Psychology

  • RICHARD KEEN, chair
  • JANET R. LEFRANCIS
  • MARIE LePAGE
  • SHANNON MARTIN
  • MONICA McCOY
  • MARGARET MOORE
  • CHRISTOPHER VARNON

Mission

The mission of the Department of Psychology is to teach students the empirical, conceptual, and theoretical approaches to understanding animal and human behavior. Further, we strive to develop students who are competent producers and critical consumers of psychological research. Finally, it is our goal to graduate students who are skilled in the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, about the field.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will analyze and evaluate the procedures of experimental design and statistical analysis.
  2. Students will be able to summarize the history of the discipline.
  3. Students will be able to apply the principles of operant and respondent conditioning to animal and human behavior.
  4. Students will be able to apply the major theories in psychology to identify normal and abnormal behavior.
  5. Students will write effectively in APA (American Psychological Association) style.

Students planning to major in psychology should declare the major by late in the spring of the sophomore year. The major is a two-year program of study involving prerequisites among several of the core courses. Majors are expected to stand the Area Concentration Achievement Tests in Psychology in the spring of the senior year. This is done as part of the College assessment program. The fee for the test is paid by the College.

The General Education Program is a requirement for all degrees. The requirements listed below are approved for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Fine Arts.

ENG 101 3 hours
Language and Culture 9 hours
MTH 108 or higher 3 hours
One course designated as Quantitative reasoning 3–4 hours
Health and Well-being Wellness 2 hours
Activity course 1–2 hours
Humanities 6 hours
Literature 3 hours
Fine Arts 6 hours
Natural Science 7–8 hours
Social Science 6 hours
Total 49–52 hours

Graduation requirements but not a separate course:

  • First Year Seminar
  • Writing Intensive course
  • Non-European/non-Anglophone course Capstone experience.

Major and Minor Calculation for the Department of Psychology

In order to earn a minor or a major in psychology, students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 across all of their psychology courses.

Minor and major GPAs are based on the grades earned in all psychology classes taken at Converse College.

Transfer credits from other institutions do not figure into the required calculation for minor or major GPAs.

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

PSY 100 : GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY

A survey of the areas which define psychology. Special emphasis will be given to conditioning phenomena. Offered Fall and Spring Terms.

Credits

3

PSY 125 : FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR

First-Year Seminars constitute a common and academically significant experience in a student’s first year at Converse University. All incoming first- year students are required to take a 3-credit hour FYS in the fall semester, choosing from a variety of discipline specific topics. Each FYS carries the corresponding departmental prefix, but with the common course number (except for designated honors sections). Each FYS course is designed to have no more than 18 students, and counts in some designated category of the General Education Program. Strong writing and speaking components are required elements of the course.

Credits

3

PSY 149 : PSYCHOLOGY IN THE MOVIES: ROOTING FOR THE BAD GUY

The purpose of this course is to explore potential psychological phenomena that may underlie people’s willingness to root for the bad guy (or bad behaviors) in popular culture (e.g., movies, TV, books, etc.) Students will learn about the theoretical and empirical basis of these phenomena and then determine how these may be in effect in movies and television shows.

Credits

4

PSY 199H : FRESHMAN HONORS SEMINAR

A study of a selected subject within the discipline which will vary from term to term. The course is intended to encourage student participation in the intellectual process through class discussion, structured experiences, and the writing of short papers. Offered periodically in rotation with seminars in other disciplines.

Credits

3

PSY 211 : BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION

A study of the effects of operant and respondent conditioning in changing and influencing human behavior. Students will complete a project in which they apply the principles to change some aspect of their own behavior. Offered Fall Term.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

PSY100 or the permission of the instructor.

PSY 231 : SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

A course designed to investigate the manner in which the behavior, feelings, and thoughts of one individual are influenced and determined by the behavior and/or characteristics of others. Selected topics include attraction, social influence, attitudes, aggression and violence, altruism, sexual behavior, group influences, and person perception. Offered in alternate years. Spring Term.

Credits

3

PSY 232 : PSYCHOLOGY IN THE WORKPLACE

This course is designed to introduce students to methods of managing behavior in the workplace. Specifically, students will learn to apply behavioral principles derived from the laboratory to all levels of performance in the organization. Topics to be covered include screening job applicants, on- the-job training, assessment of work performance, and methods of providing performance feedback to workers. Offered in alternate years. Fall Term.

Credits

3

PSY 233 : PSYCHOLOGY OF LEARNING

A study of the learning process, both through the examination of the experimental literature and through the completion of laboratory exercises. Lecture and laboratory. Offered Fall and Spring Terms.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

PSY 100 or the permission of the instructor.

PSY 236 : THEORIES OF PERSONALITY

A study of theories of personality and the research that supports those theories. Students will take some personality questionnaires and incorporate this material into a summary of some aspect of their personalities. Offered alternate years. Spring Term.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

PSY 100.

PSY 240 : FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY

A study of the major areas of forensic psychology, including (but not limited to) mental health law, forensic assessment, criminal behavior and theories thereof , criminal profiling, and law enforcement psychology.

Credits

4

PSY 280 : HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY

The aims of this course are to understand the psychological factors involved in health and in illness, to study interventions to help people get over illness and stay well, and to consider the health care system and its policies. Finally, a sample of the popular literature on the mind-body issue as it relates to health will be considered relative to the existing scientific literature. GEP for Health and Wellness requirement. Offered in Fall or Jan Term.

Credits

3

PSY 281 : YOGA AND STRESS MANAGEMENT

This course will study stress management from the perspectives of western science and the eastern practice of yoga. A portion of the class will include study of scientific findings concerning stress and its management, some study of yoga philosophy, and a consideration of the existing scientific studies of yoga. Another portion of the class will involve practice of yoga postures and methods of breathing. GEP for Health and Wellness requirement. Non-European/non-Anglophone.

Credits

4

PSY 299H : INTERDISCIPLINARY HONORS COURSE

This course is team taught by members in two departments and is open to Nisbet Honors Program participants and to others who meet Honors Program guidelines. All students registering for these courses must register not only through the Honors Program but also with their adviser and the Registrar’s Office.

Credits

3 - 4

PSY 302 : PSYCHOLOGY OF WOMEN

A study of gender comparisons in behavior. Selected topics include theories of female development, femininity, masculinity, and androgyny, gender comparisons in personality, adjustment, abilities, achievement, motivation, language, biological influences, sexuality, violence against women, and cross- cultural perspectives. Offered alternate years. Spring Term.

Credits

3

PSY 303 : WOMEN’S WELL-BEING AND YOGA

This class is designed to investigate various physical and psychological issues in women’s lives, and sequences of yoga poses that are designed to help women cope with these issues. The course will include a review of scientific research on the effectiveness of yoga with various women’s issues, and also it will include the philosophy of yoga and how it underpins the yoga postures that we do to help women cope with these issues. Non-European/non-Anglophone/Women’s Studies.

Credits

3

PSY 310 : STATISTICS AND EXPERIMENT DESIGN I

Enrollment in this course is limited to Psychology majors and minors. This course sets the foundation for how statistics and experimental design are used in psychology. Statistical topics of central tendency, variability, distribution, hypothesis testing, and correlation will be covered. In addition, the methodological topics of the philosophy of science, the ethics of experimentation, and controlling variables will be addressed. Students will learn to analyze data using SPSS and to write research papers in APA format. A grade of C- or better is required in order to advance to PSY 311. Offered Fall and Spring Terms. Quantitative GEP requirement.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

PSY100.

PSY 311 : STATISTICS AND EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN II

This course builds upon the basics of statistics and experimental design covered in PSY 310. More complex research designs including two or more groups and one or more factors (between, within, and mixed subject designs) will be explored. This course will make use of the descriptive statistics taught in PSY 310 and add inferential statistics. Students will learn to compute statistics by hand and using SPSS. Finally, this course involves writing research papers about complex research designs in APA format. Offered Fall and Spring Terms. Quantitative GEP requirement.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

A grade of C- or better in PSY 310.

PSY 320 : BODY IMAGE, EATING DISORDERS, AND OBESITY

By the end of this course, students will be able to describe the characteristic symptoms of eating disorders and related issues (e.g., body image, Body Dysmorphic Disorder), including some key psychological theories, treatment options, and prevention strategies, and research findings. Students will also learn about obesity and factors associated with prevention and treatment of obesity, as well as issues faced by individuals in this population (including eating disordered behaviors, stigma, and medical comorbidities). Throughout the course, students will be expected to effectively communicate their ideas and thinking in written form, in formal presentations, and in informal discussions.

Credits

3 - 3

Prerequisites

PSY 332 : PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS

A study of the psychological evaluation, the tests used for such an evaluation, and the procedures required for such tests to be valid and reliable. There will be an emphasis on personality tests. Each student will do two evaluations, one on herself and one on another student.

Credits

3

PSY 340 : COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY

This course provides students with an advanced analysis of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and its variants. CBT is one of the most popular and empirically supported forms of therapy used today. Students will learn about specific intervention techniques within CBT and will gain skills in utilizing those techniques through role plays. Students will additionally learn about Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing- therapies which are based in part on CBT. Students will learn how CBT is utilized for specific populations and disorders. Throughout the course, students will be expected to effectively communicate their understanding of the material in written form, role plays, and class discussions. Offered every other year, usually in the fall semester.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

PSY 350 : SPECIAL TOPICS IN PSYCHOLOGY

Courses will be offered in a variety of topics within psychology depending on faculty and student interest. Previous offerings include issues in clinical practice and breath during turbulent times. May be taken more than once in different topics.

Credits

1 - 4

PSY 360 : INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS AND HUMAN SEXUALITY

This course explores human sexuality emphasizing the psychological aspects of intimate relationships. We will cover attraction, sexual attitudes and behavior, gender, the development of sexual relationships, love and communication in intimate relationships, sexual orientation, and sexual difficulties and therapy. Attention will also be paid to the methods for gathering data in this field.

Credits

4

PSY 370 : CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT

A lecture and seminar course examining the phenomenon of child abuse and neglect. Included in this course will be an overview of attitudes toward and legal definitions of child maltreatment. In addition, legal issues, parental factors, contextual influences, and the developmental consequences of maltreatment will be explored. This course relies heavily on current research in child abuse and neglect. Offered in alternate years. Spring Term.

Credits

3

PSY 374 : ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY

Abnormal psychology reviews the process of assessing and diagnosing mental health conditions using the current DSM criteria. In addition, it provides an overview of evidenced-based treatment practices.


 

Credits

3

PSY 402 : ANIMAL BEHAVIOR

This course is intended to familiarize the student with the field of animal behavior. The course objectives are to instill in the student a knowledge and understanding of: 1) the various subject realms of animal behavior, 2) the methodological approaches used in studying behavior, and 3) the current conceptual perspectives from which various behavioral phenomena are interpreted by ethologists and psychologists. These objectives will be reached through lectures, readings, films, field trips and assigned exercises.

Credits

4

PSY 405 : HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF PSYCHOLOGY

A study of the history of psychology with emphasis on the modern period and on the special contribution which philosophy makes to the viewpoint of a discipline which conducts an experimental analysis of behavior. Offered Fall and Spring Terms.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

PSY 100 or the permission of the instructor.

PSY 410 : COUNSELING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY

This course serves as an introduction to the study of psychotherapeutic interventions in clinical/counseling psychology. The majority of the course is focused on examining the defining characteristics, efficacy, and effectiveness of various psychotherapies. Although specific techniques are reviewed, this course will in no way prepare students to conduct psychotherapy. Rather, the course serves as a good foundation for future study in the field. In addition to learning about psychotherapy approaches, this course also focuses on understanding the ethical practice of psychotherapy, future trends and issues in the field of psychotherapy, options for careers in psychotherapy.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

PSY 374 or permission of the Instructor.

PSY 480 : SENIOR SEMINAR

Each student will write a library research paper that all students will read and discuss. Offered Fall and Spring Terms. Writing Intensive. Capstone

Credits

3

Prerequisites

PSY 233, 310, and 311.

PSY 490 : DIRECTED INDEPENDENT STUDY IN SPECIAL TOPICS

A course designed to allow the student to engage in a concentrated experimental or library research in an area of personal interest. May be repeated for credit.

Credits

1 - 3

Prerequisites

Consent of the instructor. PSY 100 or the permission of the instructor.

PSY 499 : INTERNSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

In exceptional cases, consent of the department staff will permit enrolling in the course in the absence of some of the course prerequisites. It is intended for senior psychology majors. The course will offer experience in an applied setting. Students will be placed with local social agencies or other dispensers of psychological services (out-of-town placement is also possible) who have agreed to accept and evaluate them on an internship basis. The course will also involve weekly seminars with the departmental staff and other interns for examination of problems that have arisen in the work situation. In the case of out-of- town placement, a paper will be required instead of the seminars. The course is intended for those psychology majors who wish to seek employment at the Bachelor of Arts level. It is not recommended for those who plan to pursue an advanced degree program. Pass/fail grading.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

A 3.0 average in the major. PSY 374, 231, 310 and 332.