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Swift Thinking: Spring 2013

Posted 5/10/2013

Registration Information

Fall Courses

Tables showing our anticipated undergraduate course offerings for Fall 2013 and a still-tentative Academic Year 2013-1014 course plan can be found online. Please check the registrar's website for updates to these schedules and descriptions of psychology courses.

Preregistering for Fall Courses

The Psychology department will be offering preregistration for most of our courses the week prior to regular registration. To see which courses are available for preregistration, look at the “prereg” column in our Fall 2013  course schedule. All students listed as psychology or cognitive science majors or minors in CAESAR should be able to preregister through CAESAR for these courses.

Preregistration times are announced by the Registrar's Office. You can preregister for at most two courses.

Note that PSYCH 205-Research Methods is available for preregistration; no permission numbers will be required. PSYCH 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology or an approved substitute is a prerequisite for PSYCH 205. We will regularly check class rosters for PSYCH 205 during the registration process. Those who lack the prerequisite will be required to drop the course. You must complete the prerequisite before taking PSYCH 205. For example, if you are in PSYCH 201 this Spring, you may sign up for PSYCH 205 for Fall because you will complete PSYCH 201 before Fall quarter starts. However, you may not take both PSYCH 205 and the prerequisite during the same quarter.

Most courses not available for preregistration are those for which students need department consent in order to enroll. Psych 397, 398, and 399 require department permission throughout the registration period. See the section below on Courses Requiring Department Permission for additional information on these courses.

Wait Lists

Psychology courses are very popular, and they often close during registration. What should you do if a course you want to take has closed? That depends on which course it is.

For most of our courses, we will be using the "electronic wait list" function on CAESAR. If you try to add a course that is full, CAESAR will tell you that there are no openings and will ask if you would like to be on the wait list. As students drop the course, we will check the electronic wait list and send permission numbers to students who can enroll.

All psychology courses with an active wait list will require department permission during the add period (the first week of fall classes). Course professors will prepare lists of students whom they have agreed to add to their courses, and these students will then receive permission numbers. In many cases, available slots will be offered to interested students who come to the first class and are nearest the top of the CAESAR wait list.

Courses Requiring Department Permission

One great way to learn more about psychological research is to become actively involved in research activities through PSYCH 399-Independent Study or the two-quarter PSYCH 397-Advanced Supervised Research. This is especially valuable for students considering graduate study in psychology, and it can be an educational and enjoyable experience for others as well. To enroll in PSYCH 397 or PSYCH 399, you should get an application in the department office, fill it out, and have it signed by the professor with whom you will be working. Then, take the signed application to the department office to get a permission number for the course. Remember that PSYCH 205-Research Methods in Psychology is a prerequisite for PSYCH 397.For more information on 397 and 399--including the differences between them, how they count towards requirements, and tips on finding a research adviser--see our webpage on doing research for course credit.

Students who will be taking PSYCH 398-Senior Thesis Seminar next year will also need permission numbers. These will be available in the department office beginning Monday, May 10, for everyone on the list of students selected to participate in our honors program next year.

Special Courses for Fall Quarter

PSYCH 314 - Special Topics: Sports Psychology

David Smith

This course is designed to introduce you to the field of sport and exercise psychology by providing a broad overview of the major topics in the area including exercise psychology, leadership, self-confidence, personality, psychology of the fan, aggression, team dynamics, anxiety and arousal, goal-setting, imagery, motivation and judgment. The topics covered in this course are designed to increase your understanding of the psychological makeup of athletes and how psychological factors influence involvement and performance in sport. An additional goal is to help you acquire the skills and knowledge about sport and exercise psychology that can help you in your everyday life.

PSYCH 314: Special Topics: Psychology of Beauty

Renee Engeln

The purpose of this course is to thoughtfully consider psychological theory, methodology, and empirical data relating to questions such as the following: What is it that makes us find beautiful people beautiful? How can evolutionary psychology explain why we find certain features beautiful? Where does this theory fail in terms of predicting perceptions of beauty? Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? How have beauty ideals shifted over history? How are gender roles and sexual orientation related to beauty and its pursuit? Why is beauty associated with femininity? What cultural biases help those perceived as beautiful and hurt those perceived as lacking in beauty? Are beautiful people happier or more successful? In what ways are beauty standards sometimes destructive? How do cultural standards of beauty affect disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and body dysmorphic disorder?

PSYCH 314: Special Topics: Health Psychology

Edith Chen

This course will provide an introduction to health psychology. The course will provide exposure to topics including stress and coping, personality and health, social support and health, health behaviors, and adjustment to chronic illnesses.

PSYCH 357-Advanced Seminar: Psychology of Food

Sara Broaders

This course will explore the psychology of food and eating behavior. We'll look at evolutionary, social, cultural, cognitive, biological, and clinical perspectives on eating behavior, food choice, and eating disorders. Among the issues that we'll explore are: why we eat, what we eat, how much we eat, and what we won't eat. Since this is an upper-level research course, we will focus on psychological theories, methodological issues, and empirical research in this area. Students will also engage in designing, conducting, analyzing, and writing up an empirical research project during the quarter.

PSYCH 357-Advanced Seminar: Scientific Controversies in Psychology

Galen Bodenhausen

This is an advanced social psychology course designed to examine a variety of controversial topics in social psychology. Topics to be addressed include: Is there really such a thing as unconscious racism? Are stereotypes accurate? Does high self-esteem cause a variety of social problems? Are positive illusions about oneself beneficial or harmful? Is subliminal persuasion real? Are video games harmful to individuals and to society? Is parapsychology at all legitimate? Exploration of questions like these will form the basis for our class meetings.

PSYCH 357-Advanced Seminar: Identity and Motivation

Mesmin Destin

The discussion-based course focuses on the connection between conceptions of the self and goal-oriented motivation, with particular attention devoted to the influence of social, structural, and cultural forces. The first segment of the term will cover classic theoretical work concerning the self and identity. Next, we will consider the relevance of a variety of social influences on identity and motivation. Finally, the course will close with a survey of contemporary identity-based intervention research and practical applications relating to trends in social inequalities, including education and health.

All 357 Advanced Seminars count toward the upper-level research requirement for psychology majors. All have PSYCH 205 as a prerequisite, and other prerequisites may apply as well (see the course information on CAESAR for details). In addition, PSYCH 357 counts toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) requirement and PSYCH 358 counts toward the Column B (cognitive and neuroscience) requirement for psychology majors and minors.

News from the Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA)

by Zara Quader, UPA President

The Undergraduate Psychology Association is very excited for Spring Quarter and all it has to hold for us! We recently transitioned to our new board, and we couldn’t be more excited to start off a great year. The new board is as follows:

For this upcoming quarter, we already have a lot planned for you guys! Our first event is going to be held on May 16th. "Senior Psych Majors Tell All: The Psych Dept. Uncensored" is going to be a panel of current seniors discussing their experiences at Northwestern being a Psych major as well as their plans for their future with their degree. We are hoping it will be an enlightening evening for all underclassman to help them better navigate their time as a Northwestern Psych major! The event will include free pizza and drinks!

We also are currently taking votes for our annual “Excellence in Teaching Award”. Each year, we have UPA members vote for a professor they have had in class this academic year that they want to recognize. The professor receives a certificate and a gift card, and it really is an honor to be chosen. Like our Facebook page in order to cast your vote!

UPA usually holds a “Lunch with a Prof.” each quarter in order to foster more communication between students and professors they may not normally have interactions with. Last quarter, we planned on having Mike Bailey, but the event had to be rescheduled, so now it is being held May 21st at noon (free lunch provided by UPA as well!). If you are interested in attending, RSVP when the event is sent out over the listerv! Fall quarter we had 20+ students attend, so in order to keep the event more intimate, we are keeping it on a first come, first served basis.

Last quarter, our reading week movie night, featuring Memento, was such a success, so we are planning on having another this quarter! More details TBA.

To join the listserv and receive our most up-to-date news, send us an e-mail at Also be sure to check out and like our Facebook page, “UPA Undergraduate Psychology Association”. And as always, if you have any suggestions, comment, or questions about UPA, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are looking forward to a great quarter with you!

Psychology Honors Students and the Undergraduate Research and Arts Exposition

The psychology department has a stellar group of honors students this year! Please consider attending the 2013 Undergraduate Research and Arts Exposition to see many of these students present the results of their senior thesis research. The symposium will be held in Norris University Center on Monday, May 20. In addition to learning more about the impressive research efforts of these students, attendees can vote on their favorite posters. Those students receiving the most votes will receive “People’s Choice” awards!

Seniors Pursing Honors in Psychology

Summer Study in Psychology

Several psychology courses will be offered at Northwestern during the summer session. These include some courses taught during the regular academic year and some summer-only sections of Psych 314-Special Topics in Psychology. To learn more about NU Summer Session courses, see the summer session website.

Taking Summer Classes at Another School

If you plan to take psychology courses at another school this summer and want to count them toward your Northwestern degree, then you must have prior permission from your home school (e.g., Weinberg) and from our department. Download the transfer credit form from the Registrar's website, read the policy statement there, and then see either Dr. Linsenmeier or Dr. Broaders to talk about getting psychology department approval. You can schedule an appointment to see either of them or any department adviser by contacting Maria Candelario in the department office (Swift 102, phone 847-491-5190) or emailing

Graduate School Information

If you're thinking of doing graduate work in psychology, the department has several resources you may find helpful. One resource is the department webpage on graduate study in psychology. In addition, our faculty members and graduate students can provide you with useful information about choosing a field of specialization, applying to graduate school, and what life as a graduate student is like.

If you're interested in clinical psychology, be sure to take a look at Considering Graduate Study in Clinical Psychology.

Juniors: Time to do your Graduation Petition

Spring of the junior year is the usual time to file a Graduation Petition. You need to have the petition reviewed and signed by an adviser in each major and each minor you plan to complete. This is important for making sure that you haven't overlooked or misunderstood any graduation requirements--and that you and the degree auditors in the Registrar's Office agree on how your courses fit department, college, and university rules. It's also a good opportunity to think about how you'd like to spend your final year as an undergraduate student.

Forms should be submitted to the Registrar's Office a full year before you plan to graduate. If you expect to graduate next June with a major or minor in psychology, then this quarter is the time to do your petition. Students in each of Northwestern’s undergraduate schools can find the appropriate form through the “Graduation” section of the Registrar's website. You should fill the form out and then discuss it with a psychology department adviser. To schedule an appointment, click on this link or contact Maria Candelario in Swift 102 (phone 847-491-5190). Our tentative academic Year 2013-1014 course schedule may be helpful to you as you complete the form.

After your form is signed, turn it in to the Registrar's Office. Be sure to look carefully at the feedback you get from the Registrar's office after you submit this form.

Seniors: Graduation Reception

The psychology department will honor all students graduating with a major in psychology at a reception on June 21, 2013. The reception will he held from 2:00 – 3:30 in Swift Hall room 107. All of our graduating seniors and their families are invited to attend and to celebrate with us!

Lab Notes

From the Paller Lab:

Check out the most recent press release from the Paller lab describing their research on reactivating memories during sleep. Also, if you would like to learn more about what is happening in the Paller lab, here are two recent publications:

Oudiette, D., & Paller, K.A. (2013). Upgrading the sleeping brain with targeted memory reactivation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13, 142-149.

Oudiette, D., Santostasi, G., & Paller, K.A. (in press). Reinforcing rhythms in the sleeping brain with a computerized metronome. Neuron.

-downloadable here:

Awards and Accolades

Congratulations to the many psychology majors and minors who have won awards, presented papers at conferences, or been involved in other special activities this year. Listed below are some of the students in our department who have received recognition for their achievements this year.

Two psychology majors have received the special Benton J. Underwood Summer Research Fellowship from the psychology department to support their research this summer:

Leah Grodinsky “The Advantages of Adult Play”
Faculty Advisor: Wendi Gardner

Samantha Reznik: “Reward-Sensitivity in Bipolar Symptoms”
Faculty Advisor: Robin Nusslock

In addition, the following psychology undergraduates received Undergraduate Summer Research Grants to support their research from the University's Undergraduate Research Grants committee:

Peironnet Block: “Anxiety Disorders: Clinical Significance”
Faculty Advisor: Rick Zinbarg

Chancelor Cim: “Homeless Resident Health”
Faculty Advisor: Ben Gorvine

Sara Coverdale: “Preterms' Categorization Using Language”
Faculty Advisor: Sandra Waxman

Jermaine Dictado: “Facilitation of Categorization”
Faculty Advisor: Sandra Waxman

Rachel Galvin: “Impact of Online Relationship Comparison”
Faculty Advisor: Wendi Gardner

Sandeep Jain: “Motivational Factors on Self-Control”
Faculty Advisor: Daniel Molden

Jonathan Landis: “Neural Markers of Depression and Anxiety”
Faculty Advisor: Robin Nusslock

Congratulations to the co-winners of the Win Hill Award, Devika Basu and Blake Murphy, for the best papers in Research Methods. Devika’s paper was entitled “The Effects of Gender and Priming on Ideal Marriage Age” and Blake’s was entitled “Does Race Matter? Examining Positions on Capital Punishment”.

All of the students listed below won Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Awards to support their travel to conferences for the presentation of their research.

Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) in Seattle, WA
Michael Sladek

Association for Psychological Science (APS) in Washington D.C.
Dani Alcorn
John Castellanos
Reggie Hearn
Parker Murphy
Jennifer Siedjak
Michael Sladek

Congratulations to all our award-winning undergraduate students!

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