General PSY 493 Course Description:

Course: PSY 493 Issues in Psychology (W) 
Semester: Fall of every year, Spring of every year 
Credits: Total Credits: 3 
Lecture/Recitation/Discussion Hours: 3 
Prerequisite: (PSY 101 and PSY 295) and completion of Tier I writing requirement 
Description: Current information, research, and practice in psychology. 


Expanded Course Descriptions: 

PSY 493 – Summer 2017 

Section 730 – Introduction to the Theory, Practice and Research Concerning Child Maltreatment

This course focuses on child maltreatment and provides a broad introduction to its history, definitions, the legal framework, interventions, and other pertinent issues (e.g., child advocacy). Theory, research, and practice regarding child maltreatment, including controversies in the field, empirically-validated treatments, and future directions will be covered. 



PSY 493 – Fall 2017 

Section 001 – Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 

This course will look at the psychology of religion and spirituality, historically and contemporarily, and how psychology views religion and its influence/impact on human beings and society. Several of the pioneers in the field, as well as contemporary thinkers, will be discussed. Differences between religion and spirituality, “healthy” and “unhealthy” practices of religion and spirituality, current impact of religion and spirituality in American and the world, atheism, and historical and contemporary tensions between religion/spirituality and psychology will also be examined. 

Section 002 – The Biology of Mammalian Social Behavior

This course takes a comparative perspective to learn about the evolution and the mechanisms that regulate mammalian social behavior and social cognition. Many of the principles we will discuss have come from study of non-human mammals but we will also explore how they may or may not apply to humans. 

Section 003 – Fairness in the Workplace 

This course will provide an examination of psychological research that can inform how to design fair and effective workplaces from the perspective of organizational psychology. Readings will cover topics such as organizational justice theory, fairness in hiring practices, and systems to address worker mistreatment. 



PSY 493 – Spring 2018 

Section 001 – Introduction to the Theory, Practice and Research Concerning Child Maltreatment

This course focuses on child maltreatment and provides a broad introduction to its history, definitions, the legal framework, interventions, and other pertinent issues (e.g., child advocacy). Theory, research, and practice regarding child maltreatment, including controversies in the field, empirically-validated treatments, and future directions will be covered. 

Section 002 – Psychology of the Chinese People 

With 1.5 billion people, the Chinese represent's one-fifth of the world's population. Therefore, to prepare a globally minded population in the United States that is ready for this era of globalization will require that many of its citizens begin to learn about and understand the Chinese mind and behavior. The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the psychology of the Chinese people. It will begin with a review of the history of psychology in China and move towards the contemporary foci of the field in China today. It will cover the major areas of psychology from the Chinese perspective such as developmental, social, personality, cognitive, and abnormal psychology. In covering these areas, research on indigenous concepts such as filial piety, face, ren qing, quanxi, and traditionality will be emphasized. Audio-visual materials will also be included in the course to enable students to get a more experience-near exposure to the topics. Students will be expected to write a major term paper covering some aspect of Chinese psychology (e.g., Chinese style of negotiation, Belief systems underlying Chinese medicine, How and why the Chinese think and reason differently from Westerners as has been illustrated in Richard Nisbet's book, The Geography of Thought) and take a midterm and final exam. 

Section 003 – Neurobiology of Drug Addiction 

This course will focus on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying drug addiction.

We will discuss and evaluate 1) current theories of drug addiction, 2) animal models used to study specific aspects of addiction, and 3) molecular and cellular neuroadaptations that occur with acute and chronic drug use.

Analysis of primary literature will be incorporated throughout the class to provide examples of current methodologies used to study the neurobiology of addiction. 



Section 004 – Sleep and Circadian Rhythms 

This course is designed to give you an overview of research on sleep and circadian rhythms. In this course we will review the basic methodology, theories, and findings in these two very related, but in many ways, parallel fields. Because this is a psychology course, it will primarily take a psychological perspective to the study of sleep and circadian rhythms. However, the course will be heavily influenced by neuroscience, biology, and physiology. The course will survey seminal findings in these fields to give you an overview of the psychology of sleep. Although the scientific study of sleep has had a relatively short history, the field is rather large. This course will give you a basic understanding of the biological underpinnings of sleep and circadian rhythms and will survey topics such as sleep deprivation, sleep disorders, circadian rhythms, and circadian rhythm disorders, from cognitive, biological, and physiological perspectives. Note that while the course will discuss dreams and theories of dreaming, this will only be a very minor part of the course. Students interested in taking a course on dreams and dream interpretation would not be advised to take this course. 


Section 005 - The Neuroscience of Child Development

This course will examine changes in the mind and brain during the first five years of a child’s life. It will focus on prenatal influences on brain development, postnatal brain development and the development of cognitive function. This course will use a popular (and easy to read) neuroscience parenting book and empirical articles to examine what infants' and young childrens' minds are capable of.  



PSY 493 – Summer 2016 

Section 730 – Introduction to the Theory, Practice and Research Concerning Child Maltreatment

This course focuses on child maltreatment and provides a broad introduction to its history, definitions, the legal framework, interventions, and other pertinent issues (e.g., child advocacy). Theory, research, and practice regarding child maltreatment, including controversies in the field, empirically-validated treatments, and future directions will be covered. 



PSY 493 – Fall 2016 

Section 001 – Neuroscience of Animal and Human Emotion

Feelings of joy, love, sadness, anger, fear and other emotions are tremendously important influences on non-human animal and human mental states and behavior. This course will explore the scientific field studying how the central nervous systems controls emotional states. The course will begin by covering the history of studying emotions, numerous foundational psychological and biological theories of emotion, and then delve very extensively into the neurobiological systems mediating some well-studied animal and human emotions and how dysregulation of these brain systems contributes to emotional disorders and behaviors. 

Section 002 – Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 

This course will look at the psychology of religion and spirituality, historically and contemporarily, and how psychology views religion and its influence/impact on human beings and society. Several of the pioneers in the field, as well as contemporary thinkers, will be discussed. Differences between religion and spirituality, “healthy” and “unhealthy” practices of religion and spirituality, current impact of religion and spirituality in American and the world, atheism, and historical and contemporary tensions between religion/spirituality and psychology will also be examined. 

Section 003 – Fairness in the Workplace 

This course will provide an examination of psychological research that can inform how to design fair and effective workplaces from the perspective of organizational psychology. Readings will cover topics such as organizational justice theory, fairness in hiring practices, and systems to address worker mistreatment. 

Section 004 – Psychology of the Arts 

In 1959, in a lecture called The Two Cultures, the British physical chemist and novelist C.P. Snow identified what he saw as a long-standing gap, or breakdown of communication, between the "two cultures" of modern society – the sciences and the humanities. He attributed it to the declining quality of education and saw it as a major hindrance to solving the world's problems. His many examples included scientists who had never read Charles Dickens, and artists who were unfamiliar with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. 

In the years since, there has been much progress toward bridging the gap, but we have a long way to go. In a modest effort to further these developments, this course will focus on psychological theory and research on the visual arts, music, and dance. I hope the course will appeal equally to students in the arts and the sciences. 

We will begin by asking what accounts, historically and contemporaneously, for the gap between the sciences and humanities. After that, we will review promising examples of ‘bridgebuilding’ not only from such domains as cognitive, social, and developmental psychology, but from many domains in the social and biological sciences, including archeology, anthropology, education, kinesiology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and behavioral genetics. Some of the topics will include theory and research on creativity, emotion, and beauty in art (e.g., what makes something beautiful?); what happens in the brain when people are emotionally moved by paintings or music, and are artists’ and musicians’ brains different?; is art uniquely human (e.g., can chimps paint?); the role of culture and experience in the development of artistic preferences (e.g., whatever it is that makes something beautiful, do infants respond in the same way as adults?); talent, expertise, and the role of practice as they pertain to individual differences in artistic ability (e.g., does it take more than practice to find your way to Carnegie Hall?); synesthesia in artists and in art (e.g., seeing colors when hearing tones); the puzzle of artistic prodigies and savants; art and social-psychological dysfunction (e.g., is madness more common in artists?; can bad people create good art?); the cognitive and health benefits of the arts (e.g., can intoning speech help adults with expressive aphasia?; can it help non-verbal autistic children?); and, at a time when public support for the arts is on the decline, the question that goes to the heart of the course: do the arts matter? 



PSY 493 – Spring 2017 

Section 001 – Close Relationships across the Lifespan 

This course will focus on the lifespan dynamics of close relationships with a particular focus on how they are initially formed and how they ultimately affect health and well-being. A broad approach to relationships will be taken and include perspectives from developmental, social/personality, cultural, and evolutionary psychology. 

Section 002 – Cross-Cultural Psychology

With the increasing influence and importance of culture in much of what we do during this era of globalization, the overall purpose of this course is to introduce students to the field of cross-cultural psychology. More specifically, the course will help students: (a) increase their awareness of the importance of cross-cultural factors and differences in human behavior, (b) gain knowledge and insight about cultural differences and similarities that may be helpful in their careers, and (c) to examine different fields of psychology (e.g., psychopathology, social, and developmental psychology) from the cross-cultural perspective. 

Section 003 – The Psychobiology of Mammalian Social Behavior

The social worlds in which animals live vary considerably with respect to their level of complexity and the nature of the interactions among individuals and between groups of individuals. This variation has emerged from evolutionary processes that have shaped brain structure and function. This course will address the biology of social behavior with a special emphasis on relationships between the brain and that behavior and how they have changed over the course of evolutionary time. We will be tackling these issues in a wide range of non-human species, but will also consider humans, as we undoubtedly have the most complex form of sociality, and one of the largest brains in the animal kingdom. 

Section 004 – Neuroscience of Psychopathologies

The course provides an overview of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying developmental and adult psychopathologies including depression, anxiety disorders, violence, personality disorders, autism, and schizophrenia. We will explore the involvement of signaling molecules (such as serotonin, dopamine, BDNF, vasopressin, oxytocin), stress hormones, and neural circuits in abnormal regulation of emotion, cognition, and social behavior. We will discuss how genetic background and early environment can be risk factors for the development of psychopathologies. The course will discuss current findings from human studies and from animal models of psychopathologies. 

Section 005 - Interpersonal Psychology 

Review of major interpersonal theorists and interpersonal perspective on personality, development, psychopathology, and social behavior. 



PSY 493 - Spring 2016 

Section 002 - Child Maltreatment

This course focuses on child maltreatment and provides a broad introduction to its history, definitions, the legal framework, interventions, and other pertinent issues (e.g., child advocacy). Theory, research, and practice regarding child maltreatment, including controversies in the field, empirically-validated treatments, and future directions will be covered. 

Section 004 - Clinical Psychology: Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapies 

“Mindfulness” is in the news and being touted as a panacea for a range of human problems and conditions. This advanced undergraduate course will provide a scientific examination of emerging psychotherapies in which mindfulness is a core component. Topics will include: 1) historical and theoretical perspectives on mindfulness; 2) construct validity and the measurement of mindfulness; 3) detailed examination of the components of mindfulness-based therapies; and, 4) the empirical status of mindfulness- based therapy outcomes, processes, and active ingredients. 

Section 005 - Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology describes the cross-disciplinary study of the nature and causes of human social behavior and cognition. Perhaps more than most, this seminar in evolutionary psychology is concerned with the "big questions” regarding the human condition. As such we will discuss the evolution, function, strategic logic, and psychology of topics such as family and friendship, sexuality and romance, aggression and warfare, cooperation and conflict, politics, religion, and moral judgment. 



PSY 493 - Spring 2015 

Section 001 - Sleep and Circadian Rhythms 

This course is designed to give you an overview of research on sleep and circadian rhythms. In this course we will review the basic methodology, theories, and findings in these two very related, but in many ways, parallel fields. Because this is a psychology course, it will primarily take a psychological perspective to the study of sleep and circadian rhythms. However, the course will be heavily influenced by neuroscience, biology, and physiology. The course will survey seminal findings in these fields to give you an overview of the psychology of sleep. Although the scientific study of sleep has had a relatively short history, the field is rather large. This course will give you a basic understanding of the biological underpinnings of sleep and circadian rhythms and will survey topics such as sleep deprivation, sleep disorders, circadian rhythms, circadian rhythm disorders, from cognitive, biological, and physiological perspectives. Note that while the course will discuss dreams and theories of dreaming, this will only be a very minor part of the course. Students interested in taking a course on dreams and dream interpretation would not be advised to take this course. 

Section 002 - Introduction to the Theory, Practice and Research Concerning Child Maltreatment 

This course focuses on child maltreatment and provides a broad introduction to its history, definitions, the legal framework, interventions, and other pertinent issues (e.g., child advocacy). Theory, research, and practice regarding child maltreatment, including controversies in the field, empirically-validated treatments, and future directions will be covered. 

Section 004 - Evolution of a Social Brain 

The social worlds in which animals live vary considerably with respect to their level of complexity and the nature of the interactions among individuals and between groups of individuals. This variation has emerged from evolutionary processes that have shaped brain structure and function. This course will address the biology of social behavior with a special emphasis on relationships between the brain and that behavior and how they have changed over the course of evolutionary time. We will be considering these issues in a wide range of vertebrates, including the species that has undoubtedly the most complex form of sociality, and the largest of brains, i.e. humans. 

Section 005 - Psychology of the Chinese People 

With 1.5 billion people, the Chinese represent one-fifth of the world’s population. Therefore, to prepare a globally minded population in the United States that is ready for this era of globalization will require that many of its citizens begin to learn about and understand the Chinese mind and behavior. The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the psychology of the Chinese people. It will begin with a review of the history of psychology in China and move towards the contemporary foci of the field in China today. It will cover the major areas of psychology from the Chinese perspective such as social, personality, cognitive, and abnormal psychology. In covering these areas, research on indigenous concepts such as filial piety, face, ren qing, quanxi, and traditionality will be emphasized. Audio-visual materials will also be included in the course to enable you to get a more experience-near exposure to the topics. 

Sec 006 - Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology describes the cross-disciplinary study of the nature and causes of human social behavior and cognition. Perhaps more than most, this seminar in evolutionary psychology is concerned with the "big questions” regarding the human condition. As such we will discuss the evolution, function, strategic logic, and psychology of topics such as family and friendship, sexuality and romance, aggression and warfare, cooperation and conflict, politics, religion, and moral judgment. 

Sec 007 - Human Neuroscience Methods

a) Gain a conceptual understanding of methods in human neuroscience, emphasizing but not limited to fMRI. b) Be able to design basic fMRI experiment and conduct data analyses. c) Be able to read and critique research papers reporting human neuroscience results. 

Section 008 - Urban Communities and Social Networks

Communities are often defined in terms of geography (e.g. the East Lansing community), social characteristics (e.g. the MSU community), or demographic characteristics (e.g. the youth community). But, do any of these really capture what a community is? This course will explore a different approach to defining and thinking about communities by focusing on social networks, or the pattern of social interactions among a group of people. Using this approach, a community might be defined as a group of people who interact regularly with one another and are linked together by their relationships with one another. Thinking about communities as social networks can make abstract theoretical concepts more concrete and can help us consider new (and potentially better) answers to some old questions. In addition, it allows us to think about communities not only among people, but also among other types of actors: there are communities of people, but also communities of organizations, and communities of cities. 

PSY 493 - Fall 2014 

Sec 001 - Introduction to Behavioral Genetics

This course will provide an overview of the field of behavioral genetics, which examines the relative influence of genes and environment on human behavior. We will begin by examining the basic principles of behavioral genetic methodology, and how these are used to examine the origins of human traits. We will then focus on recent findings from studies examining a number of psychological characteristics, with a particular emphasis on genetic and environmental influences on mental illness. 

Sec 004 - Psychology of Religion and Spirituality

This course will look at the psychology of religion and spirituality, historically and contemporarily, and how psychology views religion and its influence/impact on human beings and society. Several of the pioneers in the field, as well as contemporary thinkers, will be discussed. Differences between religion and spirituality, “healthy” and “unhealthy” practices of religion and spirituality, current impact of religion and spirituality in American and the world, atheism, and historical and contemporary tensions between religion/spirituality and psychology will also be examined. 

Sec 005 - Fairness in the Workplace: A Psychological Perspective

This course will provide an examination of psychological research that can inform how to design fair and effective workplaces from the perspective of organizational psychology. Readings will cover topics such as organizational justice theory, fairness in hiring practices, and systems to address worker mistreatment. 



PSY 493 - Spring 2015 



Sec 001 - Sleep and Circadian Rhythms

This course is designed to give you an overview of research on sleep and circadian rhythms. In this course we will review the basic methodology, theories, and findings in these two very related, but in many ways, parallel fields. Because this is a psychology course, it will primarily take a psychological perspective to the study of sleep and circadian rhythms. However, the course will be heavily influenced by neuroscience, biology, and physiology. The course will survey seminal findings in these fields to give you an overview of the psychology of sleep. Although the scientific study of sleep has had a relatively short history, the field is rather large. This course will give you a basic understanding of the biological underpinnings of sleep and circadian rhythms and will survey topics such as sleep deprivation, sleep disorders, circadian rhythms, and circadian rhythm disorders, from cognitive, biological, and physiological perspectives. Note that while the course will discuss dreams and theories of dreaming, this will only be a very minor part of the course. Students interested in taking a course on dreams and dream interpretation would not be advised to take this course. 

Sec 002 - Introduction to the Theory, Practice and Research Concerning Child Maltreatment

This online course focuses on child maltreatment and provides a broad introduction to its history, the legal framework, interventions, and other pertinent issues (e.g., child advocacy). Theory, research, and practice regarding child maltreatment, including controversies in the field, empirically-validated treatments, and future directions will be covered. The course will pay particular attention to children with disabilities as well as issues relevant to the State of Michigan. 

Sec 003 - Neurobiology of Food Intake

As a species we are experiencing tremendous difficulty in our relationship with food. Food intake can be regulated by precise feeding mechanisms that have evolved allowing for the survival of the human race. Nevertheless, the environmental conditions our ancestors dealt with differ drastically when compared to the obesogenic conditions present in today's society; where obesity and its physical comorbidities (e.g., diabetes, heart disease) continue to place a burden on society in general, and affected individuals in particular. This advanced undergraduate course will examine: the underlying basis of energy (food) intake and its expenditure; learned and unlearned physiological, neurological and psychological mechanisms that drive food intake and overeating; vulnerabilities to and comorbidities of obesity; and the obesogenic environment. 

Sec 004 - Evolution of a Sociality and its Neural Substrates

The social worlds in which animals live vary considerably with respect to their level of complexity and the nature of the interactions among individuals and between groups of individuals. This variation has emerged from evolutionary processes that have shaped brain structure and function. This course will address the biology of social behavior with a special emphasis on relationships between the brain and social behavior and how they have changed over the course of evolution. We will be considering these issues in a wide range of vertebrates, including the species that has undoubtedly the most complex form of sociality, and the largest of brains, humans. 

Sec 005 - Psychology of the Chinese People

With 1.5 billion people, the Chinese represent's one-fifth of the world's population. Therefore, to prepare a globally minded population in the United States that is ready for this era of globalization will require that many of its citizens begin to learn about and understand the Chinese mind and behavior. The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the psychology of the Chinese people. It will begin with a review of the history of psychology in China and move towards the contemporary foci of the field in China today. It will cover the major areas of psychology from the Chinese perspective such as developmental, social, personality, cognitive, and abnormal psychology. In covering these areas, research on indigenous concepts such as filial piety, face, ren qing, quanxi, and traditionality will be emphasized. Audio-visual materials will also be included in the course to enable students to get a more experience-near exposure to the topics. Students will be expected to write a major term paper covering some aspect of Chinese psychology (e.g., Chinese style of negotiation, Belief systems underlying Chinese medicine, How and why the Chinese think and reason differently from Westerners as has been illustrated in Richard Nisbet's book, The Geography of Thought) and take a midterm and final exam. 

Sec 006 - Evolutionary Psychology

This course provides a survey to evolutionary psychology and an introduction to game theory. Formal mathematical models of decision-making and behavior are key themes in this course. Theory and research in psychology, economics, and evolutionary biology are analyzed. Bi-weekly assignments involving mathematical calculations are required. 

Sec 007 - Human Neuroscience Methods

This lab-based course will introduce key techniques for relating psychological function to brain structure in humans. Lectures, readings, and problem sets will cover the physiological bases and inferential logic behind each of several methods, including neuropsychology, ERP, fMRI, and TMS (with an emphasize on fMRI). Some prior experience with linux, matlab, python, or signal processing will be helpful. 

Sec 008 - Urban Communities and Social Networks

This course will use the lens of social networks to answer the question: What are urban communities? We will begin by exploring the concept of social networks in general, including how researchers measure social networks and the types of research questions they use social networks to understand. Then, we will examine the role of networks in building communities at three different scales: (1) social networks of people in cities and neighborhoods that shape our social lives, (2) networks of organizations and roads that shape how we experience living in cities, and (3) networks of entire cities around the world that shape whether we get the flu, can find a job, or buy the latest technology. 

PSY 493 - Fall 2013 

Sec 002 - Clinical psychology: The scientific status of mindfulness-based psychotherapies

“Mindfulness” is in the news and being touted as a panacea for a range of human problems and conditions. This advanced undergraduate course will provide a scientific examination of emerging psychotherapies in which mindfulness is a core component. Topics will include: 1) historical and theoretical perspectives on mindfulness; 2) construct validity and the measurement of mindfulness; 3) detailed examination of three approaches to mindfulness-based therapy; and, 4) the empirical status of mindfulness- based therapy outcomes, processes, and active ingredients. 

Sec 004 - Psychology of Religion

This course will look at the psychology of religion, historically and contemporarily, and how psychology views religion and its influence/impact on human beings and society. Several of the pioneers in the field, as well as contemporary thinkers, will be discussed. Differences between religion and spirituality, “healthy” and “unhealthy” practices of religion, current impact of religion in American and the world, atheism, and historical and contemporary tensions between religion and psychology will also be examined. 

Sec 005 - Fairness in the Workplace: A Psychological Perspective

This course will provide an examination of psychological research that can inform how to design fair and effective workplaces from the perspective of organizational psychology. Readings will cover topics such as organizational justice theory, fairness in hiring practices, and systems to address worker mistreatment. 

PSY 493 - Spring 2014 

Sec 003 - Neurobiology of Food Intake

As a species we are experiencing tremendous difficulty in our relationship with food within the obesogenic environment. While food intake can be regulated by precise feeding mechanisms that have evolved allowing for the survival of the human race; the environmental conditions our ancestors dealt with differ drastically than those presented in today’s society, where obesity and its physical comorbidities (e.g., diabetes, heart disease) continue to place a burden on society in general, and affected individuals in particular. This advanced undergraduate course will examine: the underlying basis of energy (food) intake and its expenditure; learned and unlearned physiological and neurological mechanisms that drive food intake and overeating; vulnerabilities to and comorbidities of obesity. 

PSY 493 - Fall 2012 

Sec 001 - Psychology of the Chinese People 

With 1.5 billion people, the Chinese represent's one-fifth of the world's population. Therefore, to prepare a globally minded population in the United States that is ready for this era of globalization will require that many of its citizens begin to learn about and understand the Chinese mind and behavior. The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the psychology of the Chinese people. It will begin with a review of the history of psychology in China and move towards the contemporary foci of the field in China today. It will cover the major areas of psychology from the Chinese perspective such as developmental, social, personality, cognitive, and abnormal psychology. In covering these areas, research on indigenous concepts such as filial piety, face, ren qing, quanxi, and traditionality will be emphasized. Audio-visual materials will also be included in the course to enable students to get a more experience-near exposure to the topics. Students will be expected to write a major term paper covering some aspect of Chinese psychology (e.g., Chinese style of negotiation, Belief systems underlying Chinese medicine, How and why the Chinese think and reason differently from Westerners as has been illustrated in Richard Nisbet's book, The Geography of Thought) and take a midterm and final exam. 

Sec 002 - Behavioral Genetics: Understanding Genetic and Environmental Influences on Human Behavior

This course will provide an overview of the field of behavioral genetics, which examines the relative influence of genes and environment on human behavior. We will begin by examining the basic principles of behavioral genetic methodology, and how these are used to examine the origins of human traits. We will then focus on recent findings from studies examining a number of psychological characteristics, with a particular emphasis on genetic and environmental influences on mental illness. 

Sec 003 - Evolution of Sociality and its Underlying Neural Mechanisms

The social worlds in which animals live vary considerably with respect to their level of complexity and the nature of the interactions among individuals and between groups of individuals. This variation has emerged from evolutionary processes that have shaped brain structure and function. This course will address the biology of social behavior with a special emphasis on relationships between the brain and social behavior and how they have changed over the course of evolution. We will be considering these issues in a wide range of vertebrates, including the species that has undoubtedly the most complex form of sociality, and the largest of brains, humans. 

Sec 004 - Psychology of Religion

This course will look at the psychology of religion, historically and contemporarily, and how psychology views religion and its influence/impact on human beings and society. Several of the pioneers in the field, as well as contemporary thinkers, will be discussed. Differences between religion and spirituality, “healthy” and “unhealthy” practices of religion, current impact of religion in American and the world, atheism, and historical and contemporary tensions between religion and psychology will also be examined. 

Sec 005 - Neurobiology of Food Intake and Overeating

This course will examine the role of learning and its interaction in the regulation of body weight, energy intake and overeating. Topics covered will include: Genetics of obesity; role of central and peripheral mechanisms in food intake; neurobiology of learning and motivation; what drives us to eat within the obesogenic environment? 

PSY 493 - Spring 2013 

Sec 001 - Autism

This course will review current research on the behavioral and biological characteristics of children with autism, the etiology and course of the disorder over the lifespan, the development of effective interventions, and the experience of individuals living with the disorder. In discussing current research in autism, this class will illustrate important issues in developmental psychopathology (e.g., the interplay between biological factors and social experiences; how knowledge of typical development informs the understanding of the etiology and course of autism), concepts from different domains of psychology (e.g., social, cognitive, neuroscience), and introduce students to a range of psychological methods including cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental studies. 

Sec 002 - Occupational Health and Safety

The purpose of this course is to understand the psychological underpinning of preventing workplace illnesses and injuries and promoting worker health and well-being. Specific topics covered will include occupational stress and burnout, workplace safety and accidents, musculoskeletal injuries, workplace aggression and violence, workplace health promotion programs and the role of employee assistance programs, the interface of work and non-work (e.g., family) factors in maintaining occupational health, and research and measurement issues unique to the occupational health and safety area. 

Sec 003 - Chronobiology and Mental Health

Chronobiology is a field that examines rhythmic phenomena in living organisms that are shaped by the solar- and lunar-related cycles. These so-called biological rhythms can be observed via multiple aspects, from molecular and cellular events to human behaviors. In humans, the disturbance of these rhythms has consequences in both physical and mental health. Many psychiatric disorders, such as mood disorders and several psychotic disorders are known to have rhythmic patterns of expression with chronobiological mechanisms involved. This class will discuss the current research on the biological basis of conditions related to rhythm disturbance and mental health with an emphasis on the interactions between the two. 

Sec 004-Meditation and Self Regulation

We will discuss the nature, mechanisms, and effects of mindfulness meditation, as informed by human neuroscience. Topics will include attention, reward, desire, fear, aversion, stress reduction, the self, default mode network, health, and well-being. To gain first-hand experience, students will be required to try mindfulness meditation at least three times (instruction provided). 

Sec 005- Neuroscience of Child Development

This course will examine brain and mind development during the first five years of a child’s life. It will focus on development of the senses; learning and memory; temporal, numerical and spatial processing; emotion; theory of mind; language; attention; motor programs; and developmental disabilities. 

Sec 006- Cross-Cultural Psychology

With the increasing influence and importance of culture in much of what we do during this era of globalization, the overall purpose of this course is to introduce students to the field of cross-cultural psychology. More specifically, the course will help students: (a) increase their awareness of the importance of cross-cultural factors and differences in human behavior, (b) gain knowledge and insight about cultural differences and similarities that may be helpful in their careers, and (c) to examine different fields of psychology (e.g., psychopathology, social, and developmental psychology) from the cross-cultural perspective.