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San José State University Department of Psychology General Psychology (Psyc 001) Summer, 2013

Instructors:                        Gregory Feist, PhDa  & Susan Snycerski, PhDb


Office Location:                 DMH 313a, DMH 311b

a                                     b

Telephone:                         (408) 924-5617 , (408) 924-5662


Email:                      ,  susan.snycerski@sjsu.edub


Office Hours:                     By appointment


Class Days/Time:                Online


GE/SJSU Studies

Category:                           GE Area D1 Human Behavior




Course Description


Psychology is a diverse field that seeks to describe, explain, predict, and influence behavior, cognition, emotion, and physiology. As a Social Science, Psychology can offer something of interest to every student, whether one wishes simply to fulfill 3 units of GE credit, to apply the information learned to career objectives, to gain insights into the nature of human experience, to develop understanding of the self and others, or to start on the path to a career in the social and behavioral sciences. This course will cover “the study of perception, attention, learning, remembering, thinking, development of the individual, intelligence, aptitudes, emotion, motivation, adjustment and conflict” (SJSU course catalog)


Each student will have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate a working familiarity with  classical and current methods, theories, and research in each of the major subdivisions of psychology. This opportunity will allow students to develop and demonstrate an understanding of differences in cultural value orientation, social-instructional contextual realities, and personal-situational  construction of everyday life events. This understanding will allow students to evaluate and apply a variety of technical concepts and principles to understanding the behavior of individuals.   Accordingly, students will be encouraged to think critically about the content of this course. Students will gain an understanding of how and why people think, feel, and act as they do in adapting to their everyday environments. Such an understanding should enhance each student’s quality of life, educational experience, personal effectiveness, and sense of fulfillment in matters related to health, work, and interpersonal relationships. Students will have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate proficiency in using the methods, concepts, and principles of psychology in two ways. First, from the perspective of the psychologist as a social scientist who collects, analyzes, and interprets behavioral data. Second, from the perspective of the psychologist as a practitioner who applies the technical concepts and principles to facilitate an understanding of everyday life in contemporary societies, of personal experiences, of self-awareness, and of personal growth.



Course Web Pages


Udacity <u>https://</u>

       This course is entirely online and will be delivered through

       You must enroll with Udacity (free) in addition to enrolling through SJSU.

       Technical  problems?    Visit <u>support</u>


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       We will use Udacity for

o   Delivery of all course content

o   Discussion forums (i.e., posting of comments or questions about the content)

o   Testing

o   Mentoring


CANVAS:  <u></u>

       Canvas will be our learning management system for this class.

       You will automatically be given access to Canvas upon your successful enrollment in the course.

       Answers about Canvas can be found at

       We will use Canvas for… o    Sending messages Posting grades

o   Submission of written work

o   Some testing


GE/SJSU Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:


CLO 1: Students shall be able to identify and analyze the social dimension of society as a context for human life, the processes of social change and social continuity, the role of human agency in those processes, and the forces that engender social cohesion and fragmentation.




This objective is met through material presented in Units 3, 4, 10, and 16,.

General topics addressed: sensing, organizing, identifying, and recognizing; reality, ambiguity, and illusions; sensory knowledge of the world; organizational processes in perception; identification and recognition processes; cognitive development across the lifespan, acquiring language, social development across the lifespan, gender development, moral development, learning to age successfully; constructing social reality, attitudes, attitude change and action, prejudice, social relationships; the power of the situation; roles and rules, social norms, conformity, situational power; atruism and prosocial behavior; aggression, evolutionary perspectives, individual differences, cultural constraints; the psychology of conflict and peace, obedience to authority, the psychology of genocide and war, peace psychology.


<u>Assessment example of a potential writing project for this learning objective</u>: In 1963, Yale psychologist, Dr. Stanley Milgram, conducted a now famous experiment examining obedience to authority. What historical events led Dr. Milgram to study obedience? Describe the methods and procedures of the experiment. What were the independent and dependent variables? Describe the results of the study. What were the main conclusions of the study? How are findings of this experiment relevant today? Grammar, clarity, conciseness and coherence in your writing will be assessed.


<u>Assessment example of a potential exam questions for this learning objective</u>: Jessica’s   friend Angelina performed poorly on her biology exam and Jessica said it was because Angelina was lazy. The next day Jessica performed poorly on her history exam and she said  it was because the professor made the test extremely difficult. In this example, Jessica bias in judgment is termed _____.


CLO 2: Students will be able to place contemporary developments in cultural, historical, environmental, and spatial contexts.


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This objective is met through material presented in Units 1, 2, 9, 14, 15, and 16. General topics addressed: evolution of modern psychology, historical foundations, and current  cultural perspectives; the processs of research, psychological measurements, historical and current ethical issues in human and animal research; analyzing psychological research with descriptive and inferential statistics, becoming a wise consumer of research; intelligence and intelligence assessment, basic features of formal assessment, the origins of intelligence testing, the history and politics of intelligence testing, heredity and IQ, environments and IQ, culture and the validity of IQ tests; the nature of psychological disorders, deciding what is normal, historical perspectives of mental illness, etiology of psychopathology, the stigma of mental illness; the therapeutic context, goals and major therapies, historical and cultural contexts, treatment evaluation and prevention strategies, therapies and brain activity.


<u>Assessment example of writing project for this learning objective:  </u>Students will identify the etiology of one of the following disorders: (a) obsessive-compulsive disorder, (b)   generalized anxiety disorder, (c) bipolor disorder, (d) major depressive disorder, (e) post- traumatic-stress-disorder, (f) autism, and (g) schizophrenic disorder. After identifying the etiology of the disorder, identify the most likely therapies and/or treatments for those disorders that are associated with a psychological perspective of your choice (e.g.,  behavioral, cognitive, etc.). Find at least three peer-reviewed journal articles on the topic and summarize the studies. Be sure to include a one paragraph introduction and one paragraph conclusion. Grammar, clarity, conciseness and coherence in your writing will be assessed.




CLO 3: Students will be able to identify the dynamics of ethnic, cultural, gender/sexual, age-based, class, regional, national, transnational, and global identities and the similarities, differences, linkages, and interactions between them.


This objective is met through Units 3, 8, 10, 11, and 13. General topics addressed: the biological and evolutionary bases of behavior, heredity and behavior, evolution and natural selection, variation in the human genotype, biology and behavior; cognitive processes, studying cognition, discovering the processes of mind, mental processes and mental resources, language use, language production, language understanding, language, thought

and culture, visual cognition, problem solving and reasoning; judgment and decision making; physical development across the life span, cognitive development across the life span, perceiving speck and perceiving words, learning word meanings, acquiring grammar, social development across the life span, gender development, sex and gender, the acquisition of gender roles, gender and cultural perspectives on moral reasoning, learning to age  successfully; functions of motivational concepts, sources of motivation, sexual behaviors, nonhuman sexual behaviors, human sexual arousal and response, the evolution of sexual behaviors, sexual norms, homosexuality, motivation for personal achievement, need to achievement, attributions for success and failure, work and organizational psychology; understanding human personality.


<u>Assessment example of a writing project for this learning objective:  </u>Compare and contrast sex differences and gender differences. Describe how gender roles are acquired and provide an example of how one’s environment might contribute to gender identity. How does biology (genetics) influence gender development? Find at least three peer-reviewed journal articles on the topic and summarize the studies. Be sure to include a one paragraph introduction and one paragraph conclusion. Grammar, clarity, conciseness and coherence in your writing will be assessed.




CLO 4: Students will be able to evaluate social science information, draw on different points of view, and formulate applications appropriate to contemporary social issues.


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This objective is met through material presented in Units 2, 6, 7, 11, and 12, . General topics addressed: analyzing psychological research, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, becoming a wise consumer of statistics; the study of learning, evaluating the effectiveness of different learning procedures, the experimental analysis of behavior, observational learning; basic emotions and culture, functions of emotions, stress of living, physiological stress reactions, psychological stress reactions, coping with stress, health promotion, personality and health, job burnout and the health-care system.


<u>Assessment example of exam question for this learning objective: </u>Although Juanita only received a dummy pill” when she participated in a study examining the effectiveness of a new drug on mood, she reported that she felt her mood improved dramatically after taking the new drug. This is an example of<u>       </u>.


CLO 5: Students will be able to recognize the interactions of social institutions, culture, and environment with the behavior of individuals.


This objective is met through Units 14, 15, and16. General topics addressed: the power of the situation, altruism and prosocial behavior, the psychology of peace and conflict; constructing social reality, attitudes and attitude change, prejudice, social relationships; deciding who is abnormal, the problem of objectivity in defining abnormal behaviors, classifying psychological disorders, the etiology of psychopathology, anxiety disorders (types and causes), mood disorders (types and causes), gender differences in depression, suicide, psychological disorders in childhood, schizophrenic disorders, the stigma of mental illness.


<u>Assessment examples of a writing project for this learning objective:  </u>Describe and provide an example of how one’s culture might help determine whether one has an independent construal of self or an interdependent construal of self. Provide examples of at least three variables based on three peer-reviewed journal articles. Summarize each experiment. Be sure to include a one paragraph introduction and a one paragraph conclusion. Grammar, clarity, conciseness and coherence in your writing will be assessed.


Given what you know about the bystander effect, what happens to the probability of a bystander helping in an accident when the number of bystanders increases? What are some variables that have been shown to counter the bystander effect? Provide examples of at least three variables based on three peer-reviewed journal articles. Summarize each experiment. Be sure to include a one paragraph introduction and a one paragraph conclusion. Grammar, clarity, conciseness and coherence in your writing will be assessed.




NOTE:  There will be a minimum of two writing assignments in this course. These assignments are designed to:

1.     Comply with the University’s General Education course credit writing requirement of a minimum of 1500 words in order to: (a) provide you with practice in writing, (b) provide you with feedback on your writing, and (c) provide you with the opportunity to incorporate the instructor's feedback into your writing assignments.


2.     Help students achieve mastery of various aspects of the five Learning Objectives given above.


How the writing assignments meets number 1, a, b, and c as noted above:

1.  Students will receive their papers back within two weeks after submission (a).

2.  Feedback by the instructor regarding students written work will be provided to the students when papers are returned to them (b).


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3.  Students will be able to incorporate instructor feedback from writing assignments. That is, opportunities to correct written work by following the instructors’ will be provided to students. (c).


How the writing assignments meets number 2 above:

1.  Writing assignments will incorporate material from the five learning objectives by the nature of the topic(s) to be addressed in the writing.

2.  Some writing assignments may cover material germane to more than one objective, whereas other writing assignments may deal with only one objective per assignment.


Program Learning Outcomes (PLO)


Upon successful completion of the psychology major requirements…


       PLO1 Knowledge Base of Psychology Students will be able to identify, describe, and communicate the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.


       PLO2 Research Methods in Psychology Students will be able to design, implement, and communicate basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretations.


       PLO3 Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology Students will be able to use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and a scientific approach to address issues related to behavior and mental processes.


       PLO4 Application of Psychology Students will be able to apply psychological principles to individual, interpersonal, group, and societal issues.


       PLO5 Values in Psychology Students will value empirical evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and recognize their role and responsibility as a member of society.



Required Texts, Readings, and/or Material


There are <u>no</u><u> </u><u>required textbooks </u>for this class.  An online course covers basic information, but cannot cover the material in great depth. Therefore, we do provide a full e-book written by one of your instructors (GJF) at a reduced cost ($70) for SJSU-Udacity students only. This book is optional.


Go  to:  <u></u>

Type in ISBN: 9781121842175

Then follow the prompts for online purchase.


Additionally, some of you may wish to use various free online resources to help supplement the course content.  Here are a few suggestions:


What you will need:

1.     A reliable computer and Internet access.

       Having access to the Internet is your responsibility, so have backup plans in case you have problems with your primary computer.  We will not accept excuses about technology problems as valid, unless the entire university network or the Learning Management System is offline.

2.     A subscription to ProctorU - Included in course fees


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Definition of a Credit Hour


Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.


As an example, the expectation of work for this 10-week, 3-credit course is <u>13.5 hours of student</u> <u>work </u>related to this class each week. Examples of student work include such things as progressing through the Udacity lessons and problem sets, reading psychology-related material, and meaningful participation in online discussions.



“Classroom Protocol


Udacity lessons involve many short videos followed by interactive activities.  To some extent this course is self-paced and will require you to time manage and self-motivate appropriately.  We strongly recommend that you spend some time each day working through the lessons and problem sets.  The worst thing you could do is to wait to complete the entire lesson right before something is due.


Another valuable suggestion is that, as in a normal classroom, you should be actively <u>engaged in</u> <u>taking your own notes while watching the lessons</u>.  While it is true that the videos will remain available for you to review as many times as you require, active note taking will help you internalize the material better.  Also, you’ll be able to use these notes to complete the problems sets and study for the exams.  This will be much more convenient than trying to go back and re-watch the many videos.


Honor Code


(Reference: Academic Integrity Policy at:


In order to ensure fairness and have a single standard of representing knowledge acquired, all students participating in online SJSU courses must agree to abide by the following code of conduct.


1.     My work will be my own in this online course, except where the assignment is to work in groups or teams (we will let you know which assignments allow group work).


2.     I will not give any answers for individually graded homework, quizzes or exams to anyone else.


3.     I will not engage in any other activities that will misrepresent my own work or improve my results falsely. I will not engage in any activities that will misrepresent others’ work.


4.     I will not download, save, or otherwise retain materials from the course for anything but personal use.


Class Environment


In an effort to create an environment conducive to sharing one’s thoughts, we require the following etiquette when engaging in online discussions:

       Be polite and respectful to the other people in the class

       Do not use profanity in posts

Respect for the rights and opinions of others is required. The free and open exchange of ideas is the cornerstone of higher education, but we must always remain respectful of others, even if we disagree strongly with them. Disagreement is acceptable, but discourteousness is not. Behavior that creates a threatening or harassing environment will not be tolerated. Severe and pervasive disruptions of  course activities are a violation of the Student Code of Conduct will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. In short, let’s be cool to one another.


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Recording of Class Materials


Common courtesy and professional behavior dictates that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. <u>You may not make audio or video recordings in this class</u>.  By enrolling in this course you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material.


Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor. You may not publicly share or upload instructor-generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without my consent.



Assignments and Grading Policy


Your grade will be determined by your performance in five categories of the coursework and examination:



Assessment Item and their Value



Assessment Item


How Many?

% of Final Grade

Proctored Exams



Un-proctored  Exams



Problem Sets



Writing Projects




You must receive a 75% correct on the weekly Problem Sets to get credit. Problem Sets are Credit/NoCredit. A letter grade will be assigned based on a standard distribution of points.  Your final grade will be calculated by summing your scores on the above criteria and a letter grade will be assigned based on the following grading distribution. <u>No late problem sets will be accepted, so be</u> <u>sure to plan your time accordingly.</u>


Grading  Distribution


Percent (%)



Percent (%)






























< 60%





Exams: You will have three exams in this class. They will consist of multiple choice questions. The exams are meant to assess your knowledge of the psychological concepts we cover in class. More specifically, there are typically about 15 objectives for each lesson. <u>These learning objectives</u> <u>represent the concepts and abilities you should have mastered by the end of that lesson</u>. Lesson exam questions will be constructed to assess your understanding and/or abilities for each of these objectives.


Each Exam will be available online during a specific window of time using the Canvas or Udacity system.  The exams will be available online on the dates scheduled below and will remain available for no more than a 24-hour period. You cannot use any support material (e.g., books, notes, friends, etc.) when taking the exams. As we noted, the exams are meant to assess how much knowledge you have internalized, not how fast you can look-up the information. To that end, the exams will be timed, requiring you to provide an answer to each question within a certain amount of time. Moreover, while the exams will be available for 24-hours, you must complete the entire exam once


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you begin taking the exam. You will not be allowed to pause the exam or to return to previous portions of the exam once you have begun.


If you cannot take a scheduled exam due to an emergency, you must notify us before the end of the 24-hr exam period. In addition, you must provide written documentation for the reason you could not take the exam. At our discretion, we may allow you to make up the exam, but this is not guaranteed.


Problem Sets: At the end of each lesson, you will complete a Problem Set. These Problem Sets are meant to help you self-assess your knowledge of the concepts covered in each Lesson. All Problem Sets will be multiple-choice and will be based on material in the previous Lesson. You will be  allowed to use notes and other resources (e.g., one of the online textbooks suggested) for the   Problem Sets, but you must answer the questions yourself. You are not allowed to ask anyone else   (in or outside of the class) for the answers. Doing so will be considered academic dishonesty and will be subject you to the sanctions described in the section below titled Academic integrity.”


<u>Late Problem Sets </u>will automatically have <u>50% deducted </u>from them. Problem Sets <u>will not be</u> <u>accepted beyond seven calendar days </u>from their due date unless other arrangements have been made with the instructor.


Writing Projects:  We will discuss the details of these writing projects as their dates grow closer. The research papers will be 750 words in length (typed, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins). Correct grammar, punctuation, and writing style (as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed.) are expected and will represent a portion of your grade on the assignment. You will submit the writing assignments via the Canvas online submission process. All papers will be subject to plagiarism evaluation using The projects must be submitted in MS Word (.doc) or PDF format to earn credit.



University Policies


Dropping and Adding


Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc.  Refer to the current semester’s <u>Catalog Policies </u>section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the <u>current</u> <u>academic calendar </u>web page located at The <u>Late Drop Policy </u>is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes. Information about the latest changes and news is available at the <u>Advising Hub </u>at



Academic integrity


Your commitment as a student to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University The <u>University’s Academic Integrity policy</u>, located at 2.htm, requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The <u>Student</u> <u>Conduct and Ethical Development website </u>is available at


Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified. If you would like to include your assignment or any material you have submitted, or plan to submit for another class, please note that SJSU’s Academic Policy S07-2 requires approval of instructors.


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Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act


If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the <u>Disability Resource Center</u>   (DRC) at to establish a record of their disability.



Resources for Success


SJSU Peer Connections


The Learning Assistance Resource Center (LARC) and the Peer Mentor Program have merged to become Peer Connections.  Peer Connections is the new campus-wide resource for mentoring and tutoring.  Our staff is here to inspire students to develop their potential as independent learners while they learn to successfully navigate through their university experience.  Students are encouraged to take advantage of our services which include course-content based tutoring, enhanced study and time management skills, more effective critical thinking strategies, decision making and problem-solving abilities, and campus resource referrals.


In addition to offering small group, individual, and drop-in tutoring for a number of undergraduate courses, consultation with mentors is available on a drop-in or by appointment basis.   Workshops are offered on a wide variety of topics including preparing for the Writing Skills Test (WST), improving your learning and memory, alleviating procrastination, surviving your first semester at SJSU, and other related topics.  A computer lab and study space are also available for student use in Room 600 of Student Services Center (SSC).


Peer Connections is located in three locations: SSC, Room 600 (10th Street Garage on the corner of 10th and San Fernando Street), at the 1st floor entrance of Clark Hall, and in the Living Learning Center (LLC) in Campus Village Housing Building B.  Visit <u>Peer Connections website </u>at for more information.




SJSU Writing Center


The SJSU Writing Center is located in Room 126 in Clark Hall.  It is staffed by professional instructors and upper-division or graduate-level writing specialists from each of the seven SJSU colleges. Our writing specialists have met a rigorous GPA requirement, and they are well trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers. The <u>Writing Center</u> <u>website </u>is located at



Student Success and Wellness


Attending to your wellness is critical to your success at SJSU. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the workshops and programs offered through various Student Affairs Departments on campus such as Counseling Services, the SJSU Student Health Center/ Wellness & Health Promotion Dept., and Career Center. See or for workshop/events schedule and links to many other services on campus that support your wellness! You may go to to register for any one of the workshops.


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Psyc 001 General Psychology (Summer Session-10 Wk) Course Schedule1






Start Date


Topics, Readings, Assignments


Due Sundays by 11:59 p.m.


June 3

Introduction to Psychology Research Methods in Psychology

Problem Set 1

Problem Set 2


June 10

The Biology of Behavior

Problem Set 3


June 17

Sensation and Perception Human  Development

Problem Set 4

Problem Set 5


June 23 12am

to June -24 11:59pm

Midterm 1 (Lessons 1 5)



Problem Set 6


July 1

Learning Memory

Problem Set 7

Problem Set 8

Writing Project #1


July 8

Language and Thought Intelligence & Creativity

Problem Set 9

Problem Set 10


July 14 12am

to July 15 11:59pm

Proctored Midterm 2 (Lessons 6 10)

Motivation and Emotion


Problem Set 11


July 22

Stress and Health Personality

Problem Set 12

Problem Set 13


July 29

Social Behavior Psychological  Disorders

Problem Set 14

Problem Set 15

Writing Project #2


Aug 5

Treating Psychological Disorders Proctored Final (Lessons 11-16; Aug 8 12am to Aug 9 11:59pm)

Problem Set 16




















1 This schedule is subject to change with fair notice. Notification of changes, if any, will be made via email.


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Psyc 001 General Psychology (Summer 2013) Due Dates (Pacific Coast Time)



Problems sets are all completed and submitted on the Udacity site.  Unless otherwise noted, each problem set must be <u>submitted no later than 11:59 </u>pm  <u>Pacific Coast Time </u>on the date indicated below. Late assignments will be accepted but at a 10%/day penalty.



Due Date


Problem Set(s)


Topics, Readings, Assignments

June 7


Introduction to Psychology


Research Methods in Psychology

June 14


The Biology of Behavior

June 21


Sensation and Perception Human  Development

June 28




Midterm 1 (Lessons 1 5; June 23-24)


July 5





Writing Project #1

July 12


Language & Thought Intelligence & Creativity

July 19




Proctored Exam 2 (Lessons 6 10; July 14-


Motivation and Emotion

July 26


Stress and Health



Aug 2


Social Behavior


Psychological  Disorders

Writing Project #2

Aug 9


Treating Psychological Disorders

Proctored Final (Lessons 11-16; Aug 8-9)