Psy 002, Introductory Psychology, Fall 2007

Instructor:                  Dr. Mark A. Casteel, Associate Professor of Psychology
Office Location:         ISTC Building, Room 210
Office Hours:             Monday & Wednesday, 1:00-2:45 (other times by appointment)
Phone:                       771-4028 (office), 771-8404 (fax)
E-mail address: 
Required Book:      Psychology: Themes & Variations, Briefer Version (7th ed.) , by Wayne Weiten

Click Here for the Textbook Companion Web Site for the 7th edition of the Textbook

- This site provides useful study aids such as a glossary, flashcards, and a practice quiz

Click Here for the Web Site where you can find the Tutorial Quizzes

- You can find the Tutorial Quizzes for each chapter (from which most of the in-class quiz questions will be drawn)

Course Goals

I have four goals for this course. First, by the time you have completed this class, I want you to understand what psychology truly is, including all of the different areas that psychologists study. Although some of you may have a sense of what psychology is all about, many people mistakenly think that all psychologists do is "help people" either through therapy or counseling. While it is true that therapy and counseling are part of psychology, they represent just the tip of the iceberg. Different types of psychologists study many different things, and my guess is that you will be surprised at some of the topics that fall under the heading of "psychology." Second, I want you to understand that psychology is a research science, and to realize that research psychologists test their assumptions using the scientific method (i.e., generating predictions, collecting data, and then seeing if the data supports or refutes the hypothesis). I hope to dispel some of the myths you might have about human behavior and to understand why psychology is more than "common sense." Third, although this class will be fast-paced, I do want it to be fun, enjoyable, and thought-provoking and I want us to have interesting conversations. Above all, I hope to get you to think about what you’re reading and learning. Finally, I hope that you will find some part of this course relevant to your own lives. Although I can't promise that you'll gain any great insights, you will hopefully be armed with more knowledge about psychology than when you started.

Reading the Textbook

Reading the text outside of class is essential for success in this course. Since our in-class time is limited, it will be impossible for us discuss all of the relevant information in each chapter. You will, however, be responsible for the material from each chapter, including the Personal Application and Critical Thinking Application at the end of each chapter. My suggestion is for you to read each chapter before we discuss it in class (if possible) so that you know what questions you want to ask.

Evaluation. Your final grade in the course will be based on the points you accumulate from many different sources: exams, quizzes, test prep quiz, Six-Hour D assignment, Experimental Design assignment, attendance, participation, and extra credit. Each of these sources will be explained below.

A. Exams. All of the exams will consist of multiple choice questions (each question worth 2 points). The first four exams will have approximately 65 questions, while the final exam will be longer. The final exam will not be comprehensive, and will only cover information from Chapters 15 and 13. The exam dates are listed in the Course Outline at the end of this syllabus.

B. Quizzes (100 points possible). (10 points each/lowest quiz dropped). I will administer short (~ 10 questions) chapter quizzes for most chapters we discuss in class. These quizzes will generally be given on the final day we discuss a particular chapter (you will find the specific quiz dates on the Course Outline). The quiz questions are based largely on your textbook readings, and most of them will be taken from the Tutorial Quizzes for each chapter found on our textbook publisher’s website  (see the link above). If you have stayed current with your reading and practiced taking the Tutorial Quizzes before coming to class, you should find these questions fairly easy. I reserve the right, however, to use a couple of questions on each quiz that do not come from the Tutorial Quizzes, just to keep you honest. Unless otherwise announced, there will be 11 quizzes, and your lowest quiz score will be dropped. No make-up quizzes will be given. A missed quiz will count as your lowest score and be dropped.

C. Test Preparation Quiz. On Wednesday, Sept. 12 (five days before the first exam), I will administer a quiz so you can see how prepared you are for the first exam. The types of questions on the quiz will be very similar to the types you will see on the exam, and will give you some idea of what to expect. Your score on the quiz will count, so please come prepared.

D. The Six-Hour D Assignment (15 points) (This assignment must be typed). This assignment is based on a brief article written by Professor Russ Dewey that helps students to understand why the time they spend “studying” may not always be a good predictor of how well they do on a test. Prof. Dewey also discusses more effective ways for students to study for exams. Here are the assignment specifics: (1) Read "The Six Hour D" by Prof. Dewey (go to (2) In one paragraph, please explain how one gets a “six hour D.” (3) In one paragraph, please explain how one avoids a “six hour D.” (4) In one to two paragraphs, discuss your own current study techniques and point out those techniques that are least effective and those that are most effective. (5) In one final paragraph, discuss the changes (if any) you plan to make to your own study techniques after having read this brief article.

E. Experimental Design Assignment (40 points). Below you will find eight hypotheses. Each hypothesis is simply a statement that could be supported by evidence or proven to be false by the evidence. Your task for each assignment is to choose one hypothesis from the list of eight and design an experiment (not a survey, case study, or correlational study) that could test that hypothesis. For each assignment please provide the following information on a double-spaced typed paper: (1) Provide your name and list your specific hypothesis; (2) Provide a description of your experiment (please be as specific as possible about how you will conduct the study, including a description of your participants and your method of choosing them); (3) Specifically list your independent variable as well as the experimental and control conditions of the variable (remember that your independent variable is the thing you think will produce a change in behavior – that is, the “cause” half of the hypothesis); and (4) Mention your dependent variable (remember that the dependent variable is the behavior that you will be measuring – that is, the “effect” half of the hypothesis). ** Note - You may get help from another classmate on this assignment, but if you do, each of you must choose a different hypothesis.

Possible Hypotheses (choose only one). Due date -- start of class on Wednesday, October 3.

1. People in noisy environments are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness.
2. If people are told that an infant is "John," they are more likely to see "him" as bigger and stronger than if the same infant is called
3. Witnesses of simulated crime scenes remember less information if the "robber" has a gun than if he does not.
4. People in a bar will be more likely to leave the bartender tips if the tip jar already has some money in it.
5. Single, elderly individuals are happier if they have a dog or a cat as a pet.
6. Most people who suffer psychological problems become better with therapy.
7. People are less likely to offer help to a stranger if other bystanders are present.
8. Sleep-deprived students are more likely to get lower grades on tests.

F. Attendance (40 points). Attendance is essential to understand the concepts and processes explained in the reading material. Everyone will start off with 40 attendance points. You will be allowed to miss three class periods, for any reason whatsoever, without penalty. Every absence over three will result in the loss of two points per absence. I make no distinction between excused and unexcused absences.

G. Participation (40 points). In order to encourage you to read your textbook in a timely fashion, as well as to make the class more interesting, everyone will receive a participation grade. Your score will be based on your spontaneous questions and comments in class, as well as your ability to answer questions in class. I will often ask specific questions based on the readings in the textbook - if you are staying current with your readings, you should have no problem answering these questions.

H. Extra Credit Web Assignment (10 points).(You may do only one). For extra credit, you may choose to visit a web site from the list found below and en submit a brief paper that answers a series of questions. For this assignment, please address the following issues: (1) Summarize the main points, ideas, and concepts of the web site you visited in your own words (do not quote information from the site); (2) Did the author(s) have sufficient expertise and the necessary credentials to write on the topic?; (3) Was credible and appropriate data and/or sources provided for you to evaluate the information? and (4) What is your overall evaluation of the web site?  Your paper should be at least three double-spaced pages (1 inch margins, 12 point font). All papers are due by the start of class on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

For this assignment, please address the following issues: (1) Summarize the main points, ideas, and concepts of the web site you visited in your own words; (2) Did the author(s) have sufficient expertise and the necessary credentials to write on the topic?; (3) Was credible and appropriate data and/or sources provided for you to evaluate the information? and (4) What is your overall evaluation of the web site?  Your paper should be at least three double-spaced pages (1 inch margins, 12 point font). All papers are due by the start of class on Friday, December 8.

Here is the list of web sites from which you must choose:

The Fifth Flavor Is Umami the "missing" fifth taste? Read an interesting discussion as see what you think.

Evidence for and against ESP This is a great discussion concerning the research and history of ESP. Make sure you visit all 4 links.

The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis An excellent Scientific American article on the topic.

Beck's Cognitive Therapy Learn about Beck's cognitive therapy, and why he broke away from psychoanalysis. A very interesting article.

Attribution Theory This is a great site that explains the process of attribution in a straightforward manner. A student favorite.

Stanford Prison Experiment  Find out about this famous social psych study conducted at Stanford University in the early 70s. Another student favorite.

Social Influence This is another great site about how to influence and be influenced by others. There's a lot of great info here! It's also extremely interesting.

Final Grades: Final grades will be calculated by summing all of the points you have accumulated in the course, and dividing this number by the number of possible points. Grades will be determined using the grading scale listed below. For example, if a student accumulated 863 points out of 1000 possible points, they would have an 86.3%, or a B+. There is no grading on a curve.

92 - 100% of total possible points  = A            76 - 78.5% of total possible points = C+
89 - 91.5% of total possible points = A-           70 - 75.5% of total possible points = C
86 - 88.5% of total possible points = B+          60 - 69.5% of total possible points = D
82 - 85.5% of total possible points = B              0 - 59.5% of total possible points = F
79 - 81.5% of total possible points = B-

Course Policies

Civility Policy: Because the classroom is a community of scholars engaged in the pursuit of knowledge, I fully expect every student in this class student to engage in civil and respectful behavior toward one another, including issues where there may be disagreement. Anyone who disrupts the community by their words or actions will be asked to leave the class.

Cell phones: Please turn off all cell phones by the start of class. If you forget and the phone rings, please turn it off quickly so as not to disrupt the class. If some unique situation requires you to keep you cell phone on, please discuss with me before class begins.

Make-up Exams: The opportunity to make up a missed exam is a privilege, not a right, and will only be considered in cases of extreme unforeseen events. In the case of a serious problem, it is your responsibility to contact me by telephone BEFORE the exam is given. I will generally be in my office from 7:00-7:45 a.m. on the day of exams, so you should call me during these times. If for some reason I do not answer the phone, please leave a message on my voice mail with a number where I can reach you. I will not accept email notifications; you must phone. No make-ups will be allowed without first contacting me.

Late Papers: As a general policy, I do not accept late papers. All written assignments are due at the start of class on their appropriate dates. Students who are ill on the day an assignment is due are still responsible for turning in their assignment by the start of class. You may either have a friend turn in the paper, email it to me, or fax the assignment to me at 771-8404.

Academic Integrity: Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. A University is a community of scholars, and I expect my students to act in ways that uphold the integrity of this community. All University policies regarding academic integrity apply to this course. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. For any material or ideas obtained from other sources, such as the text or things you see on the web, in the library, etc., a source reference must be given. Direct quotes from any source must be identified as such. All exam answers must be your own, and you must not provide any assistance to other students during exams. Any instances of academic dishonesty WILL be pursued following Penn State's policy 49-20. If charged with academic dishonesty, you will receive oral or written notice of the charge by me. You and I will then meet to discuss the charge. If you choose to contest the charge, you have the option of contacting Dr. Joseph McCormick, Director of Academic Affairs and requesting a hearing with the Academic Integrity committee at the campus. Sanctions for breaches of academic dishonesty will typically range from failing an assignment with a score of zero to failing the course, although more harsh sanctions exist for especially severe cases.

Students With Disabilities. Penn State is committed to providing access to a quality education for all students, including those with documented disabilities. If a student has a disability and wishes an accommodation for a course, it is the student's responsibility to obtain a University letter confirming the disability and suggesting appropriate accommodation. This letter can be requested from the York campus Disability Contact Liaison, Dr. Cora Dzubak located at the Learning Center. Students are encouraged to request accommodation early in the semester so that, once identified, reasonable accommodation can be implemented in a timely manner.

Some Useful Hints for Studying.

Below I have posted Chapter Outlines for every chapter we will discuss. These outlines are not comprehension for each entire chapter, but do list the topics that I will discuss during my class lecture. Hopefully, you will find them helpful for organizing your notes for each chapter. Additionally, each chapter includes a Review section and a Practice Test at the end of each that are very useful. Your textbook publisher also offers on-line study aids that accompany the textbook (practice quizzes, flash cards, concept checks) that are very helpful. This web link can also be found on the course on-line syllabus. Finally, if you bought a book that has a CD with it, I urge you to use it. The CD does a nice job of summarizing important concepts. It also provides some self-test quizzes to see how well you understand the material.

Learning Center

There is an excellent Learning Center on campus that I highly recommend. The Learning Center employs tutors who are Penn State York students I have recommended because they did well in this course and are very friendly. Feel free to stop by the Learning Center to request tutoring assistance.

Questions? Still have a question about the course? If so, feel free to email me.

Chapter Outlines: (Click on the link to open the outline as a Microsoft Word document)

Chapter 1 Lecture Outline

Chapter 2 Lecture Outline

Chapter 3 Lecture Outline

Chapter 7 Lecture Outline

Chapter 8 Lecture Outline

Chapter 5 Lecture Outline

Chapter 6 Lecture Outline

Chapter 9 (distributed in class)

Chapter 11 Lecture Outline

Chapter 15 Lecture Outline

Chapter 13 Lecture Outline

Course Outline:  Click here for a pdf file of the day-to-day assigned textbook readings and due dates for exams and quizzes.