Psychology Course Descriptions

PSY-150 Introduction to Psychology

Psychology is the science of human and animal behavior and mental processes. As a survey course, Introduction to Psychology provides an overview of the methods, terms, theories, and research findings in the field. By understanding principles of psychology, students learn more about themselves, other human and non-human animals, historic and contemporary issues within the discipline and how to think about those issues critically. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-155 Special Topics - Psychology

See department for course description.
Credits: 1.00

PSY-160 Culture & Behavior

The goal of this course is to provide a cross-cultural review of general principles of human psychology. Emphasis is on the organizing syndromes of particular cultures and how these world-views affect an individual's emotions, cognitions and behaviors. Counts toward core requirement: Comparative Cultural or Diverse Perspectives. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-195 Independent Study

See department for details. Independent study contract required.
Credits: 1.00

PSY-202 Health Psychology

This course provides an overview of research, theory, and contemporary issues in the area of health psychology focusing on the ways in which individual factors, interpersonal processes, and larger systems influence the psychological and physical well-being of individuals. Topics include lifestyle factors and theories of health behavior change, stress and coping, help-seeking and healthcare interactions, prevention and intervention strategies, as well as a discussion of pain, injury, and chronic illness. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with minimum grade C. Counts toward core requirement: Civic Engagement and Diverse Perspectives. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-208 Addictions and Society

Addictions and Society takes a historical and interdisciplinary approach to the question of alcohol, substance abuse and the social costs of addiction and use. The course investigates human motives to alter consciousness using classic and modern research in the physiology of addiction, sociocultural risk factors and changing cultural representations of drug use. Also listed as PSJ 208. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-210 Current Issues in Psychology

This is a seminar-style course that varies from one semester to the next. Course themes are selected based on the contemporary issues in the field and the faculty member's area of expertise, interest, and background. Examples of "Current Issues" include: Peoples and Cultures of Hawai'i; The Nature of Self-Concept; Aging; Life-Story Models of Identity; Evolutionary Psychology; and Psychology of Mindfulness. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C; additional prerequisites may apply depending on topic. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. 2-4 credits.
Credits: 2.00

PSY-211 Abnormal Psychology

Students critically explore major categories of disorders, with special emphasis on dissociative identity disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and borderline personality. Questions are raised about the use of psychiatric drugs, and attention is paid to the history of insanity. This course includes both textbook and original readings. Also listed as DS 211. Prerequisites: PSY-150 with a minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-216 Introduction to Psychology of Studying

Students learn the essentials of Cognitive and motivational psychology as they apply to academic engagement. From Cognitive Psychology, students learn about the nature of knowledge acquisition, storage, and retrieval. Topics covered stem from both neuroscience and from traditional psychological research. Additionally, students learn about the psychology of motivation as it applies to academic settings by focusing on optimal ways of fostering healthy achievement motivation. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with minimum grade C. 2 credits.
Credits: 2.00

PSY-225 Comparative Learning & Behavior

The discipline of "learning" stemmed from the Behaviorist and Gestalt Psychological camps during the early development of Psychology. Today, learning includes a broader swath of specialties including: Cognitive, Biological, Educational, Social, and Abnormal Psychology. The systematic study of learning is a comparative branch of Psychology, wherein human and nonhuman animal behavior is investigated. Students complete this courses with a more expansive understanding of semi-permanent changes in human and nonhuman animal behavior and the wide applicability and limited generalizability of those behaviors across species and contexts. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-226 History and Systems of Psychology

Psychology is often discussed as having a long past but a short history. This course investigates the past (early philosophy relevant to the "psych") and the history (the formal establishment and research within the discipline) through the social, political, and historic influences on the science of behavior. The goals of this course are to provide students with a more holistic appreciation and understanding of contemporary psychological theories, and the early foundations of modern psychology. Students consider major theories, emerging research directions and controversies within the specialty disciplines of psychology. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with minimum grade C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-240 Child Development

This course is an introduction to human development with an emphasis on early and middle childhood. Initial discussion focuses on how to best characterize behavioral change over time and the interactive roles of nature and nurture as facilitators of change. Through detailed discussion of theory and research outcomes, students attain a comprehensive understanding of normative trends in physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and personality development coupled with an understanding of the cause of such change. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-252 BIOPSY I: Introduction to Neuroscience

This lab-based course seeks to explain and identify the biological structures of behavior, relating to actions, experience, genetics and phylogeny of the organism. Students learn physiological function and injury through case studies, discussion, video, dissection and lecture. The goals of this course are to provide students with a strong background in neuroscience, neuroanatomy, assessment, and the ability to apply their knowledge to individual trauma case examples. Prerequisite: PSY-150 with a minimum grade of C. BIOL-110, BIOL-224, or BIOL-240 strongly recommended. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-255 Special Topics

See department for course description.
Credits: 1.00

PSY-260 Psychology of Women

This course is a survey of the physiological, emotional, and cognitive aspects of the female experience. Students examine both the similarities and differences between women and men, with an emphasis on experiences unique to women. Cultural expectations are examined particularly those which either overemphasis sex differences or underestimate their psychological and sociocultural value. Prerequisite: PSY 150 or GSS 201 with a minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-261 Psychology of Gender

Psychology of gender will provide students with a survey of psychological research into the effects of gender, gender identity, and gender labels on the cognitive, social, physical states of humans across the lifespan and cultures. The intersection of genders and sexual identities will also be addressed. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. Counts toward core requirement: Diverse Perspectives. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-275 Internship

See department for details. Internship contract required.
Credits: 1.00

PSY-281 Lifespan Development

In this course, students learn the fundamentals of human development from conception to death. Lifespan developmental psychology examines the extent to which genetics (nature) and the environment (nurture) shape who we are as living, thinking, and socializing people. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with minimum grade C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-308 Social Psychology

This course addresses social behavior from the perspective of humans as social agents, how they affect and are affected by others, topics include: perception of persons, affiliation, communication and attitude change, group processes, leadership, intergroup tension, cultural syndromes, and social roles. Prerequisite: Junior standing or above (60 or more completed credits), PSY 348, and PSY 349 both with a minimum grade of C. PSY 350 or SOC 301 are strongly recommended. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-309 Personality Psychology

Students study the grand theories of personality through detailed examination of original writings by Freud, Skinner, R.D. Laing, and Maslow, among others. Students explore the assumptions, logic, and ramifications of psychological theory, and its place in modern experimental psychology. Some critique of psychology as a discipline is included. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above (30 or more completed credits) and PSY 150 with minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-310 Community Psychology

This course will feature relevant theory, research, and practice in community psychology. Students will examine the associations between individual and social/environmental systems, the role of applied and action-oriented research, and use of collaborative practices all aimed at understanding and solving social issues from a strength-based perspective to promote wellness and reduce social inequities.This course includes a student-initiated service learning component. Prerequisite: Junior standing or above (60 or more completed credits) and PSY 150 with minimum grade C. Counts toward core requirement: Civic Engagement and Diverse Perspectives. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-313 Ecopsychology

This course is an overview of psychological research in environmental attitudes, conservation, sustainability, effects of the environment on human behavior and well-being, and how to design and implement programs to promote ecologically aware behaviors. Course will include seminar discussion, travel for field trips, and community-based programming. Also listed as ENV 313. Prerequisite PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-314 Memory and Mind

Students delve into Cognitive Psychology by studying the nature of memory-- a cognitive skill we all take for granted, but that is necessary for our survival. Topics covered include historical perspectives in the study of memory, theories and current research in Information Processing, Mental Representation, and Long-term Declarative Memory Systems, changes in memory abilities over the life-span, and applied issues related to memory (in)accuracy. Through in-class lab exercises, writing and class discussion, students achieve a deep understanding of the nature of cognition and key role that memory plays. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above (30 or more completed credits) and PSY 150 with minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-316 Advanced Psychology of Studying

Students learn the essentials of Cognitive and motivational psychology as they apply to academic engagement. From Cognitive Psychology, students learn about the nature of knowledge acquisition, storage, and retrieval, contrasting "informational processing" and "embodied cognition" perspectives. Topics covered stem from both neuroscience and from traditional psychological research. Additionally, students learn about the psychology of motivation as it applies to academic settings by focusing on optimal ways of fostering healthy achievement motivation. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with minimum grade C. PSY 252 recommended. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-344 Social & Personality Development

Students will learn the essentials of social and personality development. By the end of the course, students will understand the fundamentals of child social cognition, emotional regulation, attachment, and moral as well as gender development. Students will also learn how the contexts of family, school, society, and culture influence the development of sociality and sense of identity. This course is highly recommended for students who are considering careers working with children, adolescents, or both. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with minimum grade C; and PSY 180 or PSY 240 with minimum grade C. PSY 308 recommended. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-345 Children and Violence

In this seminar, students will learn and discuss issues related to children and the culture of violence in which they live. This course will be roughly divided into three sections. Part 1 addresses children as victims of violence, including both direct (physical, sexual) and indirect (witnessing domestic violence) forms; Part 2 examines children as consumers of violence via the media (TV, music, video games, and so forth); and Part 3 investigates children who perpetrate violence ranging from those who bully peers to those with developmental psychopathologies. Although this course is heavily research based, it may be especially valuable to students who are considering careers with at-risk youths. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with minimum grade C; and PSY 180 or PSY 240 with minimum grade C. PSY 308 recommended. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-348 Research Methods in Psychology

This course examines the principles of research design, methodology, and data analysis in psychology. Method and design issues relevant to a wide range of substantive areas in psychology are covered, such as experimental designs, survey research, observational research, and qualitative content analysis. Further, students receive an introduction to data management and analysis, research ethics and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above (30 or more completed credits) and PSY-150 with a minimum grade of C. Corequisite: PSY-349. PSY 348 and PSY 349 must be passed in same semester with a C or better. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-349 Research Methods in Psychology Lab

This course is graded separately, but is a required component of PSY-348 and must be taken concurrently. In this course students work in groups to design studies, collect data, analyze it and present it. This course also focuses on the writing standards in scientific publication and presentation of results. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above (30 or more completed credits) and PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. Corequisite: PSY-348. 2 credits.
Credits: 2.00

PSY-350 Behavioral Statistics

Behavioral statistics provides an introduction to experimental design, descriptive and inferential statistics as well as computer statistical analysis. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above (30 or more completed credits). MATH-165 strongly recommended. Does not meet Social Sciences core requirement (2010 catalog). 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-351 Directed Research in Psychology

Directed Research provides students with the opportunity to participate in an ongoing research project with a psychology faculty member. This opportunity provides practical research experience for business, career development, and graduate school. Research experience at the undergraduate level facilitates a more competitive application for graduate programs and jobs. May not be used as elective credit in Psychology. Instructor's consent required. May be repeated for up to 6 credits total. 1-2 credits.
Credits: 1.00

PSY-352 BIOPSY II: Sensation & Perception

This lab-based course is the second semester of the neuroscience emphasis within the Department of Psychology. Sensation and Perception is the study of how our sensory experience (e.g. vision, taste, smell, hearing, and touch) is translated into a perceptual representation of the world via the central nervous system. Virtually all knowledge of the sensory system is the result of investigation into our nonhuman relatives physiological function; therefore this course integrates both human and nonhuman animal comparative sensory structure and neuroanatomy. The goals of this course are to provide students with the skills and opportunities to conceptually integrate structure and function of the nervous system in an applied way; to further their empirical writing skills, and to explore neuroscience through both a lecture, lab and discussion format. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above (30 or more completed credits ) and PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. BIOL-110, BIOL-224, or BIOL-240 strongly recommended. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-355 Special Topics

See department for course description. Prerequisite: Junior standing or above (60 or more completed credits) and PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C.
Credits: 1.00

PSY-358 Psychology of Ethnic Diversity in US

Psychological theory and research in ethnic identity and ethnicity and their effects on social relationships, well-being, and physical health will be reviewed. Current and classic research on ethnicity, resiliency, cultural, trauma, and family socialization will be discussed. Students will investigate current events and their own personal concepts of ethnic identity. How intersecting identities of race, ethnicity, gender, class and sexuality affect psychosocial adjustment are addressed. Prerequisite: PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. ENGW 201 strongly recommended. Counts toward core requirement: Comparative Cultural or Diverse Perspectives. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-395 Independent Study

See department for details. Independent study contract required.
Credits: 1.00

PSY-416 Cognitive Science

By taking a Cognitive Science perspective to the study of mind and mental experience, students are engaged in understanding how Philosophical, Psychological, Neuroscience, and Computational approaches can intersect, yielding a rich and complex picture of what it means to think, reason, and remember. Students gain a deep appreciation for the complexity of the human mind by going beyond the contribution of a single discipline and by challenging themselves to see connections across traditional academic divides. Prerequisite: Junior standing or above (60 or more completed credits); and PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-420 Special Topics in Psychology

Special Topics is a seminar course focusing on topics of special interest to students and faculty, examples include: Behavioral Endocrinology, Cognition, Evolutional Psychology, Personality, Sociocultural Psychology. Instructor's consent required. May be repeated for credit as topic varies. 2 or 4 credits.
Credits: 2.00

PSY-444 Psychobiography

Psychobiography attempts to understand the form and content of artistic work from the vantage point of the artist's life history. Previous classes have included analyses of artists Diane Arbus, Kathryn Harrison, Sylvia Plath, Picasso, Oscar Wilde, Jackson Pollack, Vladimir Nabokov, Roald Dahl, Jack Kerouac, James Agee, Kurt Cobain, and Truman Capote, among others. Significant use is made of psychological theory as a means of tracing meaningful connections between the life and creative products. Prerequisite: Junior standing or above (60 or more completed credits) and PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-448 Mentoring in Psychology

Advanced psychology students will serve as facilitators and laboratory assistants in psychology classes in which they have previously demonstrated excellence. Mentors attend all classes and co-curricular events and complete all of the readings. Mentors will assist in classroom management, study sessions, and laboratory activities. They will work closely with faculty in developing the means to good mentoring during independent meetings with the professor outside of class. Prerequisite: 15 credits in PSY. Instructor's consent required. May be repeated for credit. 1-4 credits.
Credits: 1.00

PSY-451 Senior Directed Research

This Psychology Capstone course is required of all senior Psychology majors. Students work in research teams on original research, supervised by Psychology Department faculty. As part of the course, students present findings during Pacific's Senior Projects Day, and then, optionally, at a regional conference. Prerequisite: Senior standing (90 or more completed credits) and declared Psychology major. Instructor's consent required. May be repeated for credit. 2-4 credits.
Credits: 2.00

PSY-452 BIOPSY III: Endocrinology

This course concerns the interrelationships among hormones, the brain and behavior in both human and nonhuman animals. The role of hormones in the development and activation of behavior as well as how behavioral interactions regulate endocrine physiology will be examined. A central topic of this course concerns the effects of sex steroid hormones on various reproductive behaviors (e.g. sexual and parental behaviors). Other topics covered include: the endocrine regulation of aggressive behavior, biological rhythms, energy balance, stress, learning, memory, and contemporary topics within endocrinology like hormone replacement therapy and the behavioral effects of endocrine disorders. Prerequisite: Junior standing or above (60 or more completed credits) and PSY 150 with minimum grade of C. 4 credits.
Credits: 4.00

PSY-455 Special Topics

See department for course description. Prerequisite: Junior standing or above (60 or more completed credits) and PSY 150 with a minimum grade of C.
Credits: 1.00

PSY-475 Internship

See department for details. Internship contract required.
Credits: 1.00