PY 105 Honors Introduction to Psychology

Course Syllabus Fall, 2000 Instructor: Carl B. Clements, Ph.D.

Course meets: T/Th 9:30-10:45 am Phone: 348-9694 / 339-8464(H)

Classroom: 204 Gordon Palmer

Office: 387 Gordon Palmer e-mail:

Office Hours: W 9:30-11am; Th 11-11:30 Homepage:

or by appointment

Credit hours: 3

Required Text: Psychology: Themes & Variations. Weiten (4th Edition). Packaged with Psyk.trek multimedia CD. Supplementary readings from such texts as the Controversial Issues in Psychology series or Great Experiments in Psychology may be used to enrich the course.

Course Description: This introductory course will provide students with an overview of the current body of knowledge and methods of the science of psychology. Topics will include the historical foundations of psychology, cognition, emotions, learning, human development, biological bases of behavior, personality, psychological disorders, psychotherapy and behavior change, and social behavior. Emphasis also will be placed on the application of psychology to diverse human endeavors.

Course Objectives: An overriding course goal is to provide access to the way psychologists conduct science, communicate research findings, and apply psychological knowledge. Toward this goal, our objectives are that each student will:

  • become familiar with current scientific theory and research in the major topic areas of psychology.
  • discover the personal relevance of course material, including an understanding of the role of psychological forces in their lives and the lives of others, and an appreciation of the practical value of psychology.
  • develop skills necessary to evaluate and think critically about information concerning psychological phenomena obtained from research, the general public, and the media.
  • be well prepared for advanced study in psychology.

Course Format: Enrollment is limited and the class will be conducted as a seminar. We will primarily rely on class discussion to amplify and enrich information from the required text and related readings. Other instructional formats will include in-class activities, demonstrations, and group projects. Writing assignments, explorations of psychological methods, participation in experiments, and periodic involvement in outside-class projects and experiences will provide the students advanced preparation for subsequent courses. Students are expected to have read material in advance and to have written either a critique or reaction or to have responded to study questions when these are assigned.

Computer-based Course Tools: The Psyk.trek CD should be of significant benefit in mastering material. The CD includes demonstrations, concept reviews, simulations, and quizzes. Students are also provided with a semester’s free access to Infotrac database. We will further discuss and provide information about internet sites that are highly relevant to psychology. We will also set up a class e-mail network through which we can interact. Please establish a Bama e-mail account as soon as possible. A number of assignments will be e-mail or internet- based.

Attendance and Participation: While attendance is not mandatory, it is extremely important for success in this class. Exams will cover material from the required text as well as material presented or discussed in class. Missing one class can be the equivalent of missing an entire chapter. In addition, as a discussion-oriented seminar, participation is expected and will be evaluated.

Grading: Attendance/Participation/Preparation 5%

Assignments/Quizzes 10%

Hour-Exams: 3 @ 20% 60%

Final Comprehensive Exam 25%

Note: All assignments must be turned in on-time to receive full credit.

Required research credits (or substitute) are a pre-requisite for passing the course.

Bonus points may be offered for up to 5% of your grade.

Make-up exams are not given except for documented/verified medical or other emergency reasons. Notice within 24 hours is required. In such cases, you may choose either to drop the missed exam and count the other 2 exams proportionately more. Or you may choose to take a make-up essay exam during the final exam period. For a non-excused missed exam, your score will be averaged in at 30 points below the average of your other 2 hour-exams—the net effect of which is a letter grade drop.

Research Credit Requirement: The psychology department requires all introductory psychology students to participate in three psychological research studies. These studies are conducted by psychology department graduate students and faculty and are related to several different topics from which you may choose. If you are uncomfortable participating in these experiments, you may write one short (2-3 pp.) essay for each of the required experiment credits. You are advised to begin early in the semester. I recommend that you get one credit each month—September, October, and November. Do NOT wait until December. You will have lost credits, plus you have to make them up anyway. See the attached departmental handout for details.

Familiarity with UA Department of Psychology: Although many of you are not psychology majors, it is important to experience the breadth of the field. I will ask each of you to learn more about what our faculty and graduate students are doing in terms of teaching, research, and application. This may be accomplished by attending an advanced class (300, 400 or graduate level), attending a research team or project meeting, and/or reading a recent article by a faculty member or a grad student. You will write a one-page typed summary to distribute to the class. You will also be asked to attend and summarize at least one Department of Psychology colloquium presentation, usually held on Fridays at 3:30pm. Topics and dates will be announced.

Academic Misconduct: Academic misconduct (e.g., cheating on exams, plagiarism) will be dealt with in accordance with the Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Policy of the University of Alabama that appears in the student affairs handbook. You are required to do your own work on all class assignments, papers, and exams. Work for credit is to be the product of your own thinking and writing. Plagiarism of all forms is to be avoided at all cost. If you are in doubt as to whether some act constitutes a violation of the misconduct policy, please ask me.

Special needs/ Disability Accommodations: If you are in need of special assistance in the classroom due to a disability, please contact Disability Services at 348-4285. After initial arrangements with that office, please contact me.

Tips for Success

1. Read all assigned material prior to class. This will facilitate your learning of the course content and participation in class, and enhances your critical thinking skills. Outline what you read. Complete study quiz or other assignment prior to class.

2. Ask questions in class. Class sessions provide an excellent opportunity to clarify concepts in the reading assignments. Often, more than one student may be confused regarding a particular topic.

3. Take advantage of my office hours. These hours are set aside specifically for dealing with student concerns regarding class material. If these hours are inconvenient, see me before or after class, send an e-mail, or call to schedule an appointment. Also, if you are not satisfied with your performance on an exam, see me so we can discuss your approach to studying and test-taking.

4. Use the course CD to supplement our class discussion and your chapter readings. This CD was specifically designed to aid students in the introductory psychology course using our selected textbook. It can be a valuable aid in preparing for exams and learning material in the text not discussed in class. Some of the demonstrations are quite instructive, even fun. The review quizzes should be invaluable.

5. Center for Teaching and Learning. Located in Osband Hall, the Center for Teaching and Learning is available for tutoring and also provides assistance for students with learning disabilities. Their guideline for taking good class notes is attached.

Important Dates

  • Last day to drop a course without grade determination September 20
  • EXAM 1 September 26
  • Last day to drop a course without special permission October 17
  • EXAM 2 October 26
  • Thanksgiving Holidays (Thurs. and Friday: no class) November 23 & 24
  • EXAM 3 November 30
  • FINAL EXAM December 14 (8:00 a.m.)

Course Outline and Required Readings

(Subject to adjustment based on class progress; supplementary materials will be distributed in class.)


24 Introduction to class; course/student objectives; class e-mail roster Misperceptions of the field of Psychology

29 Chapter 1 The Evolution of Psychology

31 Chapter 1/2 Research Methods (to page 47)


5 Chapter 2 + Appendix B: Statistics

7 Chapter 3 Biological Bases of Behavior

12 Chapter 3

14 Chapter 4 Sensation and Perception (to page 114)

19 Chapter 4/5 Variations in Consciousness (to page 148)

    21 Chapter 5 plus review

26 Exam I (Chaps. 1-5)

28 Chapter 6 Learning through Conditioning


3 Chapter 6/7 Human Memory

5 Chapter 7

10 Chapter 8 Language and Thought

12 Chapter 8/9 Intelligence and Psychological testing

17 Chapter 9

    19 Chapter 10 Motivation and Emotion

24 Chapter 10 plus review

26 Exam II (Chaps.6-10)

31 Chapter 11 Human Development/Life-Span


2 Chapter 11

7 Chapter 12 Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment

9 Chapter 12/13 Stress, Coping and Health

14 Chapter 13

16 Chapter 14 Psychological Disorders

21 Chapter 14/15 Psychotherapy


28 Chapter 15 plus review

30 Exam III (Chaps. 11-15)


5 Chapter 16 Social Behavior

7 Chapter 16 plus Wrap-up, and Review

14 FINAL EXAM (Chap. 16 plus Comprehensive) (8:00 - 10:30 a.m.)

Top of Page PY 105 Page Home Page