banner USF Home College of Arts & Sciences OASIS myUSF USF A-Z Index

USF Home > College of Arts and Sciences > Department of Psychology

PSY4931 - Selected Topics in Psychology

Important: Some Selected Topics courses require the successful completion of Research Methods in Psychology, PSY 3213. Check the individual course descriptions for details.


Discovering Research in Psychology (Fall 2015, PSY 4215)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Judith B. Bryant
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30pm to 1:45pm
Location: PCD 2118

Course Description

In this course we will explore the science of psychology. The course is designed to stimulate your interest in becoming an active participant in the research process, provide basic research skills, and assist you in finding a research placement. It also aims to familiarize you with some of the kinds of research that faculty and students in the Psychology Department conduct and how and why you might become involved. A third objective of the course is to help you decide whether you wish to conduct research in the Department of Psychology and, if so, facilitate your involvement. This course will also help you decide whether to apply to the department’s Honors Program and ultimately apply to graduate school for a research-related degree. Students who successfully complete this class will be eligible to apply for the department’s Honors Program.

The course will focus on three broad themes: the people, problems, and processes of research. You will learn what kinds of individuals are involved in research, the skills and characteristics they bring to the research endeavor, their professional training, and how they became involved in research. With respect to problems, you will learn about the range of topics often encountered in psychological research. You will also consider the personal and scholarly challenges researchers face in addressing their questions of interest. Finally, you will consider how to identify a good problem, frame a research question, and design a strategy to try to answer the question. In doing so, you will see how systematic inquiry occurs in psychology and be exposed to some methods used for conducting psychological research and how they yield knowledge. As part of the course you will also learn how to analyze research information critically.

Participants will hear presentations by some of the Psychology Department’s most outstanding faculty and student researchers and may take field trips to research sites. To prepare for these classes, you will read journal articles by the researchers and review the researchers’ curriculum vitae (academic resumes). You will also read scholars’ accounts of how they became involved in research. You will reflect on, discuss, and write about these presentations and readings. In addition, you will gain experience in some parts of the research process (e.g., dealing with ethical considerations). Finally, you will explore options for becoming involved in research yourself.

Requirements typically include active participation in the class, short papers about presentations and readings, introductions of and questions for presenters, research brain teasers, a research ethics project, a library resources project, a curriculum vitae and personal statement project, a project discussing possible research placements, and a final exam.

Prerequisites

Selection Criteria

  • Introduction to Psychological Science and Research Methods with grades of B or better,
  • major GPA (including all attempts) of 3.5 or better,
  • overall GPA of 3.25 or better,
  • interest in learning about the research process,
  • and consent of instructor.

Exceptions may be made for students entering USF in summer or fall 2015 from another college or university.

Recommended Criteria

  • strong writing and analytic skills,
  • an interest in becoming involved in research in psychology,
  • intent to graduate no earlier than December 2016 to leave open the possibility of applying to the 2016 Psychology Department Honors Program

How to Enroll

First, complete the online permission to register form found on the Psychology Department website http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit.aspx. Next, please send Dr. Bryant an e-mail judithbryant@usf.edu explaining why you think this would be a useful class and how you meet the selection criteria.


course list



Assessment Centers (Fall 2015, CRN# 92263, PSY 4931-015)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Walter Borman
Time: Mondays, 11:00am to 1:45pm
Location: PCD 2125

Course Description

We have up to three slots open for undergraduate students to enroll in this graduate course. All students will be assigned a wide range of readings on this topic. The articles and chapters assigned will cover such areas as the predictive and construct validity of assessment centers, process research in centers, recent introduction of task based and mixed model assessment centers, assessment center practices, and “low-fidelity” assessment. Students will also receive a briefing on an operational assessment program and discuss with center administrators practical aspects of the assessment process.

Class periods will consist of student teams delivering presentations of the week’s readings and leading a discussion of questions prepared ahead of class regarding the readings. Each team can expect to lead about four times during the semester. Also, a paper is due the Wednesday of finals week. It will be your choice of an integrative summary of one of the week’s topics or a brief research proposal.

Prerequisites

Successful completion of a Statistics or Research Methods course (e.g., PSY 3213).

How to Enroll

No advance permission or course permit is required for students who have successfully completed PSY 3213 with a C or better. However, contact Dr. Borman at wborman@usf.edu (or wally.borman@pdri.com) before signing up to inform him of your plans to enroll.


course list



Abnormal Child Psychology (Fall 2015, CRN# 82051, PSY 4931-003)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Vicky Phares
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00am to 9:15am
Location: FAH 101

Course Description

The course focuses on the integration of theory, etiology, research, treatment, and prevention of developmental psychopathology. In addition to learning about specific types of abnormal behavior that infants, children, and adolescents experience, the course will also explore how to assess these problems, how to treat these problems, and how to work toward prevention of these problems. We explore many problems in youth, including but not limited to Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, the Autism Spectrum, Substance Abuse/Dependence, Eating Disorders, Learning Disorders, Developmental Delays, and Health-Related Problems. We also explore factors that put youth at risk for these problems as well as factors that seem to protect youth from developing these problems. Throughout the course, discussions will include a focus on ethical considerations while working with children, adolescents, and families. In keeping with a focus on the context of children’s and adolescents’ emotional/behavioral problems, issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status will be considered throughout the course material.

Whereas most courses in Abnormal Psychology (CLP 4143) spend a week or two on childhood-related disorders, this course devotes the entire semester to such issues. Therefore, you are welcome to take the course whether or not you have already taken Abnormal Psychology.

Prerequisites

PSY 3213 - Research Methods in Psychology

How to Enroll

No advance permission or course permit is required.


course list



Judgment and Decision Making (Fall 2015, CRN# 89790, PSY 4931-013)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Sandra Schneider
Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00pm to 3:15pm
Location: PCD 2124

Course Description

This course provides a broad perspective for understanding and improving human judgment and decision making based on theoretical and empirical advances in the field. The course focuses on the interplay between motivational and cognitive processes that influence the quality of our judgments and decisions. Topics include how we recognize and evaluate situations, how we deal with risk and uncertainty, influences from our previous experiences and our desires, and tradeoffs we make between immediate and longer term goals. Throughout, we will explore evidence suggesting how psychological systems help us to learn, adapt, and to efficiently make decisions, while at the same time leave us prone to various forms of bias and vulnerable to certain kinds of errors in our judgments and decisions. Students will be actively involved in exercises and assignments to increase insight into their own judgment and decision processes.

Prerequisites

  • Junior/senior status (preferred)
  • Overall GPA of 3.2 or better (preferred)
  • Successful completion of PSY 3213 Research Methods (required)

How to Enroll

No advance permission or course permit is required for students who have completed PSY 3213 with a C or better.


course list



Bayesian Stats I (Fall 2015, CRN# 91656, PSY 4931-010)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Ken Malmberg
Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:30am to 10:45am
Location: PCD 2122

Course Description

Welcome to the Bayesian revolution! Actually, the revolution began many years ago, but it has only recently gained traction in Psychological Science .The goal of this two-semester course is to provide students with a solid foundation in probability theory and data analysis within a Bayesian framework. In the first semester, we will begin with a historical discussion of the Frequentist (Fisherian) framework of Null Hypothesis Significance Testing versus the Bayesian framework of probabilistic inference. We will then cover the basics of probability theory, Bayes Rule, and their applications to inferring binomial proportions (e.g., events that occurred or did not occur, members of one group A versus group B, etc.). Finally, we will cover the Metropolis Algorithm and Monte Carlo Markov Chains using Gibbs sampling. To carry out course assignments, students will use the open source R statistical and WINBUGS packages. No experience in traditional statistics or computer programming is required. Programming in the R language and JAGS will be taught as part of the course. In the second semester, we will use the knowledge gained in the first semester to conduct Bayesian hierarchical analogues of t-tests, ANOVAs, and regression.

Texts:

Doing Bayesian Data Analysis: A Tutorial with R and BUGS, Kruschke, Academic press. 1st Ed. ISBN: 978-0-12-381485-2

The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy, McGrayne, 1st Ed. ISBN: 978-0300169690

Moneyball, Lewis, ISBN: 978-0393338393

Questions: malmberg@usf.edu

Prerequisites

PSY 3213 - Research Methods in Psychology

How to Enroll

Students should contact Dr. Malmberg directly for permission to enroll: malmberg@usf.edu


course list



Child and Adolescent Social Development (Fall 2015, CRN# 83204, PSY 4931-005)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Tiina Ojanen
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00pm to 3:15pm
Location: PCD 2118

Course Description

This course is a CREATTE Scholars research experience –class. As such, it provides an opportunity to learn about research as well as essential topics in social development. These include (but are not limited to) parenting, bullying and victimization, peer relationships at school, and gender and media development. Information and tips for graduate school and career choices are also provided. Completion of Research Methods -class is required. All majors are accepted, but especially psychology majors are encouraged to apply. The class is well suited for students who either wish to gain the latest knowledge on youth development, and/or envision a career and potential graduate training in developmental, school, clinical, or educational psychology, counseling, nursing, pediatrics, or related fields. Grade is based on varying assignments (e.g., exam, paper, research proposal and a related presentation). A semester-long Research Proposal assignment trains students to design and present scientific research in psychology. This provides an opportunity to cumulate expertise in the topic of your choice in anticipation of graduate school or a respective professional career. Training, feedback, and personal consultations are provided by the Instructors throughout the semester and students will receive concrete products by completing this class (see below). Skilled and motivated students with interested in social development and ambition to pursue graduate school or prominent careers with a bachelor degree are encouraged to enroll.

   First, the small class environment enables the Instructor to provide personal consultation, feedback, and tips for professional development regarding graduate school and career choices.

   Second, this class is one of the few classes at USF certified by the Undergraduate Research Office as a “research experience” class (due to the Research Proposal –paper): students completing this class will automatically also get a completion of 0-credit hour “research class” for their transcripts (no extra cost or work is needed). Also, students taking this class will present their proposals at the annual USF Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloqium, which provides a valuable professional experience and a notation to your Vita.

   Third, students can use the completed Research Proposal assignment as a writing example in potential graduate school applications. Together with training for professional writing and presentation skills and tips for career development, this will help interested students to secure qualifications for excellence in graduate school and the professional market after graduation.

For further information, please contact Dr. Ojanen at tojanen@usf.edu.

Prerequisites

Prior completion of PSY 3213 (otherwise, permission from the Instructor is needed).

How to Enroll

No advance permission or course permit is required for students who have completed PSY 3213 with a C or better.


course list



Discoveries to Gadgets (Fall 2015, CRN# 83882, PSY 4931-004)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Emanuel Donchin
Time: Wednesdays, 9:30am to 12:15pm
Location: PCD 1134

Course Description

The class will examine the “translational process” where by practical applications are derived from scientific discoveries. The process will be examined in the specific context of the use of recordings of brain activity in the service of various applications.

We will examine several instances in which basic discoveries derived from Electrophysiological, and Radiological, Neuroimaging (i.e. ERP and fMRI) have been put to use in such diverse applications as Brain Computer Interfaces, Guilty Knowledge Tests and Workload assessment, to name a few. In each case, information about how the variance in brain activity can be controlled is used to create a system that can serve a very specific practical need. We will review the scientific foundation for most of the applications we shall examine, which is the P300 component of the human Event Related Potential (ERP). We will then examine the real world problems that were addressed by the various "gadgets" and the logic that is helpful in finding an optimal means for achieving the practical goal. The process of development, from pilot testing to full scale evaluation will be examined in some detail.

The course material will be presented mostly in lectures and in readings in the primary literature. Where appropriate lab demonstrations will be provided. Students will be challenged to invent new applications; drawing on the rich base of discoveries in Cognitive Neuroscience Students will undertake class projects that will each examine the possibilities of yet more novel applications of Neuroimaging data in practical applications.

Prerequisites

Prior completion of PSY 3213 is not required.

How to Enroll

No advance permission or course permit is required.


course list



The Mind and the Brain (Fall 2015, CRN# 84130, PSY 4931-007)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Emanuel Donchin
Time: Mondays, 9:30am to 11:15am
Location: PCD 2118

Course Description

This class is taught jointly with the Honors College classes, IDH3400 and IDH4000. This PSY4931 section has been created to allow 15 Psych Majors to join the class.

This class provides each of the students with the opportunity to examine in detail an issue in the Mind/Brain domain. The students are free to choose any topic that is related to the role of the brain in implementing the Mind and controlling behavior. Students will choose topics and develop a project focusing on their topic. Students can work either individually or in teams.

The course will begin with a series of lectures that will provide a broad survey of Cognitive Neuroscience highlighting the range of topics that match the students' interest. No text book is assigned to the class. The reading materials are all primary scientific papers focused on the student's projects. The relevant papers are uploaded to Canvas.

Students may choose to work as teams of 2 or 3 students per team. A team will be collectively responsible for the team's poster, but each team member will write a separate term paper.

About half way thru the semester class sessions are devoted to cycles of student presentations of their projects as we work to develop the final presentation of the project at the course Grand Finale which is a "Science Fair" that will be held on the last Monday of the semester. Each team will prepare a poster presenting its project. The Science Fair is attended by staff of the Honors College, faculty and students from Psychology and your friends and relatives.

The poster presentations are prepared with Power Point and printed at the campus Computer Store. The printing cost is covered by the course budget.

Each student will have to prepare a written report of the project, at least 8 pages in length. Each member of a team will have to write an individual report.

Prerequisites

Prior completion of PSY 3213 is not required.

How to Enroll

Complete the online Course Permit Request Form at http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit.aspx.


course list



Myths and Deception in Heath-Related Research (Fall 2015, CRN# 85994, PSY 4931-006)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. David Diamond
Time: Mondays, 3:05pm to 5:50pm
Location: PCD 1134

Course Description

This course focuses on poorly designed and biased health-related research which has led to misinformation on nutritional and medical treatment guidelines. Students will have the opportunity to explore how big business interests have corrupted health-related research. The following are examples of myths that are covered in the course: A vegetarian diet is healthier than a meat-based diet; High cholesterol levels cause heart disease; Cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) are beneficial for health; Red meat and a high fat diet increase the risk of heart disease and cancer; A daily aspirin reduces the risk of heart disease; Fluoridated water is beneficial and safe; Annual mammograms prolong life; The low carbohydrate diet is unhealthy; The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu incidence and duration. There are no exams. Grading will be based on the student’s oral presentations of book chapters and data papers, class participation and a term paper.

Prerequisites

None.

How to Enroll

First, interested students should email Dr. Diamond for permission to register: ddiamond@usf.edu. Then, complete the online Course Permit Request Form at http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit.aspx.


course list