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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 2016, CRN 11401, PSY 4931-002)

Course Information

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

Course Description

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

A permit is not required for students who have completed PSY 3213. If you have not completed PSY 3213, complete the online Course Permit Request Form at http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit.aspx.


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Mood Disorders (Spring 2016, CRN 20529, PSY 4931 – 006)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Jon Rottenberg
Time: Thursdays, 3:30pm to 6:15pm
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 conduct independent research on topic of their choosing.

Class periods will primarily involve discussion, with my lecturing minimized as much as possible. Course requirements include completing assigned readings and submitting brief weekly critiques, contributing to class discussions, and completing a written class project.

Recommended for Students Considering this Course

*You've taken PSY 3213 - Research Methods in Psychology

*You've taken CLP 4143 - Abnormal Psychology

*You are interested in mood disorders and mood disorders research

*You are prepared to do regular weekly readings

*You are eager to contribute to a successful discussion-based seminar.

Prerequisites

None.

How to Enroll

No advance permission or course permit is required.

Contact Dr. Rottenberg at rottenberg@usf.edu if you have questions about whether you should enroll.


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Bayesian Stats II (Spring 2016, CRN 20543, PSY 4931-011)

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

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


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Attention Self and World Seminar (Spring 2016, CRN 20547, PSY 4931-012 / EXP 7099-012)

Course Information

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

Course Description

Attention is an expansive field of inquiry that is central to the workings of mind and brain. Perhaps the best understood type of attention is selective attention, when the mind focusses on one stream of thought while excluding others. This seminar will begin with fundamental topics such as selective attention, awareness and pre-conscious processing, effects of self-relevance, and top-down influences. Then we will explore directions arising from participant's interests. One general theme will be the roles of attention and self in an increasingly complex world. Possible topics include:

        Attention, Motivation, and Reward

        Attention Set and Scene Perception

        Attention and Self Concept

        Mindfulness, Meditation, and Attention

        Attentional and Creative Expression

Dr. Sanocki's seminars encourage broad thinking as well as research within individual directions. Participants will read a variety of literature, make presentations, research their interests, and write several shorter papers and one longer paper developing their interests together with some core seminar ideas.

Prerequisites

None

How to Enroll

Permission is required for most students. I am looking for motivated students who can made good contributions to the seminar. Interested students should e-mail with a statement of your interest and background. A good background may include good grades in undergraduate Psychology research courses, expertise in a related field (e.g., Computer Science, Education), or evidence of independent scholarly or creative activity.

Interested undergraduate students should email Dr. Sanocki for permission to register: sanocki@usf.edu

No permission needed for graduate students.


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Psychology of Crime (Spring 2016, CRN 21059, PSY 4931-013)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Edelyn Verona
Time: Tuesdays, 2:00pm to 4:45pm
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

*You've taken PSY 3213 - Research Methods in Psychology

*You've taken CLP 4143 - Abnormal Psychology

How to Enroll

No advance permission or course permit is required.


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Child and Adolescent Social Development (Spring 2016, CRN 14185, PSY 4931-005)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Tiina Ojanen
Time: Monday, 2:00pm to 4:45pm
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 wish to gain the latest knowledge on youth development and envision a career and graduate level 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 develop expertise in a particular research area in anticipation of graduate school and/or a professional career. Training, feedback, and personal consultations are provided throughout the semester. Notably, students will receive concrete products by completing this class (see below). Students who are skilled (GPA around or above 3.5), motivated, have ambition to pursue graduate education and have practical availability/time to put effort into the Research Proposal assignment are especially encouraged to enroll.

Special Features

There are 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 (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 Colloquium, 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.


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Community Practicum in Mental Health (Spring 2016, CRN 20553, CLP 4941-001)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Vicky Phares
Time: Thursdays, 11:00am to Noon (plus 8 hours/week in a community agency)
Location: PCD 2118

Course Description

This course is a service learning course where undergraduate students will be assigned to volunteer in a pre-approved community agency for 8 hours/week and will attend a one-hour in-person lecture/discussion (Thursdays from 11:00-noon in PCD 2118). Course material will cover ethics, confidentiality, issues related to mental health, and working in community agencies. Reflective writing assignments will be included in the course. In addition to material posted to Canvas, the required book is:

        Matthews, J.R., & Walker, C. E. (2015). Your practicum in psychology: A guide for maximizing knowledge and

        competence (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Community agencies are still being finalized, but opportunities are expected to include mental health facilities, social service agencies serving impoverished youth and elderly, residential facilities for children in foster care, and prevention programs for youth at risk for mental health problems. On-site supervision will be provided for at least one hour/week of the 8 hour/week commitment. Many agencies require background checks; some require drug screening; some require malpractice insurance ($35).

Once agencies are finalized, students will be asked to rank their preferences for the agency where they would like to gain this experience. Many of the background checks and paperwork will need to be completed before the start of the spring semester. As more agencies are finalized, more students will be invited to enroll in the course via approved permit.

Priority will be given to seniors graduating in Spring, 2016 in the order that the permit requests are received (with next priority given to seniors graduating in Summer, 2016, then next priority to seniors graduating in Fall, 2016, etc.). If you are interested in the course, please submit your permit request as soon as possible (even if it is before your registration day--and make sure to note your graduation semester and year in the comments section). Decisions and site assignments will continue on a rolling basis beginning on Wednesday, November 4th at noon and will continue up until the end of the first week of classes if there are still community slots available.

A professor, graduate student, or other professional (such as a supervisor from work, even if not psychology-related) will need to confirm the following statement via e-mail to Dr. Vicky Phares (phares@usf.edu): "I support _________________’s request to be assigned to an internship at a community social service agency."

If a student is already volunteering at a community agency and wants to join the course and receive credit for new volunteer hours at that site (8 hours/week plus course attendance and course work during spring of 2016), then please email Dr. Phares (phares@usf.edu).

Prerequisites

None.

How to Enroll

Course is by instructor approval only. Interested students should submit the online Course Permit Request form at http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit/

In the "Comments" section, please indicate your expected graduation term (example, Spring 2016)


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Cognitive Neuropsychology (Spring 2016, CRN 20530, PSY 4931-007)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Cynthia Cimino
Time: Mondays, 3:00pm to 5:45pm
Location: PCD 1134

Course Description

In this small, focused course, students will have an opportunity to define the scope and content through their own specific interests in brain/behavior relationships while establishing a solid foundation of basic knowledge. This course in human neuropsychology/cognitive neuroscience examines the study of specific patient populations as well as normal variations in individual differences which have added to our knowledge of how the brain processes information. Key topic areas include attention, memory, spatial cognition, speech and language, executive functions and social/emotional behavior. We also examine the pros and cons of various methods used to index brain processes and activation and what kinds of inferences can be derived when these methods are in conflict. The course provides broad coverage of classic domains in neuropsychology/cognitive neuroscience together with student-defined depth in select topics.

Prerequisites

PSY 3213 – Research Methods

How to Enroll

Interested students should submit the online Course Permit Request form at http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/CoursePermit.aspx.


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Neurochemistry (Spring 2016, CRN 21249, PSY 4931-014)

Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Cheryl Kirstein-Hurst
Time: Tuesday, 11:00am to 1:45pm
Location: PCD 1134

Course Description

This seminar brings together topics from previous very successful seminars. The seminar centers on the central nervous system (cells and organization review) pharmacology, pharmacodynamics, methods of psychopharmacology). Specific neurotransmitter systems will be discussed, overview of catecholamines and specific coverage of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, acetylcholine, glutamate and GABA.

Drug abuse and addiction will be discussed in the context of these neurochemical systems and the impact of drugs (alcohol, opioids, cocaine, amphetamines, nicotine, caffeine, marijuana, hallucinogens, PCP, ketamine, inhalants and environmental neurotoxicants. These neurochemical systems will also be discussed/presented in the context of disorders associated with them including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative diseases.

Depending on participant interests, subset of these topics may include the interests of students in the course and current events, topics and societal issues related to neurochemistry, drugs and disorders.

Students will read primary literature, do independent reading on their interests, and make two presentations and write two 5 page related papers summarizing their presentations.

Undergraduates are welcome, and permission is required -- if students have taken Physiological Psychology and/or Drugs and Behavior with me previously and done well they will enjoy this review and more thorough combination of these two courses. Additionally, many biology, chemistry and interdisciplinary majors will enjoy this course.

Texts:

Psychopharmacology: Drugs, the Brian, and Behavior (second edition) Jerrold S Meyer – Linda F. Quenzer

Questions: email kirstein@usf.edu

Prerequisites

Prerequisites (may be waived with permission) PSB 3444-Drugs and Behavior PSB 4004C-Physiologicial Psychology

How to Enroll

Interested undergraduate students should email Dr. Kirstein for permission to register: kirstein@usf.edu

No permission needed for graduate students.


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Abnormal Child Psychology (Spring 2016, CRN 21908, PSY 4931-015)

Course Information

Instructor: Melanie Bozzay
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30am to 10:45am
Location: PCD 1145

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