Department Website: http://psychology.uchicago.edu
Program of Study
Psychology is the study of the mental states and processes that give rise to behavior. It seeks to understand the basic mechanisms and functions of perception, cognition, emotion, and attitudes in guiding behavior. Although it focuses on the level of the individual, individual behavior depends on the social relationships and structures in which people are embedded and the biological systems of which we are comprised. Thus, psychological study encompasses a broad set of topics that overlap with a number of disciplines across the social and biological sciences. The requirements of the major are designed to acquaint students with the research methods psychologists use and to provide a foundation of core knowledge covering the major areas of psychology. This broad foundation allows students to pursue a more advanced understanding of subfields related to their own particular interests and goals for the major. The program may serve as preparation for graduate work in psychology or related fields (e.g., neuroscience, education), as well as for students interested in careers in social work, public policy, business, or medicine. Students are encouraged to become actively engaged in research in the department and should consult with the director of undergraduate research about their interests as early as possible.
Although no special application is required for admission to the major, majors are required to:
- Inform the Department of Psychology by completing an enrollment form available from the department student affairs administrator in Beecher 109 and inform their College adviser.
- Subscribe to the Psychology Majors Listhost at https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/psychology-majors. The listhost is the primary means of communication between the program and its majors or students interested in being majors. We use it to notify students of events relevant to psychology majors, such as research opportunities, job postings, fellowship announcements, and any changes in the course schedule, or curriculum updates.
NOTE: The following revised requirements are in effect for students who matriculated September 2014 and after. Students who matriculated prior to September 2014 should consult the College Catalog archives for the requirements that pertain to them.
Psychology majors are required to complete PSYC 20100 Psychological Statistics and PSYC 20200 Psychological Research Methods by the end of their third year. However, it is strongly recommended that these courses be taken as early as possible as they provide foundational concepts that facilitate understanding of subject area courses. These two courses cover the conceptual and methodological issues (Psy Rech Meth) and the statistical methods (Psych Stats) used in psychological science and are typically taught in Autumn and Winter Quarters.
Beginning with the class of 2019 students with AP examination credit for STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications may not count that credit toward the major and should instead replace that requirement with a higher-level statistics course or an additional psychology elective. Students interested in graduate programs in Psychology or other empirical sciences are strongly encouraged to take a higher level statistics course.
Students are required to take four of the following five courses, each of which will be offered every year:
|PSYC 20300||Biological Psychology||100|
|PSYC 20400||Cognitive Psychology||100|
|PSYC 20500||Developmental Psychology||100|
|PSYC 20600||Social Psychology||100|
|PSYC 20700||Sensation and Perception||100|
At least six additional courses (for a total of twelve in the major) must be chosen from among the courses offered by the Department of Psychology. Courses without a psychology number must be approved by the Curriculum Committee; petitions must be submitted to the undergraduate program chair. Only one independent study course can count toward the twelve courses required of students who are majoring in psychology (PSYC 29200 Undergraduate Reading in Psychology or PSYC 29700 Undergraduate Research in Psychology). In addition to the six electives, students pursuing honors in psychology must also take the PSYC 29800 Honors Seminar. Independent study courses can be taken for P/F grading, but all other courses must be taken for a quality grade. NOTE: Before registering for an elective, students should confirm that they have met any prerequisites for the course.
Students are required to take PSYC 20200 Psychological Research Methods. Students are encouraged to gain additional experience by working on a research project under the guidance of a faculty member.
Students are required to take two quarters of calculus as part of the College general education requirements.
NOTE: For psychology students, a maximum of three courses can be transferred into the major from outside the University of Chicago.
Summary of Requirements
|MATH 13100-13200||Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II (or higher) †||200|
|One of the following:||200|
and Psychological Research Methods *
|Statistical Methods and Applications|
and Psychological Research Methods *
|Four of the following:||400|
|Sensation and Perception|
|Six electives +||600|
Credit may be granted by examination.
Examination Credit for PSYC 20100 Psychological Statistics or STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications will not count toward the requirements for the major. Students with credit for PSYC 20100 or STAT 22000 should replace that requirement with a higher level Statistics course or an additional psychology elective.
Courses without a psychology number must be approved by the Curriculum Committee; petitions must be submitted to the undergraduate program chair.
All courses in the major must be taken for quality grades except for the independent study course, which is available for either a quality grade or for P/F grading.
To qualify for honors, students must meet the following requirements:
- Students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 overall, and a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major by the beginning of the quarter in which they intend to graduate.
- Students should arrange to write an honors paper with a faculty advisor from the Department of Psychology. Papers must represent a more substantial research project than the average term paper. After the paper has been approved by the faculty sponsor, the paper must then be read and approved by a second faculty member.
- Students are required to take an PSYC 29800 Honors Seminar in Winter Quarter of their third or fourth year. This is in addition to the twelve required courses for the major. It is expected that students will be actively working on the thesis project during the quarter they are taking the honors research seminar.
- Students are required to present their findings in Spring Quarter of their fourth year at an honors day celebration. For details, visit psychology.uchicago.edu.
Specialized Courses of Study
Faculty members (or the undergraduate program chair) are available to help individual students design a specialized course of study within psychology. For example, particular course sequences within and outside of psychology may be designed for students who wish to pursue specializations in particular areas. These areas include, but are not limited to, cognitive neuroscience, language and communication, computational psychology, behavioral neuroscience and endocrinology, sensation and perception, and cultural psychology.
Students pursuing honors in more than one major should note that:
- The student's thesis adviser for psychology cannot be the same person as his or her thesis adviser for the second major.
- The student must meet all the requirements listed in the preceding Honors section, including taking the Honors Seminar and presenting at an honors day celebration.
Earl R. Franklin Research Fellowship
The Earl R. Franklin Research Fellowship is awarded to a third-year student who is majoring in psychology. It provides financial support during the summer before his or her fourth year to carry out psychological research that will be continued as a senior honors project. Applications, which are submitted at the beginning of Spring Quarter, include a research proposal, personal statement, transcript, and letter of recommendation.
PSYC 20000. Fundamentals of Psychology. 100 Units.
This course introduces basic concepts and research in the study of behavior. Principal topics are sensation, perception, cognition, learning, motivation, and personality theories.
Instructor(s): J. Cacioppo Terms Offered: Autumn
PSYC 20100. Psychological Statistics. 100 Units.
Psychological research typically involves the use of quantitative (statistical) methods. This course introduces the methods of quantitative inquiry that are most commonly used in psychology and related social sciences. PSYC 20100 and 20200 form a two-quarter sequence that is intended to be an integrated introduction to psychological research methods. PSYC 20100 introduces explanatory data analysis, models in quantitative psychology, concept of probability, elementary statistical methods for estimation and hypothesis testing, and sampling theory. PSYC 20200 builds on the foundation of PSYC 20100 and considers the logic of psychological inquiry and the analysis and criticism of psychological research. It is recommended that students complete MATH 13100 and MATH 13200 (or higher) before taking this course.
Instructor(s): D. Yurovsky Terms Offered: Autumn
PSYC 20200. Psychological Research Methods. 100 Units.
This course introduces concepts and methods used in behavioral research. Topics include the nature of behavioral research, testing of research ideas, quantitative and qualitative techniques of data collection, artifacts in behavioral research, analyzing and interpreting research data, and ethical considerations in research.
Instructor(s): A. Henly Terms Offered: Winter
PSYC 20209. Adolescent Development. 100 Units.
Adolescence represents a period of unusually rapid growth and development. At the same time, under the best of social circumstances and contextual conditions, the teenage years represent a challenging period. The period also affords unparalleled opportunities with appropriate levels of support. Thus, the approach taken acknowledges the challenges and untoward outcomes, while also speculates about the predictors of resiliency and the sources of positive youth development.
Instructor(s): M. Spencer Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Students will have previously taken one other course in CHDV
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: B*, D*
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 20209
PSYC 20300. Biological Psychology. 100 Units.
What are the relations between mind and brain? How do brains regulate mental, behavioral, and hormonal processes; and how do these influence brain organization and activity? This course introduces the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain; their changes in response to the experiential and sociocultural environment; and their relation to perception, attention, behavioral action, motivation, and emotion.
Instructor(s): L. Kay, B. Prendergast Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Some background in biology and psychology.
Note(s): This course does not meet requirements for the biological sciences major. CHDV Distribution: A*
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 29300,CHDV 20300
PSYC 20400. Cognitive Psychology. 100 Units.
Viewing the brain globally as an information processing or computational system has revolutionized the study and understanding of intelligence. This course introduces the theory, methods, and empirical results that underlie this approach to psychology. Topics include categorization, attention, memory, knowledge, language, and thought.
Instructor(s): M. Berman Terms Offered: Spring
PSYC 20500. Developmental Psychology. 100 Units.
This is an introductory course in developmental psychology, with a focus on cognitive and social development in infancy through early childhood. Example topics include children's early thinking about number, morality, and social relationships, as well as how early environments inform children's social and cognitive development. Where appropriate, we make links to both philosophical inquiries into the nature of the human mind, and to practical inquiries concerning education and public policy.
Instructor(s): K. O'Doherty, L. Richland Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): CHDV Distribution, B*
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 25900
PSYC 20600. Social Psychology. 100 Units.
This course examines social psychological theory and research that is based on both classic and contemporary contributions. Topics include conformity and deviance, the attitude-change process, social role and personality, social cognition, and political psychology.
Instructor(s): W. Goldstein Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): PSYC 20000 recommended.
Note(s): Can count towards CHDV, C specialization, but not C distribution
PSYC 20700. Sensation and Perception. 100 Units.
What we see and hear depends on energy that enters the eyes and ears, but what we actually experience—perception—follows from human neural responses. This course focuses on visual and auditory phenomena, including basic percepts (for example, acuity, brightness, color, loudness, pitch) and also more complex percepts such as movement and object recognition. Biological underpinnings of perception are an integral part of the course.
Instructor(s): S. Shevell Terms Offered: Autumn,Winter. Winter Quarter in Paris
PSYC 20850. Introduction to Human Development. 100 Units.
This course introduces the study of lives in context. The nature of human development from infancy through old age is explored through theory and empirical findings from various disciplines. Readings and discussions emphasize the interrelations of biological, psychological, and sociocultural forces at different points of the life cycle.
Instructor(s): Multiple Staff Members Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): CHDV majors or intended majors.
Note(s): Required Course for Comparative Human Development Majors
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 20000
PSYC 21115. Social Cognitive Development. 100 Units.
This advanced seminar will focus on the latest research at the intersection of social, cognitive, and developmental psychology and address the main question: How does our understanding of other people develop throughout early infancy and childhood? Topics will include face processing, understanding others’ intentions, Theory of Mind, imitation, social essentialism, and more. Recent research from developmental neuroscience will be discussed, as well as research on atypical social cognitive development such as congenital prosopagnosia and Autism spectrum disorder.
Instructor(s): Kate O'Doherty Terms Offered: TBD
PSYC 21125. Conceptual Development. 100 Units.
This course is an intensive foray into the contemporary literature on conceptual development. Through years of education and experience we come to understand increasingly complex and accurate theories of how the world works. However, how we come to comprehend the nuances of concepts like gravity or even how a child learns to grasp the concept of seven is still widely disagreed upon. Our exploration will combine theoretical and empirical papers to gain an appreciation for various theories of conceptual development and evaluate their ability to explain observed psychological phenomena. The ultimate goal is for students to become familiar with the major debates and issues of the field, understand the various mechanisms proposed as drivers of conceptual development and to come up with new and interesting paths and ideas.
Instructor(s): D. Gibson Terms Offered: Spring
PSYC 21450. Evolutionary Cognitive Psychology. 100 Units.
Evolution via natural selection is the most influential scientific explanation for the existence of the human brain. This seminar explores how evolution shaped the brain’s cognitive functions, such as thinking and intelligence. How has the mind been designed to process survival-relevant information? How has evolution shaped our capacity for learning new information? What is the role of culture? These kinds of questions will be addressed through key readings in evolutionary psychology and related fields, and research findings that have been attributed to evolutionary forces will be critically evaluated. Engaging discussion and student presentations are an important aspect of this course.
Instructor(s): D. Gallo Terms Offered: Winter
PSYC 21690. Media and Psychology. 100 Units.
This course will examine the influence of media on individuals and groups from both a developmental and socio-cultural perspective. Topics will include young children’s academic and social-emotional skill learning from television, video and tablets; adolescents’ social media identities and experiences including cyber-bullying; media influences on adults’ health behaviors, aggression, prejudice, and more. Students will engage in both qualitative and quantitative research on media and psychology as part of this course.
Instructor(s): K. O'Doherty Terms Offered: Winter
PSYC 21750. Biological Clocks and Behavior. 100 Units.
This course will address physiological and molecular biological aspects of circadian and seasonal rhythms in biology and behavior. The course will primarily emphasize biological and molecular mechanisms of CNS function, and will be taught at a molecular level of analysis from the beginning of the quarter. Those students without a strong biology background are unlikely to resonate with the course material.
Instructor(s): B. Prendergast Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): A quality grade in PSYC 20300 Biological Psychology. Additional biology courses are desirable. Completion of Core biology will not suffice as a prerequisite.,,For Biology majors: Completion of three quarters of a Biological Sciences Fundamentals Sequence.
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 24248
PSYC 21840. Advanced Seminar in Person Perception. 100 Units.
This course will survey research relevant to the study of person perception. The readings and discussions will cover topics in person perception from different research perspectives. As such, some of the empirical and theoretical advances focusing on the perceptual determinants (i.e., face processing), social-cognitive processes and neural substrates of person perception will be introduced. Discussions and response papers will emphasize potential integration and extension of the contributions from these different perspectives.
Instructor(s): J. Cloutier Terms Offered: Winter
PSYC 22250. Windows to the Social Brain. 100 Units.
The human brain is a composite wonder from which all affects, thoughts and experiences originate. Tailored by millions of years of evolution, nurtured by culture, and subserved by intricately multi-faceted neural networks, the social brain is both the idea and embodiment of knowledge itself. This course will introduce aspects of social cognition from a social neuroscience perspective. Questions that will be addressed: How can we define the components of social cognition accurately and localize them to specific brain mechanisms? How did these components evolve? How does the brain's inborn social potential interact with the environment during development? A series of lectures will open the following windows into the social brain: Evolution of the social brain, mating and sex, social hierarchies and dominance, motivation and rewards, aggression and prosocial behavior, empathy and caring, person perception, morality, mental health (psychiatric disorders), and ethical and legal issues. This class will seek to understand social phenomena in terms of interactions between three levels of analysis: 1) the social level, which is concerned with the motivational and social factors that influence behavior and experience; 2) the cognitive level, concerned with the information-processing mechanisms that give rise to the social-level phenomena, and; 3) the neurobiological level, concerned with the neural, hormonal and neuroendocrine mechanisms that instantiate cognitive-level processes.
Instructor(s): J. Decety Terms Offered: Winter
PSYC 22580. Child Development in the Classroom. 100 Units.
This discussion-based, advanced seminar is designed to investigate how preschool and elementary students think, act, and learn, as well as examine developmentally appropriate practices and culturally responsive teaching in the classroom. This course emphasizes the application of theory and research from the field of psychology to the realm of teaching and learning in contemporary classrooms. Course concepts will be grounded in empirical research and activities geared towards understanding the nuances and complexities of topics such as cognitive development (memory, attention, language), early assessment systems, standardized testing, “mindset”, “grit”, exercise/nutrition, emotion regulation, and more.
Instructor(s): Kate O'Doherty Terms Offered: Autumn
PSYC 22750. Developmental Psychopathology. 100 Units.
This course does not meet requirements for the biological sciences major. This advanced course focuses on the development of mental disorders that have their onset in infancy, childhood, or adolescence from the perspective of developmental psychopathology. Developmental psychopathology is a field that lies at the interface of clinical and developmental psychology within which the aim is to identify the earliest deviations from normative developmental processes that likely lead to the development of psychopathology. By incorporating the study of basic biological and psychological processes into the study of psychopathology, the identification of earliest markers, and ultimately causal factors, may be achieved.
Instructor(s): K. Keenan Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor. This course does not meet the requirements for the Biological Sciences Major.
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: B*, D*
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 29280,BIOS 29280
PSYC 23000. Cultural Psychology: Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations. 100 Units.
There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space. At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism, which states that the study of "normal" psychology is the study of multiple psychologies and not just the study of a single or uniform fundamental psychology for all peoples of the world. Research findings in cultural psychology thus raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups. In this course we analyze the concept of "culture" and examine ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization, and reasoning.
Instructor(s): R. Shweder Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing. Instructor consent required.
Note(s): CHDV Distribution, B*, C*; 2*, 3*
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 33000,ANTH 24320,ANTH 35110,CHDV 31000,GNSE 21001,GNSE 31000,PSYC 33000,CHDV 21000
PSYC 23165. Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Morality. 100 Units.
The past decade saw an explosion of empirical research in the study of morality. Among the most exciting and novel findings and theories, evolutionary biologists and comparative psychologists have shown that moral cognition has evolved to facilitate cooperation and smooth social interactions, and that certain components of morality are present in non-human animals. Developmental psychologists came up with ingenious paradigms, demonstrating that the elements that underpin morality are in place much earlier than we thought, and clearly in place before children turn two. Social neuroscientists have begun to map brain circuits implicated in moral decision-making and identify the contribution of neuropetides to moral sensitivity. Changes in the balance of brain chemistry, or in connectivity between regions can cause changes in moral behavior. The lesson from all this new knowledge is clear: human moral behavior cannot be separated from human biology, its development, and past evolutionary history. As our understanding of the human brain improves, society at large, and justice and the law in particular, are and will be increasingly challenged. Discoveries in neuroscience will soon impact our legal system in ways that hopefully lead to a more cost-effective, humane and flexible system than we have today. The intent of this class is to provide an overview of the current research on the morality, and examine this topic from a range of relevant interdisciplinary perspectives.
Instructor(s): J. Decety Terms Offered: Spring
PSYC 23200. Introduction to Language Development. 100 Units.
This course addresses the major issues involved in first-language acquisition. We deal with the child’s production and perception of speech sounds (phonology), the acquisition of the lexicon (semantics), the comprehension and production of structured word combinations (syntax), and the ability to use language to communicate (pragmatics).
Instructor(s): S. Goldin-Meadow Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): CHDV Distribution, B*; 2*, 5*
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 23900,LING 21600,LING 31600
PSYC 23249. Animal Behavior. 100 Units.
This course introduces the mechanism, ecology, and evolution of behavior, primarily in nonhuman species, at the individual and group level. Topics include the genetic basis of behavior, developmental pathways, communication, physiology and behavior, foraging behavior, kin selection, mating systems and sexual selection, and the ecological and social context of behavior. A major emphasis is placed on understanding and evaluating scientific studies and their field and lab techniques.
Instructor(s): S. Pruett-Jones (even years), J. Mateo (odd years) Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Completion of the general education requirement in the biological sciences
Note(s): CHDV Distribution, A
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 23249,BIOS 23249
PSYC 23800. Introduction to Learning and Memory. 100 Units.
This course examines basic questions in learning and memory. We discuss the historical separation and division of these two areas as well as the paradigmatic differences in studying learning and memory. We also discuss basic research methods for investigating learning and memory and survey established and recent research findings, as well as consider several different kinds of models and theories of learning and memory. Topics include skill acquisition, perceptual learning, statistical learning, working memory, implicit memory, semantic vs. episodic memory, and memory disorders.
Instructor(s): D. Gallo Terms Offered: Winter
PSYC 23860. Beyond Good and Evil: The Psychology of Morality. 100 Units.
Morality is a mysterious and possibly uniquely human capacity that influences how we make decisions in a number of domains. In this course we will explore how and why human beings have the moral intuitions that they do and also where these intuitions come from—what about our moral intuitions are built in and how are these intuitions shaped by experience? To achieve these goals, we will discuss literature from developmental, social, and evolutionary psychology, as well as some literature from behavioral economics and experimental philosophy. We will briefly review the history of moral psychology, but spend the bulk of our time discussing contemporary debates and findings from research on moral psychology.
Instructor(s): A. Shaw Terms Offered: Autumn
PSYC 24000. Systems Neuroscience. 100 Units.
This course introduces vertebrate and invertebrate systems neuroscience with a focus on the anatomy, physiology, and development of sensory and motor control systems. The neural bases of form and motion perception, locomotion, memory, and other forms of neural plasticity are examined in detail. We also discuss clinical aspects of neurological disorders.
Instructor(s): M. Hale, D. Freedman Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 24204 or consent of instructor.
Note(s): This course meets one of the requirements of the neuroscience specialization.
PSYC 24050. Understanding Wisdom. 100 Units.
Thinking about the nature of wisdom goes back to the Greek philosophers and the classical religious sages, but the concept of wisdom has changed in many ways over the history of thought. While wisdom has received less scholarly attention in modern times, it has recently re-emerged in popular discourse with a growing recognition of its potential importance for addressing complex issues in many domains. But what is wisdom? It’s often used with a meaning more akin to "smart" or "clever." Is it just vast knowledge? This course will examine the nature of wisdom—how it has been defined, how its meaning has changed, and what its essential components might be. We will examine how current psychological theories conceptualize wisdom and consider whether, and how, wisdom can be studied scientifically; that is, can wisdom be measured and experimentally manipulated to illuminate its underlying mechanisms and understand its functions? Finally, we will explore how concepts of wisdom can be applied in business, education, medicine, the law, and in the course of our everyday lives. Readings will be drawn from a wide array of disciplines including philosophy, classics, history, psychology, behavioral economics, medicine, and public policy.
Instructor(s): C. Gilpin, A. Henly Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing
Equivalent Course(s): HUMA 24005,RLST 24050,BPRO 24000
PSYC 24249. Neurobiology of Seeing. 100 Units.
This course focuses on the neural basis of vision, in the context of the following two questions: 1. How does the brain transform visual stimuli into neuronal responses? 2. How does the brain use visual information to guide behavior? The course covers signal transformation throughout the visual pathway, from retina to thalamus to cortex, and includes biophysical, anatomical and computational studies of the visual system, psychophysics and quantitative models of visual processing.
Instructor(s): W. Wei, M. Sherman, J. Maunsell, S. Shevell Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 24203 or consent of instructor.
Note(s): This course is designed as an advanced neuroscience course for undergraduate and graduate students. The students are expected to have a general background in neurophysiology and neuroanatomy.
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 24249
PSYC 24680. Psychology and the Law. 100 Units.
This course is an introduction to the application of psychology to legal issues. We will cover clinical psychology issues in the law, including the insanity defense. We'll then move to social and cognitive psychology topics such as jury selection and deliberation, as well as eyewitness testimony and memory. Finally, we'll talk about children in the legal system, emphasizing relevant developmental psychology research, and the role of psychologists in the courtroom. Readings will consist primarily of psychological research, law review articles, and court cases. Grading will be based on class participation, a research paper, and a final exam.
Instructor(s): J. Bregant Terms Offered: Summer
PSYC 25101. The Psychology of Decision Making. 100 Units.
We constantly make decisions, determine our preferences, and choose among alternatives. The importance of our decisions range from ordering a meal at a restaurant to choosing what college to attend. How do we make such decisions? What are the rules that guide us and the biases that shape our decisions? What determines our preferences? What impacts our willingness to take risks? In this course we consider how the way we go about gathering information affects our judgment, and how the way we frame problems affects our perceptions and shapes the solutions to problems. We learn what governs choice and the systematic way it deviates from normative rules. We consider how we think about the future and how we learn from the past. The course focuses on the psychology behind making decisions with implications for a wide range of areas such as public policy, law, and medicine.
Instructor(s): B. Keysar Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course is a recommended for PSYC 25700 The Psychology of Negotiation.
PSYC 25470. Cognitive Diversity. 100 Units.
How is the diversity of human experience reflected in the mind? In this course, we will explore how subtle contrasts between languages and cultures can influence the way people perceive and conceptualize the world, and how differences between people’s bodies can give rise to differences in their brains and minds. The research we’ll discuss points toward a new understanding of how minds develop, and raises new questions about what’s universal in the human mind and what depends on the specifics of our physical and social experiences.
Instructor(s): D. Casasanto Terms Offered: Spring
PSYC 25670. Psychology of Class and Status. 100 Units.
The US is confronted with unprecedented income inequality and lack of social mobility, resulting in deepening class divisions. Social class and status pervasively affect multiple aspects of our human existence. But, what is status? More importantly, how does it accomplish this? Status-based hierarchies are omnipresent and guide social organization for a broad range of species, from ants to humans. This course review theories and diverse conceptualizations of what constitutes social class and status among humans through the prism of experimental social and cognitive psychology. The class focuses on empirical evidence that describes how our own relative rank in society shapes who we are. It examines and analyzes the deep and far reaching effects of class, as social and environmental factors, on brain structure and functions. The course pays particular attention to how social class affects executive functions (i.e., planning, execution, reasoning, and problem solving), language, stress, and health. In addition, it evaluates competing theories that attempt to provide distinct pathways to achieving higher social rank. Course content explores how we perceive and respond to variations in social status among those who surround us, and how of social class impacts morality, perspective taking, and individual differences.
Instructor(s): I. Gyurovski Terms Offered: TBD
PSYC 25700. The Psychology of Negotiation. 100 Units.
Negotiation is ubiquitous in interpersonal interactions, from making plans for a trip with friends or family, to determining working conditions with an employer, to managing international conflicts. In this course we examine the structure of different negotiations and the psychology that governs the processes and outcomes of a negotiation. For instance, we consider the role of perceptions, expectations, intuitions, and biases. We evaluate the role of information processing, modes of communication, and power in influencing a negotiated outcome. We see how the psychology of trust, reciprocity, fairness, cooperation, and competition can affect our ability to benefit from an exchange or contribute to the escalation of conflict. To better understand the dynamics of the negotiation process, we learn both through engaging in a variety of negotiation role-plays and relating these experiences to research findings.
Instructor(s): B. Keysar Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): PSYC 25101 The Psychology of Decision Making is a recommended for this course, as it provides the conceptual foundations.
PSYC 25750. The Psychology and Neurobiology of Stress. 100 Units.
This course explores the topic of stress and its influence on behavior and neurobiology. Specifically, the course will discuss how factors such as age, gender, and social context interact to influence how we respond to stressors both physiologically and behaviorally. The course will also explore how stress influences mental and physical health.
Instructor(s): G. Norman Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 29271
PSYC 25901. Psychology for Citizens. 100 Units.
This course will examine aspects of the psychology of judgment and decision making that are relevant to public life and citizenship. Judgment and decision making are involved when people evaluate information about electoral candidates or policy options, when they vote, and when they choose to behave in ways that affect the collective good. Topics considered in the course will include the following. (1) What is good for people? What do we know about happiness? Can/should happiness be a goal of public policy? (2) How do people evaluate information and make decisions? Why does public opinion remain so divided on so many issues? (3) How can people influence others and be influenced (e.g., by policy makers)? Beyond persuasion and coercion, what are more subtle means of influence? (4) How do individuals’ behaviors affect the collective good? What do we know about pro-social behavior (e.g., altruism/charitable giving) and anti-social behavior (e.g., cheating)? (5) How do people perceive and get along with each other? What affects tolerance and intolerance?
Instructor(s): W. Goldstein Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 26901
PSYC 25950. The Psychology of Stereotyping and Prejudice. 100 Units.
This course introduces concepts and research in the study of stereotyping and prejudice. Topics include the formation of stereotypes and prejudice; the processes that underlie stereotyping and prejudice; stereotyping and prejudice from the target’s perspective; and prejudice and stereotype reduction. The course will cover a variety of groups (e.g., race, gender, weight, and sexual orientation) and explore the implications of stereotyping and prejudice across a number of settings (e.g., educational, law, and health).
Instructor(s): J. Kubota Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 25950
PSYC 27950. Evolution and Economics of Human Behavior. 100 Units.
This course explores how evolutionary biology and behavioral economics explain many different aspects of human behavior. Specific topics include evolutionary theory, natural and sexual selection, game theory, cost-benefit analyses of behavior from an evolutionary and a behavioral economics perspective, aggression, power and dominance, cooperation and competition, biological markets, parental investment, life history and risk-taking, love and mating, physical attractiveness and the market, emotion and motivation, sex and consumer behavior, cognitive biases in decision-making, and personality and psychopathology.
Instructor(s): D. Maestripieri Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): CHDV Distribution, A*; 1*
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 37950,PSYC 37950,BIOS 29265,ECON 14810,CHDV 27950
PSYC 28910. Animal Models in the Study of Cognition. 100 Units.
This course will be a combination of lecture and seminar. In the first half of the course we will read and discuss seminal literature in the study of cognitive questions using animal models (primarily rodents). In the second half of the course we will learn about study design and design two different types of studies in smaller groups. Evaluation will be through short weekly papers, class discussion and a final paper.
Instructor(s): L. Kay Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Completion of PSYC 20300 Biological Psychology or a similar course.
PSYC 29200. Undergraduate Reading in Psychology. 100 Units.
No description available.
Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Available for either quality grades or for P/F grading.
PSYC 29700. Undergraduate Research in Psychology. 100 Units.
No description available.
Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Available for either quality grades or for P/F grading.
PSYC 29800. Honors Seminar. 100 Units.
This course is a reading and discussion of general papers on writing and research, and individual students present their own projects to the group. A literature review, data from ongoing or completed empirical projects, or portions of the thesis paper itself can be presented. Students are expected to give thoughtful feedback to others on their presentations and written work.
Instructor(s): B. Prendergast Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Open to third- or fourth-year students who are majoring in psychology and have begun their thesis project. Available for either quality grades or for P/F grading.
Undergraduate Primary Contact
Chair of the Undergraduate Program
Director of the Undergraduate Research Initiative in Psychology
Student Affairs Administrator