Social Science Education

PSY 101

Psychology 101 - Understanding Human Behavior

Instructor:        Alison Glanville
Phone:             237-2452
Office:             Root Hall B-240
Office hours:    TBA

Coordinator for Psychology 101 Sections:  Dr. Tom Johnson

Required Texts
Wayne Weiten - Psychology:  Themes & Variations, 5th Edition (Briefer Version)
Spencer Rathus - Applying Psychology to Everyday Life

What the catalog says:

A selective study of  how heredity and the environment affect human thought, emotion, and actions.  The course focuses on the scientific study of human and non-human animal behavior, and the topics of human response and adapt (sic) to change, the nature and limits of memory, the development of human beliefs, the impact of social influences on human behavior, the contribution of genetics to individual differences, the nature of psychological illnesses, and more.  The course emphasizes "thinking psychologically" as it applies to everyday life.  ("[sic]" is a notation inserted in a quote when the original material being quoted contains an error.  That way readers will know that the mistake is in the original, not the quote.)

What Your Syllabus Says:
We have divided our goals for this class (for you) into three areas:
1.    Learn Some Applications of Psychological Knowledge/Theory
       a.    to your Personal & Professional life
       b.    to Your Major

2.    Learn the Basic Goals & Methods of Psychological Science
       a.    Goals
               i.    description, prediction, control, and understanding
               ii.    Indentifying Patterns/Formulation Laws (Logically,
                     Mathematically, etc.)  This could also be described as a
                     method of science
        b.    Methods
                i.    Critical Thinking & Reasoning
                ii.    Empirical Observation (Through Various Methods)
                iii.    Social Discourse (Repeatable Findings, Peer Review,
                        Publication, Consistency with Existing "Knowledge"
        c.    Boundaries of Science (what science can and cannot do)
3.     Learn Some of the Basic Findings Within Different Areas of Psycology
        a.    Seven Themes in Written
        b.    Major Themes/Principles in Core Subject Areas
        c.    Specific Facts in Core Subject Areas

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN LEARNING IN THIS CLASS.   While your Instructor gives lectures and you should read the book, you are likely to learn more from doing the assignments and participating in class activities and discussion than you would by merely trying to memorize what the instructor and the book say.  COME TO CLASS - not only will you get points for participating in activities and discussion, but these will help you prepare for the examinations.

    Content Points (Exams, quizzes):  up to 275 points toward your final grade.
        Content points are awarded for demonstration of knowledge of the "facts"
        presented in lectures and texts.
    Process Points (group activities, discussion, participation in research):  up to
        125 points.  Process points are awarded for 1) participation in in-class
        structured discussions and learning activities, 2) serving as a participant in
        psychological studies conducted by the ISU psychology faculty and
        graduate students.  These experiences should provide valuable oppor-
        tunities for developing skills at social interaction, critical thinking, and
        working in teams, as well as help you better learn the core content of the
        course.  Note - you can only earn the full 125 process points by
        participating in research or doing a term paper, otherwise the maximum
        you may receive is 110 points.
    Application Points (assignments):  up to 75 points
        Application points are primarily based on assignments utilizing the
        ancillary text:  Applying Psychology to Everyday Life.  Additional
        assignments will involve utilizing the ISU Library and other sources of
        information.  These assignments will hopefully prove interesting and
        helpful to students in their personal, academic, and vocational lives, as
        well as provide another way to help learn the core content of psychology.

Scale:    427 & above = A
               413-426         = B+
               380-412         = B
               366-379         = C+
               332-365         = C   
               318-331         = D+
               285-317         = D

Exams - There will be five exams.  Exams will cover the material presented in
class and all assigned readings.  Each exam will consist of 50 multiple choice
questions.  Each exam will cover material presented since the previous exam.
However, some material (such as parts of an experiment, the scientific method,
aspects of critical thinking, etc.) will be relevant throughout the course.

In-Class Activities - The in class activities will usually involve either working
in small groups (3-6 students) for five to ten minutes, or brief (one to two
minute) interactions with one other student.  The activities will most often
consist of  one of the following types:
        1)  Targeted Discussion - You will be asked to share your opinion on
some topic and reach a group consensus (Usually 4 points).
        2)   Problem Solving - Your group will have a specific task to carry out
related to some assigned material (Usually worth 4 points).
        3)  Group Quizzes - The group members will work together to attempt to
answer the quiz questions.  Each person who offers an answer must tell why he
or she believes that answer is correct.  All group members receive the number of points corresponding to however many questions the group got correct.  Group quizzes will usually be worth 10 points.  One half of the group quiz points will count towards Process points, the other half will count towards Content points.
        4)  Turn to your neighbor activities (Usually worth 1 point) - The instructor will present an example or question and each student will think of her or his own answer to that question.  Then you will turn to a person seated near by and take around 60 seconds to try and convince that person that your answer is correct.
        5)  Minute Papers - Write a short (1-2 sentences) question or statement about the material that has been covered in class (2 points).

Participation in Research - Participating in 3-hours worth of psychological research or experiments is also required.  This will allow you to experience and critique psychological research up close and personal and you will fill out a brief report regarding your experience.  You will receive five points for each hour of participation (total of 15 points required).  You may participate in additional studies or experiments if you desire and can earn an additional 10 points (equivalent to two hours of participation) towards your Process points total by participating in additional studies.  When you sign up for an experiment, you will need to write down when and where to go.  If you fail to show up for your appointment, YOU WILL LOSE THE POINTS YOU WOULD HAVE EARNED (i.e., these points will be subtracted from your grade)!  Announcements will be made in your classes about availability of experiments for participation.  Sign up sheets will sometimes be passed out in class and may be posted on a web site or at some location on campus (to be announced).  If you do not wish to participate in research, you may elect to write a research paper on a topic appropriate for this class (6-10 pages in length).  These papers should be written exclusively for this class (i.e., they cannot be a paper you have turned in or will turn in for any other class - this would violate academic dishonesty policy and would result in receiving a zero for the assignment) and should include professional library resources.  If you wish to write the paper instead of participate in research, you will need to get your instructor to approve the topic of your paper and give you instructions on how to prepare it before you write it.

Application Assignments - As described above, most of these assignments will require you to read some material presented in the Rathus book (Applying Psychology to Everyday Life) and then fill out a worksheet or set of questions that your instructor will provide.  In some cases, you will also have to complete questionnaires or fill in the blanks on pages in the Rathus book.  For those selections that require you to write something in the book, you will need to either removed those pages and turn them in or make photocopies of what you wrote and turn those in along with the questions or worksheets provided by your instructor.  Some assignments may also require you to read one of the critical thinking sections in the Weiten text and relate that material to the applied topics in the Rathus book.  Most of the assignments based on the Rathus book will be worth up to five (5) points.  Additional assignments will involve finding materials in the ISU library and through on-line resources and completing questions regarding these resources that will again be provided by your instructor.  For many of the assignments, there will be no correct or incorrect answers.  Rather, the questions will ask for your thoughts and evaluations of the material.  Therefore, assignments will be graded on the extent to which you have followed the instructions for the assignment and the amount of detail you provide in your answers, rather than on the specific answers you give.  YOUR INSTRUCTOR WILL ANNOUNCE DUE DATES FOR ASSIGNMENTS.  LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES (EVEN LEGITIMATE EXCUSES.)

    1)    Attend class regularly - not only will this allow you to earn points from participation in the in class activies, you will be able to learn from the lectures, discussion, and activities and that learning will help you do better on the exams.  If you miss class, you cannot make up the activity you missed, but there will be ample opportunities to earn enough Process points that missing one or two classes due to illness or other legitimate problems will not significantly affect your grade.
    2)    Read or at least preview the material BEFORE coming to class.  This will help you know what is going on and be better able to understand the lectures and activities.  You should not that the order of the readings does not start on page one and go straight through the book.  Make sure you follow the page numbers listed on the syllabus.
    3)    Read each section of assigned material at least once (preferable twice) before the exam.  When reading, you can use a variety of techniques that may help you better learn the material (the SQ3R method, underlining, taking notes for the text, etc.)  You should note that the text includes a glossary of terms, Concept Check boxes throughout each chapter, and a practice quiz at the end of each chapter.
    4)    Use the Concept Charts for Study and Review that are packaged with the text.  They provide good overviews of the major points covered in the various chapters.  However, since we will not be covering the entire book and will be skipping around through different chapters, make sure you know which portions of the Concept Charts correspond to your assigned readings.
    5)   Take the practice tests at the end of the chapters in the Weiten book.  These questions will cover the material from the text and give you practice answering multiple choice questions.  (And you never know, a few questions from the end of the chapter just might show up on the in class exams.)
    6)    Use the Interactive Learning Modules on the PsykTrek CD-ROM.  These multimedia lessons will cover the material from the text and include concept checks and quizzes.  (And you never know, questions from the CD-ROM quizzes just might show up on the in class exams.)
    7)    Do the Applications Assignments.  While one goal of the Applications Assignments is to help you find ways to make psychological knowledge useful to you in your personal and professional life, these assignments also relate to the material covered on the exams and provide you with another way to learn important concepts.
    8)    We will attempt to make the power point slides that we will be using in lectures available on a web site.  This way you can preview them before class and even print them out and use them as a guide for taking notes in class.
    9)    TAKE NOTES - many students simply sit in class as if the hope the material will sink in just from being there.  You will learn material much better if you actively write down notes during lectures.  You will also learn more if you write things in your own words rather than attempting to be like a tape recorder and write down everything the instructor says.  If you feel you cannot keep up, you may make a tape recording of the lectures to listen to later.
    10)    Four chapters of the Rathus book deal with study skills.  You will have assignments based on these chapters, but you do not have to wait for the assignments to read them and start benefiting from them.  In addition, pages 22-25 of the Weiten text covers study skills and gives helpful hints on preparing for class, taking notes, taking tests, etc.
    11)   There are a number of resources provided by ISU to help students learn in and out of the classroom.  The Center for Teaching and Learning is described on page 49 of the current College Undergraduate Catalog and on their web site (  Student Academic Services, X2300, located on the 2nd floor of Gillum hall can provide structured study help.  Other programs and services include the University Tutoring Program and the Writing Center (staffed by the English Department of the 2nd floor of Root Hall).  The Career Center, Student Counseling Center, Health Promotions Offices, and Student Counseling Center are located in the Student Services Building.

Our primary objective is to help you learn from your experiences in this course.  Your primary objective should also be to learn as much as you can from this and any experience while in college.  Cheating on examinations or in other ways only cheats you out of the experience of learning.  While good grades are undoubtedly important in helping you get a good job after graduation, you will not be able to keep that job or reach your full potential at it if you do not have the skills and learning to back up those grades.  The ISU University Standards, section 3.01 notes that "Academic dishonesty including plagiarism, cheating, submitting another person's material as one's own, or doing work for which another will receive academic credit" can result in students receiving a failing grade in the course as well a potential disciplinary action as determined by the Office of Student Affairs of the University (up to expulsion from the university).

Now, after saying all of that, welcome to psychology.  We hope that you will find it as challenging, entertaining, and practical as we have found it to be.  We hope this course stimulates you to think in ways you may not have before, broadens your awareness of what it means to be human, and provides you with skills and knowledge that will be useful in your life at ISU and beyond


back to top