Psychology 1001 is the first of a two-part introduction to the discipline of Psychology. These courses work together, but stand alone and can be taken in any order.
The class begins by defining psychology and exploring the methods through which psychologists research psychological phenomena. The techniques of measuring both the observable and the non-observable are discussed. Understanding the scientific and research approaches of psychology lays the groundwork for future discussions of specific studies in the field.
This course also introduces students to the physical brain, including lobes of the brain and major structures. Neuroanatomy and the basic 'layout' of the brain help inform discussions on the connections between brain structure and function.
The course introduces sensation and perception, including the paths through which information enters the brain and how it is eventually analyzed. Memory, learning, and information storage/retrieval are also introduced.
Health Psychology is a course that explores the biological, psychological, and social implications of health and disease. The course emphasizes the use of the biopsychosocial model of disease, acknowledging throughout that illness has biological, psychological, and social components.
Consistent with the biopsychosocial model, the course begins with an overview of the biological experience of illness. Biological concepts discussed include stress and stress reponses, immunity, chronic diseases, and nociception.
The physiological, emotional, and behavioural implications of stress, illness, family-member illness, pain, medical treatment, and disability are discussed.
Social topics discussed include the healthcare system, access to medicine, the physician-patient relationship, adherence to medical advice, and other social determinants of health.
Psychological measurement and individual differences expands on concepts from Research Design and Analysis to further enhance knowledge of research, data collection, data analysis, data confounds, and interpretation.
The course explores scales and scale construction and the analysis of resulting data. Emphasis is placed on ensuring valid and reliable measurements.
A statistical software package (SPSS) is used. Approaches to assessment in various fields of psychology are discussed in depth.
The advanced PNI seminar explores the field of psychoneuroimmunology in depth. The senior seminar consists of readings, student-led discussions, and oral presentations. Students are assigned a general topic, then seek out relevant readings and present summaries of PNI research studies in that subject area. Students are encouraged to find themes in PNI research and critically analyze strengths or potential shortcomings of the research they explore. A key project in the course involves students developing and presenting a mock PNI research proposal to a health funding agency considering allocating a grant.