(For 2016–2017 academic year)
Professors Braaten, Keating (Chair), Kelly, S. Kraly, R. Shiner, Tierney
Associate Professors Conti, Hansen, D. Johnson, Yoshino
Assistant Professors Cooley, Liu, Martinez, Tomlinson
Visiting Assistant Professors Dyer, Ragan, Seymour
Psychology is a scientific approach to the understanding of covert and overt human and animal behavior. It is concerned with such processes as learning, memory, thought, perception, motivation, psychopathology, and development, and their physiological and neurophysiological bases. Psychological principles are applied to the understanding of the behavior of individuals, groups, and societies, and to the solution of a wide range of practical human problems.
The Department of Psychology offers two courses that may be taken by students who want an introduction to some major concepts in the field but who are not planning to major in psychology: PSYC 109 and 150. Passing PSYC 150 and PSYC 200 with a C– or better is expected for admission to the major. Students not meeting this expectation must consult with the department chairperson before continuing in the major.
The department offers a wide range of courses and advanced seminars for majors, covering most of the topical areas in the field. In consultation with their departmental advisers, majors are encouraged to select a variety of 200-level and 300-level courses which assures breadth of exposure rather than specialization in only one area of interest. All majors, especially those planning graduate study in psychology, are urged to take more courses in the department than minimally required for the major.
Major Program in Psychology
The program (at least nine courses) required of majors is as follows (only two 300-level courses per term can be counted towards the major):
- PSYC 150, Introduction to Psychology, which must be passed with a grade of C– or better, should be taken by the end of the sophomore year.
- PSYC 200, Research Methods, which must be passed with a grade of C– or better, should be completed by the end of the sophomore year.
- PSYC 275, Biological Psychology should be completed by the end of the junior year.
- PSYC 309, Quantitative Methods should ideally be taken by the end of the junior year.
- Four additional courses meeting the following requirements:
- These courses must be selected from the following list:
- Cognitive Psychology (PSYC 250–259, PSYC 350–359)
- Social/Personality/Clinical Psychology (PSYC 260–269, PSYC 340–349, PSYC 360–369)
- Neuroscience (PSYC 370–379, 380–389)
- At least one of the courses must be taken at the 200 level, and at least two of the courses must be taken at the 300 level.
- Students must take at least one course in the area of Cognitive and at least one course in the area of Social/Personality/Clinical.
- Note that PSYC 291, 391, 491, and 499 do not count as one of these four additional courses.
- PSYC 498
PSYC 498 (Senior Research) must be taken in the fall or spring term of the senior year. During the spring term of the junior year, students identify several areas of interest for their senior-year research experience. Students are then assigned to faculty research supervisors and assigned to the fall or spring semester sections based upon students’ interests and the availability of resources. Most students will take PSYC 498; on the rare occasions when PSYC 450 or PSYC 460 is offered students may substitute that seminar for PSYC 498. Students planning honors research are required to enroll in PSYC 498 in the fall of the senior year, followed by PSYC 499 in the spring of the senior year. On occasion, students who are not pursuing honors or high honors may complete two semesters of senior research by taking PSYC 498 in the fall and PSYC 491 in the spring.
An overall GPA of at least 2.00 is required in all courses counting toward the psychology major. A passing grade must be received for a course to satisfy a major requirement.
Minor Program in Psychology
The requirements are PSYC 150, Introduction to Psychology (which should be taken by the end of the sophomore year), passed with a C– or better; PSYC 200, Research Methods (normally taken in the sophomore year) passed with a C– or better; PSYC 275, Biological Psychology (normally taken by the end of the junior year); PSYC 309, Quantitative Methods (which should be taken by the end of the junior year); and two additional courses, one of which must be at the 300 level or higher (excluding PSYC 291, 391, and 491), for which the student has the appropriate prerequisites.
An overall GPA of at least 2.00 is required in all courses counting toward the psychology minor. A passing grade must be received in all courses taken to satisfy the requirements for successful completion of a minor.
Honors and High Honors
The requirements for achieving honors and high honors in psychology are as follows:
- Overall GPA of 3.30 or better
- Major GPA of 3.50 or better, calculated across all courses counting toward the major (including PSYC 499).
- A two-semester independent research project of high quality
- Satisfactory oral examination performance on the subject matter of the senior thesis and related fields.
- Overall GPA of 3.50 or better
- Major GPA of 3.70 or better, calculated across all courses counting toward the major (including PSYC 499).
- A two-semester independent research project of very high quality
- An oral examination performance that demonstrates mastery of the senior thesis and related fields.
Awards See “Honors and Awards: Psychology” in Chapter VI.
Advanced Placement Entering students who receive scores of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in psychology are eligible to receive one psychology course credit toward graduation, which will be recorded as PSYC 150, Introduction to Psychology.
International Exam Transfer Credit
Transfer credit and/or placement appropriate to academic development of a student may be granted to incoming first year students who have achieved a score on an international exam (e.g., A-Levels, International Baccalaureate) that indicates a level of competence equivalent to the completion of a specific course in the department. Requests should be directed to the department chair. Any such credit may not be used to fulfill the university areas of inquiry requirement, but may count towards the major.
Transfer Credit and Study Groups
Transfer of psychology credit from other institutions by students already matriculated at Colgate requires prior written permission from the registrar and the department. Normally, no more than one transfer course or one Colgate Study Group course may count toward the major/minor.
Colgate sponsors study-abroad programs in the natural sciences and mathematics at Cardiff University in Wales and at the University of Wollongong near Sydney in Australia. See “Off-Campus Study” in Chapter VI.
PSYC courses count toward the Natural Sciences and Mathematics area of inquiry requirement, unless otherwise noted.
109 Contemporary Issues in Psychology
A course in specific topics offered by various staff members. Students should contact the department regarding the topics offered during any given term. This course does not fulfill the prerequisite for PSYC 200.
150 Introduction to Psychology
This course introduces students to the scientific study of human behavior. Topics include biological foundations of behavior, learning, cognition, sensation and perception, development over the life span, emotion and personality, social thinking and behavior, and the causes and treatment of psychological disorders. Psychology majors should complete this course by the end of the sophomore year. Open to first-year students and sophomores; open to juniors and seniors by permission only. This course fulfills the prerequisite for PSYC 200.
200 Research Methods in Psychology
This course, required of majors, is an introduction to methods of psychological research. The goals of the course are to give students experience in developing the following skills: formulating testable research hypotheses, critically reviewing the scientific literature, designing experiments, measuring behavior, interpreting research results, and writing research reports. Psychology majors should take this course during the sophomore year. Open to seniors by permission only. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 or NEUR 170 (formerly PSYC/NEUR 170), or permission of instructor.
250 Human Cognition
B. Hansen, D. Johnson
Cognitive psychology is a scientific approach to understanding the functioning of the human mind and its relationship to behavior. This course explores recent empirical work in both the theoretical and practical aspects of a variety of issues related to cognition. Topics covered include pattern recognition, attention, mental representation, memory, problem solving, and development of expertise, reasoning, and intelligence. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 or permission of instructor.
251 Learning and Cognition
One of the most fundamental influences on thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes is learning. This course addresses major topics in learning and cognition including learning through association, reinforcement and punishment, the role of evolution in learning, and learning in human and non-human animals. Students explore the cognitive processes of attention, memory, and concept formation, and their role in learning, and various applications of learning, including education, advertising, and addictions. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 or NEUR 170 (formerly PSYC/NEUR 170), or permission of instructor.
261 Personality Psychology
R. Conti, R. Shiner
The study of personality explores approaches to understanding the emotional, social, and behavioral functioning of the individual person. This course traces the study of personality from classic theories based on clinical observations to contemporary theories based on empirical research. Students learn about the field’s major debates and research findings and analyze individual cases as a means of illustrating and applying each theory. The ultimate goal of the course is to have students integrate the knowledge they have gained to form a coherent understanding of the person. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 or permission of instructor. Note: This course is not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 260, Personality and Social Psychology.
Our understanding of mental health issues and disorders is consistently growing and changing. This course aims to broaden students’ understanding of psychopathology and current mental health disorders, to strengthen students’ abilities to recognize problematic behaviors and to determine what to do in the face of them, and to encourage critical interpretation as consumers of current theories and findings in psychopathology. This last aim is achieved via consideration of multicultural issues and a heavy emphasis on current empirical research on mental health disorders. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 or permission of instructor.
263 Social Psychology
E. Cooley, J. Tomlinson
This course provides a survey of social psychology, the scientific study of human feeling, thinking, and behavior in social contexts. The course considers both proximate (immediate) influences on behavior, such as the immediate social situation as well as distal (more remote) influences on behavior, such as human evolution. Topics include social attitudes, judgment and decision making, persuasion, conformity, close relationships, altruism, aggression, prejudice, and intergroup conflict. The application of social psychology to education, health, and economics is also examined. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 or permission of instructor. Note: This course is not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 260, Personality and Social Psychology.
264 Child Psychology
How do humans grow and change from the prenatal period through adolescence? What factors influence development, and how do the contexts in which children spend their time help to determine development? These are the major questions considered in this survey of the various domains of development — primarily social, emotional, and cognitive — and the settings in which development occurs — with family, with peers, in schools, for example. Students learn about theory and empirical research on human development, and they also consider how this research can be applied in working with children. Prerequisite: PSYC 150 or permission of instructor. Note: This course is not open to students who have taken EDUC 204, Child and Adolescent Development.
275 Biological Psychology
This course focuses on issues concerning cellular and behavioral/cognitive neuroscience and is designed for students majoring in psychology. The first part covers neuroanatomy, neuronal structure and function, brain evolution and development, movement, and cellular models of memory. The second and third parts take students through cognitive neuroscience, sensory systems, sleep and dreaming, language, emotion, ingestive behaviors, psychopathology, and cognitive aspects of learning and memory. In addition to covering content in these areas, the course also teaches basic methodology so that students learn the many ways to ask and answer questions about brain and behavior in humans and non-humans alike. Open to seniors only with permission of instructor. Prerequisite: PSYC 150. Notes: Not open to students who have completed NEUR/PSYC 170. PSYC 275 normally does not count towards the neuroscience major.
300, 301 Topics in Psychology
An intermediate-level course in specific psychology topics offered by various staff members. Students should contact the department regarding the topics offered during any given term. Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
309 Quantitative Methods in Behavioral Research
E. Cooley, D. Johnson, J. Martinez
An introduction to statistical procedures and quantitative concepts used in psychology, this course emphasizes principles of research design and analysis in the behavioral sciences. Three class meetings and one computer laboratory per week. Psychology majors should complete this course by the end of the junior year.
341 Psychological Criminology
This course is an introduction to concepts of psychological criminology. The primary aim is to understand the factors that make a person a criminal. A number of such factors are examined, from evolutionary, biological, personality, developmental, environmental, cognitive, and behavioral perspectives. Interactions between individual differences and environmental influences are also examined. Related topics, such as psychopathology and substance use, are discussed. The course includes the analysis of individual cases, and special consideration is given to prevention and treatment initiatives. Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
351 Attention and Memory
Attention and memory are at the core of how humans come to know and act on the world as well as forming the basis of who they are as individuals. This course is not a survey as it focuses on a few areas within attention and memory and studies these areas in depth, exploring seminal and current theories and empirical findings in human attention and memory from a cognitive perspective. Examples of problems which may be addressed include bottom-up vs. top-down attention allocation, dual-task performance, inhibition and attention control, attention and working memory, memory for skills, autobiographical and emotional memories, memory impairments, and memory in everyday life (e.g., memory loss with age, Alzheimer’s dementia, alcoholic dementia). Prerequisites: PSYC 200 and PSYC 250 or PSYC 251, or permission of instructor.
352 Origins of Human Thought
This course studies the origins of human thought from a variety of perspectives, including developmental, cross-cultural, and comparative. Each of these perspectives provides unique evidence concerning “origins.” Developmental psychology examines the origins of thought within the lifespan of the individual within a particular culture; cross-cultural psychology examines the degree to which ways of thinking originate culturally; comparative psychology studies the evolutionary origins of thinking by making comparisons among species. Each term, these different approaches to studying “origins” are applied to a few focused topics in human cognition, such as origins of speech, concepts and categories, perception of objects, and perception of music. Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
353 Visual Perception and Cognition
This course is crosslisted as NEUR 353. For course description, please see “Neuroscience: Course Offerings,” below.
355 Language and Thought
Language is a distinctive human ability that distances humans from the rest of the animal kingdom — including chimpanzees, with whom people share 98 percent of the same genetic inheritance. Although language is considered as primarily serving communication in its advanced form, it is also an important vehicle for thought, with the potential to extend, refine, and direct thinking. The interaction of language with other cognitive abilities is the central focus of the course. Students compare the communication systems of other species with human language, examine efforts to teach human language to apes, learn how psycholinguists conceptualize and investigate language-mind relationships, and inquire into the cognitive abilities of the deaf and other language-impaired individuals, as well as of bilinguals. Attention also is given to evolutionary changes in the neural structures implicated in human language and to neural processes constraining the developmental course of language acquisition. This course is crosslisted as NEUR 355. Prerequisite: NEUR 170 (formerly PSYC/NEUR 170) or PSYC 275 or PSYC 250 or PSYC 251 or permission of instructor.
360 Bonding across Boundaries: A Service Learning Experience
This course explores relationship and group process among school-aged children with and without disabilities. First, students review normative and atypical social development and examine the ways in which children typically include and exclude one another in their social groups. Students then review interventions that have been used to encourage cooperation and facilitate positive relationships among children from different backgrounds. Finally, the class explores the use of music and drama to facilitate the development of social connection in children. With this background, students participate in an extensive service-learning project where they are directly responsible for the development and implementation of a 6-week drama and music workshop for local children with and without disabilities. The final weeks of the seminar are devoted to evaluating the project both empirically and qualitatively. Prerequisite: EDUC 207 (formerly EDUC 307) or PSYC 363, and permission of instructor.
361 Psychotherapy and Behavior Change
This course explores the major models of psychological treatment in adults and children. Each treatment model is examined in terms of its perspective on human behavior and psychopathology, its mechanisms and techniques of therapeutic change, and its empirical evidence. Also addressed are some of the recurring controversies in the field of clinical psychology: Should clinical research and practice inform each other and, if so, how? Can the disparate treatment models and their implicit worldviews be integrated? To what extent is lasting behavior change possible? Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
362 Social Bonds
C. Bagwell, C. Keating
This course explores the ontogenetic (developmental) and phylogenetic (evolutionary) roots underlying human social relationships. Social bonds are traced through the lifespan, beginning with parent-infant attachments, moving next to peer relationships, and ending with pair bonds. Students examine the interplay of social cognition, social perception, emotion, and communication in human sociability. Patterns underlying human social bonds are deciphered using research from child, social, cross-cultural, evolutionary, biological, and comparative psychology. Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
363 Developmental Psychopathology
C. Bagwell, R. Shiner
This seminar introduces the study of psychological problems in the context of human development. Using a broad, integrative framework, the course examines childhood psychological problems from a variety of perspectives (genetic, biological, temperament, socioemotional, family, and cultural). Syndromes that often first appear in childhood and adolescence are discussed, including autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder and youth violence, depression and suicide, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. The course also examines developmental resilience, environments that place children at risk for poor outcomes, and prevention. Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
364 Human Motivation
Motivation is the energy behind human actions. Can people control their own desires? How do emotions energize behavior? What satisfactions contribute to a happy life? These questions are of interest to psychologists studying human motivation. This seminar begins by examining basic biological motives, such as hunger and aggression, and progresses toward the study of more complex motivational phenomena such as curiosity, striving for success, and falling in love. By drawing from physiological, cognitive, social, and personality psychology, this course provides a unique opportunity to examine some of the most interesting questions in psychology from a variety of perspectives. Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
365 Cross-Cultural Human Development
To what degree does culture shape and constrain the development of human ability, thought, and behavior? What features of human behavior lie beyond culture’s reach? In pursuing these questions, students study how sensorimotor, perceptual, emotional, cognitive, social, and personality development proceed in diverse cultural contexts. Theories of human development and the cross-cultural methodologies used to test them are critiqued in detail. Inquiry is framed by an understanding of cultural and biological evolution and incorporates readings from developmental and cross-cultural psychology, anthropology, and sociology. PSYC 309 is recommended. Prerequisites: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
366 The Psychology of Leadership
This course comprises an exploration of the psychological forces that give root to human dominance, hierarchy, and leadership. Guided by evolutionary, developmental, and cross-cultural perspectives, questions about social power and leadership are addressed: To what degree are motives for social dominance — and social docility — embedded in human nature and traceable throughout primate evolution? What traits and competencies distinguish leaders from followers, how early do these differences develop, and is the pattern the same for girls and boys, women and men across the globe? How do some leaders and groups cultivate followers so devoted that they adhere to destructive directives? Contemporary problems in leadership provide illustrations. Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
367 Advanced Social Psychology
E. Cooley, J. Tomlinson
Perhaps more than anything else, people think about other people — the people with whom they are close, those who shape conceptions of the self, motivate behavior, and produce strong emotional reactions. The field of social psychology is devoted to understanding how people feel about, think about, and interact with others. This advanced social psychology seminar offers an in-depth analysis of four topic areas within the field of social psychology including the study of close relationships, the self, motivation, and emotion. This course focuses on theory and research findings relevant to a) the factors that lead people to develop and maintain close relationships; b) the factors and processes that contribute to self-esteem; c) the factors and processes that underlie pursuit of goals and self-regulation; and d) the effects of experiencing and regulating positive and negative emotions. Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
368 Prejudice and Racism
This course provides a survey of the psychology of prejudice and racism, the scientific study of human feeling, thinking, and behavior in situations involving conflict between groups. More broadly, the course examines the psychological factors that contribute to the perpetuation of inequality and discrimination. The course considers both proximate (immediate) influences on behavior, such as the immediate social situation as well as distal (more remote) influences on behavior, such as human evolution. Both motivational approaches to understanding prejudice (e.g., explaining prejudice as a consequence of the desire for social dominance) as well as cognitive approaches (e.g., explaining prejudice as a byproduct of automatic associations people learn) are examined. Prerequisite: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
369 Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Most adults spend the majority of their waking hours working. This is a greater investment of time and energy than is made into any other single endeavor. Thus, understanding the reasons why people work, the psychological dynamics of the workplace, and the potential benefits and costs of various work situations is of considerable practical importance. This course introduces students to the field of industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology, with an emphasis on studying the workplace as an important context for human interaction, the realization of personal goals, and the development of competencies. Students also discuss the role that I/O psychologists play in organizations. Prerequisites: PSYC 200 or permission of instructor.
372 Health Psychology
Health psychologists seek to understand the relationships among psychological factors, behavior, and physical health. Topics covered in this course include the effects of stress, depression, and personality characteristics on people’s susceptibility to and recovery from illness; the role of psychotherapy, social support, and meditation in helping people with chronic illnesses survive longer; and the significance of psychological factors in alternative medical treatments such as acupuncture. The course also considers in detail how the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems interact to mediate the relationship between psychological processes and physical health. Prerequisite: NEUR 170 (formerly PSYC/NEUR 170) or PSYC 275, or permission of instructor.
373 Brain, Physiology, and Behavior
This course is crosslisted as NEUR 373. For course description, please see “Neuroscience: Course Offerings,” below.
375 Cognitive Neuroscience
This course is crosslisted as NEUR 375. For course description, please see “Neuroscience: Course Offerings,” below.
376 Functional Neuroanatomy and Neural Development
This course is crosslisted as NEUR 376. For course description, please see “Neuroscience: Course Offerings,” below.
This course is crosslisted as NEUR 377. For course description, please see “Neuroscience: Course Offerings,” below.
379 Fundamentals of Neurochemistry/Neuropharmacology
This course is crosslisted as NEUR 379 (formerly NEUR 383). For course description, please see “Neuroscience: Course Offerings,” below. (Formerly PSYC 383.)
381 Behavioral Genetics
Behavioral genetics provides an introduction which demonstrates that nature and nurture both play a fundamental role in the development of behavioral traits; and how genes interact with environment to shape the development of various behavioral traits. The course will use an interdisciplinary approach that integrates the studies in genetics, neuroscience, and behavior; with a comparative approach to explore human and other animal models; and cover the traditional behavioral genetic methodologies as well as modern molecular genetic techniques. This course is crosslisted as NEUR 381.
384 Fundamentals of Neurophysiology
This course is crosslisted as NEUR 384 and BIOL 384. For course description, please see “Neuroscience: Course Offerings,” below.
This course is crosslisted as NEUR 385/385L and BIOL 385/385L. For course description, please see “Neuroscience: Course Offerings,” below.
450 Research Seminar in Cognitive Psychology
R. Braaten, B. Hansen, D. Johnson, S. Kelly
This seminar focuses on a specific research topic in the area of human cognition, perception, psycholinguistics, or human or animal learning. The topic varies from term to term. Students are expected to study a topic in depth and to participate in original empirical work in this area. This course is open to junior and senior psychology majors and to others by permission. Prerequisites: PSYC 200, 309, and one course from 250–259 or 350–359.
460 Research Seminar in Social/Personality/Clinical Psychology
R. Conti, E. Cooley, C. Keating, J. Martinez, R. Shiner, J. Tomlinson
This seminar focuses on a specific research topic in the area of social psychology, clinical psychology, personality, or human motivation. The topic varies from term to term. Students are expected to study a topic in depth and to participate in original empirical work in this area. This course is open to junior and senior psychology majors and to others by permission. Prerequisites: PSYC 200, 309, and one course from 260–269 or 340–349 or 360–369.
291, 391, 491 Independent Study
Independent studies may be arranged in consultation with individual instructors.
498, 499 Senior Research
Psychology majors plan and carry out one-term research projects under the guidance of faculty members in the Psychology and Neuroscience programs. For those who wish to be considered for honors or high honors, two-term thesis projects are required. Honors students may fulfill the requirement for two semesters of research by enrolling in PSYC 498 in the fall and PSYC 499 in the spring semester. On occasion, students who are not pursuing honors or high honors may complete two semesters of senior research by taking PSYC 498 in the fall and PSYC 491 in the spring. With permission, PSYC 450 or PSYC 460, when offered, may be substituted for PSYC 498. Prerequisites: PSYC 150, 200, 309, and one other 300-level course, or permission of instructor.