Psychology is the academic and applied study of the human mind and behavior. Perhaps there are no more salient topics in the information age and the global economy than a comprehensive understanding of how learning takes place and what predicts and determines human behavior. The course is a primer, meant to provide substantive content through which to understand the human condition and to inspire students to continue their learning and growth.
Students interested in the study of psychology are interested in why people do, say and think what they do. They have questions about how learning takes place, how genetics dictate certain traits but not others, how memories are formed, where to draw the line between normality and disorder, whether a damaged brain can regain function and the predictors of addiction.
Through this introductory course, students will have the opportunity to understand the science of psychology and how psychologists measure mental function and behavior and how the results are reported. They will better understand perception and consciousness and the mysteries of sleep and dreams. Through child development, they will understand how the brain is ready for learning and pre-wired for language. Motivation, cognition and personality will be analyzed through the lens of past and current psychological thought. Students will understand the statistical reality of the normal distribution and how that is relevant to most traits. They will review new research on the plasticity of the brain and consider whether intelligence is fixed or flexible. Lastly, the array of disorders and dysfunction will be analyzed and discussed and the line between normal and abnormal will be considered.