Senior Seminars

Senior Seminars for 2014 & 2015

The descriptions of Senior Seminars appear below. In order to enroll in a Seminar, you MUST do two things:

1. Complete the Preference Form. You can access it here after you receive login information from Judy Smith.

2. Receive permission of the instructor. You should talk to the professor teaching the class and make sure you receive explicit permission to enroll. 

Fall, 2014

Controversial Issues in Psychology


Professor Jeff Holmes
Wednesdays 2:00-4:30, Williams 119M

In this seminar, students will address an array of controversial and frequently misunderstood topics in psychology through class discussion and debate, student presentations, and individual exploration. Potential topics include controversial mental health diagnoses and treatment approaches, false and repressed memories, gender differences, self-esteem, forensic issues, intelligence testing, learning styles, and many others. Students learn about many topics but also have the opportunity to examine in depth one relevant topic of their choice. The single weekly class meeting allows us to thoroughly explore these contemporary areas of debate within our field.


The contribution of epigenetics to human nature

Professor Nancy Rader
Wednesdays 3:00-5:30, Williams 121

We will consider how the environment functions to influence gene expression through readings and discussion.  In Block 2 students will select a human trait or pathology to research, reporting on their findings through an oral presentation and an APA paper.


Spring, 2015


Seminar in Social Cognition

Professor Leigh Ann Vaughn

Humans are unique from other animals in many ways, including our social interactions. How do we understand what others are thinking, feeling, and doing? For that matter, how do we infer the beliefs and feelings that contribute to our own behavior? How do the ways we think about ourselves affect how we think about others, and vice versa? How do we navigate our social world? In this course we will attempt to answer these questions through an examination of a range of topics, including research on the self, how we understand others, the process of judgment and decision making, the role of emotion in social cognition, how we exert self-control, and how attitudes can change.

The primary goals in this senior seminar are for you to 1) Gain exposure to some important current theories and research on social cognition, 2) Develop a better understanding of the methodologies used by social and personality psychologists who study social cognition, 3) Develop a tolerance for ambiguity and respect for the tentative nature of cutting edge scientific knowledge, 4) Develop an ability to summarize and critically evaluate published literature, 5) Explore in-depth one topic relevant to the study of social cognition, and 6) Improve your writing and discussion skills.


Senior Seminar in Feminist Psychology

Professor Carla Golden

This seminar will examine the impact of gender, race, and social class on how people are treated and how they experience the world around them. We will consider these issues by reading a book each week; texts are contemporary and generally about 200 pages in length. Readings from previous years include Appetites: why women want; Men speak out: Views on gender, sex, and power; Sexual fluidity: Understanding women’s love and desire; Women behind bars: The crisis of women in the U.S. prison system; Getting off: Pornography and the end of masculinity; Flirting with danger: young women’s reflections on sexuality and domination, and Taking it personally: Racism in the classroom from kindergarten to college. The two and a half hour class meeting will be discussion based and provide the opportunity to engage in lively exchange regarding the issues raised in each text. The final paper is based on an integrative understanding of the books we’ve read during the semester, no additional reading required.  Preference will be given to students who have taken Psychology of Women. 


Seminar in Psychology: Neuroscience (49250-01)

Professor Jean Hardwick


Intensive investigation of selected topics in neuroscience intended primarily for neuroscience minors. Cross-listed with BIOL 49250. Students cannot receive credit for BIOL 49250 and PSYC 49250. Prerequisites: Senior standing; permission of instructor. 3 credits. (S,Y)



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