Senior Seminars

Senior Seminars for 2018 - 2019

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, 2018

Mental Health Topics: Consumer and Provider Perspectives

Professor Hugh Stephenson
Mondays 4:00-6:30

In this seminar we address the experience of having and seeking treatment for different psychological disorders. A range of topics are covered, from treatment modalities, to historic practices, to outcome evaluation and current debates and controversies within Psychology and Psychiatry.

Guest speakers include people who have received specific diagnoses, family members and treating professionals as well as experts in particular clinical interventions all of whom offer their perspectives on what promotes recovery and what barriers may be encountered.

Controversial Issues in Psychology

Professor Jeff Holmes
Wednesdays 1:00-3:30

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.

Senior Seminar in Feminist Psychology

Professor Carla Golden
Tuesdays 4:00-6:30

This seminar will examine the intersections of gender with race, class, and sexuality on people’s everyday lived experience. We examine how people’s social positions affect how they are treated and how they experience the world. We will read a book each week; texts are contemporary and generally about 200 pages in length. Readings from previous years include Girlfighting: Betrayal and rejection among girls; Shrill: Notes from a loud woman; Dear Ijeawele: A feminist manifesto in 15 suggestions; College girl: A memoir; The heart of whiteness: Confronting race, racism, and white privilege; Girls like us: Fighting for a world where girls are not for sale; Testosterone Rex: Myths of sex, science, and society; Trans: Gender and race in an age of unsettled identities; Men speak out: Views on gender, sex, and power; and Black girl dangerous: On race, queerness, class and gender. Students who are admitted to the seminar engage in a democratic and collective process of choosing the books, thus the books change each year and you will have a say in what we read. The once a week class meeting will be discussion-based and provide the opportunity to engage in spirited exchanges 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, and who love to read!

Spring, 2019

Questionable Research Practices and Psychology’s Current Renaissance

Professor: Leigh Ann Vaughn

Since 2010, there has been a renaissance in psychology, with an increasing and unprecedented focus on replicability among researchers, journals, and funding agencies. Failed and successful replications of research findings have received high-profile coverage in the popular press, blogs, and other media. How is this renaissance happening, and what is it revealing?

In this seminar, students will learn about successful and failed replications – and public responses to them - through readings, class discussion, student presentations, and individual papers. Potential topics in social and cognitive psychology include power posing, imagined contact, persuasion, ESP, interpersonal reconciliation, the Stroop effect, and many others. Students will read and analyze research papers, and they will actively engage in discussion during class. Additionally, students will give class presentations on topics they have chosen, and they will write a review paper on their topic that is due at the end of the semester.

The Contribution of Epigenetics to Human Nature

Professor Nancy Rader

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.

Seminar in Psychology: Adolescence - Stress, Drug Addition, and Psychopathology

Professor: Tammy Fitzwater

Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by profound neural, hormonal, and behavioral changes. While many adolescents successfully navigate the transition to adulthood, others struggle during this window of vulnerability. Throughout this course, we will explore the adolescent transition from a neural, physiological, and social/emotional standpoint. We will then discuss stress systems and how they may contribute to the onset of psychopathology and/or drug addiction during this developmental phase. Course material will focus on research from both human studies and preclinical (animal) models of adolescence. Students will read and critique research papers related to these topics, and actively engage in discussion during class. Team debates will also take place in order to critically consider both sides of two controversial topics in the field. Throughout the course, students will also give class presentations on a relevant topic of interest, with a review paper on this topic due at the end of the semester.

Williams Hall