Students may complete a major or minor in Psychology. Within the major, students may complete a concentration in neural and behavioral sciences.
Kimberly Wright Cassidy, Professor and Provost
Clark R. McCauley, Professor
Lauren Myers, Lecturer
Paul Neuman, Senior Lecturer
Leslie Rescorla, Professor
Marc Schulz, Associate Professor (on leave semester II)
Anjali Thapar, Associate Professor
Earl Thomas, Professor and Chair
Robert H. Wozniak, Professor (on leave semester I)
The department offers the student a major program that allows a choice of courses from among a wide variety of fields in psychology: clinical, cognitive, developmental, physiological, and social. In addition to the considerable breadth offered, the program encourages the student to focus on more specialized areas through advanced coursework, seminars and especially through supervised research. Students have found that the major program provides a strong foundation for graduate work in clinical, cognitive, developmental, experimental, physiological, and social psychology, as well as for graduate study in law, medicine, and business.
Major requirements in psychology are either PSYC 101 or 102 (or a one-semester introductory psychology course taken elsewhere); PSYC 205; and additional courses at the 200 and 300 levels, as described below. Students may choose to take either PSYC 101 or 102, or they can elect to take both, as the content areas differ. If a student takes one of the 100-level courses (101 or 102), the major requires at least eight courses above the 100 level, not including PSYC 205: four 200-level and four 300-level courses, or five 200-level and three 300-level courses. If a student takes both 101 and 102, she must take four 200-level and three 300-level courses. With permission of the department, two semesters of supervised research may be substituted for one 300-level course.
Majors may substitute advance placement credit (score of 5 on the Psychology Advanced Placement exam) for either PSYC 101 or 102.
Courses at the 200 level survey major content areas of psychological research. With the exception of PSYC 205, all 200-level courses require PSYC 101 or 102 or the permission of the instructor. Courses at the 300 level have a 200-level survey course as a prerequisite and offer either specialization within a content area or integration across areas.
The psychology major requires two courses with a laboratory, one at the 100 level (101 or 102) and one at the 200 or 300 level. If a major elects to take both 101 and 102, a laboratory course at the 200 or 300 level is still required. If a student takes introductory psychology elsewhere, and the course has no laboratory, or the student receives advanced placement credit for introductory psychology, then two laboratory courses must be taken at the 200 or 300 level to fulfill major requirements.
Majors are also required to attend a one-hour, weekly seminar in the junior year for one semester. This seminar is designed to sharpen students’ analytical and critical thinking skills, to introduce students to faculty members’ areas of research, to provide additional opportunities for student-faculty interactions, and to build a sense of community.
The selection of courses to meet the major requirements is made in consultation with the student’s major adviser. Any continuing faculty member can serve as a major adviser. It is expected that the student will sample broadly among the diverse fields represented in the curriculum. Courses outside the department may be taken for major credit if they satisfy the above descriptions of 200-level and 300-level courses and are approved by the student’s major adviser. Students should contact their major adviser about major credit for a course outside the department before taking the course.
Departmental honors (called Honors in Research in Psychology) are awarded on the merits of a report of research (the design and execution; and the scholarship exhibited in the writing of a paper based on the research). To be considered for honors, students must have a grade point average in psychology of 3.6 or higher at the end of the fall semester of the senior year.
A student may minor in psychology by taking PSYC 101 or 102 and any other five courses that meet the requirements of the major.
Concentration in Neural and Behavioral Sciences
An interdepartmental concentration in neural and behavioral sciences is available as an option to students majoring in either biology or psychology. Students electing this option must fulfill requirements of both the major and the concentration, which is administered by an interdepartmental committee. For a description of the general requirements of the concentration see p. xx.
For a psychology major with a concentration in neural and behavioral sciences, students must complete six required courses: PSYC 101 or 102, 201, 205, 212, 218, and one of the following 300-level courses—PSYC 323, 326, 350, 351, or 395.
Five additional psychology courses at the 200, 300, and 400 levels are required to complete the psychology major with a concentration in neural and behavioral sciences. These should be chosen in consultation with the major adviser to ensure that the distribution of 200- and 300-level courses satisfies the psychology major requirements. Some of these courses (such as Supervised Research) may also fulfill core major requirements.
These departmental requirements are in addition to the requirements for the neural and behavioral sciences concentration, which are described on page 245.
Minor in Computational Methods
Students majoring in psychology can minor in computational methods. Requirements for the minor are listed on page 117.
Haverford College Courses
Certain courses currently offered at Haverford College may be substituted for the equivalent Bryn Mawr courses for purposes of the Bryn Mawr psychology major.
Introductory psychology at Haverford may be substituted for 101/102. PSYC 200 at Haverford may be substituted for PSYC 205. The following courses at Haverford will count as 200-level courses for the major: PSYC 213 (Memory and Cognition), PSYCH 215 (Introduction to Personality Psychology), PSYC 217 (Biological Psychology), PSYC 224 (Social Psychology), PSYC 238 (Psychology of Language), PSYC 260 (Cognitive Neuroscience).
The following Haverford courses will count as 300-level courses for the major: PSYC 214 (Psychology of Adolescence), PSYC 220 (The Psychology of Time), PSYC 221 (The Primate Origins of Society), PSYC 222 (Evolution and Behavior), PSYCH 225 (Self and Identity), PSYC 240 (Psychology of Pain and Pain Inhibition), PSYC 250 (Biopsychology of Emotion and Personality), PSYC 311 (Advanced Personality Psychology: Freud), PSYC 325 (The Psychology of Close Relationships), PSYC 340 (Human Neuropsychology), PSYC 350 (Biopsychology of Stress), PSYC 370 (Neuroscience of Mental Illness). Students who take Haverford courses with the half credit laboratory attachments may count the lab portion of the course toward fulfilling the advanced lab requirement for the Bryn Mawr major.
Both PSYC 101 and 102 present psychology as a natural science and provide a survey of methods, facts, and principles relating to basic psychological processes. Topics covered in 101 include neural bases of behavior, learning and motivation, and psychosocial development and abnormal psychology. Topics covered in 102 include human cognition, cognitive development, individual differences, and social psychology. Lecture three hours and laboratory four hours a week (for both 101 and 102). (McCauley, Myers, Rescorla, Thomas, Division IIL)
With the exception of PSYC 205, all 200-level courses require PSYC 101 or 102 or the permission of the instructor.
This course covers the basic principles of behavior, most of which were discovered through animal research, and their application to the understanding of the human condition. Traditionally, learning has been described in terms of operant and Pavlovian processes, with modeling treated as a special kind of operant conditioning. The basic procedures and principles of operant and Pavlovian conditioning are examined, and their relation to complex human functioning, such as concept formation and awareness, is explored. An introduction to functional assessment and analysis—the benchmarks of applied behavior analysis—will follow. Lecture three hours, laboratory one to two hours a week. (Neuman, Division IIL)
Topics in the psychology of human cognitive, social, and affective behavior are examined and related to educational practice. Issues covered include learning theories, memory, attention, thinking, motivation, social/emotional issues in adolescence, and assessment/learning disabilities. This course provides a Praxis Level I opportunity. Classroom observation is required. (Cassidy, Division I)
An introduction to experimental design, general research methodology, and the analysis and interpretation of data. Emphasis will be placed on issues involved with conducting psychological research. Topics include descriptive and inferential statistics, experimental design and validity, analysis of variance, and correlation and regression. Each statistical method will also be executed using computers. Lecture three hours, laboratory 90 minutes a week. (Thapar Division I and Quantitative Skills)
A topical survey of psychological development from infancy through adolescence, focusing on the interaction of personal and environmental factors in the ontogeny of perception, language, cognition, and social interactions within the family and with peers. Topics include developmental theories; infant perception; attachment; language development; theory of mind; memory development; peer relations, schools and the family as contexts of development; and identity and the adolescent transition. (Myers, Division I)
A survey of theories and data in the study of human social behavior. Special attention to methodological issues of general importance in the conduct and evaluation of research with humans. Topics include group dynamics (conformity, leadership, encounter groups, crowd behavior, intergroup conflict); attitude change (consistency theories, attitudes and behavior, mass media persuasion); and person perception (stereotyping, essentializing, moral judgment). Participation in a research project is required. (McCauley, Division I)
This course examines the experience, origins, and consequences of psychological problems. What do we mean by abnormal behavior or psychopathology? How is psychopathology assessed and classified? How do psychologists study and treat it? What causes psychological difficulties and what are their consequences? Are psychological states linked to physical health? Do psychological treatments (therapies) work? This course will consider major psychological, social, and biological explanatory models in addressing these questions. Readings, lecture, and discussion will introduce a broad range of psychological disturbances. Two lectures, one discussion section a week. (Rescorla, Division I)
This course covers a variety of topics that deal with the scientific study of human cognition. Topics include perception, pattern recognition, attention, memory, visual imagery, language, reasoning, decision making, and problem solving. Historical as well as contemporary perspectives will be discussed, and data from behavioral experiments, cognitive neuroscience, and computational modeling will be reviewed. The laboratory consists of experiments related to these topics. Lecture three hours, laboratory 90 minutes a week. (Thapar, Division IIL)
An interdisciplinary course on the neurobiological bases of experience and behavior, emphasizing the contribution of the various neurosciences to the understanding of basic problems of psychology. An introduction to the fundamentals of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry with an emphasis upon synaptic transmission; followed by the application of these principles to an analysis of sensory processes and perception, emotion, motivation, learning, and cognition. Lecture three hours a week. (Thomas, Division II)
(Grobstein, Division II; cross-listed as BIOL B245)
The prerequisite for courses at the 300 level is a 200-level survey course.
This course deals with psychology research and design methodology. An important purpose of the course is to help students with their undergraduate thesis research. Topics include: internal and external validity, reliability, characteristics of various methods (survey, case, observational, and experimental), data coding, levels of measurement, research ethics, and publication. (Myers)
This course details theory and research relating to the development of children and adolescents with family, school, and cultural contexts. We examine topics including (but not limited to): developmental theory, infant perception, language, attachment, self-awareness, social cognition, symbolic thought, memory, parent-child relations, peer relations, and gender issues. (Myers)
An examination of major 20th-century trends in American psychology and their 18th- and 19th-century social and intellectual roots. Topics include physiological and philosophical origins of scientific psychology; growth of American developmental, comparative, social, and clinical psychology; and the cognitive revolution. Open only to juniors and seniors majoring in psychology or by permission of the instructor. (Wozniak) Not offered in 2008-09.
A survey and critical analysis of research and theory regarding biological, psychological, social and cultural determinants of sex differences in cognition. The first half of the semester will examine the role that developmental processes, cultural socialization and gender-role stereotypes play in the creation of sex differences in cognition. The second half will examine the role that sex chromosomes and hormones play in creating sex differences in the brain and behavior. Class time will involve discussion of theory and research as well as the design and execution of original research. (Thapar) Not offered in 2008-09.
(Brodfuehrer, Thomas, Division II; cross-listed as BIOL B326) Not offered in 2008-09.
This course examines the question of animal cognition with a focus on natural behaviors as well as lab research. Topics include personality, communication, and social cognition. The importance of good research design and critical reading of research papers will be stressed. Prerequisite: contact instructor. (McCauley) Not offered in 2008-09.
This course will provide an overview of current research and theory related to women’s mental health. We will discuss psychological phenomena and disorders that are particularly salient to and prevalent among women, why these phenomena/disorders affect women disproportionately over men, and how they may impact women’s psychological and physical well-being. Psychological disorders covered will include: depression, eating disorders, dissociative identity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and chronic pain disorders. Other topics discussed will include work-family conflict for working mothers, the role of sociocultural influences on women’s mental health, and mental health issues particular to women of color and to lesbian women. Prerequisite: PSYC B209 or PSYC B351. (Rosenfeld, Division I) Not offered in 2008-09.
This course uses a developmental-ecological perspective to understand the psychological challenges associated with physical health issues in children. The course explores how different environments support the development of children who sustain illness or injury and will cover topics including: prevention, coping, adherence to medical regimens, and pain management. The course will consider the ways in which cultural beliefs and values shape medical experiences. Prerequisite: PSYC B206 highly recommended. (Rourke, Division I)
This course uses a developmental and neuropsychological framework to study several cognitive disorders (e.g., language delay, specific reading disability, nonverbal learning disabilities, and autism). Cognitive disorders are viewed in the context of the normal development of language, memory, attention, reading, and quantitative/spatial abilities. More general issues of curriculum/pedagogical adjustment, educational placement, law and policy for children with disabilities will also be covered. Students will participate in a course-related placement approximately four hours a week. This course provides a Praxis Level I opportunity. (Schmidt) Not offered in 2008-09.
An examination of research and theory addressing the origins, progression, and consequences of maladaptive functioning in children, adolescents, and families. Major forms of psychopathology, such as depression and disruptive behavior syndromes, will be considered. An important focus of the course is on the identification of biological, social, and psychological risk and protective factors for psychopathology and the implications of these factors for prevention and treatment efforts. The role of family-based risk and protective factors, such as marital conflict and parenting quality, will be emphasized. Prerequisite: PSYC 206 or 209. (staff)
This course will provide an in-depth exploration of the development of the concept of gender and the formation of gender stereotypes in children. We will examine the major theoretical positions relating to children’s understanding of gender and the empirical data that supports those positions. The course will involve the critical exploration of popular press books on gender development, focusing on the broader issue of how psychological research gets translated for public consumption. In addition, the course contains a laboratory component, which will involve original research designed by the class for both children and adults. Prerequisite: PSYC 206 (Myers, Division IIL)
This seminar will explore the common interests of psychologists and political scientists in the phenomena of group identification. The focus will be identification with ethnic and national groups, with special attention to the ways in which research on small-group dynamics can help us understand identification and conflict for these larger groups. The seminar will review major theories of group identity and examine several historical or current cases of successful and unsuccessful development of national identity. Prerequisite: PSYC 208 or two semesters of political science. (McCauley, Ross; cross-listed as POLS B358)
Although behavior analysis is reputed to be a “tough minded” natural scientific approach to psychology, it is also rich in theory. Behavior analysis is as different in what is said and how it is said as in how research is conducted. Readings will be theoretical in nature from behavior analysis and other traditions that apply established principles to everyday concerns such as roommate disagreements as well as why we are not acting to save the world. Prerequisite: PSYC 201. (Neuman, Division I) Not offered in 2008-09.
A study of the role of drugs in understanding basic brain-behavior relations. Topics include the pharmacological basis of motivation and emotion; pharmacological models of psychopathology; the use of drugs in the treatment of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis; and the psychology and pharmacology of drug addiction. Prerequisite: PSYC 218. (Thomas)
(Grobstein, Morris, Greif; cross-listed as BIOL B396) Not offered in 2008-09.
An examination of recent research in relation to issues of social perception (e.g., stereotypes and judgments of members of stereotyped groups), intergroup conflict (e.g., sources of group cohesion and “groupthink”), and identification (e.g., emotional involvement with film characters, possessions, and ethnic/national groups). Prerequisite: PSYC 208. (McCauley, Moskalenko) Not offered in 2008-09.
Laboratory or field research on a wide variety of topics. Students should consult with faculty members to determine their topic and faculty supervisor, early in the semester prior to when they will begin. (staff)