Introduction to Psychology I: Basic Processes

Welcome to Introductory Psychology! This course is designed to provide you with general knowledge about major areas in the field of psychology, including research methodology, memory, the biological bases of behaviour, sensation & perception, learning, decision making, and states of consciousness. By the end of this course you will not only be familiar with important issues, concepts, and theories from these areas, but will also be able to apply these ideas to your own life and the world around you. Seriously, this is a great course. Not easy, but a whole lot of fun. I enjoyed it so much that I changed my major to Psychology. Perhaps that will be your story as well.

Meetings: Mondays from 1-4pm in Surrey Main 2820

Office hours: Both face-to-face and virtual. Why? Because its 2016. Click here to book a meeting

How best to contact me: Email or Twitter

Required textbook: So here’s the thing. I don’t want you to spend $150 on a textbook if I can avoid it. And I can avoid it, because we will use a free and customized textbook from the awesome NOBA Project. Just click on each topic (below) to download each chapter separately. You may print the chapters as you wish. This is an example of an open textbook, for which I am a passionate advocate. I even wrote a couple, if you want to check them out. It is very important to me that higher education be affordable to any student who wishes to access it. It is very important to me that higher education be affordable to any student who wishes to access it.

Course format: This course includes weekly interactive lectures (including demonstrations, exercises, and small and large group discussions) in addition to readings, online quizzes, labs, and exams. The lectures cannot cover all of the material in the readings; rather, the goal of the lectures is to 1) highlight the more significant aspects of the readings, 2) discuss topics not well-covered by the readings in more detail, 3) focus on real-world applications, and 4) have a whole lot of fun as we engage in active learning.

Course Schedule

May 2: The Who/What/How/Why of this course

Part A: Foundations of Psychological Science

May 9: History of Psychology

May 16: Research Designs; Brain Lab

May 23: Victoria Day (University Closed); The Brain and Nervous System (online lecture) 

May 30: Exam 1

Part B: Thinking, Learning, and Memory

June 6: Conditioning and Learning; Learning and Memory Lab

June 13: Memory (Encoding, Storage, Retrieval)

June 20: Judgment and Decision Making (updated on June 19)

June 27: Exam 2

Part C: Evolution, Perception, & Consciousness

July 4: The Nature-Nurture Question; Sensation and Perception Lab

July 11: Sensation and Perception

July 18: States of Consciousness

July 25: Exam 3

Assessments

Online quizzes x 7 (10% each): 70%

There will be nine online quizzes over the semester, one for each of the course topics. These quizzes assess your ability to apply course concepts to a variety of real-world contexts. Only your highest seven quiz grades will count towards your overall course grade.

Exams x 3 (10% each): 30%

You will write three non-cumulative exams during the semester. The first part of each exam is worth 10% of your course grade and will consist of short-answer questions that will assess the depth of your understanding of the preceding three topics.

The second part of each exam simply functions as a check of your comprehension and retention and will consist of the multiple-choice questions from the preceding three online quizzes. You will not earn marks for questions that you answer correctly; however, for each question that you answer incorrectly you will lose 0.25%.

Course Policies

Attendance

The good news? You are an adult. So if “life happens” or you are juggling too many things and need to miss a class, so be it. You don’t need my permission or even to inform me. The bad news? I will treat you as an adult. In other words, you are responsible for all material covered in class, whether or not you were present. If you do miss a class I recommend you try and obtain notes from at least two classmates.

Punctuality

I don’t mind you being a little late to class, but I do mind you being very late because it is disruptive to the learning environment. So if you realize that you will be more than 10 minutes late to class, please wait until the break to come in. Also, if you arrive late or must leave early please sit towards the rear of the classroom in order to minimize the disruption to the rest of the class.

Missed quizzes or exams

I do not provide make-up quizzes, so if you happen to miss one, let this count as one of the two quiz grades that will not count towards your overall course grade.

I don’t usually reschedule exams except in the case of a medical emergency. If you are ill and have to miss an exam, you or a caregiver must (1) notify me before the exam start time and then (2) provide valid medical documentation within one week. Unless both conditions are met, you will receive a zero. If you are granted a make-up exam, it may be of a different format than the regularly scheduled exam.

YouTube playlist

Whenever possible, I post the video clips that I show in class to the YouTube playlist that I have set up for this course.

Email communication

Please type your course and section number in the subject line of any email you send to me. I would appreciate your emails to me beginning with something closer to “Dear Dr. Jhangiani” instead of “Hey Prof.” Note that questions appropriate for email are those that can be answered with 1-2 sentence replies. Anything longer than this (e.g., an explanation of a concept) requires a face-to-face or virtual meeting and should be brought to my office hours. I will try to reply to your emails in a timely fashion (i.e., within 48 hours), but please do not expect prompt replies to emails sent to me over the weekend or less than 24 hours before an exam. I have a life outside of KPU and a couple of awesome kids with whom I like to spend as much time as possible.

University email

From time to time I may send emails to your university email address. If you do not intend to check this email address, please make sure that you forward your email to an address that you check regularly. Failure to do so may mean that you miss essential information.

Student rights and responsibilities

You are responsible for being aware of your rights and responsibilities, including those specified in the policy on student conduct (C.21). These are posted online at http://www.kpu.ca/sja/rights- and-responsibilities. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. Any instances will result in penalties ranging from a grade of zero on the assignment to a failing grade in the course to expulsion from the university. You are responsible for understanding the university policies on cheating and plagiarism, available online at: http://www.kpu.ca/sites/default/files/Policies/c08.pdf.

Wow, you read to the end. I am impressed.

Download a .pdf copy of this syllabus by clicking here.