Ø      Term: Syllabus-Spring 2004

Ø      Class: Psy 310, Personal Decision Making

Ø      Time: Thursday Nights, 5:30-9:10 PM  

Ø      Place: Main Campus, PCAT Building

Ø      Instructor:  L. McCabe

Ø      Office:  Cramer Hall 365, 361

Ø      Telephone: (503) 701-7924

Ø      Email: auto110346@yahoo.com or psu24883@pdx.edu

Ø      Office Hours:  After Class or By Appointment

Ø      Web: http://psych34.tripod.com

Course Overview

“How to make wiser decisions.  Ways to think more creatively and more logically in making both everyday choices and major life decisions.  Instruction and hands-on experience (PSU Course Catalog, 2003/2004)”

This is a half-lecture half-web based course.

Personal Teaching Philosophy

My personal teaching philosophy may be different than what you as a student might expect, or have experienced. I think that what occurs in the classroom should be a learning experience that is based upon the foundation of what you learn within the text. For that reason I may choose to only cover part of a chapter as presented within the text, and augment your learning experience with in class activities or other lecture items.

In addition, I feel that learning doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom. Modern technology allows us to explore this aspect of learning with greater depth. This is why I heavily emphasize the World Wide Web as a mean for exploring topics, and as a means of communication with the instructor (myself), as well as your fellow students.

Thus my philosophy can be summarized in the following sentences.

1. The classroom is more than a venue for lectures.

2. Learning does not end when one is out of the classroom.

University Policies

By enrolling in this class you agree to abide by Portland State University’s academic policies as well as their student codes of conduct.  If you would like a copy of these policies to review, either visit the course web page or I can provide one for you.

Given these University policies, and the level of the course, I work under the following assumptions:

1.  Every student in this course understands what constitutes plagiarism and/or cheating (for more information on what constitutes plagiarism, please see course web page).

2.  Every student understands classroom etiquette.

3.  That the classroom environment is one of respect towards the diversity of beliefs that exist.

These policies can be found at http://www.ess.pdx.edu/osa/policies-codes.htm  .  If a student is found to be in violation of these policies, I am authorized by the university to take certain courses of action based upon any given behavior.

Course Policies

Read your syllabus carefully as it constitutes an agreement between you (the student) and myself (the instructor).  Occasionally, I have students that make comments about certain aspects of this course that were well described within the syllabus.

1.  Keep copies of your tests and or assignment.

2.  If you are here, but arrive too late to engage in a group activity or if you leave early, this counts the same as not attending class.

3.  All papers must be typed and single-spaced.

4.  Your name should be placed on the very back of the last page of any assignment you turn in.  This helps eliminate bias in grading.

5.  If you have to miss class, it is unnecessary for you to call me. 

6.  I reserve the right to adjust the schedule as necessary, you are responsible for making notes and heeding those schedule changes.

Required Materials

The Three Secrets of Wise Decision Making, by Barry Anderson (2002).

Available at Clean Copy, and free via the course website.

Telephone: 503.221.1876

Fax:  503.223.6938

Mailing Address
1704 SW Broadway Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201

Hours
Monday–Thursday
7:30 am–7:00 pm
Friday
7:30 am–6:00 pm

email
info@clean-copy.com

Optional Materials

Email account


Points Possible

Ø       Quiz              25

Ø       Assignment 1      25

Ø       Assignment 2      25

Ø       Assignment 3      25

Ø       Assignment 4      35

Ø       Assignment 5      40

Ø       Final Paper       75

Ø       Total             250 points

Extra Credit

In addition to the total points offered in this class I will count an addition 5 points worth of extra credit. Usually I offer many ways for you to earn this "extra credit", but all extra credit opportunities will ONLY be posted on the course web page or mentioned in class.

The Quiz

The Quiz is a 25 point-essay test, that consists of 5 short answer questions. Each question will represent something covered in each lecture. 

The Assignments

PSY 300: Personal Decision Making

Assignment 1

Describe Your Decision

In one to two pages, describe the decision you wish to examine for this course. This description should be single spaced, with a line skipped between paragraphs. In this assignment, I want you to discuss the following aspects of the decision. Address each numerical item, in your paper-but not all the alphabetical items will be applicable. The overall goal in this assignment is to see how you are currently looking at this decision. This will be a great reference on later in the course. Please keep a copy of this, because you will be using it in your final paper. The more well thought out your paper is, the easier a time you will have in this course.

 

1. A situational overview of your decision: A. What is the situation of your decision?  B. Who is involved? Does it affect anyone else besides your self? C. Is their anything in the background of this decision that you find important? D. What are the goals of your decision?

2. List the Alternatives of your decision as you now see it. [This can be done as numerical list.]

3. Discuss what are the important considerations in this decision: A. List important aspects you wish to consider.  B. Ex. Money and/or Cost? C. Is their risk involved in some aspect (everyone answer this)?

4. Discuss/List important values you have in your life. Do they effect this decision? If so, how do they affect it?

 

Personal Decision Making

Assignment 2

Chapter 2:  Courage, Creativity and Balance

Worth:  25 points

Format: Typed, Single Spaced, skip a line between paragraphs

Length: Long enough to determine that you have adequately met the following item numbers

 

Overview:  This section of the assignment relates back to what you have discussed in Part A.  You will be addressing the three key aspects of Chapter Two.  To refresh your memory, these are…

 

Decision Checklist [From The Three Secrets of Wise Decision Making]

 

1.  Courage to be Rational

2.  Creativity in Problem Structuring

3.  Balanced Judgment

 

 

Courage to be Rational:  Address each item number.

 

1.  Define Cognitive Conflict.  How does it pertain to your problem that you are addressing?  Do you need to turn the ‘heat up’? Do you need to ‘turn the heat down’?  Why?  How will you go about doing this process?  If you do not need to turn up the heat or down the heat, explain why your decision is warm or has an optimal level of cognitive conflict.

 

2.  Discuss/define the following terms in your own words:  Shifting Responsibility, Procrastination, Bolstering/Seeking social support for beliefs, Avoiding falsifiability, Actively seeking ideas that strengthen your positions or avoiding those that weaken it, and Reacting with excessive emotionality when challenges.  How do these terms related to your own experience/decision? While one or more will apply directly, discuss them all.  Use hypothetical descriptions if necessary.

 

3.  Define or describe ‘Escalating Commitment’.  How could this apply to your problem?  Use hypothetical examples if necessary.

 

4.  Discuss hope in relationship to your project.  How could you increase it?

 

Creativity in Problems Structuring:  Address each item number.

 

1.  What is creativity in terms of decision-making?  How do we recognize a lack of creativity in our problems?

2. What is the difference between an automatic process and a controlled process?  How could these processes discussed in the book effect your cognitive processing of your problem?

 

3. What is priming?  How could priming be affecting you in this situation?  Describe another perspective you could take in examining this problem.

 

4.  What is “Stimulus Variation”?    What is “Force Fit”?  How can you apply this to your problem?  What are the five widely applicable techniques and how can you use them in relation to your problem?

 

 

Personal Decision Making

Assignment 3

Chapter 2:  Courage, Creativity and Balance

Worth:  25 points

Format: Typed, Single Spaced, skip a line between paragraphs

Length: Long enough to determine that you have adequately met the following item numbers

 

Overview:  This section of the assignment relates back to what you have discussed in Part A.  You will be addressing the three key aspects of Chapter Two.  To refresh your memory, these are…

 

Decision Checklist [From The Three Secrets of Wise Decision Making]

 

1.  Courage to be Rational

2.  Creativity in Problem Structuring

3.  Balanced Judgment

 

 

Balanced Judgment: Address each item number.

 

1.  How do we recognize lack of Balanced Judgment?  How does this apply to your own problem?  If it doesn’t seemingly apply directly, then discuss how each method could hypothetically apply.

 

2.  What is “Limited Capacity”?  How can “External Memory” assist you in the decision process? What are “Priming”, “Heuristic Search”, and “Decomposition”?  How do these related to your decision directly—be descriptive

 

Assignment 4 (35 points)

Creative problems structuring:  Values

1. List the values important to you associated with the current decision you are making.

2.  Apply 3 of the 5 stimulus variation techniques described in Chapter 3.  You can use these in combination with some of the stimulus variation techniques listed in Chapter 2.  Each technique should be:  a.       clearly labeled in your project;  b. contain documentation concerning the process you went through.  This can be done in a 'journaling' format; c. contain a list of the associated new values you have found

3.  Create a list of values that you think are important to this decision using the values from part 1 and part 2. 

4.   Examine this list according to the "Criteria for a Well-Structured Value Set".  Go item by item in these criteria and explain why you think your values fall within these boundaries.  If they do not fall within these boundaries, adjust your value set in part 5 accordingly.

5.  List your final 'well-structured' value set.

6. For each value list the way you will test/measure each of them. This is a repeat of part of Item 4

 Assignment 5 (40 points)

Creative problem structuring:  Alternatives

1.  List the Alternatives important to you associated with the current decision you are making.

2. Apply 4 of the 7 stimulus variation techniques described in Chapter 4.  You can use these in combination with some of the stimulus variation techniques listed in Chapter 2. Each technique should be:  a. clearly labeled in your project;  b.  contain documentation concerning the process you went through.  This can be done in a 'journaling' format; c. contain a list of the associated new values you have found.

3. Create a list of alternatives that you think are important to this decision using the values from part 7 and part 8. 

4.  Examine this list according to the "Criteria for a Well-Structured Set of Alternatives".  Go item by item in these criteria and explain why you think your alternatives fall within these boundaries.  If they do not fall within these boundaries, adjust your alternative set in part 9 accordingly.

5.  List your final 'well-structured' alternative set.

6.  Using your intuition rank order them.  Explain why you think each one falls in that specific spot.

 The Final Paper (75 points)

The final paper consists of a 3-4 page typed doubled-spaced paper.   A handout will be given a few weeks into the term regarding this paper, and is currently available on the course web page.

Assignment Policies/Information

1.  All Assignments can either be turned in hard copy to my box in Cramer Hall, 317 or in class.  I do not take assignments via EMAIL.  This is very important. 

2.  All Assignments are due by class, the day they are due.  For example, all projects are due a class night. 

3.  Unless by documented emergency, I do not accept late assignments.


 

Date

Topics to be tentatively covered

Reading

WEEK  1

 

 

April 1

Introduction to class

Items to be accomplished:  1) Obtaining the course text from clean copy.  2) Obtaining an Access to the Internet  3) Visit the Webct Website [http://psych34.tripod.com] 4) Do assigned reading

Syllabus

WEEK  2

 

 

April 8

Chapter 1:  Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Lecture Chapter 2:  Courage, Creativity and Balance

Chapter 1: pp. 1-11

Chapter 2: pp 63-103

WEEK  3

 

 

April 15

Lecture Chapter 2:  Courage, Creativity and Balance

 

Assignment 1 Is Due

 

WEEK 4

 

 

April 22

Lecture Chapter 3: Values:  What do I want?

Assignment 2 Is Due

Chapter 3: pp 63-83

Chapter 4: pp 103-119

WEEK 5

 

 

April 29

Lecture Chapter 3: Values:  What do I want?

Lecture Chapter 4: Alternatives:  What do I want?

Assignment 3 Is Due

 

WEEK 6

 

 

May 6

Lecture Chapter 4: Alternatives:  What do I want?

Assignment 4 Is Due

Chapter 5: pp 121-154

WEEK 7

Class Meets

 

May 13

Lecture Chapter 5:  The Might Decision Table:  How do I choose?

 

Assignment 5 Is Due

Chapter 6: 161-180

WEEK 8

 

 

May 20

Lecture Chapter 5:  The Might Decision Table:  How do I choose?

Lecture Chapter 6:  Uncertainty:  What could happen?

 

Week 9

 

 

May 27

Lecture Chapter 6:  Uncertainty:  What could happen

 

 

Week 10

 

 

June  3

Catch up day, Work on Final Project

 

Week 11

 

 

June 10

Final Project Due by June 10, 2003 at 5:30 PM