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COURSE NUMBER: PSYC 251
COURSE TITLE: The Person in Society
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr Christopher Peet, Dr Danielle Brosseau
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Introduction to the study of human individuality, personality, normal and abnormal human development, psychological assessment and treatment and the psychic processes of social relationships. Evaluation of various approaches to these psychological issues.
TEXTS:
  • Myers, David G. (2014). Exploring psychology. (9th Edition). New York: Worth Publishers. (Chapter 4 & Chapters 9-15)
  • Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Letters to a young poet. Trans. by M. D. Herder Norton. New York & London: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1945.)
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
First midterm exam20%
Second midterm exam20%
Third midterm exam20%
Paper20%
Final exam20%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES:What does it mean to be “a person”? How to answer this question in a modern/postmodern, Western, 21st century, society? Why do many people “naturally” turn to psychology to answer such a question? What is psychology? This course supplements the introduction to psychology begun with Psyc250 (which focused on the biological side), with a focus on the social side of psychology. Students will be introduced to how psychology addresses development, intelligence, motivation, the emotions, personality and abnormality, and social processes. The treatment of psychological disorders and psychotherapy will also be discussed. Basic assumptions and issues surrounding the research and practice of psychology will be examined, in methodological terms and from a Christian perspective. That all of the above themes arise in the specific historical context of modern Western society and do not arise ‘universally’, entails a corresponding historical awareness and sensitivity in understanding psychology. Any introduction to psychology is therefore thoroughly historical, and the opening historical lectures that describe the origin(s) of psychology are in fact crucially important for an understanding of all psychology and of any specific psychological theory.

There are two central course objectives:
  1. To develop a perspectival appreciation of psychology. Beneath the (misleading) appearance of ‘unity’ that the singular term “psychology” suggests, the reality is a diversity of perspectives: different approaches, emphases, methods, and theories.
  2. To develop a contextual appreciation of psychology, which is to begin to think critically about it. Psychology is itself social (which it studies), practiced by persons (which it studies), and part of a history (which it studies). This peculiar difficulty – that psychology tries to study objectively “the psyche”, which is not an object but is a “self”, i.e., a personal, social, cultural, historical, self that we already live, already know, and already have theories about – we will examine through the theme of reflexivity.
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • First half of term: Jan. 5-Feb 28 
    • January 5  Opening class (syllabus, introduction, expectations)
    • January 8-12  The beginning(s) of psychology: historical context 
    • Janurary 15-19 Social psychology
    • January 22-29 Motivation & emotion
    • January 24-25 IS Conference (no classes)
    • January 31 First midterm exam (on lectures, historical context, Chapters 13 & 10)
    • Jan 31-Feb 9  Rilke: historical context, social psychology; Personality
    • February 12-28  Thinking, Language, & Intelligence
    • February 19-23  Family Day & Reading Week (no classes)
    • March 2 Second midterm exam (on lectures, Chapters 9 & 12)
  • Second half of term: Mar 5-April 16
    • March 5 – 12 Development (Chapter 4)
    • March 14 – 21  Stress, Health, & Human Flourishing (Chapter 11)
    • March 23 Third midterm exam (on lectures, Chapters 4 & 11)
    • March 26 – 28 Psychological Disorders Part 1 (Chapter 14)
    • March 30   Good Friday (no classes)
    • April 2   Easter Monday (no classes)
    • April 4 – 6   Psychological Disorders Part 2 (Chapter 14)
    • April 9 – 13  Therapy (Chapter 15)
    • April 16  Last day of classes – Catch-up/Review/Debrief 


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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