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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.


The Mind and the Brain (Spring 2015, CRN 12167, PSY 4931-002)

Course Information

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

Course Description

This class is taught jointly with the Honors College class capstone class (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

No advance permission or course permit is required.


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Child and Adolescent Social Development (Spring 2015, CRN 15041, PSY 4931-005)

Course Information

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

Course Description

This course is a CREATTE Scholars research experience - class and offers a small class environment to learn about 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. All majors are accepted, but Research Methods in Psychology -class has to be completed for all. The class is well suited for students who 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. During the semester, students design and write their own Research Proposal based on a topic of their choice. With ample Instructor training, feedback, and personal consultations, this enables students to develop skills for designing scientific research, scientific writing, and presentation. Students with sufficient academic skills and motivation are encouraged to enroll. The class requires focus and effort, but also provides many benefits and concrete products above and beyond regular college classes (see below).

Special Features

There are some specific benefits for students enrolling to this class.

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. Thus, students completing this class will also obtain a 0-credit hour "research class" for their transcripts (with no extra work or cost). 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 may use the final Research Proposal document as a writing example in graduate school and/or job applications. Together with training for professional writing and presentation skills and tips for career development, this will help 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.


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Mood Disorders (Spring 2015, CRN 23376, PSY 4931-014))

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Jon Rottenberg
Time: Thursdays, 3:30 PM to 6:15 PM
Location: PCD 2118

Course Description

Of all the psychiatric disorders, unipolar depression is by far the most common. Each year, more than 100 million people worldwide develop clinically recognizable depression. Indeed, because of its prevalence, depression has been referred to as “the common cold of psychopathology.” During the course of a lifetime, it is estimated that between 8 and 18 percent of the general population will experience at least one clinically significant episode of depression and that approximately twice as many women than men will be affected by this disorder.

The main objective of this course is for us to delve closely into the multi-faceted nature of mood disorders, with an emphasis on the unipolar depressive disorders. In conducting this examination, we will focus primarily on psychosocial aspects of depression, but will also examine biological and genetic factors associated with depression. We will review the symptoms and epidemiology of depression, and will discuss diagnostic and methodological issues associated with the study of this disorder. We will continue with an examination of psychoanalytic, cognitive, biological and genetic, behavioral, and interpersonal theories of depression, and will discuss empirical research associated with each of these approaches. We will then discuss approaches to the treatment and prevention of depression. We will also consider depression as a function of culture, gender, and the lifespan. Students should leave this course with an appreciation of these topics (both current knowledge and remaining gaps in our knowledge).  Finally, students will have the opportunity to conduct independent research on a topic of their choosing.

Class periods will primarily involve discussion. Course requirements include completing weekly assigned readings, submitting brief weekly critiques on Canvas, contributing to class discussions, and making a presentation about your independent research.

Prerequisites

  • PSY 3213 - Research Methods in Psychology
  • CLP 4143 - Abnormal Psychology
  • Interest in mood disorders and mood disorders research
  • Interest in doing the work to make this a successful discussion-based seminar.

How to Enroll

First, interested students should email Dr. Rottenberg for permission to register: rottenberg@usf.edu - in this email please address recommended criteria and explain why you are interested in joining the seminar. Students who receive permission will then complete the online Course Permit Request Form at http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit.aspx.


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Topics in Neuroscience: Neuroethics (Spring 2015, CRN 12914, PSY 4931-009)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Toru Shimizu
Time: Wednesdays, 12:30 PM to 3:15 PM
Location: PCD 2124

Course Description

As new discoveries are being made in many areas of neuroscience at an explosive pace, it is unavoidable that scientists and society in general will have to continue to face new ethical issues that have not been previously imagined. This course, designed primarily for Psychology graduate and undergraduate students, will deal with a variety of issues from the perspectives of brain sciences, ethics, psychology, sociology, law, anthropology, economics, and philosophy. For example:

1) If a memory-enhancing drug were able to help children function better in school, would you want your own child to take it? (D. Schacter)
2) Conversely, if traumatic memories could be erased, should they be? 
3) Through new imaging techniques, if we had a way of detecting lies, should we use them for suspected terrorists, potential job candidates, unfaithful spouses, and juvenile delinquents?
4) If we discovered that a large percentage of incarcerated individuals were truly brain injured, what should we do with the information? (W. Winslade)

Prerequisites

PSY 3213 - Research Methods in Psychology is preferred but not required.

How to Enroll

Interested students should email Dr. Shimizu for approval to register: shimizu@usf.edu. If approved, complete the online Course Permit Request Form at http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit.aspx.


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Stereotypes and Prejudice (Spring 2015, CRN 23123, PSY 4931-011)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Bosson
Time: Wednesdays, 12:30 PM to 3:15 PM
Location: PCD 1134

Course Description

Stereotypes and prejudice have been topics of great interest to social psychologists for decades.  At present, there are several large research literatures devoted to understanding how and why we form stereotypes and feel prejudice toward others.  In this course, we will cover just a sampling of this work, including both classic and contemporary theories and research findings.  Topics include: Where do stereotypes and prejudices come from?  What functions do they serve?  Can we avoid them?  To what degree are they accurate?  What effects do stereotypes and prejudice have on their targets?  Is it possible to overcome our tendencies toward prejudice?  The format of the class is discussion-oriented, with the last two class meetings devoted to presentations of your research papers.  Discussions will be guided by weekly questions submitted by you.

Prerequisites

This is a graduate seminar.  Students should have graduate standing in any college or department on campus, or be a senior undergraduate student who has taken SOP 4004 Social Psychology.

How to Enroll

Interested students should email Dr. Bosson for approval to register: jbosson@usf.edu. If approved, complete the online Course Permit Request Form at http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit.aspx.


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Art, Design, and Brain (Spring 2015, CRN 23126, PSY 4931-013)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Thomas Sanocki
Time: Mondays, 2:00 PM to 4:45 PM
Location: PCD 2124

Course Description

Humanity has seen remarkable breakthroughs including expressions (modern art, video, rock & roll) and human-orientated design (architecture, personal computing, nature parks, diverse personal identity).

This seminar examines selected works together with the psychological processes that produce discovery and serve humanity with enlightenment. Students will develop their interests within these domains while contributing to the seminar's common core of reading and thinking.  Assignments include reading and learning about art and design and psychology, making multiple presentations, and writing two papers including an individual final work. Seminar topics will vary with student interests but are likely to include:

  •  the experience of art and architecture (including psychological and neuroscience perspectives)
  •  designing the world for humans (human factors, mental and physical health, urban design)
  •  modernism in the new millennium(what is modernism? how will it be realized in a 21st Century of people raised in the safest and most free environments yet?)

Examples of works to be examined:
Ramachandran, V.S. (1999). The science of art:  A neurological theory of aesthetic experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies.

Schloss, K. B., & Palmer, S. E. (2011).  Aesthetic response to color combinations: preference, harmony, and similarity.  Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 73, 551-571.

Mueller, Ellen. (2012). Practical Preparedness Series. (Video)

Velvet Goldmine. (Movie, 1998)

Tampa. Next great city or diabetes factory?

No expensive textbooks will be used

Prerequisites

Permission from the Instructor is needed

How to Enroll

I am looking for interested students who can make good contributions. Useful background includes some expertise in any related field (art, information or computer science, e.g.), or good grades in psychology courses, or evidence of independent scholarship or creativity activity. Please e-mail me with questions or a statement of your interests and background: sanocki@usf.edu.


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Human Factors (Spring 2015, CRN 24530, PSY 4931-016)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Michael Coovert
Time: Mondays, 5:00 PM to 6:50 PM
Location: CPH 2022

Course Description

Systems logic and methodology for assessing the potential impact of work environments on the health and safety of workers; application of occupational ergonomics and human factors to the design and evaluation of complex work environments

Prerequisites

PSY 3213 – Research Methods in Psychology is preferred but not required.

How to Enroll

Interested students should email Dr. Coovert for approval to register: coovert@usf.edu. If approved, complete the online Course Permit Request Form at: http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit.aspx.


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Psychology of Crime (Spring 2015, CRN 25941, PSY 4931-018)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Edelyn Verona
Time: Tuesdays, 3:30 PM to 6:15 PM
Location: PCD 2118

Course Description

The topic of crime is both inherently fascinating and complex.  Variants of criminal deviancy range from one-time petty rule violations at one extreme to persistent acts of severe lawbreaking, such as the behavior of serial murderers, at the other.  It also varies from lifetime criminal activity among persons of low means to white collar crime among persons who appear successful at the surface. Considerable progress has been made over the past two decades toward a scientific understanding of factors contributing to the development and maintenance of such behaviors and toward distinguishing various manifestations of criminal behaviors.  However, other areas are still mired in the theoretical stage (e.g., school shootings, serial killers).

As a point of reference for understanding criminal deviance more broadly, the current course will focus in detail on the phenomenon of psychopathic personality, or “psychopathy,” in which early-developing constitutional factors are theorized to play a predominant role. Extending from this phenomenon, the course will consider factors involved in criminal behavior more broadly, including developmental factors, causal (genetic/environmental) contributors, psychological aspects, neurobiological processes/mechanisms, and treatment/prevention. Finally, using theoretical and scientific knowledge as a foundation, the course will explore related criminal concepts, including chronic aggression and violence, substance use, sex work, extreme homicide (murder-suicide, revenge-focused shooters), and serial killing.

The course will provide students with an in-depth understanding of criminal behavior, through readings, lectures/media presentations, assignments, and in-class discussions.  This will be a discussion-based seminar course, so self-motivation and intellectual curiosity, as well as dedication to doing the readings, is a requirement. Case history and guest lectures will also be used as learning tools. The goal is to be able to apply scientific knowledge to inform understanding of real-life behaviors.

Learning objectives: 

  • Recognize diagnostic distinctions between psychopathic personality, antisocial behavior, drug addiction and other psychiatric disorders.
  • Describe differing expressions of the psychopathic personality and other forms of criminal behavior more generally.
  • Identify developmental factors, causal (genetic/environmental) contributors, psychological aspects, neurobiological processes/mechanisms, and treatment of criminal behavior.
  • Discuss how scientific data come to bear in understanding extreme presentations of criminal behavior, including in serial killers or mass/school shooters.

Prerequisites

Completion of PSY 3213.

How to Enroll

No advance permission or course permit is required.


course list