General Psychology


General Psychology – PSYC 131

Lewis and Clark Community College

Fall 2010


INSTRUCTOR:  Tina Schickedanz, Ed.S.




OFFICE HOURS:  By appointment



                                            Caldwell Hall 5309

                                            (618) 468-4701

 Course Description: PSYC 131 GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY (IAI: S6 900 and SPE 912)
Introduces the concepts, principles, and research methods of psychological investigation. Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. The interaction of biological, sociocultural, and cognitive forces that shape personality, emotions, motivation, and social interaction over the life span is emphasized. Other topics include memory, intelligence, states of consciousness, stress, and psychological disorders. Prerequisite: None. (PCS 1.1, 3 credit hours: 3 hours lecture, 0 hours lab

Course Objectives:Upon successful completion of the course, a student should be able to:

1.         Demonstrate an understanding of research methods used in psychology.

2.         Describe the interrelationship between behavior and physiology.

3.         Describe the major themes and theories of development from biological, sociocultural, socio-emotional, and cognitive perspectives.

4.         Describe waking states of consciousness and altered states of consciousness.

5.         Describe the nature and theories of personality, including emotions, motivation, and social  interactions.

6.         Demonstrate an understanding of the causes, treatments, and consequences of maladaptive  behavior.  

Textbook: Discovering Psychology,   Hockenbury and Hockenbury, 4th  edition, 2007. 

Course Policies:

Attendance Policy – Lewis and Clark Community College expects students to attend class.  Your presence is important to your success.  Attendance allows you not only to enhance your learning, but also to contribute to the learning of your fellow students.  You may miss 2 classes without affecting your grade.  Once you miss three classes, your final course grade drops by one letter grade for every two classes missed.  Additionally, two or more late arrivals to class or early departures will count against you as an absence.  If you are not present when attendance is taken, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are marked present.    If you miss a pop quiz or written in-class assignment for any reason – it cannot be made up.

Student Responsibility – You are responsible for the material that you miss.  If you miss a class period contact a fellow student to find out what you missed.   Make- up Exams – In general, exams cannot be “made up”.  If you miss an exam without contacting the professor prior to the exam, you will not be allowed to “make it up”.  If you contact the professor prior to the exam, she will use her discretion in these circumstances. 

Late Work – Late work will not be accepted if turned in past the deadline.  If your work is not completed at class time, or you are not in class, your work will not be accepted. 

Academic Honesty – Assignments that have been copied from another student or another source will not be scored.  “Academic dishonesty including, but not limited to cheating, plagiarism and forgery violates the Student Conduct Code and will lead to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion” (2009-2010 LCCC Catalog, pp. 15-16 or 2010-2011 online catalog under Student Conduct Code).  The following website will give you in-depth information on the definition of plagiarism and more.  

Accommodation – If you need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, please inform me as soon as possible.  An appointment will be arranged where we will discuss the course format, anticipate your needs and explore potential accommodations.  I rely on Mary Hough, the Special Learning Needs Counselor, for assistance in verifying the need for accommodations and accommodation strategies.  If you have not previously contacted her, I encourage you to do so at 468-4128 or 468-4121. 


Participation – This course is designed to allow for class participation.  It is important that you participate constructively and show respect for your fellow students.  Much of the learning that takes place in this class will involve students learning from one another, which cannot happen unless you participate.  Sleeping and/or texting in class is inappropriate; it communicates disinterest in the subject and disrespect for those around you.  

Preparation for Class – This class demands a great deal of reading. Class discussion does not take the place of reading the textbook.   The class moves at a very quick pace.  If you don’t keep up with your reading and come to class prepared, it will be much more difficult for you.   

Classroom Distractions – In order for the most effective learning environment to be created, students are expected to minimize distractions as much as possible.  Cell phones, pagers, ipods, blackberries and other electronic devices should be turned off before class starts.  Children are not allowed in the classroom because they can create a distraction and some material discussed may not be appropriate for them.  Side comments and conversations should be kept to an absolute minimum because they are very distracting for the professor and for other students. 

Asking Questions and Seeking Assistance – The professor’s role in this class is to help you learn and support your educational process.  Please feel welcome to ask or e-mail questions or concerns. Questions are expected and welcomed. Please let me know if you are having difficulty with a concept or a topic, I cannot help if I am not aware. 


  • There will be a quiz at the beginning of each class worth between 10-15 points. The quiz will be over material covered the previous week.   

  • There will be a cumulative final exam worth 100 points.

  • Periodic assignments will account for 150-200 points.  The assignments may include reaction papers, article reviews, and in-class activities.

  • Class participation will be worth 50 points.

Grades will be determined by dividing the total number of points earned by the total number of points possible.  Grades will be assigned on the following percentages:


100 % - 90 %    =   A

 89 % - 80 %     =   B

 79 % - 70 %     =   C

 69 % - 60 %     =   D

 Below 60 %     =  F

Course Content and Tentative Schedule 

Week of      Topic                                                          Reading 

8/25, 9/1               Introductions and Overview of Psychology                        Chap. 1                   

Learning Objectives:

1.        Describe the major fields of psychology including developmental, physiological, experimental, personality, clinical and counseling, social, and industrial/organization psychology.

2.        Identify the founder of psychology and significant dates in psychology’s history.

3.        Summarize the goals of psychology.

4.        Describe the steps of the scientific method.

5.        Describe possible careers in psychology.

9/8                 Methods of Research & Neuroscience and Behavior              Chap. 1 & 2

Nature vs. Nurture Paper due – No quiz     

Learning Objectives:

1.       Distinguish between the basic methods used by psychologists to gather information about behavior. Identify the situations in which each of the methods would be appropriate.

2.       Describe the importance of sampling related to issues of gender, race, and culture in research.

3.        Describe the various structural parts of the neuron and how each part functions.

4.        Explain how neurons communicate. Identify the roles of neurotransmitters and receptors. Describe the effects of drugs on the synapse.

5.        Describe the divisions and structures of the brain, and explain the role of each.

9/15                Neuroscience and Behavior                                                          Chap. 2                

Learning Objectives:

1.        Identify the functions of the sensory and motor projection areas. Describe the abilities of the two hemispheres of the cerebral cortex. Describe the structure and function of reticular formation, limbic system, and spinal cord.

2.        Identify the divisions of the peripheral nervous system, and the autonomic nervous system, and explain how they work together to regulate the glands and smooth muscles of the body.

3.        Describe the functions of the endocrine system. Explain how hormones released by the endocrine system affect metabolism, blood-sugar level, sex characteristics, and the body’s reaction to stress.  

9/22                Consciousness                                                                                 Chap. 4 

Learning Objectives:

1.        Describe the stages of sleep and dreaming.

2.        Explain the theories of the nature and content of dreams.

3.        Define the sleep disorders of insomnia, narcolepsy, and apnea.

4.        Explain the difference between substance abuse and substance dependence.

5.        Explain the effect of depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens.

6.        Explain the biological, psychological, social and cultural factors related to addiction.  

9/29                Learning                                                                                           Chap. 5           

Learning Objectives:

1.        Define learning.

2.        Distinguish between classical and operant conditioning.

3.        Define: unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response.

4.        Describe Pavlov’s and Watson’s research.

5.        Describe the experiment with little Albert. Describe desensitization therapy.

6.        Explain these processes: extinction, spontaneous recovery, inhibition, stimulus generalization, discrimination, and shaping. 

10/6                Learning (Continued)                                                                   Chap. 5     

Learning Objectives:

1.        Explain the principle of reinforcement. Define primary reinforcer and secondary reinforcer, and give examples of each.

2.        Explain the effects of delay of reinforcement.

3.        Identify the four schedules of reinforcement and the pattern of response associated with each.

4.        Define positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and avoidance training.

5.        Distinguish between cognitive learning and traditional theories of conditioning. Explain contingency theory.

6.        Describe the contributions of Thorndike, Skinner, and Bandura to the field of learning. 

10/13                  Lifespan Development                                                                   Chap. 9    

Psychological Disorder Paper due – No quiz   

Learning Objectives:

1.        Describe the methods of study in developmental psychology.

2.        Describe the 3 stages of prenatal development.

3.        Describe the reflexes in an infant.

4.        Describe the child’s perceptual abilities.

10/20              Lifespan Development (Continued)                                            Chap. 9             

Learning Objectives

1.        What are the four stages of Piaget's theory of cognitive development?

2.        Trace language development from infancy through age 5 or 6.

3.        Explain the importance of secure attachments between a caregiver and child.

4.        Define socialization and discuss its importance in development. 

10/27              Lifespan Development (Continued)                                            Chap. 9                

Learning Objectives

1.        Summarize the important physical and cognitive changes that the adolescent undergoes during puberty.

2.        Describe the imaginary audience and the personal fable.

3.        Describe the issues surrounding identity formation.

4.        Discuss these problems of adolescence: self-esteem, depression, suicide, and eating disorders.

5.        Describe the process and implications of finding a life partner.

6.        Discuss the career-related issues for adults.

7.        Describe the personality and physical changes that occur in middle adulthood.

8.        Describe the physical, social, and cognitive changes in late adulthood.

9.        Identify Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' five sequential stages through which people pass as they react to their own impending death. 

11/3               Personality                                                                                        Chap.10                                                                                                                           

Learning Objectives:

1.        Define personality.

2.        Summarize the interaction of elements of personality according to Freud's theory: id, ego, and superego. Identify Freud's five stages of psychosexual development.

3.    Differentiate between the theories of Jung, Adler, and Horney. Identify what these theories have in common.  

11/10              Personality  (Continued)                                                 Chap. 10                         

Learning Objectives:

1.    Identify Erik Erikson's eight stages of personality development.

2.     Contrast Carl Rogers' humanistic theory with Freudian theory.

3.     Explain trait theory.

4.     Describe the Big 5 personality traits.  

5.    Describe tools psychologists use to measure personality.

11/17             Psychological Disorders                                                               Chap. 13

Learning Objectives:

1.        Summarize historical attitudes toward abnormal behavior.

2.        State the four current models of abnormal behavior and explain the diathesis-stress model. Explain how the DSM-IV-TR classifies mental disorders.

3.        Distinguish between the depression and bipolar disorder.

4.        Describe the anxiety disorders.   

11/24              No Class 

12/1                Disorders (Continued)                                                                  Chap. 13 

Learning Objectives:

1.        Characterize the dissociative disorders, ie. dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, and dissociative identity disorder.

2.        Define personality disorders. Describe four kinds of personality disorders.

12/8               Disorders (Continued)                                                                  Ch. 13                       

Learning Objectives:

1.         Describe schizophrenia and identify correlated factors of the disorder.

2.      Describe ADHD and autism.

12/15                          Cumulative Final Exam         

12/17                          Last Day of the Semester