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An introduction to the study of behavior, this course focuses on the influences of physiological, cognitive, social, and personality factors as they pertain to behavior and includes a discussion of the major theories in psychology and related research. This course is one of our most popular.

Taught by TAMARA FITZWATER, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Professor Fitzwater brings her research focus on adolescent neuroscience into the Summer College classroom. In her own words...

I have been a faculty member of the Psychology Department since 2016. During the academic year, my research and teaching interests are primarily focused on the biology of our brains and investigating how brain processes contribute to behavior. As such, I primarily teach courses in Behavioral Neuroscience for students in our Psychology major, as well as for our interdisciplinary minor in Neuroscience. More recently, however, I have started teaching General Psychology during the summer. I’ve now taught this class both online and as a part of Ithaca College’s Summer College program—and I love it! General Psychology is all about us and our lives and can be relevant, meaningful, and beneficial to anyone, no matter what their interests are.

I consider myself to be a teacher that emphasizes experiential learning. In other words, I encourage learning through doing. I incorporate small hands-on activities in the classroom, promote critical thinking through small-group activities, engage students with research projects, and also use visuals and videos and enhance and reinforce course concepts. I like to learn and dig-in right alongside my students, and I strive to create an energetic, fun, yet rigorous, learning environment.

Throughout this course, we will explore many aspects of human behavior from a psychological perspective, which uses research and science to understand our thinking, choices, motivations, and actions. We will start by learning the basics of how psychologists use research to scientifically study processes of thinking and behavior. After that, we explore the biology of our nervous system and how our brains detect and perceive information from all of our sensory systems. We then use this knowledge to understand what scientists know about how we learn and how we remember, and well as what motivates us and how we experience emotion. We will discover our thinking and attitudes towards others (Social Psychology) and then look inward as we learn about the Psychology of ourselves and our personalities. Finally, we will question what it means to be “normal” as we learn about psychological disorders of emotion, thought, and self.

Class Meetings: There are no pre-scheduled class meeting times. Professors will schedule meeting times that work directly with students.