South Portland , Maine04106

Title: Introduction to Psychology                            Catalog Number:  PSYC 100

Credit Hours: 3                                                         Total Contact Hours:  45     

Instructor:  David Beseda, MSW                            Office : Meeting  arranged upon  student request

Office Hours: Meetings  arranged upon  student request  Email :  dbeseda@ smccme .edu

Course Syllabus  Spring 2013

Course Description

This course is designed to provide a broad overview of the field of Psychology. Special attention will be given to helping the student become a better thinker, by learning to take charge of ideas one has about psychology. The goal of this course is to think consciously, deliberately and skillfully about human behavior. Topics such as physiological psychology, perception, learning, cognition, emotions, health psychology, psychological disorders, as well as others are included.

Prerequisite(s): none Corequisite(s): ENGL-050, ENGL-075

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

1.  Define psychology as a discipline and explain its history, and how it is distinct from and related to other disciplines.

2.  Explain how psychology is a science and become familiar with the research methods used by psychologists, including different   

     research designs, limitations of research findings, and APA ethical principles.

3.  Explore the subject matter of the field of psychology and become familiar with the vocabulary, major concepts, theories, and

     research findings of psychology.

4.  Further develop critical thinking skills by applying them to the field of psychology

5.  Become a cautious and analytical consumer of psychological information that is proclaimed to be scientific or based on research and

     recognize the usefulness and limitations of research findings.  

6.  Understandand apply psychological principles to personal, social, and organization issues.

7. Become aware & respectful of diversity issues which affect behavior & psychological processes and recognize that sociocultural

     contexts may influence the development and application of psychological principles.

Learning Outcomes Competencies:

Critical Thinking:  Upon Completion of this course students will have:

1.  Read and demonstrated an understanding of complex ideas by identifying key concepts in the field of psychology.

2.  Applied theory to practice using problem solving techniques and data analysis.

3.  Analyzed and evaluated research data to produce a well-reasoned argument or position on an issue.

4.  Synthesize data from multiple sources to create and support a solution

Global Citizenship:  Upon Completion of this course students will be able to use psychology concepts to:

1.  Explain how social interactions are influenced by local, regional, national, and/or global cultures.

2.  Recognize cultural and individual differences that underlie the complexities of human behavior and social interaction.

3.  Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of cultures that are diverse from their own.

Text, Tools and / or Supplies

King, L. A., The Science of Psychology, 2nd (2011).  New York, McGraw-Hill

Online component:

Topical Outline of Instruction

Introduction and Research Methods – Chapter 1 & 2

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1.Contemporary perspectives used by psychologists to understand behavior and mental processes in context

2. Major subfields and career opportunities that comprise psychology

3. Research strategies used by psychologists to explore behavior and mental processes

4. Purpose and basic concepts of statistics

5. Ethical issues in research

6. Development of psychology as an empirical science

Biological Basis of Behavior – Chapter 3

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. Structure and function of the neuron

2. Organization of the nervous system

3. Hierarchical organization of the structure and function of the brain

4. Technologies and clinical methods for studying the brain

5. Structure and function of the endocrine system

6. How heredity interacts with the environment to influence behavior

7. How psychological mechanisms are influenced by evolution

Sensation and Perception – Chapter 4

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. Basic concepts explaining the capabilities and limitations of sensory processes

2. Interaction of the person and the environment in determining perception

3. Nature of attention

States of Consciousness – Chapter 5

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. Nature of consciousness

2. Characteristics of sleep and theories that explain why we sleep

3. Theories used to explain and interpret dreams

4. Basic phenomena and uses of hypnosis

5. Categories of psychoactive drugs and their effects

Learning – Chapter 6

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. Characteristics of learning

2. Principles of classical conditioning

3. Principles of operant conditioning

4. Components of social, observational, and cognitive learning

5. Roles of biology and culture in determining learning

Memory – Chapter 7

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1.Encoding, or getting information into memory

2. Sensory, working or short-term, and long-term memory systems

3. Retrieval, or getting information out of memory

4. Biological basis of memory

5.  Memory constructions

6. Methods for improving memory

Thinking, Intelligence and  Language – Chapter 8

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. Basic elements comprising thought

2. Strategies and obstacles involved in problem solving and decision-making

3. Influence and interaction of heredity and environment on intelligence

4. Nature of intelligence and intelligence testing

5. Structural features of language

6. Theories and developmental stages of language acquisition

7. Links between thinking and language

Life Span Development – Chapter 9

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. Development as a lifelong process

2. Research techniques used to gather data on the developmental process

3. Theories of development

4. Issues surrounding the developmental process (nature/nurture, continuity/discontinuity,

stability/instability, critical periods)

Motivation and Emotion – Chapter 10

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. The role of biology and learning in motivation and emotion

2. Major theories of motivation

3. Interaction of biological and cultural factors in emotions and motivations

4. Role of values and expectancies in determining choice and strength of motivation

5. Physiological, social cultural, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of emotions

6. Effects of motivation and emotion on perception, cognition, and behavior

Personality and Assessment – Chapter 12

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1.  How to distinguish between personality and personality constructs

2. Personality approaches and theories

3. Assessment tools used in personality

Social and Cultural Dimensions of Behavior – Chapter 13

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. Social judgment and attitudes

2. Social and cultural categories

3. Social influence and relationships

Psychological Disorders – Chapter 15

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. Characteristics and origins of abnormal behavior

2. Classifying abnormal behavior

3. Major categories of abnormal behavior

4. Impact of mental disorders

Treatment of Psychological Disorders – Chapter 16

After concluding this unit, students understand:

1. Prominent methods used to treat individuals with disorders

2. Types of practitioners who implement treatment

3. Challenges involved in delivery of treatment

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Intro to Psychology Core Requirements

·         Critical Thinking Requirement: Introduction to Psychology is designated as a Critical Thinking course. There may be several critical thinking assignments during the semester.  25% of a student’s grade must be derived from critical thinking assignments. 

·          Information Literacy – One way to improve IL skills is through assignments.  Students in this course must be able to critically evaluate information and discern credible from non-credible material.  For example, an assignment utilizing the pod casts that are located on the Library “On-line Tutorials” may be included during the semester.   

·         Metacognition – One of the major goals of this class is to strengthen your ability to be an engaged and motivated learner.  An assignment involving Attribution Theory and Locus of Control will be utilized during the semester. 

·         Assessment of Textbook Reading – Students should be able to locate and integrate information using advanced analysis of the meaning and form of the text.  Students should be able to provide specific text support for inferences, informative statements, and comparisons within and across readings. 

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Course Requirements

If there are any questions about this course or problems completing the course requirements, please contact me.  It is most convenient for me to be contacted by email;  My email address is   or   If you need to contact me by phone my cell phone number is 651-1489 and it has a voice mailbox if I cannot answer the phone.

This course will utilize a combination of reading, lectures, discussion, videos, interactive group work,  written work and tests to promote better understanding of human behavior.   NO CELL PHONES OR COMPUTERS TO BE USED IN CLASS

ATTENDANCE/PARTICIPATION     (Worth 25% of final course grade)

Class attendance, and participation are required to successfully complete this course.   Each class will consist of discussion and group activities.  It is expected that each student will be prepared to actively participate during each class.   If you are absent for any reason, it is your responsibility to contact me (and your group members if appropriate) about your absence, missed assignments and any material covered.  Late assignments or exams will be graded down a half letter grade for each day late.   If you miss three classes you may receive an F for the course through the Attendance Fail process at SMCC .

Participation goals/objectives

1.       Develop and apply a work ethic

  1. Use effective problem solving/critical thinking approaches to tasks
  2. Actively participate in class and groups to complete tasks
  3. Manage multiple tasks
  4. Accept constructive feedback and act on that feedback
  5. Be prepared for class

2.       Communicate effectively with peers and instructor

  1. Interact in class and be involved in topics
  2. Listen to gain information
  3. Ask questions
  4. Seek diversity and be considerate of other participants
  5. Use effective conflict resolution strategies when appropriate

WEEKLY ARTICLES  and WEEKLY QUIZES  (Worth 10% of final course grade)

Each student is expected to be prepared for classes.   Homework will also consist of a weekly assignment to hand in one article on the class topic, included with a short personal reflection or summary.  The assignments will be further explained in class.  Please refer to the Course Outline for the classes and topics that will be discussed.  Additionally, one of the requirements of the course is that students take an assessment of the assigned reading before it is covered in class.   There are two  ways each student can choose to do this: 1) Using the Connect Ed/Learn Smart component that comes with the textbook,  or  2) A quiz for each chapter with a 15 question  test which will be administered at the start of class. There can be no make-ups given once the material is covered in class. Each student will be allowed to drop two of the lower scores for the required chapters.

TESTS      (Three Test Grades Will Be Combined and In Total Will Be Worth 40% of final course grade)

There will be three tests major tests during this course.  Each test will measure the student’s mastery of the application/analysis of the topics and concepts of this course. Study guides will be handed out before each test.  There will be no opportunities for make-ups for missed tests without prior notification of the instructor and test arranged to be taken later will be graded down on letter grade.  The student is responsible for making arrangements with the instructor.  A missed exam without prior notification will be counted as an F.

GROUP PROJECT      (Worth 25% of final course grade)

Each student will be part of a group that will plan, research and present a student conducted project on a pre-approved topic.  This is a team project and the groups will be selected by the instructor.   This project will involve each group in a more in-depth learning experience with a specific area of psychology.  The group project will be presented to the class in a Power Point presentation.   The process and standards for this project will be explained in class.

See student handbook for other academic policies.

In order to gain access to final course grades, students must complete evaluations for all courses. Students can now evaluate their SMCC courses online and anonymously by going to Academics on the SMCC homepage and choosing Course Evaluations. This feature is typically available the last two weeks of every class (in most cases, this will be the last two weeks of the semester).  

ADA Syllabus Statement

Southern Maine Community College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and employer. For more information, please call 207-741-5798.

If you have a disabling condition and wish to request accommodations in order to have reasonable access to the programs and services offered by SMCC, you must register with the disability services coordinator, Mark Krogman, who can be reached at 741-5629.  There will be some documentation for your teachers that must be supplied before accommodations can be given.  Further information about services for students with disabilities and the accommodation process is available upon request at this number.


SMCC Pay-for-Print Policy

Students can print 150 pages per semester free of charge. If you print over 150 pages, you will be charged 10 cents per page to your student billing account for tuition and fees.

Leftover pages from each semester will not be rolled over to the following semester.

The College’s pay-for-print system monitors printing on all public printers (i.e. those in general access labs, library printers, the Academic Achievement Center, Noisy Lounge and technology labs). Each time you log-in to the system, the print station displays the remaining print quota. Once the printing quota has been exceeded, users will be charged $ 0.10 per page or $.05 per side if the printer prints on both sides on their student accounts on a monthly basis. Color printouts will be charged at 11 page units. This means each color printout will count as 11 pages toward the quota and will cost $1.10.

Add-Drop Policy

Students who drop a course during the one-week “add/drop” period in the fall and spring semesters and the first three days of summer sessions receive a 100% refund of the tuition and associated fees for that course.  Please note any course that meets for less than the traditional semester length, i.e., 15 weeks, has a pro-rated add/drop period.  There is no refund for non-attendance.

Withdrawal Policy

A student may withdraw from a course only during the semester in which s/he is registered for that course. The withdrawal period is the second through twelfth week of the fall and spring semesters and the second through ninth week of twelve-week summer courses. This period is pro-rated for shorter-length courses.  To withdraw from a course, a student must complete and submit the appropriate course withdrawal form, available at the Enrollment Service Center (no phone calls, please).  The designation “W” will appear on the transcript after a student has officially withdrawn.  A course withdrawal is an uncompleted course and may adversely affect financial aid eligibility.  Failure to attend or ceasing to attend class does not constitute withdrawal from the course.  There is no refund associated with a withdrawal.

AF Administrative Failure

Administrative Failure (a final grade of AF) identifies students who have stopped attending class and who have had no contact with the faculty member for a period during which the class has met three or more times. At  their discretion, faculty may reinstate students who resume attending after the grade has been assigned.

No Show Grade

A student who enrolls in a class, and pays any part of the tuition (even if through pending financial aid or another agency), but doesn't appear in class will receive a grade of WN (no show) on the faculty class list and their transcript. They will receive no reimbursement for the course or fees, the grade will be treated in the same manner as a withdrawal for the purpose of determining the number of credits attempted, and the grade will contribute to any determination of probation or suspension status.

Plagiarism Statement

Adherence to ethical academic standards is obligatory. Cheating is a serious offense, whether it consists of taking credit for work done by another person or doing work for which another person will receive credit. Taking and using the ideas or writings of another person without clearly and fully crediting the source is plagiarism and violates the academic code as well as the Student Code of Conduct. If it is suspected that a student in any course in which s/he is enrolled has knowingly committed such a violation, the faculty member should refer the matter to the College’s Disciplinary Officer and appropriate action will be taken under the Student Code of Conduct. Sanctions may include suspension from the course and a failing grade in the course. Students have the right to appeal these actions to the Disciplinary Committee under the terms outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.