Introduction to Psychology
Full course description
Psychology is all around us. Psychology permeates our everyday lives. It is therefore not surprising that the science of psychology has received great interest from behavioral scientists and the general public alike. We are all amateur psychologists. We all want to know what makes us and other people tick! However, our common sense understanding of how people think, feel and act is often misguided. The self-referential nature of psychology has caused some people to believe that psychology is not a science at all! This course will show you that psychology is a science, and that it encompasses the collaborative efforts of scientists from many different disciplines. Psychology is the study of behaviour and mental processes, and as psychologists we aim to describe, understand, predict, and sometimes change behaviour. Psychologists study human behaviour and mental life from different perspectives (i.e. biological, individual and social) and at different levels of analysis (from genes and the brain up to the social and cultural level). We will consider what these different approaches have to offer in our quest for an understanding of the human mind, the brain, and behaviour. Along the way, scientific methods of psychological research will be introduced by addressing some of the main questions that drive contemporary psychology: How do we experience fear or happiness? How do we (think we) see the world around us? How do we learn, remember and forget things? Where should we draw the line between normal and abnormal behaviour? How social are humans? When do people harm or help others?
- To engage students in scientific inquiry about psychological processes.
- To introduce students to the various subfields of psychology as an academic discipline.
- To gain a basic understanding of the methods of psychological research.
- Gray, P. & Bjorklund, D.F. (2014), Psychology (7th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.