PSYC 210: Introduction to Psychology


This course surveys a variety of topics in psychology including: biological bases of behavior; sensation and perception; research in psychology; human development; social influences on behavior; learning; health and stress; abnormal psychology’ personality; memory; motivation; and consciousness.  All topics are organized within three broad units.  As part of this exploration, students will learn critical thinking skills for evaluating evidence in psychology.  Additionally, this course meets the requirement for the Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values MOI.  Thus, as an AARV course, there will be an examination of some of the fundamental ethical or value-laden issues that arise when discussing the study of human behavior.  Specifically, five important ethical or value-laden issues will be addressed via assigned readings, film, demonstrations, and in-class discussions.  Stated in the form of questions, these issues are:


1.               How do values shape the conduct and interpretation of research in psychology? In other words, what is the effect of humans studying humans?

2.               Is there a need for ethical guidelines to guide psychological research, and if so, what should the nature of these guidelines be?

3.               What are the trade-offs in making value-laden decisions with regard to human behavior?

4.               Should research results be used to prescribe moral behavior?

5.               How should we evaluate the tension that exists between behaviors that are good for an individual vs. behaviors that are for the common good?


These questions will resurface in various formats throughout the semester, and students are strongly encouraged to think about and engage these questions as they complete the readings.


Please click on the link below to view the most recent course syllabus.