Guide to Psychology Courses Taught at Penn State DuBois

This guide was designed to help Penn State DuBois students to decide which psychology courses they would like to take. Although the University provides a set of official course descriptions on its web site, these descriptions lack detail about how these courses are taught at Penn State DuBois. The hope was that, the more detailed descriptions in this guide would help Penn State DuBois students to select the most suitable courses for their educational and career goals.

Below are general descriptions of the courses offered regularly at Penn State DuBois, taught by Dr. Pamela P. Hufnagel and Dr. John A. Johnson. On occasion these instructors or other instructors may offer courses on special topics in psychology; students would have to contact the instructor for information in those cases. More detailed information on the courses listed below can be found by following the web link listed with each course. Further information about the instructors can be found at Dr. Hufnagel’s web site and Dr. Johnson’s web site. While we strive to keep the course descriptions below as accurate as possible, students and advisors can contact Dr. Hufnagel or Dr. Johnson to verify any of the information on this page.

Dr. Johnson retired from the university on December 31, 2013, so the descriptions of his courses serve more of an historical function now than a tool for current students to use in selecting courses. It is Dr. Johnson's hope that when a new psychology professor is hired that he or she would consider creating a page similar to this one.

This webpage was created in 2004, prior to the introduction to the ANGEL course management system. Although some links to course materials are provided on this page, more up-to-date and complete information can be acquired by using the ANGEL Course Search function. [Next to the Organizational Unit box, click the "Change" link, and then click on the + sign next to the folder labeled DU BOIS (DS) (DS), then on the + sign next to the folder labeled LA (LA), and then on the circle labeled PSYCHOLOGY (PSY). Click the "Select" button. This should create the following in the Organizational Unit box: Institution > DS > LA > PSY. Click the "Search" button and all of the psychology courses with ANGEL pages made visible by DuBois instructors will be displayed. The courses you see and the materials in them will depend on whether you are logged in with a Penn State access account and the course visibility settings created by the instructor.]

Psychology 100: Introductory Psychology (formerly Psychology 002)

(Dr. John A. Johnson, instructor)

Description: Psychology 100 is the basic, introductory course in psychology. The first quarter of the course introduces the history of basic and applied fields of psychology, scientific reasoning, and psychological methods and statistics. The second quarter covers the way in which evolution has shaped human motivation, development, and social relationships. The third quarter presents research on the brain, perception, learning, and memory. The final quarter deals with both normal and abnormal individual differences. Each quarter of the course is followed by a 40-question multiple-choice test. Grades are based on test performance plus extra credit earned by participating in an activity near the end of the course. The class is held in the 210-seat Hiller auditorium; class size varies from about 70-90. The format is primarily lecture with PowerPoint slides, mixed with films and in-class experiments and demonstrations. There is no textbook for the course.

Prerequisites: None.

Who Should Take the Course: Psychology 100 is required for students majoring in psychology (both the PSYBA and PSYBS options) and students minoring in psychology. It is also a requirement for a number of majors, including Advertising and Public Relations, Biobehavioral Health, Education, Kinesiology (Athletic Training Option), Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Rehabilitation Services. Psychology 100 satisfies a General Education requirement in the social sciences (GS) for students in any major. This course is for anyone seeking a broad overview of the field of psychology. The course is taught every fall and spring semester.

Web Link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/psy100/

Psychology 100: Psychology

(Dr. Pamela P. Hufnagel, instructor)

Description: This course introduces students to the study of behavior and the mind. The course is divided into five units. The first unit introduces the scope of the field of psychology, psychological research methods, learning, and memory. Students use material covered in the first unit throughout the course as they design and carry out a plan to change one aspect of their own behavior. The second unit delves into the biological basis for behavior, covering topics such as the brain and the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain and behavior. The third unit presents research on thinking, language, and intelligence, and how they change as people develop. The fourth unit covers motivation, emotions, personality, and the effects of the social situation on behavior. The final unit deals with abnormal behavior and therapy. Each unit of the course is followed by a 50-question multiple-choice test. The last test includes an additional 50 questions integrating material from the first four units. About 92% of the course grade is based on exam performance, with the remaining 8% based on the behavior change project. Extra credit may be earned by submitting answers to review questions.  The class meets in a regular classroom and usually has about 15 to 20 students.  The format is a mix of lectures with transparencies, videos, demonstrations, in-class experiments, and discussions. Reading assignments come from a standard introductory psychology textbook that has on-line study aids.

Prerequisites: None.

Who Should Take the Course: Psychology 100 is required for students majoring in psychology (both the PSYBA and PSYBS options) and students minoring in psychology. It is also a requirement for a number of majors, including Advertising and Public Relations, Biobehavioral Health, Education, Kinesiology (Athletic Training Option), Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Rehabilitation Services. Psychology 100 satisfies a General Education requirement in the social sciences (GS) for students in any major. This course is for anyone seeking a broad overview of the field of psychology. The course is taught every fall and spring semester. The course is taught every summer.

Web Link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/pph1/PSY2.htm

Psychology 300W: Basic Research Methods in Psychology (formerly Psychology 201W)

(Dr. John A. Johnson, instructor)

Description: This course is designed to impart, through lectures and laboratory exercises, a basic knowledge of psychological research methods. Lectures, reviews, and exams are scheduled for Monday and Wednesday classes, and laboratory exercises and special activities are scheduled for Friday classes. Some of the laboratory exercises can be completed within class, while others will require additional work outside of class. Students who successfully complete this course should be able to locate, read, and understand psychological journal articles. They also should understand the logic of research designs and statistical analyses used by psychologists. Finally, they should be able to generate scientific hypotheses, to design studies to test the hypotheses, and to write research reports following APA style guidelines. Grades are based on the total number of points earned on three 50-point multiple-choice exams, three papers, and ten laboratory exercises. The class is held in a computer studio (normally 149 or 151 Smeal); class size is usually between 6-12 students. Lectures are presented with PowerPoint, but much of the class is hands-on practice working with data in Excel. Students are required to read from a standard textbook on behavioral research methods and from the APA publication manual.

Prerequisites: Psychology 100 and Statistics 200. Dr. Johnson insists that students must have taken Psychology 100 or another basic psychology course before enrolling in Psychology 300W, but he will waive the statistics prerequisite because he teaches all of the necessary statistics in the course presuming no prior knowledge.

Who Should Take the Course: This course is required for students majoring or minoring in psychology. Because it is a writing-intensive (W) course, it satisfies the University-wide, 3-credit intensive writing requirement. The course is rigorous and time-consuming (it is a 4-credit course) and is therefore more appropriate for students who require it rather than students wishing to take a psychology course out of idle curiosity. Despite the demanding nature of the course, its small size allows Dr. Johnson to give students a lot of personal attention to insure their success. Because sections of this course at University Park are very large, students who desire personal help from an instructor might be advised to complete the course at Penn State DuBois. This course had been offered in the spring semester in odd-numbered years, but it is unknown when the course will be offered again.

Web Link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/psy201/web201.html

Psychology 269: Evolutionary Psychology (formerly Psychology 209)

(Dr. John A. Johnson, course co-creator and instructor)

Description: Evolutionary psychology strives to understand how human thinking, motivation, behavior, and social relationships evolved over evolutionary time. This course demonstrates how knowledge and principles from evolutionary biology are used to conduct research on the design of the human mind. The course explains how evolutionary psychologists identify adaptive problems faced by our ancestors and test hypotheses about psychological mechanisms designed by natural selection to solve these adaptive problems. The psychological mechanisms discussed are involved in phenomena such as perception and the control of activity, learning and cognition, mate selection and courting, development and parenting, altruism, aggression, and social structure. This course was offered for the first time in the Penn State system in the Spring 2004 semester. The course follows a lecture/discussion format, guided by PowerPoint slides on Mondays and Wednesdays and a pure discussion class on Fridays. Grades are based on four short-answer exams and class participation. The course is taught in room 47 Smeal and class size is about 10 students. Students are expected to read from a standard evolutionary psychology textbook as well as following discussions in the evolutionary psychology discussion group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/evolutionary-psychology/ .

Prerequisites: Psychology 100 and either Anthropology 021 or Biological Science 002 or Biology 133 or Biology 222. Students absolutely must have completed Psychology 100 before taking this course. It would be very helpful to come into the course with some background in genetics from an anthropology or biology course, but Dr. Johnson does not insist upon this prerequisite, which were included to try to limit class sizes when the course is taught at University Park.

Who Should Take the Course: Psychology majors planning to work on either the PSYBA or PSYBS degrees at University Park must complete courses from at least three different categories. Psychology 269 counts in group C. Non-majors who are simply interested in acquiring the deepest possible understanding of human nature the psychology has to offer should take this course. The course had been offered every spring; it is uncertain when the course will be offered again.

Web Link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/psy269/web269.html

Psychology 212: Developmental Psychology (formerly Psychology 213)

(Dr. Pamela P. Hufnagel, instructor)

Description: This course examines the biological and environmental forces that shape individual development from conception through adolescence. Although the emphasis is on normal development, attention is also given to problems in development. The course is divided into five units. The first unit reviews psychological research methods and theories, and then covers heredity and prenatal development. Each of the remaining units focuses on physical, cognitive, and social development in one of four age groups (infancy, preschool, elementary school-age, and adolescence). Each unit is followed by a 50-point multiple-choice exam. The exam after the last unit has an additional 50 questions covering material from the first four units. About 83% of the course grade is based on exam performance, with the remaining 17% based on a child study project conducted outside class. Extra credit may be earned by submitting answers to review questions.  The class meets in a regular classroom and usually has about 20 to 40 students.  The format is a mix of lectures with transparencies, videos, demonstrations, in-class experiments, and discussions. Reading assignments come from a standard developmental psychology textbook that has on-line study aids.

Prerequisites: PSY 100  (Students who have taken PSY 100 have an advantage over students who have not taken it during the first unit in particular, which reviews information that may have been covered in more detail in PSY 100.)

Who Should Take the Course: Psychology 212 is required for students majoring in Special Education and is on a short list of options for students majoring in Elementary Education, Rehabilitation Services, or Communication Disorders. It can apply towards a major in psychology or minor in Psychology, and is a prerequisite for some higher level Psychology courses. Psychology 213 satisfies a General Education requirement in the social sciences (GS) for students in any major. This course is for anyone who is interested in children and nurturing their development. The course is taught every spring.

Web Link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/pph1/hd229.htm

Psychology 238: Introduction to Personality Psychology

(John A. Johnson, course creator and instructor)

Description: Personality psychology, or personology, is the scientific study of the whole person. Through lecture and discussion, this course compares and contrasts the major views of personality according the root ideas in the personological tradition: motivation, personality development, self-knowledge, unconscious processes, psychological adjustment, and the relationship between the individual and society. Grades are based on the total number of points earned on four 40-point multiple-choice exams and can be adjusted upward for students who demonstrate understanding of the course material in class projects and discussions. The class is normally held in a regular classroom in Smeal Building and enrollment is usually about 15-20 students. In most classes, Dr. Johnson lectures from PowerPoints and leads discussions. He also provides a number of classroom activities such as analyzing a case study of a pyromaniac and taking and interpreting various personality tests. Students are expected to read a standard personality textbook.

Prerequisites: Psychology 100. Students who have completed Psychology 100 may have a slight advantage over students who have not, but Dr. Johnson waives the prerequisite for any student who is interested in taking the course. Students who have taken the course without having taken Psychology 100 have done just fine.

Who Should Take the Course: Psychology majors planning to work on either the PSYBA or PSYBS degrees at University Park must complete courses from at least three categories. Psychology 238 counts in group B. Psychology 238 satisfies a General Education requirement in the social sciences (GS) for students in any major except psychology. This course is for anyone interested in learning how and why people differ from one another. It is a prototypical liberal arts course, centered on the discussion of ideas from the classic theories of individuals such as Freud, Jung, Allport, and Erikson and applying the ideas to areas of contemporary concern. The course is taught every spring semester.

Web Link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/psy238/syl238.html

Psychology 243: Introduction to Well-Being and Positive Psychology

(John A. Johnson, course co-creator and instructor)

Description: This is Penn State's only psychology course designed specifically to provide practical, personal benefits to students. The goal of the course is to teach students how to apply principles from psychological research that have a demonstrated ability to improve self-understanding and psychological well-being. Methods taught include setting and achieving goals that bring happiness by realistic planning and also developing habits of thought for optimizing well-being in normally unpleasant situations. Grades are based on 22 short writing assignments, a 40-question mid-term exam and final exam, a group writing project, and the quality of one's contributions to small-group discussions. Students can normally achieve the grade they desire if they choose to complete all of the assignments. Classes are normally held in one of the Smeal classrooms to allow the presentation of PowerPoint slides and small-group discussions. The enrollment limit is 24, and class size is normally between 20-24. Prior to every class, students are expected to complete a reading assignment or other activity in preparation for that class. At the beginning of most classes, students will meet in small groups to discuss their experiences with the reading and activity assignments. Dr. Johnson alternates between facilitating the discussions and presenting additional material to think about and discuss. Required books include a standard textbook on positive psychology, a workbook for learning about and practicing self-improvement techniques, a book on increasing freedom by avoiding erroneous thinking, and a book that links ancient Toltec practices to modern positive psychology.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100. Dr. Johnson believes that this course can be completed successfully regardless of a student's background in psychology and therefore does not require students to have completed Psychology 100.

Who Should Take the Course: This course is required for 2-year Occupational Therapy and 2-year Physical Therapist Assistant majors. Psychology majors planning to work on either the PSYBA or PSYBS degrees at University Park must complete courses from at least three categories. Psychology 243 counts in group C.  Psychology 243 satisfies a General Education requirement in the social sciences (GS) for students in any major except psychology. The course is also a good choice for any student who desires a greater degree of self-understanding and personal well-being. The course is taught in both the fall and spring semester every year. In the fall the course is open first to Occupational Therapy students; others can register if not all seats are taken. In recent years there have been openings in the fall for any student who has wanted to take the course.

Web Link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/psy243/web243.html

Psychology 438: Theory of Personality

(John A. Johnson, instructor)

Description: Before the lower level version of this course, Psychology 238, was created, Psychology 438 used to survey the major classic theories of Freud, Jung, etc., and examine how well these theories are supported by research. Because the classic theories are now covered in Psychology 238, the emphasis in Psychology 438 has now shifted to more limited, modern theories and research on specific topics such as the hereditary and biological basis of personality, personality development, motivation, the unconscious, self-efficacy and self-control, sex and gender, aggression, stress, relationships, and personality disorders. Classes are held in an ordinary classroom in Smeal, and enrollment is usually in the range of 10-15 students. Students are presented at the beginning of the course with a set of questions and asked to seek answers to the questions in the assigned readings. During the first half of each class, students compare and discuss answers in small groups, and during the second half of class, Dr. Johnson reviews the answers to the questions. Students receive credit toward their course grade for submitting their answers, which are checked but not graded. Grades are based on successfully submitting answers to all questions, on a three-part paper (ungraded) in which students analyze their own personalities, on the quality of contributions to group discussions, and on performance on a midterm and final exam (both contain 40 multiple-choice questions). Each chapter of the main textbook is written by one of today's leading experts on the topic covered in the chapter. In addition to the main textbook, students are required to read two chapters from the Handbook of Personality, copies of which are placed on ANGEL.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 and fifth-semester standing. Dr. Johnson strongly recommends that students take Psychology 100 prior to 438 and that they be at least third-semester standing. Psychology 238 is not a prerequisite for 438, but students who take 238 first may find 438 more meaningful and a little easier. However, one can certainly take 238 after 438 as well.

Who Should Take the Course: Psychology majors planning to work on either the PSYBA or PSYBS degrees at University Park must complete 12 credits of courses at the 400-level, beyond Psychology 490. Psychology 438 counts toward this requirement. This course is recommended for students who are interested in personality research conducted by current, practicing personality psychologists.

Web Link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/psy438/web438.html

Psychology 479 / Women's Studies 471: Psychology of Gender

(John A. Johnson, instructor)

Description: This course explores the myths and realities of gender. Specifically, we will seek answers to the following questions:

  • As far as we can tell from scientific research, to what degree are women and men actually different or similar in their thoughts, feelings, and behavior?
  • What are the roles that genes, prenatal hormones, parenting, educational systems, casual observation, peers, and the mass media play in shaping actual gender? Everyday beliefs about gender?
  • How do everyday beliefs about gender differences correspond to actual gender differences as understood by scientific research?
  • How do everyday beliefs about gender affect the way that people treat each other?
  • How do actual gender and beliefs about gender affect

o   parenting and home life?

o   educational experiences and achievements?

o   friendships and romantic relationships?

o   experiences in the workplace and military?

o   political and economic systems?

A primary goal of this course is to increase students' self-understanding and their understanding of relationships with those of the same and other sex. The course does address problems such as stereotyping, discrimination, economic inequality, gender-related health issues, assault, and marital/family strife. But the slant of the course is positive rather than negative. An increased understanding of gender is meant to help students make good decisions that result in positive self-growth and relations with others. Classes are held in an ordinary classroom in Smeal, and enrollment is usually in the range of 10-15 students. Students are presented at the beginning of the course with a set of questions and asked to seek answers to the questions in the assigned readings. Written answers to these questions are graded. Class time is divided between lecture and discussion of students' answers to the questions in small groups. Overall grades are based on the quality of answers to all questions, on the quality of contributions to group discussions (based on the evaluations of others in the small discussion group), and on performance on a midterm and final exam (both contain 50 multiple-choice questions). Two textbooks are used; one is on gender and the nature-nurture issue, and the other is a reader containing chapters written by experts on different gender topics. Students are also required to read a number of journal articles.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 and Psychology 221 and fifth-semester standing. Because the DuBois Campus does not offer Psychology 221, Dr. Johnson waives that prerequisite.

Who Should Take the Course: Psychology majors planning to work on either the PSYBA or PSYBS degrees at University Park must complete 12 credits of courses at the 400-level, beyond Psychology 490. Psychology 479 counts toward this requirement. This course also satisfies a requirement for the Women's Studies major or minor.

Web Link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/psy479/web479.html

 

Last updated: December 6, 2013