Syllabus for Psychology 2

If you are reading the paper version of this syllabus, you should know that a web version can be accessed at: and at the ANGEL page for this course, .

Syllabus for Psychology 2: Psychology

Dr. John A. Johnson

Fall, 2006 Section 001

Office hours: T&Th 1:30-2:30 & by appointment, 172 Smeal 375-4774

Hiller Building Auditorium (Room 107) 
Tuesday & Thursday, 3:05-4:20

Email: <j5j @>

AIM & Yahoo: Drj5j


Course Description:

This course is a broad survey or overview of the discipline of Psychology. The content of the course is arranged as follows. The first quarter of the course introduces general issues in the discipline such as historical development of the different fields, basic and applied research, scientific reasoning, and psychological methods and statistics. This introduction is followed by discussions of theories and findings in different fields of psychology, including Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Neuropsychology, Perception, Cognition, Learning, Personality, and Abnormal Psychology. Students interested in pursuing any of the above areas in greater detail and depth will find that the Psychology Department offers courses that are devoted entirely to a single field.

Textbook and Class Attendance:

Gazzaniga, M. S., & Heatherton, T. F. (2006). Psychological Science (2nd Edition). New York: W. W. Norton.

How important is reading the textbook? I will lay out the facts and let you decide. It is a fact that the more times you are exposed to the course material, the better you will do in the course. You will understand and remember the information presented in class better if you read the relevant textbook material before class. I will be referring to passages, pictures, and diagrams in the book from time to time in lectures. Re-reading the textbook material again after class will reinforce your learning. On the other hand, another fact is that all exam questions come from material we cover in class, and many ideas I present in class are not covered in the book. This means it would be possible to pass the course by attending every class, paying close attention, and taking good notes, without ever reading the book. It is probably impossible to pass the course by reading the textbook and PowerPoint slides but never attending class. Studying the textbook will help you do well in the course. Attending class is absolutely critical to doing well in the course.


Additional Reading:

During the second quarter of the course, students are encouraged to read from an Evolution and Heredity (EHR) Module available at:

Also during the second quarter of the course, students can access a study guide for relevant chapters from a Norton textbook, How Humans Evolved, at Norton's web site:
Homo erectus and Neanderthals
Homo sapiens


Course Objectives:

The broad objective of the course is the same as the goal of psychology itself: to help you understand how the mind works and to understand why we behave the way we do.

I also hope to accomplish three more specific goals related to the process of understanding the mind and behavior:

1. I want to enable you to critically evaluate claims about the mind and behavior, no matter who is making the claim: someone off the street, the author of print or electronic media, or even a professional psychologist. I'd like you to be able to imagine, "What kinds of questions do I need to answer to decide whether a psychological claim is true?" I'd also like you to be able to tell the difference between what is true and what people wish were true about human nature.

2. I hope you will become familiar with some of the important psychological theories and findings that have been offered to explain how the mind works and why we behave as we do.

3. The information in this course is about people in general, but hopefully it will increase your own self-understanding and be useful to some of your personal concerns and interests.

How Assignments Help to Meet Course Objectives:

We will focus on the first goal during the first unit of the course (Nature of Psychology). In this unit I explain what goes on inside the heads of different types of psychologists--what interests them, how they think, and how they argue about what is true and what isn't true. This unit might be called "The Psychology of Psychologists."

During the remainder of the course I present ideas within specific areas of psychology, mostly through lectures. I also show several films and videotapes and demonstrate certain psychological principles with "mini-experiments" in class. The large class size discourages discussion, but I welcome comments and questions at any point. Don't be afraid to interrupt if you have something to say.

The third goal is actually a life-long project. What psychologists do and say influences how we raise our children, how we run our educational system, how employers treat employees, and how we evaluate our well being, among other things. I like to encourage an awareness of the impact of today's psychologists by bringing in news clippings and magazine articles or mentioning TV shows, movies, and web sites with a psychological slant. Please feel free to do the same. I will be glad to discuss any information you come across.

Very Specific Course Objectives

To see a list of very specific things you need to know for each exam, browse to the ANGEL page for this course, , and follow the Study Guide links.

Course Outline:

Chapters and page numbers are from the primary textbook for the course, Psychological Science. EHR reading assignments refer to the Evolution and Heredity module described in the Additional Reading section of this syllabus. The reading assignment "3 anthropology links" refers to the three study guide links at the Norton web site, described in the Additional Reading section of this syllabus.



Class Meeting 


Reading Assignment





1 T Sept 5


2 Th Sept 7 

The what, when, how, and why questions in psychology

Historical origins of experimental and measurement psychology

Ch. 1, pp. 3-7
Ch. 2, pp. 37-41

Ch. 1, pp. 20-25


3 T Sept 12 

4 Th Sept 15 

Perspectives in psychology

20th century psychology

Ch. 2, pp. 41-42
Ch. 1, pp. 13-19

Ch. 1, pp. 7-13;
pp. 23-35


5 T Sept 19


6 Th Sept 21 

Nonexperimental methods in psychology


Experimental method in psychology

Ch. 2, pp. 44-54;

Ch. 2, pp. 43-44


7 T Sept 26 

8 Th Sept 28 

Recording and analyzing data in psychology


Ch. 2, pp. 54-71






9 T Oct 3

10 Th Oct 5 

Genes and behavior genetics

Nature and nurture

Ch. 3, pp. 72-85

Ch. 3, pp. 85-87


11 T Oct 10



12 Th Oct 12 



Human evolution

EHR Part I: The Evolutionary Perspective

3 anthropology links at Norton Web site


13 T Oct 17 


14 Th Oct 19 


Human ethology; Motivation & emotion

EHR Part II: Contemporary Evolutionary Approaches

Ch. 9, pp. 340-354
Ch. 10, pp. 383-395

Ch. 15, pp. 641-645


15 T Oct 24 


16 Th Oct 26 

Mating and parenting



Ch. 9, pp. 374-376

Ch. 11, pp. 438-444

Ch. 15, pp. 650-651





17 T Oct 31


18 Th Nov 2 

Structure and operation of the nervous system

Structure of the brain

Ch.3, pp. 87-108

Ch.4, pp. 116-146


19 T Nov 7




20 Th Nov 9 

Hormones and pheromones





Ch.3, pp. 108-112;
Ch.5, p. 168
Ch.9, pp. 371-373;

Ch. 5, pp. 182-197


21 T Nov 14 

22 Th Nov 16 



Chapter 6

Chapter 7


[T Nov 21]

[Th Nov 23]

NO CLASS! Tuesday follows a Friday Schedule

NO CLASS! Thanksgiving vacation



23 T Nov 28 


24 Th Nov 30 






Chapter 12


25 T Dec 5

26 Th Dec 7

Perspectives on psychological abnormality;
Organization of the DSM-IV

Axis I & II disorders

Ch.13 pp. 518-525;
pp. 528-532

Ch.13 pp. 525-528; pp. 533-554


27 T Dec 12 

28 Th Dec 14 

Treating anxiety, mood disorders, and schizophrenias


Treating childhood disorders

Ch. 14, pp. 564-593

Ch. 13, pp. 555-560; Ch. 14, pp. 597-602

Finals Week








The grade you earn will be determined by your performance on four multiple-choice exams. Details are presented below.


All four exams contain 40 questions that cover only the material in the most recent quarter of the course. The fourth exam will be given during finals week on a date to be announced. All questions will be multiple choice, and you will mark your answers on computer-scored answer sheets. Please bring two number 2 pencils to each exam. Also, please bring your student ID card so that you can code your student number correctly on the answer sheet.

Sample multiple choice questions can be found on ANGEL. You are encouraged to study these questions and talk with other students about the answers. But on the day of the examination you must take the test on your own, without help from other students, books, and notes. Each of the four exams is worth 40 points.

Computation of Letter Grade

Grades will be based on the total points earned out of 160 possible points. See the table below.

Point Total

Approximate Percentage

Letter Grade

148-160 points


144-147 points



141-143 points



132-140 points


128-131 points



125-127 points



112-124 points


101-111 points


< 101 points



Other Factors that May Affect Final Grades:

Note to Students with Disabilities:

Penn State DuBois welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for modifications and/or reasonable accommodations in this course, please contact Diana Kreydt at The Office for Disability Services, 110G DEF Building, at 372-3037.

For further information regarding the Office of Disability Services, visit their web site at . Instructors should be notified as early in the semester as possible regarding the need for modification and/or reasonable accommodations.

Statement of Academic Integrity:

All students are expected to act with civility, personal integrity; respect other students' dignity, rights and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their own efforts. An environment of academic integrity is requisite to respect for self and others and a civil community.

Academic integrity includes a commitment to not engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Violation of academic integrity includes all of the following:

Students caught cheating on exams will receive a zero on that exam. Students caught cheating a second time and students violating academic integrity in any other way will receive an F for the course. In the case of more serious violation of any of the above points (multiple violations; organized, unauthorized, widespread distribution of exams, etc.), expulsion from the University will be recommended to the Director of Academic Affairs. Further information, including appeals processes, are described in Policy 49-20 of the current Policies and Rules for Students handbook.