Brookdale Community College Essay

Department of Psychology and Human Services
PSYC 105 Syllabus


InPSYC 105,students will demonstrate an understanding of psychology as a science. They will complete exercises covering fundamental areas of the discipline: history of psychology, scientific methods, sensation and perception, learning and memory, and intelligence and I.Q. testing. Students will gain the ability to examine these subjects from a critical as well as a diverse point of view and the roles of gender, culture and individual differences will be systematically explored.


Upon completion ofPSYC 105, the student will be able to:

Recognize scientific methods and manipulate some components of experiments, as well as gain familiarity with basic statistical information and measurement requirements such as reliability and validity, with emphasis on scientific reasoning.

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Explain how learning and thinking arise from the human nervous system, starting with neurons, progressing to the brain itself, incorporating the sensory systems and concluding with the act of perception, with emphasis on scientific reasoning.

Investigate and explain the cognitive processes of learning, remembering, intelligence, judgment, and decision making, with emphasis on critical thinking and personal development.

Analyze and critically evaluate information that is constantly flowing from the media through a psychological framework, with emphasis on critical thinking and historical/societal analysis.


Hockenbury,D.H.&Hockenbury, S.E.(2013).Psychology(6thedition)- Custom version. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.


Students inPSYC 105aregradedin accordance withthe following criteria:

1. Attendance and Participation

Consistentattendance and active participation are essentialto facilitating student mastery of material presentedin eachcourse. Thus, lateness, lack of attention to lecture, limitedengagement in learning activities, leaving class early and excessive absences, may result in point deductions.

2. Papers

There are research papersdue ineach course.They should answer all questions asked, feature complete sentences and strong paragraph structure, and be free from spelling/grammatical error. They should incorporate information from outside sources as well as student analysis, and be written in APA format.

3. Examinations
There are unit exams in each course. They take the form of closedand/or open-ended in-class assessments that cover material learned throughout the course.

4. Additional Methods of Assessments
Students in each course may also be required to participate in activities that extend learning beyond the traditional paradigm of in-class instruction, paper writing and test taking, via engagement with one (1) or more of the following:
E-portfolios: E-Portfolios reflect a compilation of student engagement with on-line resources, such as supplemental seminars, scenario simulations, exploratory learning activities and progress-tracking assessments. Technology today serves to elucidate in-class instruction as well as offer experiential learning opportunities, which students undertake in order to enhance and demonstrate their understanding of theoretical concepts and practically applicable strategies learned in the course. In this course, the textbook’s complementary PsychPortal serves as the basis for assignments within the E-portfolio.

Learning communities: Learning communities encourage students to exchange insight and learn from one another, bringing together various perspectives thanks to the diversity of student backgrounds present at the College. Learning communities can exist within singular sections of the course or across sections of different courses in cases where an integrated curriculum exists. Work within learning communities takes the form of student collaboration on research papers, multimedia-based projects, in-class presentations, test preparation, organized debates, and other both formative and summative assessments.

Service learning: Service learning offers students the opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the course to a community service project. It joins academic study and community service so that students can learn anddevelop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences. Wheninvolved in a service-learning project in this course,the studentgenerally volunteers for 20-45 hours at a site dedicated to the human services field. TheCareer Services staff at the College will assist in the planning of this service learning experience, in collaboration with the student and the instructor.

Independent research projects: Students who wish to undertake independent research projects should speak with their instructor about the topic and type of study that most interests them. These projects should relate to material covered in the course, but represent intensive engagement with a specific student. The study culminates with a paper, and possibly also, oral presentation, of the student’s methodology and findings in undertaking the study.


On-time Submission- All work must be submitted by its due date except in cases of extenuating circumstances (e.g., severe illness or death in the family). In these cases, students shouldcontact the instructor as soon as possible and proper documentation will be required. Instructors may apply a lateness penalty, including zero credit, when extenuating circumstances do not exist, or proper documentation of the extenuating circumstance is not provided.

Make-up Exams- Make-up exams will be given forextraordinary reasons only(e.g., severe illness or death in the family).In these cases, students should contact the instructor as soon as possible and properdocumentation willbe required. For the most part, students are not permitted to take a make-up exam.

Technology- Computers are welcome in the classroomon aninstructor-by-instructor basis. Web surfers and e-mailers will be asked to leave the classroom.Cell phones should be turned off or set to vibrate during class time. Emails to professors shouldbe professional and well-written.


Academic honesty- Students are expected to follow all academic honesty policies. Professors have access to “”, a search engine that matches the words in student papers with words found on the Internet. Students should take care to paraphrase the words of others, or use exact wording in short passages contained in quotation marks with appropriate references.Academic dishonesty includes cheating, plagiarism, as well as aiding others to cheat or plagiarize:

Cheating: includes copying from someone else’s test, submitting material for academic evaluation that has been prepared by another person or by a commercial agency, or illegally changing or substituting one grade for another.

Plagiarism: includes submitting written material without proper acknowledgement of the source, deliberate attribution or citation of a fictitious source, or submitting data which have been willfully altered or contrived. Copying phrases, sentences, or paragraphs word for word from an original source without use of quotation marks is plagiarism even if you acknowledge the source.

Students with Disabilities-BrookdaleCommunity College offers reasonable accommodations and/or services to persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities who wish to self-identify, must contact the Disabilities Services Office at 732-224-2730 or 732-842-4211 (TTY), provide appropriate documentation of the disability, and request specific accommodations or services. If a student qualifies, reasonableaccommodations and/or services, which are appropriate for the college level and are recommended in the documentation, can be approved.

Grading Scale- The following gradingscale isused to calculate grades inPSYC 105:

100 -93% = A
90 – 92% = A-
89 – 87% = B+
83 – 86% = B
80 – 82% = B-
79 – 77% = C+
70 – 76% = C
69 – 65%= D
64 – 00% = F
PSYC 105 Example Course Outline
*Subject to Instructor’s Discretion
Course Introduction
Read Chapter 1
Research Methods
Read Chapter 4
Consciousness and
Unit 1 Exam Review
Study for Unit 1 Exam
Complete Paper #1
Unit 1 Exam
* Paper #1 Due
Introduction to Unit 2
Read Chapter 2
Neuroscience and Behavior I
Review Chapter 2
Neuroscience and Behavior II
Read Chapter 3
Sensation and Perception
Unit 2 Exam Review
Study for Unit 2 Exam
Complete Paper #2
Unit 2 Exam
*Paper #2 Due
Introduction to Unit 3
Read Chapter 5
Learning I
Review Chapter 5
Learning II
Read Chapter 6
Unit 3 Exam Review
Study for Unit 3 Exam
Complete Paper #3
Unit 3 Exam
* Paper #3 Due
Introduction to Unit 4
Read Chapter 7
Thinking and Language
Review Chapter 7
Unit 4 Exam Review
Study for Unit 4 Exam
Complete Paper #4
Unit 4 Exam
* Paper #4 Due
Topic Option for All Units:
Article Review: Find an article from a newspaper or magazine (legitimate news source only) that reflects a topic from something we are studying in class. Discuss the article in relation to what you have learned about the topic, demonstrating your understanding of and ability to use terminology learned in the course.Attach a copy of the article.

Topics For Unit 1 Papers:
CHOICE A: Ethical Issues in Research: An important consideration for any experimental psychologist is the ethical treatment of research subjects (animal or human). There are many potential ethical violations, such as deception and invasion of subjects’ privacy. Review the American Psychological Association’s formal statement on ethical guidelines for research. Write a paper that summarizes your findings. Next, argue whether or not these guidelines are comprehensive enough to lead scientists to achieve a proper balance between the need to collect data and the rights of participants. Be specific and use illustrative examples.
CHOICE B: The Role of Psychology in Society: Imagine yourself to be a psychologist. You are a member of an international board of scientists, working alongside engineers, physicists and doctors. The purpose of the board is to plan and supervise the colonization of a nearby planet. There is an argument among the scientists over whether a psychologist should be included in the project. The major argument is that psychology is not scientific enough and therefore not useful in this important task. Using what you have learned about psychology and the many specialties within the field, defend a psychologist’s place on the board.

CHOICE C: Research Article Report: Find an article in a scholarly journal that describes a psychological experiment. Summarize the article and answer the following questions:
What is the hypothesis?
What are the independent and dependent variables?
What are the findings?
Does the way in which this experiment was carried out seem consistent with what you’ve learned about robust and ethical research procedures?
CHOICE D: Historic Schools of Thought: Structuralism and Functionalism are historical schools of thought within the field of psychology. Explain the evolution of each school of thought and where each stands today. Citing literature that centers on the history and development of the field, answer the following questions:
What about the culture of the time prompted the rise of each school of thought?
What were the major criticisms aimed at each school of thought?
What point(s) of view rose to take the place of each school of thought?
Is there any remnant of each school of thought in modern psychology?
CHOICE E: Designing a Research Experiment: Your friend is very involved in personal fitness and believes strongly that people who don’t regularly exercise are slower mentally and not as “smart” on the job. Explain how to design an experiment to test this assumption. Detail the importance of each step in your experimental design. Identify the hypothesis, variables, methods of control and operational definitions.

CHOICE F: Cycles of Consciousness: Describe the cycles of everyday consciousness. Use illustrative examples from your own life to demonstrate your understanding of each unique state of consciousness.

CHOICE G: Theories on Dreaming: Compare the leading theories on dreaming, as described in your textbook. Identify the theory you find most persuasive and explain why. Lastly, log on to and discuss three (3) new things learned there.

CHOICE H: Mind-Altering Substances: For millennia, people have used alcohol, opium, cannabis, mescaline, coca, caffeine, and other drugs, to alter their perceptions of realty. What are some reasons for this? Discuss the major impact of psychoactive substances and some of the pros and cons.

Topics for Unit 2 Papers:
CHOICE A: The Role of Dopamine: Either read the book Awakenings by Oliver Sacks, or see the film based on the book, and describe the portrayal of the neurotransmitter dopamine. From a scientific standpoint, explain the role of this neurotransmitter and its effects on the mind and body. Be sure to address the consequences of there being imbalance of this neurotransmitter.

CHOICE B: Evolutionary Psychology: Within the context of Darwin’s theory of natural selection, explain why many humans a) fear heights, b) experience anxiety, and c) become jealous if their mates are not faithful. Next, argue whether or not Darwin’s theory well justifies these phenomena.
CHOICE C: The Genetic Perspective: Research the Human Genome Project and explain why it is important to the study of psychology. Answer the following questions:
What is the Human Genome Project?
What are the implications for the field of psychology?
Looking to the future, how might gene manipulation be used to impact psychological traits and states? Is gene manipulation for the purpose of altering the psyche ethical? If so, when and for what reasons?
CHOICE D: Programming Perception: The Automatic Machine Corporation is planning to build a robot that will be able to put together jigsaw puzzles. The company hired you, a psychologist specializing in perception, to explain what kinds of perceptual organization the robot must perform. Prepare a report for them. The report should explain several concepts, including:
The definition of perception
The difference between sensing and perceiving
At least three (3) Gestalt laws governing perception, including reasons why the robot should be equipped with them
CHOICE E: Video Viewing Sensations: While watching a movie, a very romantic love scene occurs and the viewer blushes. Explain the sensory events that happened before the blushing response. Answer each of the following questions:
What events have occurred in the movie-goer’s eye?
How did the information from the eye get to the brain?
Is blushing a sensory or perceptual event?
CHOICE F: Magic of the Mind: Magicians are masters of perception, especially illusion. Explain how magicians fool their audiences by manipulating phenomena relevant to principles in the study of cognition, including but not limited to mental set, figure-ground, continuity, attention, and illusion.
CHOICE G: Playing with Perception: Choose a sport, and describe, in detail, the sensory and perceptual processes involved in playing that sport. Take the reader through the processes of sensing and perception, citing situations that arise as the game is being played. Consider both the strategy and the physicality needed to succeed in each situation.
Topics for Unit 3 Paper:
CHOICE A: Behaviors of Love: When two people first fall in love, they fairly consistently demonstrate their love for one another, almost akin to 100%, continuous reinforcement. Eventually, these behaviors taper off, but the couple remains in love. Perhaps “mature love” involves variable schedules of reinforcement, instead of the continuous type. With this in mind, respond to the following:
Compare the lovers’ behaviors during Early Love versus Mature Love.
What are the reinforcers during each phase?
How do variable schedules affect behaviors generally (e.g. Do they make the behaviors stronger or weaker and how do they play out in the movement from Early Love to Mature Love?)
What kind of schedule of reinforcement is most effective in achieving a desired result, both generally and with regard to romantic relationships?
CHOICE B: How Memory Works: A friend says to you, “Remember this number, quick: 472.” After fifteen (15) minutes, she turns to you and asks, “What was that number I asked you to remember?” You roll your eyes a little and say, dutifully, “4-7-2.” Describe, step-by-step, how you were able to perform this act of memory. What strategies might enable you to remember this same combination of numbers many days later? Cite research to explain these strategies.
CHOICE C: Classical Conditioning Within You: Think about a behavior you perform that is under the control of a conditioned stimulus (CS). Use classical conditioning terminology (e.g., unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, conditioned response) to explain the process of how this behavior was learned. Also explain how this behavior might become unconditioned.

CHOICE D: Conditioning Comparisons: Describe at least two (2) major differences between classical and operant conditioning and provide illustrative examples of each. Next, address the topic of using operant conditioning to reward children for doing chores at home or following rules at school. Do you think this approach comes at a cost to their development of intrinsic motivation? Why or why not?
CHOICE E: Learning Disorders: Choose a learning disorder (e.g., dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, information processing disorder, etc.). Define it, give information on its prevalence/relevance, and describe how it impacts student learning. What specific interventions are used to address said learning disorder?
Topicsfor Unit 4Paper:
CHOICE A:Differences in Intelligence:At present, research shows differences in average IQ scores across racial groups in America. What are some reasons for these differences? Address the role of socio-economic status and the interplay between nature and nurture in the development of a person’s IQ
CHOICE B:Effort Versus Intelligence:Francine is ten years old and recentlytested as having an IQof 105.Her score last year was 106. In both cases she was given theWechsler intelligence test. Francine’s father is unhappy with this and insists that the drop in IQ shows that Francinehas not been working hard enough in school.As the school psychologist, explain how you would address each of the following with Francine’s father:
Thedefinition(s) of intelligence
The actual abilities thatintelligence tests measure
The significance, if any, between the difference inFrancine’s two (2) test scores
The distinguishing factors and research-based outcomes related to a) effort and b)intelligence

CHOICE C: Questioning Statistics:People sometimes say,”You can’t trust statistics, people lie with statistics.” Numbers themselvescannot lie or tell the truth, sowhat does the expression “to lie with statistics” actually mean?In addition, answer the following questions:
What aredescriptivestatisticsandwhat arecorrelational statistics?
Is lying with statistics the same as using them improperly?
What isone example of how statistics could be used to misrepresent data?

CHOICE D:The Value of Intelligence:IQtests do not tap the full spectrum of intellectual competencies, including the child’s ability to use environmental and personal resources in adapting to the world. For example, although interventions donot substantially raise the IQs of mildly retarded individuals, “there is good reason to believe that interventions can enhance the functional abilities, learning strategies, adaptive skills, and social competencies of children whose measured IQis low.”Our goal should be to provide optimal environments to facilitate such learning and development” (Weinberg, 1989, p.103). Identify and discuss keyissues referenced in Weinberg’s statement.Source:Weinberg, R.A. (1989), Intelligence and I.Q.: Landmark issues and great debates.American Psychologists, 44, 98-04)


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