PSY 110-02: Fundamentals of Psychology 

Summer, 2007

Dr. Val Farmer-Dougan

MTWR 7:30-10:20  

Schroeder Hall



Required Text    Learning objectives    Exams    Make Up Final    If you miss an exam   
Extra Credit    Academic Dishonesty    Final Grades    Special needs or problems  
 Lecture Schedule    Final Exam time and data    Office Hours

Lecture notes      Practice Test for Test 1        Practice Test for Test 2    Practice Test for Test 3

     Welcome to Psych 110-01: Fundamentals of Psychology.  This course examines some of the ways that psychologists explain human behavior. By behavior, psychologists might include behaviors that are both OVERT (those that can be seen) and COVERT (those that are within the organism). Thus, will examine both explicit behavior, as well as thoughts, feelings, and emotions. These behaviors will be examined from biological, environmental and social and psychological ways of knowing. We will examine how people behave, the underlying process which help determine behavior, and the function that our behavior serves in our lives. We will also examine how other disciplines, such as sociology or biology, might differ in their study of human behavior.

    This is not a course in how to be a psychologist. You will NOT learn how to be a therapist, learn how to diagnose people, or even learn counseling skills. Practicing psychology requires a graduate degree, and not just an introductory level course.   Instead, this course is about explaining how and why humans behave the way we do.  At times you might feel you are in a biology or sociology or anthropology course rather than psychology. At times you might feel you are just learning facts and aren't "doing any psychology". At still other moments you might feel that we aren't focusing on you and your specific needs. This is because this course does not teach how to "do psychology", but what the discipline of psychology is, and how it fits into ways of knowing.

    For those of you hoping to major in psychology- this should provide you with a framework to develop your studies. For those of you interested in other majors, this course should provide you with a general background to physiology of the brain, learning, child development, and other areas which may be of interest to you.  Hopefully, it will help you begin to understand why humans think, act and feel  the way they do.

  One final caution: Even though this is a 100-level course, please do not allow yourself to get behind. Topics will build on one another over the course of the semester.

 Keep this syllabus; it contains reading assignments, test dates, grade information, and other items that will be of use throughout the semester.


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Required Text:


     The book used in this course will be Gerrig and Zimbardo's Psychology and Life.  

                        It is available in the local bookstores or can be purchased online.




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Office Hours: MW 10:30--11:30 or by appointment


Learning Objectives:


 In keeping with the spirit of good learning principles, the Psychology Department has determined that, as a result of participating in this course, you should meet the following objectives:



Utilize your critical thinking skills in conjunction with knowledge of the scientific method to analyze theoretical viewpoints and data presented by contemporary psychology.


Understand and critically analyze ways psychologists and their colleagues in related disciplines use to change human and animal behavior.


Understand how people learn, think and remember.


Address and critically analyze contemporary social issues such as the use of invasive methods of behavior change, evolutionary psychology to explain human behavior, and the ethics of behavior change and therapy, from the perspective of an  individual informed on the specific issues and knowledgeable in the use of empirical study to test ideas.


Understand the course and nature of human development and analyze how it applies to oneís own life and to the lives of those around you--peers, family, and other individuals with whom one works in a professional or personal context.


Recognize the psychological processes involved in the interpretation of sensory input   and evaluate the role that one's experiences play in this process.


Be able to critically discuss societal issues such as the culture-specific definition of "adjustment" and the effects of labeling in the field of mental health.


Become sensitive to the scientific evolution of thought by tracing the evolution of theories in such areas as intelligence, moral development, psychopathology, and therapeutic treatment.


Become familiar with and critically discuss the ethics involved in research with human and non-human subjects and the legal and moral responsibilities of those individuals who work with both people and animals.


Understand and critically analyze the personal dynamics of the individual within a social group  and the resulting effect of the group on individual behavior.


Demonstrate an understanding of critical analysis, the role of theory, and of human behavior by showing an ability to listen to and critically analyze contrasting opinions without ridiculing, taunting or reacting with hostility to contrasting opinions. Rather, an individual with such skills responds with sound argumentation, rational responses and tolerance towards others. 


These Objectives are consistent with Educating Illinois document. Please see this document for further details.


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            Three (3) 75-min exams will be given during the semester. Each of these exams will be equally weighted. Exams are worth 150 points each, for a total of 450 points.  Exams will consist of 75 questions (2 points each for a total of 150 points).  In addition,    

During each test there will be TWO (2) extra credit short answer essay questions. These will be worth a total of 5 points EACH, or 10 extra credit points per test. This way you can earn UP TO an additional 30 points extra credit. 

                                  IF YOU MISS AN EXAM:  Make up exams will be given for verified illness or extenuating circumstances. It is your responsibility to obtain notes from medical personal, etc., to verify your absence. The makeup exam will be generally be essay format, rather than multiple choice. No makeup exams will be give for an unexcused missed exam.

                                IF YOU MISS AN EXAM:  Make up exams will be given for verified illness or extenuating circumstances. It is your responsibility to obtain notes from medical personal, etc., to verify your absence. The makeup exam will be generally be essay format, rather than multiple choice. No makeup exams will be give for an unexcused missed exam. Rather, you will be required to take the comprehensive exam during finals week to replace the missing test.

You will find that each test builds upon the last (that is, if you understood the material from the previous test, it will make each progressive test much easier

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Extra Credit:

       You may earn extra credit in this course in two ways: 1) by reading short journal articles or  2) participating in psychology experiments.

     You may earn UP TO FIFTEEN points of extra credit any COMBINATION of these choices. You will receive 5 points for summary of research participation or a reading that you complete, for a maximum combined total of 15 points. Note:  You CANNOT earn 5% from EACH category; there is a maximum of 5% from THE TWO COMBINED CATEGORIES.

            After you complete your research participation, you MUST complete a written report. The format for this report may be found at:  Research report form.

 If  you choose NOT to participate in research, you may instead earn extra credit by summarizing one research article from the journal Psychological Science. A written summary report again be required as evidence of your work. The written report form may be found here: Research Article report form.

     If you complete BOTH the research participation/research article review AND answer all extra credit  questions correctly on all three tests, you could potentially earn a total of 45 extra credit points.

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Academic Dishonesty:


    Any cheating will not be tolerated. Cheating or plagiarism will result in an F in the course and referral to the Student Code Enforcement Review Board (SCERB) for disciplinary action. Cheating INCLUDES (but is not limited to): plagiarism of both published and unpublished written work, having another individual take or assist you with an online exam, taking an exam for or assisting another individual with an online quiz, performing or completing a class assignment or quiz for another individual or having another individual perform or complete a class assignment or quiz for you.  Cheating is thus defined generally as representing work that is NOT your own as your work or allowing your work to be represented as anotherís' so that individual receives academic credit.  Violators of this policy will receive a failing grade on that assignment or quiz, a possible failing grade for the course, and referral to the department chair and the SCERB for disciplinary action

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 A total of 450 points are available in the course.  Grades will be awarded on the following basis:

A: 405-450
B: 360-404
C: 293-359
D: 225-292
F: 224 or below

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Special Needs or Problems:

If you have a disability, if English is your second language, you travel with a sports team, have unusual work circumstances, or you need other special considerations, please see one of us as soon as possible (that's before the first test!) to work out any special arrangements that might be needed.  If you fail a test, please see me as soon as possible.  We cannot help you after you have failed two or more tests!

 Please Note: According to University Guidelines:  Any student needing to arrange a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability should contact Disability Concerns at 350 Fell Hall, 438-5853 (voice), 438-8620 (TDD).  They are there to ensure that you receive the help you need!!

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 Lecture schedule

The following is a tentative lecture schedule.  PLEASE NOTE THE READING ASSIGNMENTS.  You will understand the material better if you read the assigned material BEFORE the assigned date. Changes will be announced in class. You are responsible for any changes announced in class.

Lecture schedule

The following is a tentative lecture schedule.  PLEASE NOTE THE READING ASSIGNMENTS.  You will understand the material better if you read the assigned material BEFORE the assigned date. Changes will be announced in class. You are responsible for any changes announced in class.

Date            Topic and reading assignment                                                                                    

July 16:         What exactly IS psychology?    Chapters 1 and 2                                        
                        Intro to Psychology as a science
                        History of Psychology
                        Psychology as a Science
                        Methods used to make Psychology a science

July 17:        Can understanding the brain explain our behavior?     Chapter 3
                        Neuron, synapse and action potential
                        Neurochemistry and drugs

July 18:          Neuroanatomy  Chapter 3
                        The spinal cord to midbrain
                        Neuroanatomy: Cerebral cortex
                        Biology and Psychology: Neuroscience

July 19th:       Vision and Perception Chapter 4 and 5
                         Vision: Anatomy of the Eye
                         Perception I: Interpreting what we see
                         Perception II
July 23      TEST #1

July 24st:        How do we learn and is biology involved? Chapter 6
                        Introduction to learning
                         Classical Conditioning
                         Operant conditioning
                         Biological boundaries

July 25:       How do we think, reason and remember? Chapter 7 and 8
                         Memory and you!
                         Problem Solving and Reasoning

July 26 :        Where did we come from? Using development to explain behavior of the individual. Chapter 10
                        How do we develop? The beginnings
                         Physical development birth to toddler    

July 27th:       How do kids begin to thinking and socialize?     Chapter 10, 9
                        Cognitive development
                        Social development
                        Adult  Development

July 30th:       Test #2     

July 31th:      Who we are: Our Personality Alone versus Group behavior.  Chapter 14

            Defining personality?
                        Freud's interpretations
                        Other interpretations of personality

Aug 1    Do we act differently in groups? Social Psychology. Chapters 17 and 18

                         Social Judgments
                         Social Perceptions

Aug 2:     Psychopathology. Chapter 15
                         Anxiety and Stress disorders
                         Mood disorders
Aug 6:     Psychopathology. Chapter 15
                         Mental Illness film and discussion

Aug 7:      Treating disorders. Chapter 16.
                         Treating disorders
                         Treatment film and discussion                  

Aug 8:       Treating disorders. Chapter 16.
                          class summary

Aug 9th:      Test #3 and Makeup Exam

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