Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Psychology Courses

Introduction to Psychology

Psychology 100 | Hayes, O'Dwyer | 3 credits

The first image that comes to many peoples’ mind when one hears the term “psychology,” is a therapist asking a client to sit on a couch and talk about his childhood.  While psychology is “the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes” (Myers, 2008), this course will demonstrate that psychology is about much more than therapy and mental illness. Psychology includes a number of subfields including developmental, biological, cognitive, and social (to name a few).  This course will be a survey of each subfield’s perspectives on the rich and diverse determinates of human behavior.  While both breadth and depth of each discipline will be explored, the focus will be on breadth with an emphasis on critical thought and application.

No prerequisites. This course is generally offered every semester

Developmental Psychology

Psychology 202 | O'Dwyer, Daniels | 3 credits

This course covers the major issues in human development from the prenatal stage to adolescence, introducing the concepts of behavioral, psychoanalytic, and Piagetian developmental theory. Topics include genetic and prenatal influences, early parent/child interaction, cultural differences in child-rearing, the acquisition of language, cognitive and moral development, sex-role development, and social/cultural conditions affecting development. A volunteer experience at a local day-care center may be substituted for a term paper.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100. This course is generally offered once every year.

Social Psychology

Psychology  | Hayes, O'Dwyer | 3 credits

Each individual is embedded in a variety of social contexts. This course focuses on the ways in which interactions between people in groups produce change and on how these interchanges affect the individuals involved. Topics include conformity to authority, social influence and persuasion, interpersonal attraction, attitude formation and change, and cooperation and competition. Major research strategies in social psychology are also introduced.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or permission of the instructor . This course is generally offered once every year.

Theories of Personality

Psychology 206 | Daniels | 3 credits

History is replete with theories about how the human infant develops adult psychological function. These theories have focused on a range of contributing factors, from inborn biological states or drives to environmental events. This course examines the major theories of personality developed by Erikson, Freud, Jung, Rogers, and Sullivan, as well as more recent theorists in self-psychology and object relations. Readings include both a text and primary sources.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or permission of the instructor. This course is generally offered once every two years.

Multicultural Psychology

Psychology 215/315 CP | Hayes | 4 credits

How does one develop a racial identity? What do different cultures think about attractiveness, gender, and love? How do different cultures interact in the workplace? What does religion have to do with multiculturalism? These questions, and others like them, will be addressed in this course. Multicultural Psychology is the systematic study of how groups values, beliefs, and practices relate to the way they think and feel. Readings, discussion, and films will be used to illuminate various topics in the field. Overall objectives of this course are for students to learn to appraise and criticize relevant psychological theories while also developing the ability to discover multicultural psychology in daily life.

Prerequisites: Seminar II, Psychology 100, and a 200-level course in psychology, or permission of instructor. This course is generally offered once every two years.

Political Psychology

Psychology 217 | O'Dwyer | 3 credits

Political psychology is the application of psychological theories and research to people’s political behavior and their responses to political events, broadly defined; it is the field of inquiry at the intersection of politics and psychology. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the key questions, topics, issues and perspectives, as well as the main traditions or “eras” within the field. Topics will include: public opinion; the Authoritarian Personality; models of “Presidential Character”; political polls and voting behavior; social influence in the political realm (especially from the media); the nature and impact of prejudice in the political realm; and the politics of group processes (e.g., the politics of threat). Of course, an addition goal of this course is that students examine if and how these theories, research findings, and ideas apply to their own political experiences as well as current political events. 

Prerequisites: Psychology 100 and at least one Politics course or permission of the instructor . This course is generally offered once every four years.

Psychology of Women

Psychology 218 CP | Hayes | 3 credits

Are women’s ways of viewing themselves, others, and the world around them, as well as their ways of interacting with others, different from men’s? This course aims to explore this question by introducing students to the major theorists in the area of women’s psychology. Additional readings will also encourage students to examine the implications of these theories for understanding women’s experiences in a variety of contexts, including: Across the stages of development (childhood, adolescence and adulthood); in education (e.g., differential classroom experiences); as applied to views on mental health and mental illness (e.g., “hysteria” and depression); women as subjects of and participants in scientific research (e.g., is there a “feminist” methodology?), and in interaction with race, ethnicity and culture.

This course is offered when there is sufficient student interest.

Stereotyping and Prejudice

Psychology 221/321 | Hayes | 3/4 credits

Is stereotyping inevitable? Does prejudice always lead to discrimination? What is dehumanization? This course will highlight the distinct differences yet interrelations between stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Topics to be addressed include the functions/goals served by stereotypes and prejudice (e.g., to make yourself feel better).  Also discussed will be stigma, the various types of –isms (e.g., modern racism), and individual differences (e.g., personality influences).  Cross-cultural perspectives will be explored. Popular culture, current events, and scholarly articles will be used to demonstrate the numerous concepts we will cover.

This course is generally offered once every two years.

Family Systems Psychology

Psychology 223 | Daniels | 3 credits

Family therapy emphasizes a systemic viewpoint of human functioning via the interlocking paths of individuals and families. This course provides an introduction to general systems theory of family development and interactions. Students will be introduced to a variety of family systems theories and study developmental family cycles, the history of family therapy, as well as the evidence-based interventions and multicultural and ethical considerations of therapeutic work and interventions with families. Case examples will be used to highlight core concepts and provide additional insights into how family system theories explains the functioning of family units.

Prerequisites: Psychology 100 or permission of instructor.

History and Systems of Psychology

Psychology 227/327 | Levine | 3/4 credits

This course introduces students to the major periods, movements, and scholars in the history of the field of psychology. The approach is to explore both a “conceptual history” of the study of the mind and the speculations of nineteenth century philosophy and science that have influenced psychology. The plan for the semester is to begin with a study of the forerunners to modern and even very current discipline, and over the  course of the semester introduce students to the times and ideas of individuals who have made significant contributions to the field; this while also studying the analyses of historians of the discipline.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100 or permission of the instructor.

Abnormal Psychology

Psychology 302 | Daniels | 4 credits

This course systematically reviews and discusses the principal forms of psychopathology, with an emphasis on empirical research. The DSM IIIR is the focus for classification and definition of the clinical syndromes. Readings include a text, case study book, and original sources. The course is a seminar and students contribute formal presentations.

Prerequisite: Psychology 100; Psychology 206 advised. This course is generally offered once every two years.

Conflict and Conflict Resolution

Psychology 306 | O'Dwyer | 4 credits

Conflicts are inevitable aspects of life; however, the nature, course, and outcome of conflicts depend on situational, cultural, relational, and personality variables. In this course we examine many of these factors—focusing particularly on those that predict when conflicts will emerge, when and why a conflict may escalate or not, and successful negotiation or other resolution. The goal of the course is to integrate readings, discussions, role plays, and other exercises to form a broader understanding of conflict. There are two main goals in this course. The first is that students will become familiar with the literature and research on conflict and negotiation. The second goal, which is more hands-on, is that students acquire greater skills for negotiation and mediation.

Prerequisites: At least two 200-level social studies courses or Psychology 203.  This course is generally offered once every three or four years.

Psychological Theories of Self

Psychology 307 | Hayes, O'Dwyer | 4 credits

“Who am I?” must be one of the most commonly asked questions across the globe. Most humans ask it of themselves at many points throughout their lives. Yet, how do we answer the question? Are there multiple ways to respond?  These and other queries highlight how difficult it is to figure out who you are. In this course, we will read and discuss theories, concepts, and phenomenon from some of the most prominent theorists in the field.  Ultimately, we will gain an understanding of the self through these concepts. This course is an upper-level, intensive reading course. Students are expected to come with some background knowledge of the field psychology.

Prerequisites: Completion of at least one 200-level psychology course. This course is generally offered once every two years.

Principles of Clinical Psychology

Psychology 310 | Daniels | 4 credits

This course is designed for students considering advanced study and careers in mental health professions. It provides an overview of the field of clinical psychology focusing on issues relevant to research into and treatment of the psychological disorders. In particular, it covers ethical, conceptual, and methodological issues facing psychologists regarding assessment, diagnosis, forms of psychotherapy, and evaluation of psychological interventions. It stresses both the empirical foundation of clinical psychology, such as research in therapy efficacy studies, and practical experience in interviewing and testing. Additionally it addresses specific concerns and controversies facing psychologists today, including prescription privileges for psychologists, research into recovered memories, ethics and utility of personality and intelligence measurement, and suicide and sexual reorientation interventions. 

Prerequisite: Psychology 206, Psychology 302, or permission of the instructor. This course is offered when there is sufficient student interest

Psychoanalysis and Cognitive Science

Psychology 325 | Taylor | 4 credits

This advanced seminar examines the connections and disconnections between psychoanalysis and cognitive neuroscience. Topics will include the neurological bases of psychoanalysis, different meanings of the unconscious, interpretations of perception and sensation, and the various models of the mind. Drawing on foundational theories and research—including Freud’s understanding of the unconscious and neuropsychological research on consciousness—students will examine the work of contemporary scholars and researchers, such as Mark Solms (on the neurological basis of dreaming) and Catherine Malabou (philosophy of neuroplasticity).

Prerequisites: Both Psychology 229 (Cognitive Neuropsychology) and at least one course in personality/clinical and/or self/identity psychology (e.g., Psychology 206, 218, 223, 302, 307, or 310).

Psychology Tutorial

Psychology 300/400 | Staff | 4 credits

Under these course numbers, juniors and seniors design tutorials to meet their particular interests and programmatic needs. A student should see the prospective tutor to define an area of mutual interest to pursue either individually or in a small group. A student may register for no more than one tutorial in any semester. Recent tutorials have included: Psychopharmacology, Psychology of Language, and Forensic Psychology.