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Swift Thinking: Spring 2016


A table of our anticipated Fall 2016 course offerings and tentative course schedule for the 2016-2017 academic year is available online at Schedule and Resources. Descriptions of Psychology courses are also available on the Registrar’s website.

Preregistering for Fall Courses

The Psychology department will offer pre-registration through CAESAR for most of our courses the week before regular registration. To see which courses are available, look at the “prereg” column of the course table at the link listed above. All students listed as a psychology major or minor in the registrar's database should be able to enroll in these courses through CAESAR. Some classes are open to Cognitive Science, Neuro Science or Music Theory students as well.

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

Wait Lists

Psychology courses are very popular, and they often close during registration. If a course you want to take has closed, use the electronic wait list function on CAESAR. As students drop the course, we will check the electronic wait list and send permission numbers to students to enroll.

Wait lists will be monitored until the last business day before classes begin. Students will need approval from instructors to be added to the course during the first week of Fall quarter.

Registering for PSYCH 205-Research Methods

Students listed in CAESAR as majoring or minoring in psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience or music cognition may preregister for PSYCH 205. Make sure you have the statistics prerequisite or an allowed substitution before you enroll. You may not take both PSYCH 205 and the prerequisite during the same quarter. Your records will be evaluated for this requirement and you will be asked to drop the course if you have not completed it. Once regular registration begins, any student with the prerequisite may enroll.


PSYCH 397-1, 397-2, 398-1, and 399

A great way to learn more about psychological research is to become actively involved in research activities through the two-quarter PSYCH 397-Advanced Supervised Research series or PSYCH 399-Independent Study. This is especially valuable for students considering graduate study in psychology, and it can be an educational and enjoyable experience for others as well.

PSYCH 397 and 399

You can count at most 1 quarter of 397-1 or 399 toward the major. You cannot count both courses. PSYCH 205-Research Methods in Psychology is a prerequisite for PSYCH 397. The second course in the Psych 397 series counts as an upper level research course and must be completed with the same faculty supervisor. 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 “Research for Course Credit.”

To enroll in PSYCH 397 or PSYCH 399, download the application, 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 at Swift Hall, Room 102 and a student-specific permission number will be generated. Please note that you must turn in your application and register for the course through CAESAR before the last day to add a class for Fall Quarter, which is Friday, September 23, 2016.

**Any application turned in on the last day is not guaranteed a permission number by the registration deadline and will then need approval from the Dean’s Office.**


Students who will be taking PSYCH 398-Senior Honors Seminar next quarter will also need permission to enroll. The course will be set up in CAESAR so that only those on the list provided by Dr. David Uttal or Dr. Sandy Waxman will be able to register for the course.


The Psychology Department will be offering two sections of PSYCH 314-Special Topics, two sections of PSYCH 357-Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology and one section of PSYCH 358-Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Science or Neuroscience.  The topics and course descriptions for these special courses, as well as their prerequisites, are listed below.

Psych 314: Special Topics - Positive Psychology

Wendi Gardner

Psychology has traditionally focused on understanding mental illness, rather than the factors that lead to optimal mental well-being. This course will instead focus upon the questions asked within the growing science of positive psychology. Does money make us happy, and if so, when and why? How do our relationships contribute to a feeling of meaning in life? What types of situations encourage cognitive mastery and creativity? Can happiness be learned, or is our happiness "setpoint" mostly determined by genetics? How do we, as a society, encourage generosity and altruism? In this seminar, students will read a mix of recent scientific journal articles and book chapters, will write opinion papers about the scientific findings, and will journal about their own experiences in trying to apply these findings to their own lives. Students can expect to wrestle with some of the "big questions" about what makes a good life and a strong society in discussions with their classmates.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.

Psych 314: Special Topics - Schools of Psychotherapy

Carol Donnelly

Clinical psychology is the application of theoretical perspectives to an individual, couple or group for the purpose of psychological healing. This course will investigate, within a biological-psychological-social framework, the major theoretical perspectives and their views on normal, abnormal development and their therapeutic interventions. Special focus will be given to competing and controversial perspectives both between and within paradigms. The emphasis will be on Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioral, Dialectical (DBT), Humanistic, and Psychopharmacological approaches with some background discussion on recent developments in Neuroscience.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent, and Psych 303 recommended. This class is for Juniors and Seniors only- all others must obtain instructor permission to enroll.

Psych 357: Adv. Seminar in Personal, Clinical, or Social - Research Topics in Schizophrenia

Vijay Mittal

Students will learn about psychosis, survey popular research approaches, and design research proposals for hypothetical projects. In this class we will learn about major areas of cognitive, emotive, and behavioral dysfunction in schizophrenia as well as related psychotic disorders. We will also survey the most recent developments in the field of intervention, as well as biomarker development in high-risk and premorbid periods. The course will focus heavily on learning about relevant research methodology including eye tracking, motor assessment, psychophysiology, cognitive assessment, and neuroimaging (other modalities will be examined as time permits). This will involve reading about the methodologies and joining the class on a series of field trips to Northwestern Labs (Evanston and Downtown) that are currently employing these approaches.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205

Psych 357: Adv. Seminar in Personal, Clinical, Social - Cooperation & Prosocial Behavior

Dan Molden

If people did not possess some basic concern for the welfare of others, it would not be possible to develop or sustain the complex societies in which we currently live. However, within these societies, individuals, groups, and corporations often encounter a wide variety of opportunities and temptations to pursue their own personal goals, aspirations and achievements at the expense of the larger social good. What then determines when people will resist versus give into these temptations? Where do people's concerns for others come from in the first place, and what types of experiences nurture versus suppress these concerns? In this course we will explore these questions by reviewing the decades of research on prosocial behavior performed by economists, evolutionary biologists, and social psychologists. Through the reading of primary-source articles, class discussions, and hands-on class exercises and demonstrations we will uncover the fundamental psychological mechanisms responsible for behaviors such as fairness, trust, reciprocity, cooperation, helping, and altruism. Evaluations will be based on preparation of discussion questions, class participation and several written assignments.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205

Psych 358: Adv. Seminar in Cognitive Science or Neuroscience

Lance Rips

This course examines how people reason about everyday objects and categories. Readings include theory and experimental research on this topic in cognitive psychology, philosophy, and linguistics. Assignments engage students in research in this area.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205. In addition, it is recommended that students haven taken at least one course in cognitive psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, linguistics, or computer science.


The psychology department has a stellar group of honors students this year! Please consider attending the 2016 Undergraduate Research and Arts Exposition to see many of these students present the results of their senior thesis research. Other psychology students will be participating as well. The Expo will be held in Norris University Center on Wednesday, June 1st. In addition to learning more about the impressive research efforts of these students—and maybe getting ideas for  research of your own—you can vote on your favorite posters. Students with the most votes receive “People’s Choice” awards.

Seniors Pursuing Honors in Psychology:

Stephen Antonoplis                        Seo Young Myaeng                      Natalie Stern                      Deborah Wu

Kelsey Gradwohl                             Madeline M. O’Brien                     Hannah Waldfogel

Rafa Ifthikhar                                  Margaret Shavlik                          Ashley Walters


Several psychology courses will be offered at Northwestern this summer—some taught during the regular academic year and some summer-only options. To learn more, see the summer session website. If you want to take courses elsewhere and count them toward psych requirements, download the transfer credit form from the Registrar's website, read the policy statement there, and schedule a meeting with Drs. Broaders or Gorvine about department approval. (See previous sidebar for how to make an appointment.)


All Northwestern undergraduates are to complete and submit Graduation Petitions one year prior to their intended graduation date. The latest to submit your petition is two quarters before you anticipate graduating (e.g., by the end of this Winter quarter if you expect to graduate in Summer 2016, and during Spring quarter if you expect to graduate in Fall 2016).  If it’s time to complete your Graduation Petition, set up an appointment with an adviser via email at or contact Sheila Chhim in the department office (Swift 102, 847-491-5190).  Be sure to bring a copy of your CAESAR Degree Progress report to the meeting.

Completing your Graduation Petition on time ensures you are on appropriate graduation lists and that you, your adviser, and the Registrar’s Office agree on what requirements you have left to complete. It also provides an opportunity to talk about your experiences in the department thus far and your plans for the coming year and beyond.

You can read more about the petition process and access petition forms on the Registrar’s website. A good place to start is the Registrar's Graduation Page.


The Undergraduate Psychology Association is exited for all of the events planned for this Spring Quarter! We have transitioned to a new executive board and are proud to introduce the new members:

President: Patsy Castro

Vice President: Jiaqi Yu

Treasurer: Jonathan Yu

Secretary: Jamilah Silver

Events Coordinator: Shreya Ghosh

In the upcoming year, UPA is planning more events that will foster community for its members. Members will be able to meet other students who share an interest in psychology, learn more about current events in Psychology, and be introduced to a variety of psychology-related extracurricular activities.

After midterm season, the UPA is hosting a Lunch with a Professor. The Lunch with a Professor events offer students an opportunity to interact with professors in a very casual setting and discuss topics more in depth. This helps students build stronger relationships with professors, while enjoying free lunch. Later in the quarter we will be hosting a panel about the psychology of relationships. More details to come soon!

To be included on our listserv, please email us at Also be sure to like our Facebook page “UPA Undergraduate Psychology Association” for event updates. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to chat about psychology, feel free to reach out to us! Thanks and we look forward to a great quarter with you! – Patsy Castro, UPA President 2016-2017


Northwestern University’s Undergraduate Research Grants (URG) Program

We had twelve amazing students who were awarded an Academic Year URG for 2015-2016 to help fund their research:

Stephen Antonoplis

Tiffany Fang

Katherine George

Sarah Johnson

Seo Myaeng

Ajay Nadig

Pooja Nayak

Margaret Shavlik

Natalie Stern

Hannah Waldfogel

Ashley Walters

Jessica Yang

Summer Research Grants

Three Psychology majors have received the URG/Benton J. Underwood Summer Research Fellowship from the Psychology Department to support their research this summer:

Tiffany Fang                       Sam Osburn                       Christine Schlaug

In addition, two Cognitive Science majors received the URG/Cognitive Science Fellowship:

Victoria Wee                      Natasha Zeigler

Conference Travel Awards

The students listed below have been chosen for the Psychology Department’s Undergraduate Travel Award to support the presentation of their research at conferences across the nation:

Sarah Johnson                   Margaret Shavlik              Alain Sherman                   Deborah Wu

Congratulations to all of our students!

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