Introduction to Psychology
The scientific study of human thought and behavior with an emphasis on experimental methods. Two lectures, three hours of laboratory assignments.
Professor/InstructorMegan Elizabeth Spokas
An examination of the different patterns of abnormal behavior. Each will be examined from the perspective of such models of explanation as the psychoanalytic, behavioristic, humanistic, physiological, and cognitive models. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
The Brain: A User's Guide
A survey of brain and mind, emphasizing issues related to human behavior. Topics include: psychoactive drugs, aging and Alzheimer's disease, reengineering the brain, learning and memory, sleep-waking and biological rhythms, and major mental diseases. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
The Psychology of Moral Behavior
Professor/InstructorDeborah Anne Prentice
A survey of the psychological, situational, and cultural determinants of moral thought and action. Topics will include the development of moral reasoning abilities, moral education, the relation between morality and rationality, altruism, and moral transgressions. Precepts will examine methods used in the psychological study of moral behavior. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Human Identity in the Age of Neuroscience and Information Technology
Professor/InstructorDaniel N. Osherson
A central challenge for modern society is to construct individual and group identity in the face of technologies that come ever closer to understanding the mechanisms of thought and feeling. We live in a time when cognitive neuroscience is poised to trace the executive functions of the mind to the workings of the brain, and computer science is coming closer to replicating those functions. This course offers a multidisciplinary introduction to the scientific and social issues that underlie the potential cultural impact of advances in self-understanding. Faculty from a wide range of departments provide lectures. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Language, Mind, and Brain
This course examines the complex mental and neurological processes that underlie linguistic knowledge and behavior. It will be concerned with the precise description and measurement of language activity, with its governing principles, and with available indices for the associated neural computations and their location in the brain. Seminar.
The Psychology and Philosophy of Rationality
Professor/InstructorEldar Shafir, Philip Nicholas Johnson-Laird, Gilbert H. Harman
The human capacity for rationality is fundamental; however there is ample evidence for irrationality in human affairs--including notions such as hysteria, addiction, lack of self-control, wishful thinking, and self-deception. This course considers both errors and achievements, providing an introduction to a wide array of topics, such as logic, probability, decision theory, relativism, and psychopathology. It provides a background for further study of subjects such as logic, philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, the psychology of judgment and choice, and the psychology of thinking. One two-hour lecture, one preceptorial.
Professor/InstructorJustin Anthony Junge
A general introduction to statistical techniques, both descriptive and inferential, employed by psychologists. Required for concentrators. Two lectures, one laboratory.
Professor/InstructorDiana I. Tamir
The scientific study of social behavior, with an emphasis on social interaction and group influence. Topics covered will include social perception, the formation of attitudes and prejudice, attraction, conformity and obedience, altruism and aggression, and group dynamics. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
A survey of human development emphasizing the nature of children's minds and experience and the relation of childhood to adulthood. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
The course will survey the major themes and experimental findings of cognitive psychology and consider their relevance to the cognitive sciences in general. Topics covered will include attention, perception, imagery, memory, language, and reasoning. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
A survey of major approaches to the study of personality, including psychodynamic, social learning, and trait-theory approaches. The focus will be on the assumptions made by each approach, relevant techniques for collecting and analyzing data, and theoretical and practical implications. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Fundamentals of Neuroscience
Professor/InstructorIlana Basya Witten
This is a survey course in neurobiology which takes a mechanistic and reductionist perspective to cover important topics in the field, including the physiological basis of neural excitability, sensory and motor processing, learning and memory, and neuropsychiatric diseases.
Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
Professor/InstructorMatthew M. Botvinick
An introduction to cognitive brain functions, including higher perceptual functions, attention and selective perception, systems for short- and long-term memory, language, cerebral lateralization, motor control, executive functions of the frontal lobe, cognitive development and plasticity, and the problem of consciousness. Major neuropsychological syndromes (e.g., agnosia, amnesia) will be discussed. Prerequisite: 258 or instructor's permission. Two 90-minute lectures, one preceptorial.
Linguistics and Language Acquisition
Professor/InstructorAdele E. Goldberg
What does it mean to know a language? Is it something we learn or something the brain "grows?" What aspects of language are innate? Is parents' speech important in language learning? An examination of the properties of child language through the lens of current linguistic theory. Two 90-minute classes.
Memory and Cognition
Professor/InstructorKenneth Andrew Norman
Empirical facts, theoretical issues, and scientific techniques in the area of human memory. Potential topics include models of memory, eyewitness testimony, comprehension, representation of knowledge, autobiographical memory, reality monitoring, amnesia, and other disorders of memory and cognition. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Prerequisite: 255 or 259, or instructor's permission.
Principles of psychology relevant to the theory and practice of education. Through selected readings, discussion, and classroom observations, students study theories of development, learning, cognition (including literacy), and motivation, as well as individual and group differences in these areas; assessment; and the social psychology of the classroom. The course focuses on how learning by children and adolescents at the elementary, middle, and secondary school levels is influenced by their own characteristics and experiences and the various contexts in which they learn: family, school, community, and culture. One three-hour seminar.
Psychology of Language
Professor/InstructorAdele E. Goldberg
The cognitive and interpersonal processes involved in language use. Topics include speech production and perception, the nature of grammatical and lexical knowledge, semantics and pragmatics, computer systems for natural language understanding, language acquisition, and the social bases of human communication. Two lectures, one preceptorial-laboratory. Prerequisite: 255 or instructor's permission.
Psychology of Thinking
The study of human problem solving, reasoning, and decision making. Phenomena of interest include thinking in everyday situations and contexts as well as in more specialized areas, such as logic, mathematics, and the sciences. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Prerequisite: 255 or instructor's permission.
Rationality and Human Reasoning
Professor/InstructorDaniel N. Osherson
An examination of the fundamental theories of belief and decision, from both the normative and descriptive perspectives. Utility, logic, probability, and abduction will be considered, with additional topics drawn from computability theory and from collective choice. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Considers how one infers the motives, dispositions, and abilities of other persons. Next examines how these inferential processes are used to draw inferences about oneself. Students will design an original experiment (with consultation). Two lectures, one preceptorial. Prerequisite: 252 or instructor's permission.
Research Methods in Social Psychology
Professor/InstructorJ. Nicole Shelton
An examination of the various methods by which social psychologists conduct research, including laboratory and field experiments, quasi-experiments, survey research, and naturalistic observation. Over the course of the semester, students will design and conduct social psychological research using these methods. Although valuable for all psychology majors, this course will be particularly useful for those who anticipate completing a senior thesis based on empirical research. Prerequisites: 251 or permission of instructor. One three-hour seminar.
An examination of the major forms of childhood psychopathology. Causal roles played by individual factors, traumatic events, the family, school, and community as well as the prevention and treatment of childhood disorders will also be examined. One three-hour seminar. Prerequisites: 207 and 254. Offered in alternate years.
Theories of Psychotherapy
An examination of the various forms of psychotherapy, including the psychoanalytic, behavioristic, humanistic, and cognitive approaches. The focus will be upon the theoretical base, format, and empirical support for each approach. The impact of different treatment settings will also be considered. One three-hour seminar, including field-setting preceptorials. Prerequisite: 207 or permission of instructor.
The Psychology of Decision Making and Judgment
An introduction to the logic of decision making and reasoning under uncertainty. Focus on psychological mechanisms that govern choice and judgment and on characteristic errors found in intuitive judgment and choice. Discussion of divergence from the model of rational agent often assumed in social science theory and economics. Rules governing pleasure, pain, and well-being provide background for analysis of the rationality of some individual choices and for the evaluation of general policies that affect human welfare. Prerequisite: introductory statistics for social science or instructor's permission.