|Office: DDH/D115||Office Hours: 2:00-3:30 PM, MWF|
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Text: Brent Slife (2013). Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Psychological Issues (expanded 17 ed.) Dubuque, Iowa; McGraw-Hill/ Dushkin. (ISBN 978-0-07-805051-0)
Purpose of the Course:
l. For any of the majors offered at CSUB, the Senior Seminar is designed as a "capstone experience" in the major. There is no specific definition of what a "capstone" might be for psychology, so we are free to define it for ourselves. Ideally, this course should:
3. Finally, this course, unlike most you have taken, is a Seminar. This is the most common course format for graduate courses, and gives you a taste for what may come should you decide to go on. In a Seminar:
Psychology Department Outcomes for this course:
Outcome 1.3: Use the concepts, language, and major theories of the discipline to account for psychological phenomena.
Outcome 2.3: Evaluate the appropriateness of conclusions derived from psychological research.
Outcome 3.3: Use reasoning to recognize, develop, defend, and criticize arguments and other persuasive appeals.
Outcome 4.4: Apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings as these relate to everyday life.
Outcome 5.2: Demonstrate reasonable skepticism and intellectual curiosity by asking questions about causes of behavior.
1. Three Issues Papers. The Slife book has 20 Issues, with a "yes" and a "no" side to each one. You will be responsible for either the "yes" or the "no" side of three of these issues. You must research your side of these issues, using the CSUB library, and must write a paper on what you find for each one. Further instructions for these papers are included in the handout attached to this syllabus. Each of these papers must be typed, double-spaced, and at least 10 pages of text in length, using APA style. Each will be worth 18% of your final grade. Each is due the day the class is scheduled to discuss that issue. Late papers will not be accepted. The discussion in class is also part of this assignment. You will be a discussion leader on each of your three issues. Failure to show up for the discussion will cost you a letter grade on that issue.
3. A Personal Perspective Paper. This is designed to get you to think about your own place in the field of psychology. I want you to think about your own stand on each of the 20 issues discussed in class and relate the "data" to a theory or perspective. What schools of thought are you closest to? Are your ideas consistent with one another, with a particular theory, etc.? A class hand-out attached to this syllabus describes this further. The perspective must be at least 10 pages in length, typed, and double-spaced. It is due on the last day of class and will count 20% of your final grade. Late papers will not be accepted.
4. Class Discussion (Participation). Each of the 20 issues will be discussed in class. Those individuals who are doing papers on the "pro" or "con" sides of the issue will be the discussion leaders, but everyone is expected to participate. Class participation will count 15% of your final grade.
5. Issues Quiz. At the beginning of each class
I will ask you a question or two on each side of the issue assigned for
that day. You will write out an answer to each question and turn them in
for a grade. This is to make sure you understand both sides of the issue
before trying to discuss it. The quizzes will add up to 11% of the
final grade. There will be no "make-ups" for quizzes that are missed.
To summarize the assignments and their respective weights:
|Issue Papers (3)||54%|
|100% Final Grade|
Final letter grades will be awarded using the following
|A = 93-100%||C = 73-77%|
|A- = 90-92%||C- = 70-72%|
|B+ = 88-89%||D+ = 68-69%|
|B = 83-87%||D = 63-67%|
|B- = 80-82%||D- = 60-62%|
|C+ = 78-79%||F = 59% and below|
Policy on Incompletes: Incompletes will be given for written work, such as issues papers or for the personal perspective paper, if the reasons for the request are both serious and compelling. Class Participation and Issues Quizzes, however, cannot be made up. To request an incomplete, you must go to the CSUB Records Office for the necessary form. Bring it to me for permission and signature prior to the end of the quarter. I must turn in a form for you when I turn in final grades at the end of the quarter.
Policy on Academic Dishonesty: Any student caught in an act of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, will receive an "F" for the course, and their action will be reported in a letter to the Dean of Arts and Sciences. Please refer to the CSUB Catalog for the full details and definitions of what actions qualify under this policy.
Schedule of Events, Issues Papers, and Discussions:
January 6 Issue Assignments
January 8-17 Lecture
January 20 Martin Luther King Day Holiday - No Class
January 22 Issue #1. Is Addiction a Brain Disease?
January 24 Issue #2. Is Homosexuality Biologically Based?
January 27 Issue #3. Is Evolution a Good Explanation for Psychological Concepts?
Last day to withdraw from class without a "W" being recorded.
January 29 Issue #4. Is American Psychological Research Generalizable to Other Cultures?
January 31 Issue #5 Are Traditional Empirical Methods Sufficient to Provide Evidence for
February 3 Issue #6. Does Teaching Scientific Determinism Lead to Bad Behavior?
February 5 Issue #7. Are Today's Youth More Self-centered Than Previous Generations?
February 7 Lecture
February 10 Issue #8. Do Online Friendships Hurt Adolescent Development?February 12 Issue #9. Can Positive Psychology Make Us Happier?February
February 14 Issue #10. Is Emotional Intelligence Valid?
February 17 Issue #11. Does an Elective Abortion Lead to Negative Psychological Effects?
February 19 Lecture
February 21 Issue #12. Is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a Real Disorder?
February 24 Issue #13. Does Facebook Have Generally Positive Psychological Effects?
Last day to withdraw from classes for a "serious and compelling reason". See the CSUB Catalog for a definition of serious and compelling".
February 26 Issue #14. Are All Psychotherapies Equally Effective?
February 28 Issue #15. Should Therapists Be Eclectic?
March 3 Issue #16. Should Psychologists Abstain from Involvement in Coercive Interrogations?
March 5 Lecture
March 7 Issue #17. Does the Evidence Support Evolutionary Accounts of Female Mating
March 10 Issue #18 Can Sex Be Addictive?
March 12 Issue #19 Does Birth Order Predict Intelligence?
March 14 Issue #20 Is the Need for Social Enhancement Universal Across Cultures?
March 17 Last Day of Class. Personal Perspective Papers are due.
You are responsible for three separate Issues from Slife. You will discuss one side of each of these issues in class. In order to prepare for in-class discussion, you are to become an "expert" on the issue by reading as much as you can on the topic before class, creating a bibliography of at least two pages, and writing a summary paper of at least l0, double-spaced, typed pages, in APA style.
I. Create a Bibliography.
l. Start with the Slife articles. Each article, pro or con, should have some references at the end. List what sounds relevant from these references.
2. Look in standard reference works for magazine and journal articles on the Issue, and list what, on the surface, seems relevant. Suggested reference sources include:
For each of the articles you find in this way, write out the author's name, the title of the article, the name of the journal in which it appears, the date of publication, the journal's volume number, and the page numbers, in APA style.
Avoid on-line references from personal Webpages, that are only to be found on the Web. Such sources change too rapidly to be reliable documentation.
4. Finally, list all of your references from steps l & 2 in alphabetical order, and type them up in a bibliography. This should be, at a minimum, at least two full pages in length, APA style.
II. Prepare an Issue Paper of at least l0 pages of text.
l. I assume that your Bibliography will include everything relevant to your topic and will be very extensive. It should be so extensive that you could not reasonably be expected to read all of the works listed therein. Therefore, in preparing your paper, you must read what you consider will be your "best bets". Remember, this is a preparation for a class discussion.
4. Avoid stringing together direct quotes. Especially avoid long quotes that must be indented. Instead, put the information in your own words and cite the source by author's last name and date of publication, APA style.
5. At the end of your paper, include a list of the references you actually used for writing the paper. What, out of all of your Bibliography did you cite or refer to in your paper? That you actually read?
6. This paper with references should be typed and handed in, with your Bibliography attached to the end. It is due on the day you are scheduled to discuss the Issue in class.
The issues from Slife are popular topics of debate within the field of Psychology. They have roots in the history of the discipline and reflect basic concerns and matters of theory. By examining how you stand on these issues, this paper should help you see where you stand with others in the field of Psychology. We will try to find your psychological "roots" and match you with famous names in the field who thought as you do. This paper must also be in APA style.
Part I: First you must look at your stand on each of the issues from Slife.
Part II: Try to relate each issue to what you have learned in your Psychology courses.
Part III: Compare your view in Part I with what you think might be the Psychologist's view in Part II.
This Perspective is due on the last day of class.