Ø       Term: Syllabus-Summer 2004

Ø       Class: Psy 204, Psychology as a Social Science

Ø       Time: Tuesday & Thursday,  

Ø       Place: PSU Main Campus, Cramer Hall Room 383

Ø       Instructor:  L. McCabe

Ø       Office:  Cramer Hall 365, 361

Ø       Telephone: (503) 701-7924

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

Ø       Web:  http://psych34.tripod.com

Ø       Office Hours:  After Class or By Appointment

Course Overview

This course addresses issues related Psychology as a Social Science.  We will address basic psychological theory and research concerning Personality, Motivation, Intelligence, Stress and Health, and Mental Health. 

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.

GENERAL 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 double-spaced [Extra credit].

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

Text (required):

Nairne, J. S. (2003).  Psychology: The Adaptive Mind (3rd Edition).  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomason Learning.

Access to the school computer lab

Optional Materials

Email account

Points Possible

Ø       Attendance        50

Ø       Exam  1           50

Ø       Exam  2           50

Ø       Final Exam        50

Ø       Total             200 points

Extra Credit

In addition to the total points offered in this class I will count an addition 10 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.

Attendance Assignments (50 points)

Attendance is vitally important in this class. There are many things discussed in class that one cannot learn from the book.  Participation in group activities will be used as the method for obtaining attendance points.  You can receive 5-10 points per class, for a total of 50 points. Group activities are usually announced the class prior.  These activities are graded on a pass/fail basis and cannot be ‘made’ up.

In addition, I do not hand these activities back to you.  If you are concerned about your grade on an activity, you are welcome to come check my grade book during a break or after class.

The Exams

The Exam is in multiple-choice format, is comprehensive, and consists of 50 questions. The exam is also closed book. You will need to bring a scantron for this exam.  These can be purchased at the bookstore, and the small store located on the first floor of Smith Memorial Center.  In case of emergency, I will allow you to make-up this exam up my leisure. 

As a rule, exams are not curved.  However, I reserve the right to throw out questions based upon the number of people in class who have gotten the item incorrect.  In case of documented illness, or other serious issues I will allow you to make-up exams.  There is a time limitation to this make-up process (1 week unless the reason is severe), and I reserve the right to use essay format. If you have a scheduling conflict known prior to the exam, please come see me as soon as possible.

If your score is less than desirable, extra credit is available to the maximum of 10 points. I do not drop the lowest grade, nor do I allow retakes.

No HATS, stocking caps, beanies, etc. will be allowed to be worn during an exam.  The only exception to this rule is if the head covering serves an obvious religious purpose (EX. Hijab). This is left to the instructor’s discretion. No earphones are allowed, unless for documented disability reasons.  If you are an international student, and would like to use a translating dictionary—please see me prior to the start of the exam.  A standard English dictionary will be available for everyone to use.

Policies for Late Assignments and Exams

I do not except late papers, or allow individuals to make up missed attendance assignments.   I do allow individuals to make up missed exams, contingent on prior arrangement or documentation of reason that the exam was missed(for example but not limited to a doctor’s note).

General topic outline*

(See Course Website for More Information)



Reading assignment


[June 22]

Tuesday: Introduction to class

The historical origins of psychology

The modern profession of psychology

Thursday: Research Methodology

Research concepts and designs

Internal & external validation

Statistical analysis


pp 1-29



pp. 30-55


[June 29]

Research Methods/Personality

Tuesday:  Psychological measurement & Research ethics

Thursday:  Personality overview;

Psychodynamic model, Projective assessment


pp. 347-348

pp. 410-411

pp. 417-425


[July 6]

Personality, continued

Tuesday:  Personality trait models & assessment strategies 

Social cognitive model of personality

Thursday: Exam 1 [First hour of class]


pp. 411-415

pp. 436-438

pp. 429-436


[July 13]

Motivation & emotion

Tuesday: Broad theories & concepts

Hunger; Body image & Eating disorders

Thursday: Human sexuality


pp. 372-380; 393-407

pp. 380-387

pp. 387-393  


[July 20]


Tuesday: Theories of Intelligence

Issues and debates in intelligence

Stress & health

Thursday: Defining stress, stress theories

Individual differences in stress & coping



pp. 338-347

pp. 358-370


pp. 556-573

pp. 567-569; 572-587



[July 27]

Tuesday: Exam 2 & Abnormal psychology

Clinical Assessment & Psychological Disorders

Anxiety disorders, PTSD

Thursday: Abnormal psychology

Mood & Dissociative Disorders

Schizophrenia & Personality disorders



pp. 486-496; 417-418

pp. 497-501



pp. 502-507; 514-516

pp. 507-514


[August 3]

Social Psychology

Tuesday: Social psychology & Social cognition

Social influence & conformity;

Thursday: Altruism & failure to help; Prejudice


pp. 442-460

pp. 461-472

pp. 463-464


[August 10]

Tuesday: Left open

Thursday, August 12: Final Exam

 * From Dr. Sinclair’s PSY 204 Syllabus.

  I reserve the right to update the course schedule as necessary

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 1. When will you return our tests/assignments back to us?

 Given the size of the class it takes a week minimum to correct all of them.

 2. Can I do anything to make up lost attendance points?

 This is what extra credit is for.

 3. Can I do anything to make up low scores on the tests?

 This is what extra credit is for.

4. Can I do anything to make up for missed activities?

This is what extra credit is for.

5. I don't know how to use the World Wide Web, or I don't have a computer...

There are several computers labs on campus with friendly staff. One rather large one is located on the ground floor of the PSU Library. If you need assistance in understanding how to access a web page, please ask the individual overseeing the computer lab. If you are still having difficulty come see me during my office hours.

6. What if I run into a problem accessing the web page?

CALL ME via my cell phone number.

7. Can I email you my assignments?

NO. I do not accept assignments via email.

8. Can I fax you my assignments?

NO. I do not accept assignments via fax.

9. Can I turn my assignments into your box in Cramer Hall 317?

 YES, but they may not get to me on time. If you do get them in on time, I may not grade them with the others. In addition, if I start seeing that my box is inundated with papers of people not showing up to class, I reserve the right to axe this privilege.

 10. Why won't you accept them via these methods?

 So many alternatives for turning in assignments creates general havoc with even the most well organized individual. In addition, this also increases the probability that some how some way something will keep the assignment from getting into my hands. For example, the email file may be corrupted or the fax may print out in jibberish. The only way to make sure that the assignment is in my hands on time is to place it concretely in my hands during the time I collect them. 

11. Oh yes, will I accept assignments via the Web Board other than the web participation assignment?

 NO, for aforementioned reasons.

12. What if I go over the allotted pages for each assignment or Test?

 I won't grade your assignment. While an additional paragraph or page may not seem that much to you, when all of you engage in the behavior it creates a significant amount of extra grading. Editing is a VERY important part of writing. If you are having problems editing down your papers, please visit the on campus writing center.

 13. Is there any other available extra credit?

Sometimes I add assignments if I see something important in the media or for some other reason. However, I place a cap on how many points you can earn (see available points).

Exam 1: Study Guide, all others are available on the course web page.

Psychology as a Social Science (PSY 204)

Study Guide for Exam 1

The Evolution of Psychology 


1.  Summarize Wundt’s accomplishments and contributions to the evolution of Psychology.

2.  Summarize Titchner’s accomplishments and contributions.  Define introspection.

3.  Summarize Watson’s views on the appropriate subject matter of psychology, nature versus nurture, and animal research.

4.  Describe the psychodynamic approach: Summarize Freud’s principle ideas and why they inspired controversy.

5.  Summarize Skinner’s views and influence.

6.  Summarize the contributions of humanistic psychology.

7.  Describe two recent trends in research in psychology that reflect a return to psychology’s intellectual roots; define cognition.

8.  Explain why Western psychology traditionall6y had scant interest in other cultures and why this situation has begun to change.

9.  Summarize the basic tenets of evolutionary psychology.

10.  List and describe seven major research areas in psychology.

11.  List and describe four professional specialities in psychology.

12.  Explain the key difference between psychology and psychiatry.


The Research Enterprise of Psychology


1. Explain science's main assumption and describe the goals of the scientific enterprise in psychology; define variable.

2. Describe psychology's relations to other sciences, and outline the steps in a scientific investigation; define hypothesis and

operational definition.

3. Discuss the advantages of the scientific approach compared with common sense.

4. Describe the experimental method of research, explaining independent and dependent variables, experimental and control groups,

and extraneous variables; explain what is meant by random assignment of subjects and explain why it is important.

5. Describe the Featured Study In the book

6. Explain the major advantages and disadvantages of the experimental method.

7. Explain how experimental and descriptive/correlational research are different.

8. Discuss three descriptive research methods: naturalistic observation, case studies, and surveys.

9. Explain the major advantages and disadvantages of descriptive/correlational research.

10. Describe three measures of central tendency and one measure of variability.

11. Distinguish between positive and negative correlations, and explain how the size of the correlation coefficient relates to the

strength of an association.

12. Explain how correlation relates to prediction and causation.

13. Explain the logic of hypothesis testing and the meaning of statistical significance.

14. Define sample and population.

15. Explain what makes a sample representative; discuss sampling bias.

16. Explain what placebo effects are and when they are likely to be a problem.

17. Explain what experimenter bias is and discuss techniques for avoiding it.

18. Discuss the pros and cons of deception in research with human subjects.

19. Discuss the historical background of ethics pertaining to research.

20. Discuss the roll of the Institutional Review Board as discussed in the "in class".

21. Understand the concepts psychological harm, physical harm, and legal harm.


Personality: Theory, Research, and Assessment


1. Define the construct of personality in terms of consistency and distinctiveness.

2. Explain what is meant by a personality trait, and describe the five-factor model of personality; define factor analysis.

3. List and describe the three components into which Freud divided the personality, and indicate how these are distributed across three levels of awareness.

4. Explain the preeminence of sexual and aggressive conflicts in Freud’s theory, and describe the defense mechanisms; describe the Featured Study on homophobia.

5. Outline Freud’s psychosexual stages of development.

6. Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the psychodynamic approach to personality.

7. Discuss how Skinner’s principles of operant conditioning can be applied to the structure and development of personality.

8. Describe Bandura’s social learning theory and compare it to Skinner’s viewpoint.

9. Identify Mischel’s major contribution to personality theory, and indicate why his ideas have generated so much controversy.

10. Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the behavioral approach to personality.

11. Explain how humanism was a reaction against both the behavioral and pscyhodynamic approaches, and discuss the assumptions of the humanistic view.

12. Identify the single structural construct in Rogers’ person-centered theory, and summarize his view of personality development.

13. Explain Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and summarize his findings on the characteristics of self-actualizing people.

14. Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the humanistic approach to personality.

15. Describe Eysenck’s theory of personality.

16. Summarize behavioral genetics research on personality and its conclusions.

17. Outline Buss’ explanation for why the Big Five personality traits are important.

18. Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the biological approach to personality.