PS101 Introduction to Psychology

for SP 2009

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PS 101 Introduction to Psychology


SP 2009 HOB


Sympson, Susie


Asst Professor of Psychology/Adjunct Faculty


Ph.D. Clinical Psychology University of Kansas

Daytime Phone

913-469-8500 x2794   voicemail:x6425


Semester Dates

Jan 13-May-6

Class Days


Class Time

2:25 - 5:15 PM

Credit Hours



Plotnik, R, & Kouyoumdjian, H. (2008)  Introduction to Psychology, 8th Ed. Wadsworth:

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

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Course Description:
PS 101 Introduction to Psychology: (MGE) A survey of the assumptions, history, methods, and techniques of psychology. A presentation of representative theory and reseach in the areas of consciousness, learning, motivation, cognition, personality and social behavior. 3:0:3
      The primary objective of all introductory psychology courses is to introduce and explore the subject matter in the many diverse branches of psychology. You will become familiar with the historical developments, the vocabulary, basic facts, and the concepts of the field. This course will provide a beginning knowledge base of modern psychology as a rigorous science based on extensive theory and research. You will learn and (hopefully) come to appreciate how psychologists conduct research, gather data, and analyze and interpret experimental findings.

A particular goal of this class is to emphasize the development of critical thinking skills and to prepare you to be a cautious and analytical consumer of information. Psychology addresses many important and controversial issues; many in the field disagree both on which questions are appropriate and what kinds of answers are sought. As you progress through the course, you should become an active questioner as you begin to understand arguments on both sides of issues, identify basic assumptions underlying conclusions, and recognize what constitutes sound reasoning and evidence. 

          I also hope that you will come to appreciate the individual dimension of psychology and derive personal benefits from the class. By applying psychological insights to issues in your own life, you can increase your understanding and acceptance of yourself and others. Ideally, you will gain something from this class that will enrich your personal relationships, lead to personal growth, and add to your success both as a person and in your chosen occupation.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Define and apply basic psychological vocabulary.
  2. Critically analyze psychological concepts, theories and ethical issues.
  3. Apply psychological concepts to one's life and circumstances.
  4. Identify representative theories in the areas of learning, motivation, cognition, personality, social influence, abnormal behavior and multicultural issues.
  5. Effectively gather, evaluate, and communicate about psychological issues present in the popular media and scholarly publications.
  6. Identify the basic assumptions, history, methods, and techniques of psychology.

Core Assessment:

PS 101 Introduction to Psychology

Position Paper- Controversial Topic

The purpose of this critical thinking assignment is to examine both sides of a controversial issue, select a position, apply it to a multicultural context, and to apply the Park University General Education literacies:  aesthetic, civic, critical, science, and values. Two of these literacies (critical and values) are perceived to cut across disciplines and departments, while the other three (aesthetic, civic, and scientific) literacies address major academic concerns.  Students with these literacies should be able to succeed in communicating, computing and problem-solving, clarifying values, using the arts, functioning within social institutions, and using the sciences and technology.



  • Selection of a controversial topic
  • Descriptions of both sides with a personal position.
  • Application to a multicultural context and the Park University literacies.
  • Utilizes a minimum of 2 sources (one for the pro perspective and one for the con perspective of the controversial issue.
  • Paper should be organized and presented according to the sections presented in the assignment instructions.
  • Text body should be no less than 3 pages.
  • References should be formatted in a standardized form, e.g., APA.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

   Students are responsible for reading the assigned text chapters outside of class. While some overlap between the book and lectures is inevitable, lecture material will NOT come directly from your text. Any questions you have over material in the text should be brought up in class. You are expected to attend classes, take notes, and participate in class discussions and demonstrations. An outline of each class lecture is posted with the syllabus. You should download and print these out to bring to class. This will make notetaking much easier for you. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to borrow notes from a classmate.  
   While I will not assign specific points for attendance and participation, occasional "surprise" credit will be awarded for in-class projects or quizzes.  These will not be announced and CANNOT be made up for any reason. These points often make a big difference on final grades.
Grades will be assigned according to overall points received from Take-home tests, exams, class points, and written assignments.


      Four section tests will be given during the semester. They will cover the assigned readings from the text, lectures, films and videos, as well as class discussions and demonstrations. Approximately 40% of the test will come from the book and 60% from class lectures and events. Exams will consist of multiple choice and short essay questions. Each exam will be worth 60 points. Students are expected to take all exams on the day they are given. Any unavoidable conflict needs to be arranged with me prior to the scheduled exam dateThere will be no make-up exams unless arrangements are made beforehand or emergency situations arise!!!! 
      Two take-home quizzes on specific chapters will also be given. All of the material will come from the book chapters and students are allowed to work on the take home tests in groups outside of class. Material from these tests will not be covered on the final. Each quiz is worth 25 points.

Written Projects:

 Each student must complete two written papers during the semester. The 1st paper is the position paper detailed above and will be worth 75 points each.  The second paper is an application paper and you will have your choice of 5 options and will be worth 25 points. A separate handout describing each option in detail is attached below (Application paper handout). Due dates are listed on the class assignment schedule below.
               4 Exams (in class)           @ 60 points each        = 240 points
               2 Take-Home Quizzes    @ 25 points                 =   50 points
                  Position Paper              @ 75 points          
                  Application Paper         @ 25 points
                                                                                             = 100 points
               Misc Class points                                                =   15 points 
                                                                                   Total = 405 points                                                      
     Grading Criteria: A = 100 - 90%, B = 89 - 80%, C = 79 -70%, D = 69 -60%, F =<59%

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Points will be deducted from your grade for each class period after the original due date. No work will be accepted after he final class period.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

         Students are expected to attend all classes (arriving on time and remaining for the duration) prepared to take notes and participate in class discussions.  You are encouraged to voice your opinions and are expected to show respect to your classmates. While I expect and encourage debate and differences of opinion, I demand a courteous and respectful atmosphere where everyone feels safe voicing their views.
       Due to the proliferation of cell phones and other electronics and their advanced technology, it is necessary to restrict there use in the classroom. Cell phones, I-pods, PDAs, etc are to be turned off and kept out of view in the classroom. If this rule is not followed and a phone does ring, the owner will bring treats for the entire class the following period.


Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Tentative Class Schedule

 Date                             Assignment—Chapters should be read before class on the dates below.          

 January       13           Intro and administrative stuff
                                     --Chap 1-History & Psychological Perspectives 
                     20-          --Chap 2  Research Methods
                                     --Chap 4 Neuroanatomy   
                     27            --Chap 3 Neurotransmission
                                     --Chap 7 Sleep and Dreams
February      3             --Chap 8 Drugs and Hypnosis
                                       Exam I
                     10            --Chap 5  Sensation
                                     --Chap 6 Perception 
                     17            --Chap 9 &10 Learning
                     24            --Chap 11&12 Memory 
March            3            Exam II
                                     Position Paper Du
                     10            Spring Break--No Class!!!!
                     17            Chap13 & 14 Take Home Test Due
                                     Chap 15 Emotion
                                     Chap 16 Motivation 
                     24            Chap 16 Motivation & Sexuality  
                                     Chap 17 & 18 Developmental Psychology
                     31            Chap 17 & 18 Developmental Psychology
April               7            Chap 19 & 20 Personality                                   
                     14            Exam III
                                     Chap 22 & 23 Psychological Disorders
                     21            Chap 24 Treatment and Therapies
                                     Application Paper Due  
                     28            Chap 25-Social Psychology
                                     Chapter 21 Take-Home Test Due  
May               5            Final Exam  



Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:
The syllabus for the semester is flexible and subject to change. This is a tentative class schedule; circumstances may warrant adjustments in material covered and dates of exams. Any and all changes will be announced in class and supercede this document. Regular attendance will assure that you are informed of all relevant changes (including test times).

      Finally, I am here to help you succeed. Please let me know of any problems you are having or any suggestions you may have for the class. I am always willing to listen to anything you might have to say, but is is your responsibility to approach me. 

Section 1  Lecture outlines

Section 2 Outlines

Section 3 Outlines

Section 4 Outlines

Application paper Handout


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
Analysis & Evaluation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
There are more than 2 distinct descriptive statements and 1 distinct statement of evaluation for each side

There are 2 distinct descriptive statements and 1 distinct statement of evaluation for each side

There are fewer than 2 distinct descriptive statements and 1 distinct statement of evaluation for each side

No literacy application errors and no multicultural application error

No literacy application errors, e.g., student correctly applies the topic to the literacies of: critical thinking, science, civic, and values

Literacy application error(s)

Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Position paper contains all of the components and formatted in correct APA style

Position paper contains the following components: an introduction, topic position descriptions, personal position with explanation, multicultural application, application to four literacies, a conclusion, reference page

Position paper has a component error or writing errors that are distracting



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Last Updated:1/8/2009 8:59:08 AM