Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | Summary of Requirements | Grading | Honors | Courses

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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.

Program Requirements

Although no special application is required for admission to the major, majors are required to: 

  1. 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. 
  2. Subscribe to the Psychology Majors Listhost at 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.

NOTE: When planning your course schedule, please consult Class Search at and the Courses section of the Psychology Department Undergraduate Program website for any changes in the course offerings.

Statistics/Methodology Sequence

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. These two courses may be taken in any order.

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.

Breadth Requirement

Students are required to take four of the following five courses, each of which will be offered every year:

PSYC 20300Biological Psychology100
PSYC 20400Cognitive Psychology100
PSYC 20500Developmental Psychology100
PSYC 20600Social Psychology100
PSYC 20700Sensation and Perception100

Additional Courses

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 13100-13200Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II (or higher) 200
Total Units200
One of the following:200
Psychological Statistics
   and Psychological Research Methods *
Statistical Methods and Applications
   and Psychological Research Methods *
Four of the following:400
Biological Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental Psychology
Social Psychology
Sensation and Perception
Six electives +600
Total Units1200

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Students are required to present their findings in Spring Quarter of their fourth year at an honors day celebration. For details, visit

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.

Double Majors

Students pursuing honors in more than one major should note that:

  1. The student's thesis adviser for psychology cannot be the same person as his or her thesis adviser for the second major.
  2. 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.

Psychology Courses

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     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): K. Ledoux     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): NSCI 20140

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 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 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 21950. Language, Culture, and Thought. 100 Units.

Survey of research on the interrelation of language, culture, and thought from the evolutionary, developmental, historical, and culture-comparative perspectives with special emphasis on the mediating methodological implications for the social sciences.

Instructor(s): J. Lucy     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Grad status, Undergrads in 3rd or 4th year, or permission of instructor.
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: B, C; 2*, 3*, 5*
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 27605,ANTH 37605,CHDV 31901,PSYC 31900,LING 27605,LING 37605,CHDV 21901

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 22831. Debates in Cognitive Neuroscience. 100 Units.

This course will survey some of the current debates in the fields of cognitive and social neurosciences. The readings and discussions will cover a variety of topics ranging from the functional specificity of brain regions supporting face processing to the network of brain regions believed to support mental state inferences about others. Discussions and response papers will emphasize careful consideration of each perspective on these topics.

Instructor(s): J. Cloutier     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 22831

PSYC 22880. Psychological Impacts of Education Policy. 100 Units.

In this discussion-based course, we will apply a psychological lens to investigate the ways in which children, teachers, and parents are impacted by education policy decisions.  Throughout this course we will shift our level of analysis of education policy from a macro to a micro level, beginning with large-scale federal policies and narrowing our focus to decisions made at the school and classroom levels. Finally, we will examine examples of practice from other countries and other fields as a way to stimulate our own ideas about best practices and look at the bidirectional nature between psychology and education policy. In addition to discussing central topics in education policy, we will review empirical articles to understand how teachers, families, and students are impacted, and learn how psychologists design experiments to answer interesting and focused research questions about education.

Instructor(s): M. Schaeffer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PQ: Completion of PSYC 20200 is highly recommended.

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): Graduate students. Plus limited number of advanced undergrads (3rd and 4th year only) by consent. Caveat: This will be a low tech Socratic experience., computers closed , iphones off.
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 23280. Language for Thought and Action. 100 Units.

How do people produce and understand language? Traditional approaches to answering this question have focused on figuring out how the mind represents and manipulates strings of words. On this view, language is similar to a piece of software that can be studied in a vacuum, independently from the system that implements it. Yet, an alternative view proposes that to understand how the mind gives rise to language, we cannot study linguistic behavior in isolation, but have to explicitly consider the neural, bodily, and social context in which people use language. In this course, we adopt this ethological approach and explore how the mind and brain’s linguistic and non-linguistic systems interact, across a range of contexts. In doing so, we will cover theoretical and empirical work from cognitive science, biology, and neuroscience, with a specific focus on recent work in embodied cognition. By the end of the course, students will have a thorough understanding of current theories on the interaction between language, thought, and action, and will be equipped to come up with questions and experiments that will contribute to the field.

Instructor(s): T. Gijssles     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Students will benefit from having some background in psychology and psychological research methods. Having taken one of the psychology breadth courses is recommended.

PSYC 23301. The Empathic Brain. 100 Units.

This course introduces undergraduate students to current social neuroscience research and theories of empathy. The focus of this course is on how people perceive, experience, and respond with care to the internal states (e.g., cognitive, affective, motivational) of another. The study of empathy serves as the basis for integrating a variety of data and theories from evolutionary biology, affective neuroscience, developmental psychology, social psychology, behavioral neurology, and psychiatry.

Instructor(s): J. Decety     Terms Offered: Winter

PSYC 23360. Methods in Gesture and Sign Language Research. 100 Units.

In this course we will explore methods of research used in the disciplines of linguistics and psychology to investigate sign language and gesture. We will choose a set of canonical topics from the gesture and sign literature, such as pointing, use of the body in quotation, and the use of non-manuals, in order to understand the value of various effective methods in current use and the types of research questions they are best equipped to handle. 

Instructor(s): D. Brentari, S. Goldin-Meadow     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: M; M*
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 23360,CHDV 33360,PSYC 33360,LING 23360,LING 33360

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 24055. The Psychological Foundations of 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): A.Henly     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing.

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
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year students only
Note(s): It is recommended that students take this course before PSYC 25700 The Psychology of Negotiation.

PSYC 25560. Body & Mind: How our bodies reveal & change emotion & thought. 100 Units.

In investigating how the mind works, psychologists and neuroscientists are increasingly looking beyond the brain. Modern research has challenged the age-old Western belief that mind and body are separate and revealed that our bodies have an important influence on the way we think and feel. In this course, we will read and discuss empirical research in embodied cognition, emotion, non-verbal communication, mimicry, contemplative practices, exercise, and the performing arts, which all provide compelling evidence for reciprocal relationships between body and mind. Can smiling or sitting upright make you feel happier? How do children’s gestures in the classroom reveal implicit knowledge and enhance learning? How do dancers convey emotion from their movements alone? What are the psychological effects of exercise across the lifespan? In addition to exploring these and other questions, we will develop transferable skills in critical thinking, writing, reflection, and communication that will contribute to success throughout college and beyond.

Instructor(s): H. Mangelsdorf     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): PQ: PSYC 20100 or equivalent and PSYC 20200 are strongly recommended.

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. Third- or fourth-year students only
Note(s): It is recommended that students take PSYC 25101 The Psychology of Decision Making before 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: Spring
Prerequisite(s): This course does not meet the requirements for the Biological Sciences Major.
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 26660. Genes and Behavior. 100 Units.

There are complex interactions between the genome and behavior. This course will examine how behavior can be understood by investigating the sequence and structure of genes, especially those expressed in the brain. It will consider behaviors in several species (including human), and present various molecular, genetic, and genomic approaches used to uncover how genes contribute to behavior and how behavior alters the genome. Lectures will provide background for gene-behavior interactions that will be further discussed using primary literature readings.

Instructor(s): S. London     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Knowledge of biological systems and/or behavioral science is strongly encouraged.
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: A
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 26660

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
Prerequisite(s): This course does not meet the requirements for the Biological Sciences Major.
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: A; 1*
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 37950,PSYC 37950,BIOS 29265,ECON 14810,CHDV 27950

PSYC 28850. The Biological Nature of Psychological Problems. 100 Units.

This course is based on the strong assumption that psychology is a biological science, albeit with elements of the social sciences. The course uses a combination of lectures and classroom discussion of primary and secondary source readings assigned for each class meeting. It presents a strong biological science perspective on individual differences in emotions, motivations, and cognitions that cause distress or interfere with adaptive life functioning, but does so in a non-stigmatizing manner. The course begins with a description and discussion of the nature of psychological problems. The course will survey what is known about the genetic, environmental, and epigenetic bases of such problems and the methods used to study genetic influences and gene-environment interactions. Next, students will review what is currently known about the neural and other biological mechanisms involved in maladaptive individual difference in emotion, motivation, and cognitive processes, with discussion of the methods of studying such mechanisms in humans and nonhumans. The pros and cons of the medical model of ‘mental illness’ will be discussed as the major contrast with the natural science view advocated by the instructor. 

Instructor(s): B. Lahey     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 16120

PSYC 29200. Undergraduate Reading in Psychology. 100 Units.

Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Available for either quality grades or for P/F grading. Only one independent study course may count toward the twelve courses required of students majoring in psychology.

Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring,Winter

PSYC 29700. Undergraduate Research in Psychology. 100 Units.

Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Available for either quality grades or for P/F grading. Only one independent study course may count toward the twelve courses required of students majoring in psychology.

Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring,Winter

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
Brian Prendergast
G 304

Secondary Contact

Director of the Undergraduate Research Initiative in Psychology
Anne Henly
Kelly 302

Administrative Contact

Student Affairs Administrator
Mimi Maduff
Br 109