Seminars

This is a list of all seminars offered in the Psychology Department in the past 5 years, along with the most recent syllabus for each (where available). If you are planning your course of study, you should also consult:

 

Group 1: Perception and Cognition

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
Instructor's permission and PSYC UN1001 or UN1010, or the equivalent. 

Description: 
Why--despite our best efforts to focus--does attention inevitably falter, allowing unrelated thoughts to distract us? This seminar surveys diverse psychological and neuroscientific approaches to sustained attention and distraction. Students will develop an integrated understanding of this work, culminating in proposals for research that could help advance our understanding of why and how the mind wanders.

[View syllabus]

3 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
Some background in psychology and/or neurophysiology is desirable (e.g., PSYC UN1001, UN1010, UN1480, UN2230, BIOL UN3004, BIOL UN3005). Other backgrounds may also be appropriate. 

Description: 
Space perception and spatial orientation in a three-dimensional physical world will be examined from a viewpoint that integrates neurophysiological and behavioral research: Experiments involve perceptual phenomena and measurement, and electrical and/or mechanical recording in normal and unusual environments (e.g., human centrifuge, zero-g).

[View syllabus]

3 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
Some background in perceptual or sensory processes or neurophysiology or physical sciences/math/computer science. 

Description: 
Reading and discussion of classic articles from the past 60 years providing a foundation for the rapidly expanding fields of visual perception, visual science, and visual neuroscience and their connections with computer modeling (with a sprinkling from research on audition). Primary source articles will be accompanied by secondary source and brief lecture material to introduce each topic. 

[View syllabus]

3 pts. N. Graham


Prerequisites: 
Some background in psychology and/or neurophysiology is desirable (e.g., PSYC UN1001, UN1010, UN2230, UN2450, BIOL 3004, BIOL 3005) is desirable. Some background in mathematics and computer science (e.g., calculus or linear algebra, a programming language) is highly recommended. 

Description: 
The study of human vision--both behavioral and physiological data--within a framework of computational and mathematical descriptions.
Note: Please download the course announcement and then contact Prof. Norma Graham via email if you are interested in this course.

[View course announcement]

[View course announcement - Fall 2018]

3 pts. 

Prerequisites: 
A course in perception, cognition or developmental psychology, and the instructor's permission. 

Description: 
Analysis of human development during the first year of life, with an emphasis on infant perceptual and cognitive development.

[Download recent syllabus]

4 pts. K. Fox-Glassman.

Prerequisites: 
PSYC UN2235 or equivalent course on judgment and decision making, and instructor's permission. Students with little psychology coursework but a background in earth science, public policy, or another related field are welcome to enroll, with instructor permission, if space allows.

Description: 
This seminar addresses the psychological factors - cognitive biases, heuristics, risk perception, social influences, and past experiences - that together help explain why people tend to under-prepare for potential natural and man-made disasters. Implications for science communication and public policy are discussed.

[View syllabus]   

4 pts. K. Kelly. 
 

Prerequisites: 
PSYC UN1001 or UN1010 (or the equivalent), plus the instructor's permission.

Description: 
What does it mean to have a sense of self? Is it uniquely human? Taking a cognitive perspective, we will discuss these questions as well as self-reflective and self-monitoring abilities, brain structures relevant to self-processing, and disorders of self. We will also consider the self from evolutionary, developmental, neuroscience, and psychopathological perspectives.

[View syllabus]  

4 pts. 

Prerequisites:
At least two other psychology courses and instructor's permission.

Description: 
Discussion of issues and research on the breakdown of basic neurocognitive processes in psychopathology. The focus will be on working memory and cognitive control -- the cognitive processes most vulnerable in many psychiatric disorders, including: Schizophrenia, Major Depressive Reaction, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Substance Abuse. Discussions will focus on issues such as: What can we learn about the neural circuitry involved in a particular psychiatric disorder from studying deficits in cognitive tasks? What can we learn about normal cognition from studying cognitive deficits in psychopathology?

[View course information]

4 pts. S. Cosentino

Prerequisites: 
Courses in introductory psychology and cognitive psychology, and instructor's permission.

Description: 
Comprehensive overview of various conceptual and methodologic approaches to studying the cognitive neuroscience of aging. The course will emphasize the importance of combining information from cognitive experimental designs, epidemiologic studies, neuroimaging, and clinical neuropsychological approaches to understand individual differences in both healthy and pathological aging. 

[View syllabus]

[View syllabus - Fall 2018]

 

4 pts. D. Friedman

Prerequisites: 
Instructor's permission plus PSYC UN1001 or UN1010, or the equivalent. Optimal preparation will include some background in experimental design and statistics.

Description (preliminary): 
Memory and executive processing are critical cognitive functions required for successfully navigating everyday life. In lifespan studies, both exhibit relatively long developmental trajectories followed by stasis and then relative decline in old age. Yet, neither memory nor executive function is a unitary construct. Rather, each is comprised of separable components that may show different developmental trajectories and declines or maintenance at older ages. Moreover, memory is malleable and is a reconstruction of past experience, not an exact reproduction. We will discuss a range of topics related to the development, maintenance and potential decline in memory and executive function from infancy through old age. 

[View Spring 2019 Syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
Instructor's permission. Some basic knowledge of cognitive science and neuroanatomy is desirable, but not necessary.

Description: 
Discussion of current issues in the scientific studies of consciousness, including the search for the neural correlates of visual awareness, volition, and the various kinds of impairments of consciousness and attention as described in clinical cases. 

Note: 
Specific topics may vary from year to year. May be repeated for credit. 

[View syllabus]

[View Spring 2019 syllabus]

4 pts. A. Spagna. 

[View Syllabus]

3 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
Some background in perception is required. 

Description: 
Topics on the perception of space. Discussions, reviews, and recent literature.

[View syllabus]

4 pts. R. Remez

Prerequisite: 
Two courses in Psychology and instructor's permission.

Description: 
Topics include phonetic expression, motoric and perceptual organization, speech codes and memory codes, spoken word recognition, phrase formation, and the effects of context in perception and production. 

[View Spring 2019 Syllabus]

3 pts. N. Graham

Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. 

Note: 
May be repeated for additional credit. Please download course information and then contact Prof. Norma Graham via email if you are interested in this course. 

[Course information]

[Course information - Fall 2018]

3 pts. Baldassano

Prerequisites: PSYC UN1010 

Description: This seminar will provide a broad survey of how narrative stories, films, and performances have been used as tools to study cognition in psychology and neuroscience

[View syllabus - Fall 2018]

 

4 pts. 

Prerequisites: 

PSYC UN1001 The Science of Psychology, or an equivalent introductory course in psychology. It is recommended that students have also taken an additional course in Psychology, preferably one focusing on cognition, development, or research methods. Instructor permission is required.

Description: 

This seminar explores the relationship between language and thought by investigating how language is mentally represented and processed; how various aspects of language interact with each other; and how language interacts with other aspects of cognition including perception, concepts, world knowledge, and memory. Students will examine how empirical data at the linguistic, psychological, and neuroscientific levels can bear on some of the biggest questions in the philosophy of mind and language and in psychology.

[View Spring 2019 Syllabus]

 

3 pts.

Prerequisite:
PSYC UN1001 or UN1010 or the equivalent based on instructor assessment, plus permission of one of the instructors.

Description:
How did language evolve and why are human beings the only species to use language? How did the evolution of social intelligence, in particular, cooperation, set the stage for the origin of language and consciousness? We will explore how psychologists, philosophers, neuroscientists, anthropologists, biologists and computational scientists, among others, have collaborated during recent years to produce important insights in the evolution of intelligence, consciousness and language. 

[View Syllabus]

3 pts.

Prerequisite: 
Some background in perceptual or sensory processes or neurophysiology or physical sciences/math/computer science. 

Description: 
Reading and discussion of classic articles from the past 60 years providing a foundation for the rapidly expanding fields of visual perception, visual science, and visual neuroscience and their connections with computer modeling (with a sprinkling from research on audition); primary source articles will be accompanied by secondary source and brief lecture material to introduce each topic.

[View syllabus]

4 pts. Woolley

Prerequisites:
At least two other psychology courses and instructor’s permission.

Description: 
The reception, organization and understanding of sounds are crucial functions of the brain. We will study the perceptual rules by which humans and other animals make sense of the acoustic world, what those rules suggest about how the brain forms acoustic percepts, and what is known about the neural basis of auditory perception. 

View Syllabus

3 pts. J. Metcalfe

Prerequisites for undergraduates: 
One course in cognitive psychology or cognitive neuroscience, or the equivalent, and instructor's permission.

Description: 
Metacognition and control processes in human cognition. Basic issues include the cognitive mechanisms that enable people to monitor what they know and predict what they will know, the errors and biases involved in self-monitoring, and the implications of metacognitive ability for people's self-determined learning, behavior, and their understanding of self.

[View Metcalfe's syllabus]

[View Son's syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
UN2440, BC1128, BC 1129, or UN2280 plus instructor permission

Description: 
This is a seminar on the acquisition of language by children. We will discuss the acquisition of the sounds of language, the meaning of language, and the structure of phrases and sentences. Although much of the literature on language development involves the acquisition of English, we will also examine, wherever possible, the acquisition of other spoken languages, as well as the acquisition of sign languages. We will discuss both the process of acquisition and the competing theoretical explanations of that process. Particular emphasis will be placed on discovering the mechanisms children possess that enable them to learn language, and the resulting impact of those mechanisms on languages themselves.

[View syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
A course in perception, cognition, or the psychology of language, plus the instructor's permission.

Description: 
Intensive examination from a social psychological perspective of selected topics relevant to current theory and research on the use of language and other communication behaviors. 

Note: 
May be repeated for additional credit. 

[View syllabus]

4 pts. K. McCrink. 

Prerequisites for Undergraduates: 
Courses in introductory psychology, cognitive or developmental psychology, and instructor's permission.

Description: 
Core Knowledge explores the origins and development of knowledge in infants and children, with an additional emphasis on evolutionary cognition. In this course, we will examine evidence from cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, comparative psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics to look at the child's conception of objects, number, space, language, agency, morality and the social world. We will look at which aspects of knowledge are uniquely human, which are shared with other animals, and how this knowledge changes as children develop.

[View syllabus]

1-3 pts. 

Prerequisites: 
PSYC UN1490 or UN2235, and the instructor's permission. 

Description: 
Discussion of selected topics and issues in human decision making. 

Note: 
Only the 3 pt. version of this course will fulfill the Group I Requirement of the Psychology Major or Concentration or the P5 Requirement of the Neuroscience and Behavior Major. May be repeated for additional credit. 

[View Weber's syllabus]

[View Fox-Glassman's syllabus]

4 pts. K. Fox-Glassman

Prerequisites: PSYC UN2235 or an equivalent course on judgment and decision making, and the instructor's permission.

Course Description: This course reviews current research in the domain of decision architecture: the application of research in cognitive and social psychology to real-world situations with the aim of influencing behavior. For example, designating a certain option as the default choice has been shown to dramatically increase rates of participation in organ-donation programs, retirement savings,vaccination, and many other socially beneficial activities. This seminar will discuss recent and classic studies, both of decision theory and of applied decision research, to explore the effectiveness—as well as the limitations—of a selection of these behavioral “nudges.”

[View Syllabus - Fall 2017]

[View Syllabus - Spring 2019]

3 Pts. 

Prerequisites: PSYC UN2235

Description: A seminar course exploring strategic decision making (also known as behavioral game theory). This course examines the psychology underlying situations in which outcomes are determined by choices made by multiple decision makers. The prime objective will be to examine the use of experimental games to test psychological theories.

(View Syllabus)

 

Group 2: Psychobiology and Neuroscience

4 pts.

Prerequisite: 
Instructor's permission. (Please see course web site and apply for permission to register.) 

Description: 
Theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of emotion. Emphasis is on research into physiological, expressive, and subjective emotional responses to salient events. 

[View website

3 pts. 

4 pts.

Prerequisites:
At least two other psychology courses and instructor's permission.

Description: 
Reproduction encompasses a broad range of behaviors in the life cycle of an organism from mate selection and copulation to parental care. This seminar will examine various aspects of reproduction across species and the neural mechanisms that regulate these behaviors and allow an organism to adapt to environmental change. 

[View Vyas syllabus]

[View Champagne syllabus]

4pts. D. Hood.

Prerequisite: 
PSYC UN1010 or UN2450, and instructor's permission. 

Description: 
Techniques for the noninvasive assessment of human brain activity are considered. The use of these techniques in laboratory and clinical science is explored.

[View preliminary course information]

4 pts. Aly

Prerequisites: PSYC UN1010 (Mind, Brain, & Behavior) or equivalent introductory course in neuroscience or cognitive psychology and instructor’s permission

Description: This seminar will give a comprehensive overview of episodic memory research: what neuroimaging studies, patient studies, and animal models have taught us about how the brain creates, stores, and retrieves memories. 

[View syllabus - Fall 2018]

View Syllabus

3 pts. H. Terrace

Prerequisites: 
PSYC UN1001 or UN1010, and instructor's permission. 

Description: 
A systematic review of the implications of Darwin's theory of evolution and Freud's theory of the unconscious for contemporary studies of animal and human cognition. 

[View recent syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisites: 
At least two psychology courses and instructor's permission. 

Description: 
Evolutionary theory and its application to behaviors such as mating, group formation, and communication in humans and other animals, incorporating concepts and findings from genetics, ethology, neuroscience, and psychology. 

[View syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
At least two other psychology courses and instructor’s permission.

Description: 
An investigation of the uniqueness of the human brain and human behavior from an evolutionary perspective. 

[View preliminary course information]

4 Pts. Canetta

Prerequisites: This course is open to advanced undergraduate students who have taken UN1010 (Mind, Brain, & Behavior) or an equivalent introductory course in neuroscience or cognitive psychology. Instructor permission is required prior to registration.

Description: The majority of our mental capacities—ranging from basic sensory functions to more advanced social, emotional and cognitive capabilities—take many years to develop and are highly influenced by environmental signals encountered during particular developmental ‘critical periods’.  In this seminar we will explore examples of these periods across diverse brain systems and behaviors, ranging from vision and audition to social, emotional and cognitive development, by considering each example in the context of human brain function and behavior as well as at the level of more detailed neurobiological mechanisms underlying these changes elucidated by studies using non-human animal systems.

[View Syllabus - Fall 2018]

3 pts. 

4 pts. 

Prerequisites: 
Science of Psychology (PSYC 1001), Mind, Brain, & Behavior (PSYC 1010), or an equivalent Introductory Psychology course is required, plus permission of the instructor. 

Description: 
This course will explore the theory and methods underlying lifespan development: the cognitive and neural changes that we undergo from even before birth until the end of life. Each week will focus on a different broad time period in the life of a person, and introduce a major research method used in the study of human development. Topics will range from prenatal development and epigenetics to late-life brain changes and neuroimaging.

[View syllabus

3 pts. C. Marvin

Prerequisites: 
Science of Psychology (PSYC 1001) or Mind, Brain, & Behavior (PSYC 1010), or equivalent introductory psychology course. Students who have not taken one of these courses may also be admitted with instructor permission.

Description: 
This course investigates the ways in which research in human neuroscience both reflects and informs societal issues. Topics include how neuroscience research is interpreted and applied in areas such as healthcare, education, law, consumer behavior, and public policy.

[View syllabus

3 pts. H. Terrace

Prerequisites for undergraduates: 
The instructor's permission.

Description: 
Seminar concerning a nonverbal animal's use of internal representations of past experience as a basis for action. Topics include how representations are formed, what aspects of experience are encoded, how information is stored, and how it is used later to guide behavior.

[View previous syllabus

4 pts. D. Shohamy.

Prerequisites: 
Courses in introductory psychology and/or neuroscience, and the instructor's permission.

Description: 
What are the neural mechanisms that support learning, memory, and choices? We will review current theories in the cognitive neuroscience of human learning, discuss how learning and decision making interact, and consider the strengths and weaknesses of two influential methods in the study of human brain and behavior--functional imaging and patient studies. 

[View syllabus]

4 pts. Aly

Description: The past decade has produced an extraordinary amount of evidence that challenges the classic view of a “medial temporal lobe memory system”, namely, the idea that the medial temporal lobe plays a necessary role in long-term memory but not other cognitive functions. This course will introduce these challenges to the traditional perspective by exploring functions of the so-called memory system in domains outside of long-term memory.

[View syllabus - Fall 2018]

3 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
PSYC UN1001 plus UN1010 or UN2450 or equivalent, plus permission of the instructor.

Description: 
Examines current topics in neurobiology and behavior. [This course may be repeated for credit.]

Potential Topics

Topic: Neurobiology of Emotion


Topic: Autism Research


Topic: Plasticity of the Nervous System


Topic: Prenatal Drug Exposure & Cognition

3 pts. H. Terrace.

Prerequisite: 
The instructor's permission. 

Prerequisites for Undergraduates: 
See PSYC UN3450.

Description:
A systematic review of the implications of Darwin's theory of evolution and Freud's theory of the unconscious for contemporary studies of animal and human cognition. 

[View syllabus]

4 pts. D. Shohamy.

Prerequisite: 
A neuroscience course, such as PSYC UN1010, and the instructor's permission.

Description: 
This seminar will discuss recent topics in cognitive neuroscience, and how research in this field is impacting public opinion. We will engage in a critical review of how the media represents research on the brain, with a focus on current issues and controversies related to the use of neuroimaging in the study of brain and behavior in humans. 

[View recent syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
The instructor's permission (a course in the psychology of language or linguistics highly recommended). 

Description: 
This seminar surveys current theories of language production. We will examine psycholinguitsic and neuroimaging studies of word and sentence production conducted with monolingual and bilingual speakers, and individuals with acquired language impairments.

[Download syllabus

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
At least two other psychology courses and the instructor's permission.

Description: 
Seminar on recent advances in the neurobiological basis of social behaviors, interactions, relationships and structure. Primary focus will be research conducted in non-human mammalian species, particularly laboratory rodents and primates, but studies of other vertebrates as well as invertebrates will be included. This broad approach will provide an evolutionary perspective on social neuroscience as well as important insights into the applicability of translating animal research to studies of human social neuroscience.

[View syllabus]

4 pts. W. Fifer.

Prerequisite: 
PSYC UN1001 or UN1010, a course in developmental psychology, and the instructor's permission.

Description: 
The focus of the seminar is on human development during the fetal period and early infancy. We will examine the effects of environmental factors on perinatal perceptual, cognitive, sensory-motor, and neurobehavioral capacities, with emphasis on critical conditions involved in both normal and abnormal brain development. Other topics include acute and long term effects of toxic exposures (stress, smoking, and alcohol) during pregnancy, and interaction of genes and the environment in shaping the developing brain of "high-risk" infants, including premature infants and those at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

[View syllabus]

4 pts.

Prerequisite: 
PSYC UN1001 plus UN1010 or UN2450 or equivalent, plus permission of the instructor.

Description: 
This seminar explores the neural systems and behaviors that underlie human, and sometimes animal, emotions. Question will include: why we have emotions, what is their survival value, why do we find funny jokes rewarding, and why we envy, feel guilt or joyfully embrace love. We will review some of the latest literature on these topics and discuss implications for understanding human behavior. We will finally discuss disorders such as depression, anxiety, aggression, and psychopathy that are associated with disruptions to the neural systems that regulate healthy emotion.

[View recent syllabus]

4 pts. N. Tottenham

Prerequisite: 
Courses in developmental psychology, and either research methods or affective neuroscience, and instructor's permission. 

Description: 
Introduction to leading theoretical perspectives employed by developmental psychologists in the study of affective neuroscience. Exploration of the developmental brain and behavior relationships in humans and animal models of typical and atypical emotional behavior, with a critical reading of recent research findings in the field. 

View Syllabus

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
The instructor's permission. Basic knowledge of biology and neuroscience is recommended. 

Description: 
Explores the concept of inheritance and the mechanisms through which inheritance is mediated. Will focus on the generational transmission of physiology and behavior, but will also consider the inheritance of culture and language. 

[View prior year syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
PSYC UN1010 or UN2450, or equivalent, and the instructor's permission.

Description: 
This seminar explores factors that modulate stress reactivity and the impact of stress on the structure and function of the nervous system and behavior. Topics include how developmental stage, sex/gender, time of day, and experience influence how an organism responds to stress at endocrinological, neurobiological, and behavioral levels.

[View preliminary syllabus]

4 pts.

Prerequisite: 
Basic background in neurobiology (for instance PSYC 1010, 2450, 2460, or 2480) and the instructor's permission.

Description: 
Advances in genetics and neuroscience have expanded our understanding of the biological basis of behavior and risk of psychiatric disorder. However, these advances have implications for decision/policy making, legal issues, and society and raise broad ethical concerns. In this seminar course, we will discuss these implications and issues and consider the future challenges that may arise from the evolving study of the genetic and neurobiological determinants of behavior.

[View syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: 
Basic background in neurobiology (for instance PSYC UN1010, UN2450, UN2460, UN2480, and GU4499) and the instructor's permission.

Description: 
This course will provide an overview of the field of epigenetics, with an emphasis on epigenetic phenomena related to neurodevelopment, behavior and mental disorders. We will explore how epigenetic mechanisms can be mediators of environmental exposures and, as such, contribute to psychopathology throughout the life course. We will also discuss the implications of behavioral epigenetic research for the development of substantially novel pharmacotherapeutic approaches and preventive measures in psychiatry.

[View syllabus]

[View syllabus - Fall 2018]

 4 pts.

Prerequisite: 
Basic background in neurobiology (for instance PSYC UN1010, UN2450, UN2460, or UN2480) and the instructor's permission.

Description: 
Principles and advanced concepts in basic and applied psychopharmacology. An overview of the neurobiological basis of brain dysfunction, with a focus on drugs used in the treatment of psychiatric and behavioral disorders as well as novel pharmacological approaches to treatment.

[View syllabus]

 

Group 3: Social, Personality, and Abnormal

3 pts. Antebi Gruszka 

Summer Term:

Prerequisite: The instructor's permission.
A review of current research on intergroup perceptions, attitudes, and behavior. Emphasis on cognitive processes underlying stereotyping and prejudice. 

[View syllabus]

4 pts. G. Downey

Prerequisites: PSYC UN1010, UN2280, UN2620, or UN2680 (or an equivalent course), and instructor's permission. 

Description: Considers contemporary risk factors in children's lives. The immediate and enduring biological and behavioral impact of risk factors.

[View website]

4 pts. 

Prerequisites: At least two of the following courses: PSYC UN1001, UN1010, UN2280, UN2620,UN2680, UN3280; and instructor’s permission.

Description: Developmental psychopathology posits that it is development itself that has gone awry when there is psychopathology. As such, it seeks to understand the early and multiple factors contributing to psychopathology emerging in childhood and later in life. We will use several models (e.g., ones dominated by biological, genetic, and psychological foci) to understand the roots of mental illness. 

[View related syllabus]  

[View related syllabus - Fall 2018]  

4 pts. 

Prerequisites: 

PSYC UN1001 The Science of Psychology or an equivalent introductory course in psychology.
Instructor permission is required.

Description: 

A seminar for advanced undergraduate students exploring different areas of clinical psychology.
This course will provide you with a broad overview of the endeavors of clinical psychology, as
well as discussion of its current social context, goals, and limitations.

[View Spring 2019 Syllabus]

3 pts. E. McCaskill

Prerequisite: An introductory course in Neuroscience, like PSYC UN1010 or UN2450, and the instructor's permission. 

Description: Analysis of the assessment of physical and psychiatric diseases impacting the central nervous system, with emphasis on the relationship between neuropathology and cognitive and behavioral deficits. 

[View syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: PSYC UN1001 or UN1010 (or equivalent introductory course), plus instructor’s permission.

Description: This seminar covers recent progress in the growing field of primate social behavior and cognition. Most primate species live in complex social groups, requiring sophisticated knowledge of relationships and social processes in order to survive therein. Topics in this course range from aggression and dominance to affiliation, altruism and cooperation, with a special emphasis on contemporary debates such as the origin of moral systems and the question of animal "culture." Readings, discussions, and assignments will center on various theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of primate sociality, generating new insights and questions for pertinent dimensions of human social psychology. 

[View syllabus]

3 pts. 

Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. 

Description: The scientific study of how people make sense of others and themselves. Topics include social judgment, attitudes (conscious and unconscious), self-concepts, and the multiple and reciprocal relationships among cognition, emotion, and motivation. 

[View syllabus]

3 pts.

3 pts. 

3 pts. M. Conley.

Prerequisites: Introductory Statistics for Behavioral Sciences (PSYC 1610) or equivalent statistics course and Science of Psychology (PSYC 1001) or equivalent introductory psychology course, and Social Psychology (PSYC 2630) or equivalent introduction to social psychology, and Instructor permission

Description: Specific topics in this course will imbue students with the theoretical and technical tools needed to design and analyze field experiments that investigate questions on the frontiers of Social Psychology. This course confronts methodological shortcomings and common procedural errors that lead to biased estimations of social psychological mechanisms. As a suggested remedy, this course instructs researchers to employ modern design tools and to integrate social psychology questions into established and reliable research methodologies. Instruction on experimental compliance, randomization inference, and attrition will teach students how to avoid and defeat common threats to experiments. Readings and assignments are concerned with ecologically valid, ethical, and (sometimes) free methods of pursuing research questions at the frontiers of contemporary Social Psychology.

[View Syllabus]

3 pts. 

3 pts. J. Shu 

This course will provide an overview of theoretical perspectives and research on what emotions are, what functions they serve, and what roles emotions and emotion regulation play in many parts of our lives such asmental health, social relationships, and decision making. The readings will incorporate a wide array of tools that scientists have adopted to understand emotions at different levels of analysis, such as the use of physiological measures (including brain activity), behavioral measures, self-reports of experience, and data acquired through social media.To present different perspectives on the study of emotions, the course will cover research drawn from such fields as social psychology, clinical psychology and developmental psychology, as well as social and affective neuroscience. Concurrently, we will hone a scientific mindset by approaching readings, presentations,and writing assignments with a structured approach to scientific inquiry that helps us identify the major components of the research process when reading and thinking about scientific research.

[Download syllabus]

3 pts. 

3 pts. K. Ochsner. 

Prerequisites: At least two of the following courses: PSYC UN1001, UN1010, UN2630, UN3410; and instructor’s permission.

Description: An introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary field of social cognitive neuroscience, which examines topics traditionally of interest to social psychologists (including control and automaticity, emotion regulation, person perception, social cooperation) using methods traditionally employed by cognitive neuroscientists (functional neuroimaging, neuropsychological assessment).

[View syllabus]

3 pts.

Prerequisite: PSYC UN1010 or UN2450, or the instructor's permission.

[View syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission and PSYC UN1001 or UN1010, or the equivalent.

Description: This course centers on understanding the self embedded in the social context. We will integrate knowledge from various areas of psychology (developmental, cognitive, social cognition) with a main focus in social psychology. This course will provide the opportunity to gain an understanding of research in the following areas: the development of self in a social context, the relationship between the self and the broader socio-cultural context, the impact of self-involvement on social/cognitive processes, and contemporary research on individual differences.

[View syllabus]

4pts. Rossignac-Milon.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Social Psychology (PSYC 2630) and/or Introduction to Social Cognition (PSYC 2640), a Research Methods course, and instructor permission. Students who have taken none of the pre-requisites but who have other relevant background may be admitted with instructor permission.

Course Overview: What makes people ‘click’? How do close relationships influence our thought processes, behaviors, and identities? How do our conversations with relationship partners change our memories of events and our perceptions of reality? And finally, what are the implicit and explicit cognitive mechanisms underlying these processes? The primary objective of this course will be to provide you with the relevant literature, theoretical background, methodological proficiency, and critical thinking and communication skills to articulate your own answers to these questions, and to propose future studies in the field.

[View syllabus - Spring 2019]

3 pts. 

4 pts. V. Purdie Greenaway. 
 

Prerequisite: The instructor's permission. Some basic knowledge of social psychology is desirable.

Description: A comprehensive examination of how culture and diversity shape psychological processes. The class will explore psychological and political underpinnings of culture and diversity, emphasizing social psychological approaches. Topics include culture and self, culture and social cognition, group and identity formation, science of diversity, stereotyping, prejudice, and gender. Applications to real-world phenomena discussed. 

[View prior year syllabus]

3 pts. 

Prerequisite: Open to psychology graduate students and advanced undergraduate psychology majors with instructor's permission. 

Description: Critical review and analysis of basic and enduring issues in personality theory, assessment, and research. 

[View syllabus]

[View Syllabus - Fall 2018]

3 pts. 

Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. Some basic knowledge of social psychology is desirable.

Description: Discussion of the unconscious mind from the perspective of social cognition, with an emphasis on both theoretical and empirical background, as well as current issues in measuring automatic processing. Topics include: implicit memory systems; unconscious attitudes, goals and behavior, emotions, and decision making; the activation and deactivation of knowledge systems; and priming. 

[View syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisite: Some knowledge of Research Methods, Statistics, and Social Psychology, plus Instructor's Permission.

Description: Reviews and integrates current research on three important topics of social psychology: culture, motivation, and prosocial behavior. Discussions and readings will cover theoretical principles, methodological approaches, and the intersection of these three topics. Students will write a personal research proposal based on the theories presented during the seminar.

[View syllabus]

3 pts. T. Higgins

Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. 

Description: Comparison of major theoretical perspectives on social behavior. The nature of theory-construction and theory-testing in psychology generally. Exercises comparing the predictions of different theories for the same study are designed to acquire an appreciation of how to operationalize theories and an understanding of the various features of a good theory.

[View syllabus

4 pts. L. Heiphetz

Prerequisite: Two courses in psychology, with at least one focusing on statistics and/or research methods in psychology, and permission of the instructor.

Description: Review of theories and current research on moral cognition and behavior. Topics include definitions of morality, the development of moral cognition, the role that other aspects of human experience (e.g., emotion, intentions) play in moral judgments, and the relationship between moral psychology and other areas of study (e.g., religious cognition, prejudice and stereotyping, the criminal justice system).

[View  syllabus]

[View  syllabus - Fall 2018]

4 pts.

Prerequisite: At least two psychology courses and the instructor's permission. 

Description: A comprehensive overview of the study of personality in non-human animals. Discussions and readings will cover theoretical principles, methodological approaches, the range of species in which personality-like phenomena are documented, and the intersection between personality, ecology, and evolution.

[View syllabus]

4 pts. L. Heiphetz

Prerequisites: Two courses in psychology, with at least one focusing on statistics and/or research methods in psychology, and permission of the instructor.

Description: Review of basic psychological research that is relevant to questions people frequently encounter during the course of everyday life. Potential topics for this seminar include research on decision-making, emotion, and/or interpersonal relationships.

[View Syllabus]

[View Syllabus - Fall 2018]
 

3 pts. K. Ochsner

Prerequisite: For graduate students, course equivalents of at least two of the following  courses:  UN1001,  UN1010,  UN2630, UN3410, UN3480, UN3485; and/or instructor's permission.

Description: An introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary field of social cognitive neuroscience, which examines topics traditionally of interest to social psychologists (including control and automaticity, emotion regulation, person perception, social cooperation) using methods traditionally employed by cognitive neuroscientists (functional neuroimaging, neuropsychological assessment).

[View syllabus]

4 pts. 

Prerequisites:
Science of Psychology (PSYC 1001), Mind, Brain, & Behavior (PSYC 1010), or equivalent
introductory psychology course, as well as a prior course in research methods/statistics. A prior
course related to social, applied, and cultural psychology or decision making will be helpful. If
you do not have a psychology background and are interested in this seminar, please contact the
instructor to determine fit. Instructor permission is required for all students.

Description:
Seminar course exploring individual, social, and cultural barriers and levers for behavior change,
with a focus on social issues, such as motivating pro-environmental action, encouraging positive
health behavior change, and promoting charitable giving.

(View Spring 2019 Syllabus)

3 pts. G. Downey

Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. 

Description: Reviews and integrates current research on the role of social factors in psychopathology. The immediate and long-term effects of chronic and traumatic stressors originating outside the family (e.g., natural disasters, chronic poverty) and inside the family (e.g., family violence, divorce, parental psychopathology) on psychopathology.

3 pts. 

Prerequisites: Research Methods, statistics, social psychology, and instructor's permission.

Description: Introduction to leading theoretical perspectives employed by social psychologists in the study of close romantic relationships. Exploration of relationship-relevant constructs (e.g., love, commitment, intimacy, breakups) through the lenses offered by these different theories, and with a critical reading of recent research findings in this field.

[View syllabus]

 

Supervised Individual Research

1-4 pts. 

Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. 

Description: Readings, special laboratory projects, reports, and special seminars on contemporary issues in psychological research and theory.

Note: Except by special permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, no more than 4 points of individual research may be taken in any one term. This includes both PSYC UN3950 and UN3920. No more than 8 points of UN3950 may be applied toward the major, and no more than 4 points toward the concentration. May be repeated with the permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Sign up for a section of UN3950 with an individual faculty member. 

1-3 pts. 

Description: Special research topics arranged with instructors of the department leading toward a senior honors paper.

Note: This course is open only to students in the honors program. Except by special permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, no more than 4 points of individual research may be taken in any one term. This includes both PSYC UN3950 and UN3920. May be repeated for additional credit. No more than 12 points of UN3920 may be applied toward the honors program in psychology.
 

 

We have removed from this page the listings for courses which have expired, having not been offered for more than five years. Courses for which no faculty member is listed are usually those for which the traditional professor has retired or is no longer affiliated with Columbia.