Distance Learning






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General Psychology

Syllabus for pre-PhD Distance learning course on Psychology

GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY

Hasmik Vardanyan, Instructor
Yerevan State University, Distance Learning Laboratory

I. Introduction
This course module aims to introduce the students to key concepts, theories and research methods in Psychology. We’ll look through psychological studies and perspectives in understanding of human, including biopsychology, cognition, behavior, development, personality and social psychology.

II. Aims of the course module
- To introduce the main theories and concepts.
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To understand the theories and research methods in psychology.
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To develop critical thinking skill in analyzing issues from the perspective of psychology.
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To relate the theories learned to everyday life.
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Reflect upon personal development.

III. Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course module, the student will acquire the following knowledge and skills:

1. Familiarize with the key classical and contemporary experimental studies and findings in psychology.
2. Understand and relate the key psychology concepts in daily circumstances.
3. Conceptualize, structure, and express ideas and implement an independent work in written format on various topics of psychology.

IV. Methodology and Assessment
Assessment of performance will be carried out through quizzes and final research paper.

Performance of students will be evaluated as follows:

  • Weekly assignments – 60%
  • Final research paper - 40%

VI. Course module content and assigned readings

Class 1 Introduction to General Psychology
Definition of Psychology, the main goal, fields, general concepts as well as the role and types of research in Psychology, experimental methods, mind and body connection, the brain and nervous system descriptions will be introduced in the first class.

Readings:
- Cherry K. (About.com Guide), What Is Psychology? http://psychology.about.com/od/psychology101/f/psychfaq.htm (visited Feb. 15, 2011).
- Cavella C. (eHow Contributor), What Are the Four Goals of Psychology?
http://www.ehow.com/about_5285146_four-goals-psychology_.html (visited Feb. 15, 2011).
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010–11 Edition, Psychologists,  http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos056.htm (visited Feb. 15, 2011).
- Cherry K. (About.com Guide), What Is a Theory?
http://psychology.about.com/od/tindex/f/theory.htm (visited Feb.16, 2011).
- Socyberty’s collection of articles. The Power of the Placebo Effect
http://socyberty.com/psychology/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect/ (visited Feb.16, 2011).
- Web Center for Social Research Methods. Random Selection & Assignment,
http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/random.htm (visited Feb. 16, 2011).
- Bakeman, R., Gottman, J. Observing Interaction: An Introduction to Sequential Analysis. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia, Case Study in Psychology,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_study_in_psychology (visited Feb. 16, 2011).
- Hooper, J., Teresi, D. The 2-pound universe. New York, 1987.
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Neurotransmitters,
http://www.minddisorders.com/Kau-Nu/Neurotransmitters.html (visited Feb. 16, 2011).
- Biology On-Line. The Central Nervous System
http://www.biology-online.org/8/3_CNS.htm (visited Feb. 16, 2011).
- Psychology Today. Jacob, S., Mind, Brain, and Consciousness. Conversations about the Intersection of Philosophy and Neurology,
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mind-brain-and-consciousness/201101/mind-brain-and-consciousness (visited Feb. 16, 2011).
- Discovering Psychology. The Human Brain (video material),
http://www.learner.org/discoveringpsychology/brain/brain_flash.html (visited Feb. 16, 2011).
- Science Daily. Sympathetic Nervous System,
http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/s/sympathetic_nervous_system.htm (visited Feb. 16, 2011).
- MedicineNet.com. Definition of Parasympathetic Nervous System,
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=4770 (visited Feb. 16, 2011).

Assignment 1: QUIZ 1.

Class 2 Personality Development
The summary of development, personality, and stage theories, motor development in infancy and childhood, Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Development Stages in children, Erik Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial Development, Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytical theory, Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development will be introduced in the second class.

Readings:
- Essortment. Jean Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development, http://www.essortment.com/jean-piagets-theory-cognitive-development-50905.html (visited Feb. 17, 2011).
- CliffsNotes.com. Development in Infancy and Childhood, http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/topicArticleId-25438,articleId-25381.html (visited Feb. 17, 2011).
- Piaget’s Developmental Theory: An Overview (video material), http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9014865592046332725# (visited Feb. 17, 2011).
- Piaget, J., Equilibration of Cognitive Structures: The Central Problem of Intellectual Development, 1985.
- Learning Place Online. Arlen, H., The Developmental Stages of Erik Erikson, 2009.
http://www.learningplaceonline.com/stages/organize/Erikson.htm (visited Feb. 17, 2011)
- Freud, S. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, trans. James Strachey. New York, 1962.
http://www.essortment.com/freudian-stages-development-50824.html (visited Feb. 17, 2011)
- Freud, S. New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, 1963.
- Cherry, K. (About.com guide). The Id, Ego and Superego. The Structural Model of Personality, http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/personalityelem.htm (visited Feb. 17, 2011).
- Video Took Kit for Introductory Psychology. Personality Sructure: Id, Ego, and Superego http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkin1FhojCo&;playnext=1&list=PLA0CD1FD6FE5BBCE9 (visited Feb. 17, 2011).
- Topography of Mind: Freud's Iceberg Model for Unconscious, Pre-conscious, & Conscious, http://wilderdom.com/personality/L8-3 TopographyMindIceberg.html (visited Feb. 17, 2011).
- Anxiety and Ego-Defense Mechanisms, http://www.rpi.edu/~verwyc/defmech.htm (visited Feb. 17, 2011)
- Crain, W. Theories of Development, 1985, http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm (visited Feb. 17, 2011).

Assignment 2: QUIZ  II

Class 3 Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology
Classical and operant conditioning, reinforcement mechanisms will be summarized in the third class.

Readings:
- Social PC. Classical And Operant Conditioning, http://www.socialpc.com/Psychology/Classical-And-Operant-Conditioning.html (visited Feb. 17, 2011).
- Reinforcement. http://www.psychology.uiowa.edu/faculty/wasserman/glossary/reinforcement.html (visited Feb. 17, 2011).

Assignment 3: QUIZ III

Class 4 Sensation and Perception
Sensation and Perception mechanisms will be introduced during fourth class and the following terms will be defined: absolute and difference thresholds, sensory adaptation, Gestalt principles of grouping, etc.

Readings:
- Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia, Gestalt Psychology, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestalt_psychology (visited Feb. 17, 2011).
- Biology, Neuroscience, & Psychology. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Publishers. Sensation and Perception, http://www.sinauer.com/wolfe/chap4/gestaltF.htm (visited Feb. 17, 2011).

Assignment 4: QUIZ IV

Class 5  Memory, Intelligence, and States of Mind
Memory, forgetting, intelligence explanations from psychological aspect will be introduced in the fifth class.

Readings:
- Engle, R., Cantor, J., Carullo, J. Individual differences in working memory and comprehension: A test of four hypotheses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 1993.
- Baddeley, A., Is working memory working? Quarterly Jounal of Experimental Psychology, 1992.
- Sternberg, R.,The triarchic mind: A new theory of human intelligence. New York: 1988.
- PsychologistWorld.com. Do we really forget? http://www.psychologistworld.com/memory/forgetting.php (visited March 01, 2011).
- CliffsNotes.com. Memory Loss: Forgetting. 12 Mar 2011,
http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/topicArticleId-25438, articleId-25421.html (visited March 12, 2011).

Assignment 5: QUIZ V

Class 6 Motivation and Emotion
Instinct, drive reduction, arousal, psychoanalytic, humanistic theories of Motivation as well as James-Lange, Cannon-Bard, Schachter-Singer, Lazarus and facial feedback theories of Emotion will be introduced in the sixth class.

Readings:
- Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, http://www.abraham-maslow.com/m_motivation/Hierarchy_of_Needs.asp (visited March 01, 2011).
- James-Lange Theory of Emotion, http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/james_lange_emotion.htm (visited March 01, 2011).
- Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion,
http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/cannon_bard_emotion.htm (visited March 01, 2011).
- Psychwiki. The Schachter-Singer Theory of Emotion,
http://www.psychwiki.com/wiki/The_Schachter-Singer_Theory_of_Emotion (visited March 01, 2011).
- Theories of Emotion - What, Why & How? http://hubpages.com/hub/Emotion (visited March 01, 2011).

Assignment 6: QUIZ VI

Class 7 Social Psychology
The seventh class will concentrate on the main problem of Social Psychology: view of self and others, which includes attribution theory description, attraction mechanisms, general approaches on obedience and power. We’ll also refer to the role of groups from psychological aspect.

Readings:
- Heider, F. The Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships. New York, 1958.

- Miller, D., Ross, M. Self-Serving Biases in Attributes of Causality: Fact or Fiction. Psychological Bulletin, 1975.
- Nahemow, L., Lawton, M. Similarity and Propinquity in Friendship Formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1975.
- Segal, M. Alphabet and Attraction: An Unobtrusive Measure of the Effect of Propinquity in a Field Setting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1974.
- Neimeyer, R., Mitchell, K. Similarity and Attraction: A Longitudinal Study. Journal of Social and Personality Relationships, 1998.
- Delamater, J. Handbook of Social Psychology, 2006, http://books.google.am/books?id=xnVAuljbRcQC&;pg=PA342&lpg=PA342&∓dq=Reciprocal+Liking,+psychology&source=bl&ots=m7yzu4gPVh&sig=o6YzqwTFPDB5ad68dgfVrsvTAp8&hl=hy&ei=Tt56TZuXGNP1rAGUkuyIBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CEAQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q&f=false (visited March 01, 2011).
- Guerin, B. Social Facilitation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. 
- Irving, J. Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascos. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982.
- Small Group Communication. http://www.abacon.com/commstudies/groups/groupthink.html (visited March 01, 2011). 
- Cherry K. (About.com Guide), What Is Social Loafing?
http://psychology.about.com/od/sindex/g/socialloafing.htm

Assignment 7: Quiz VII

Class 8 Closing exam
Based on your interest, choose any topic discussed within this course module and write an analytic essay (13-15 pages).

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