychologists.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology (UCSSCPSY11) and Methods and Statistics (UCACCMET11)
(This course has been moved to UCSSCSOC29)
UCSSCPSY27: Cross-cultural Psychology
Cross-cultural psychology examines what is basic about human nature and what emerges as different depending on people’s culture. It critically evaluates the generality of knowledge from mainstream psychology and covers a wide range of topics.
This course provides a thorough introduction to cross-cultural psychology by focusing on three central overlapping aspects within the discipline. First, the basic epistemological and methodological questions are explored. For instance, whether people from different cultures can be meaningfully compared, how such comparisons should be carried out, and how culture can be operationalized. Second, several explanations for understanding (the impact of) cultural differences are considered, and the cross-cultural validity of mainstream psychology theories are evaluated. In doing so, a variety of topics are addressed, including child-rearing, self-perception, personality, and moral reasoning. Finally, contacts between members of different cultures are studied.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology (UCSSCPSY11) and Methods and Statistics (UCACCMET11)
UCSSCPSY28: The Psychology of Learning and Teaching
This course will provide students with a firm basis in learning research and its applications. We will study different theories of learning (e.g. behaviorist, cognitive, social, and constructivist), the architecture of the brain, developmental aspects, as well as research into interest, motivation, and self-regulation. Approximately half of the course will be devoted to this: the psychology of the learner.
But learning does not occur in a vacuum. Educators know that good teaching requires more than just knowledge about the learner (who to teach), but about teaching (how to teach) and about subject matter (what to teach) as well. See figure. Moreover, the broader societal context is of relevance too. Not only is teaching in schools and at universities affected by educational policy, it is also the case that a learner’s home environment and social background affects their attitude towards learning.
In this course students learn how (applied) psychological and educational research informs teaching. Students will be tested in exams and individual assignments. In addition, each student will work on an individual or small group project in which their knowledge is applied to a topic of their choice in an academic discipline that is the focus of their curriculum. The outcome of this project can be a lesson plan for a school: for example, a math student might develop a way to teach a topic in high-school math. Alternatively, it can be a project concerning a non-educational topic: for example, a museum studies student can study which type of display more effectively communicates information. Or a journalism student might study the difference in information processing involved in reading a newspaper on-line versus on paper.
Prerequisites: Recommended: Introduction to Psychology (UCSSCPSY11) and Methods and Statistics (UCACCMET11)
UCSSCPSY31: The Psychology of Ethnic Relations
This course provides an in-depth study of the social psychological aspects of the reactions of majority and minority ethnic groups towards each other. The literature focuses on the most recent research on the factors determining mutual perceptions ethnic groups and their consequences. Whereas ethnic groups define themselves as different from others in terms of real and imagined cultural and historical factors, real as well as imagined factors play a role in the nature and dynamics of ethnic relations. Although the course focuses on general processes, some examples of the perception of racial conflicts and of the reactions to Muslim groups in Europe will be analyzed. We read the literature about the nature of categorization on processes, the effect of ethnic identification on stereotyping and the nature and consequence of prejudice. We con- sider the main theoretical explanations of negative reactions between ethnic groups and evaluate the empirical evidence supporting them. Then the focus is on aggressive manifestations of ethnic distrust in political discourse, and we consider two main questions relevant for social policy: whether or not it is true that ethnic diversity generally erodes social trust while inter-ethnic contact and tolerance may improve the relations. Finally we address the issue of acculturation. Students present their paper in the last two classes. Papers refer to at least two topics of the course.
Prerequisites: Social Psychology (UCSSCPSY21) and Methods and Statistics II (UCACCMET21)
UCSSCPSY33: The Psychology of Human Motivation
Motivation energizes behavior by definition. Most theories claim that a particular behavior is the result of a specific motivational state (e.g. you eat when you are hungry). However, besides internal states acting within the organism, the study of motivation also includes forces acting on the organism (the odors coming from the kitchen or the expectation of food around dinnertime). One aspect of the study of human motivation that makes it fascinating and complex at once, is the fact that it appears to be over-determined: there is not one behavior for which we can point to just one single motivating ‘cause’. The different systems contributing to the motivation of a particular behavior not only provide us with our own ‘backup systems’, they also interact in complex ways.
In this course, these different motivational systems and their interactions are looked at. The basic approaches to the study of motivation are surveyed: the physiological, behavioral, and cognitive (or psycho-social) approaches. The topic of motivation is also intertwined with that of emotion. Emotions can have motivational properties, but what is an emotion? And what do we know about the neural systems involved in emotional processing? These questions are covered in the last part of the course.
Prerequisites: At least one of the following: Social Psychology (UCSSCPSY21), Cognitive Neuroscience II (UCSCICOG21), Lifespan Developmental Psychology (UCSSCPSY22), Clinical Psychology (UCSSCPSY23) or Psychology Lab course (UCSSCPSY25)
UCSSCPSY34: Crime and Context
While extremely violent crimes are a rare occurrence, they frighten and captivate us. The chances of becoming the victim of a violent crime are small and vary depending on age, gender, social class, and relationship status. While some forms of violence such as domestic violence, football hooliganism, and pedophilia transcend these boundaries, crimes like gang violence tend to be more prevalent in certain groups within society.
This course examines psychological and biosocial theories of crime which help explain aggressive and violent behavior. The course searches for the origins of criminal behavior in biological, psychological, learning, and situational factors, and looks at the link between psychopathy, mental illness and violence. Next, the general theories of aggression and those related to specific forms of violent crimes are studied. The study of a particular crime covers the theories, precipitating factors, relationship between victim and offender, and impact upon the victim.
Criminologists, among others, study violent behavior in an attempt to identify biological triggers, risk factors, developmental patterns, or learned cues, which may help explain the behavior. These markers and factors are examined, along with the treatment paradigms that have been designed to prevent, control, and treat perpetrators (and victims) of domestic and family violence and sexual offenses.
Prerequisites: Social Psychology (UCSSCPSY21) and Criminology (UCSSCPSY26)
UCSSCPSY37: Health Psychology
This course will provide an in-depth study of current research in health psychology: the study of health issues from the dynamic interplay of biological, psychological, social and cultural factors. We will examine the psychology of health on a continuum: pathology on one extreme, robust physical and mental health on the other. We will cover a range of topics, including theoretical approaches to health psychology, the role of mental health in physical health functioning, the physiological basis of stress, eating disorders, the problem of pain, diversity issues in health, and placebo effects. We will apply theory to practice, require critical thought to evaluate health psychology issues. We will examine the relationship between culture and health, the cultural constructions of health and illness, and the ways in which this impacts the doctor-patient relationship, diagnosis, communication, and compliance.
Prerequisites: At least one of the following Mechanisms of Diseases (UCSCIMED21), Social Psychology (UCSSCPSY21), Lifespan Develop- mental Psychology (UCSSCPSY22), Clinical Psychology (UCSSCPSY23)
UCSSCPSY39: Adolescent Development
This course provides an overview of the theories, concepts, issues, and research in the field of adolescent development. This course will focus on changes that occur within the adolescent (including changes related to biological, socio-emotional, cognitive and moral development) as well as changes in the social context (including changes in family and peer relations, school and the larger society) using a lifespan perspective. Lectures and class discussion will focus on traditional and new theoretical perspectives and how these relate to current research, policy and practice.
Prerequisites: Developmental Psychology (UCSSCPSY22) and Methods and Statistics (UCACCMET2x)