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PSY 105

Introduction to Psychology – PSY105-Syllabus


Mary Kay McHale            


570-650-0901 NO TEXTING

Office Hours

By Appointment only







Psychology A Concise Introduction; Griggs, Richard A.; Worth Publishers; 10th Edition; 2013.



This course is a survey of the major areas of psychology, including human growth and development, social behavior, perception, the nature of learning, personality, adjustment, mental health, and psychological measurement.


Chapter 1 – The Science of Psychology

After reading and studying Chapter 1, you should be able to:

-Explain how the biological and cognitive research perspectives differ in their explanations of human behavior and mental processing.

-Explain how the behavioral and sociocultural research perspectives differ in their explanations of human behavior and mental processing.

-Describe each of the research methods, and name advantages and disadvantages for each.

-Explain what measures of central tendency and measures of variability tell us about a distribution of scores.

Chapter 2 – Neuroscience

After reading and studying Chapter 2, you should be able to:

-Name the parts of a neuron.

-Explain how the action potential occurs.

-Explain who agonists and antagonists affect neural communication.

-Explain the difference between sensory neurons, motor neurons, and interneurons with respect to location and function.

-Discuss the two main functions of the spinal cord.

-Discuss the functioning of the somatic nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system, and the parasympathetic nervous system.

-Name the elements of the endocrine system and describe the function of each element.

-Contrast the James-Lange Theory, the Cannon-Bard Theory, and the Schlacter & Singer Two-Factor Theory.

-Name the structures of the central core of the brain and describe their functions.

-Name the structures of the limbic system and describe their functions.

-Names the lobes of the cerebral cortex and describe their functions.

-Discuss hemispheric specialization.

-Discuss the five stages of sleep.

-Discuss the need for sleep and dreaming.

Chapter 3 – Sensation and Perception

After reading and studying Chapter 3, you should be able to:

-Discuss the absolute threshold, signal detection theory, the difference threshold, Weber’s Law, Steven’s Power Law, and sensory adaptation.

-Discuss how the amplitude and frequency of waves determine different types of sounds and different types of colors.

-Discuss the path of light through the eye and the structure of the retina.

-Contrast the Trichromatic Theory and the Opponent-Process Theory of color vision.

-Describe the path of sound through the ear.

Chapter 4 – Learning

After reading and studying Chapter 4, you should be able to:

-Identify the elements and procedures of classical conditioning.

-Discuss the learning processes in classical conditioning, including extinction, spontaneous recovery, stimulus generalization, and discrimination.

-Explain Thorndike’s law of effect.

-Identify reinforcers and punishers.

-Identify positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment.

-Distinguish between primary and secondary reinforcers.

-Discuss the general learning processes in operant conditioning, including acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization, and discrimination.

-Identify continuous schedules of reinforcement, partial schedules of reinforcement, fixed-ratio schedules, variable ratio schedules, fixed-interval schedules, and variable-interval schedules.

-Define motivation and contrast drive-reduction theory, incentive theory, and arousal theory.

-Explain the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

-Discuss some element of biological preparedness in learning.

-Discuss latent and observational learning.

Chapter 5 – Memory

After reading and studying Chapter 5, you should be able to:

-Explain the facets of sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.

-Explain how encoding, storage, and retrieval take place.

-Discuss several ways to improve encoding, including mneumonics, the method of loci, the peg-word system, and the spacing effect.

-Explain the various ways in  which information is retrieved.

-Discuss several explanations of forgetting, including encoding failure theory, storage decay theory, interference theory, and cue-dependent theory.

-Explain why the act of remembering is an act of reconstruction.

Chapter 6 – Thinking and Intelligence

After reading and studying Chapter 6, you should be able to:

-Discuss the historical development of intelligence tests, including the contributions of Sir Francis Galton, Alfred Binet, Lewis Terman, and David Wechsler.

-Explain why tests need to be standardized.

-Define reliability and validity and discuss their importance in intelligence testing.

-Discuss theories of intelligence, including the theories of Spearman, Thurstone, Gardner, and Sternberg.

-Discuss the nature vs. nurture controversy as it applies to intelligence.

Chapter 7 – Developmental Psychology

After reading and studying Chapter 7, you should be able to:

-Discuss the three stages of prenatal development.

-Name several teratogens and discuss their effects on the fetus.

-Name and discuss several reflexes of newborns.

-Explain how habituation is used to study infant sensory/perceptual skills.

-Discuss the development of language.

-Name and discuss Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development.

-Name and discuss the three levels of Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral reasoning.

-Explain why an infant’s temperament is important to the process of attachment formation.

-Discuss four parenting styles and their potential impact on children.

Chapter 8 – Personality Theories and Assessment

After reading and studying Chapter 8, you should be able to:

-Discuss the psychoanalytic approach to personality.

-Discuss Freud’s three levels of awareness.

-Discuss Freud’s three-part personality structure.

-Name and discuss several of Freud’s defense mechanisms.

-Discuss Freud’s psychosexual stages of personality development.

-Discuss some criticisms of Freud’s theory.

-Briefly discuss the neo-Fruedian theories of Jung, Adler, and Horney.

-Discuss the Humanistic approach to personality.

-Name and discuss Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

-Discuss Roger’s self-theory.

-Discuss Bandura’s self-system.

-Discuss the big five personality trait dimensions.

-Discuss several objective and projective personality tests, including the MMPI, the Rorschach, and the TAT.

Chapter 9 – Social Psychology

After reading and studying Chapter 9, you should be able to:

-Discuss ways in which others influence our behavior, including why we conform, why we comply, and why we obey.

-Explain the difference between normative social influence and informational social influence.

-Explain how both the door-in-the-face technique and the that’s not all technique involve reciprocity.

-Discuss the bystander effect.

-Explain how groupthink can impair decision making.

-Explain how we make attributions and how we have different biases in the attributions we make for behavior we observe versus our own behavior.

-Explain how out attitudes often determine our behavior and, also, why our attitudes don’t always determine our behavior.

Chapter 10 – Abnormal Psychology

After reading and studying Chapter 10, you should be able to:

-Name the four criteria used by psychologists to decide that behavior is abnormal.

-Discuss how mental disorders are classified in the DSM-IV.

-Explain some negative effects of attaching labels to disorders.

-Define and discuss several anxiety disorders, including specific phobias, social phobias, agoraphobia, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

-Define and discuss several mood disorders, including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

-Discuss the three categories of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

-Discuss some theories as to what causes schizophrenia.

-Explain the difference between biomedical therapy and psychotherapy.

-Discuss the current uses of antidepressant drugs, antianxiety drugs, antipsychotic drugs, ECT, and psychosurgery.



Attendance Policy:

Students enrolled in credit-bearing courses at Lackawanna College will fail any course(s) in which they accumulate absences beyond the maximum number allowed. This pertains to online classes as well. Attendance is tracked by instructors, so be sure to log on and adhere to the following scale:

# of Times Class Meets

Maximum # of Absences Allowed

3 times a week


2 times a week 4


1 time a week 2


Developmental Classes

DE 010, DE 020, DE 030


Withdrawal Policy:

A student has the privilege of withdrawing from any courses or from the College itself without academic penalty up to and including the final date for withdrawal indicated on the College calendar.

To withdraw officially from a course or from the College, a student must obtain the proper withdrawal form from the Student Affairs Office or from your Center Director, complete this form and submit it to the Registrar's Office before the final day for withdrawal without academic penalty as indicated on the College calendar. If a student should stop attending or never attend an enrolled class or classes without officially withdrawing prior to the last day to withdraw without academic penalty, the student will receive a grade of F* (Failure) in these courses. No exceptions will be made.

Students who violate the College's Academic Integrity Policy and fail a course in consequence may not exercise the withdrawal privilege in that particular course.

Financial obligations to the College will be determined according to the Refund Policy.

Instructor Policies

There is no “extra credit” so please don’t ask.

Your final grade in this course will not be changed unless a clerical error has been made.



Letter Grade

Numeric Range

Quality Points


96 – 100



90 – 95



87 – 89



83 – 86



80 – 82



77 – 79



73 – 76



70 – 72



67 – 69



60 – 66



0 – 59


Academic Integrity

 Academic dishonesty in any form, such as plagiarism and cheating, will not be tolerated. Sanctions will include an automatic F for plagiarism, but the severity or frequency of the violation may result in dismissal from the College as well. Please see the Student Handbook for a complete explanation.

The following are among the forms of dishonesty for which sanctions may be applied:

  • Using books, notes or other materials during an examination, unless expressly permitted;
  • Using purchased essays, term papers or preparatory research for such papers;
  • Copying others' work or engaging in unauthorized cooperation during an assignment or examination;
  • Allowing another student to copy from an examination or other assignment intended to be performed independently;
  • Borrowing from published works, whether material is taken verbatim or with minor alterations, without proper and/or sufficient acknowledgment;
  • Submitting as one’s own work originally done by someone else;
  • Submitting the same written report in more than one course without prior approval from the instructor(s) involved;
  • Stealing examinations or assignments;
  • Supplying or selling examinations or assignments;
  • Misrepresenting statements concerning work submitted;
  • Falsifying or fabricating experimental data or results;
  • Falsifying or fabricating the need for extensions on papers or make-up examinations.

(Please see student handbook for more information)

Disability Statement

§  Lackawanna College is an Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity institution.  Students with disabilities and other needs should feel free to contact the instructor privately if there are services and adaptations which can be made to accommodate specific needs.  Students who are having difficulties with class material are strongly advised to seek assistance in the reading and writing lab.  If you feel that

                you have a disability that has not been formally documented, you may meet with Ms.

 Deborah Hartzell in the academic development office to discuss your options.

Equal Opportunity Statement:

  • Lackawanna College will not discriminate in its educational programs, activities or employment practices based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, ancestry, union membership or any other legally protected classification.  Announcement of this policy is in accordance with State law, including the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and with Federal law, including Titles VI and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503  and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the  Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Inquires should be directed to Anita Cola,   

Affirmative Action Officer 570- 961-7815 or Or Dan  LaMagna, Affirmative Action Officer 570-504-1579 or

Portfolio and Coursework

Lackawanna College will empower you to experience learning by inspiring your critical thinking, accessing your talents and skills, motivating you toward a career choice, and encouraging you to make a difference. In evidence of this learning, the College requires a graduation portfolio containing Career Documents, including a résumé, two letters of recommendation, and a career exploration; Core Coursework, including a research paper from College Writing; three sample papers or projects from Major Coursework; and a Lackawanna College Reflection Pap
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