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Swift Thinking: 2007 Fall

Registration Information

Winter Courses

A table showing our anticipated course offerings for winter is available online. Please check this table and the registrar's webpages for updates. Descriptions of psychology courses are available through the registrar's webpages.

The course plan for the 2007-2008 Academic Year with all the department's offerings can be found online as well, to assist you in planning for your Spring courses.

Preregistering for Winter Courses

The psychology department will be offering preregistration through CAESAR for many of our courses the week prior to regular registration. To see which courses are available for preregistration, look at the “prereg” column in our Winter 2008 course table. All students listed as psychology or cognitive science majors or minors in the registrar's computerized system 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.

Most courses not available for preregistration are ones for which students need department or instructor consent in order to enroll. Details are given in this newsletter and in our Winter 2008 course table.

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.

For Psych 205-Research Methods in Psychology (all sections) and all other courses requiring department or instructor permission, a wait list will be maintained in the Psychology department office.

All psychology courses will require department permission during the add period (the first week of winter 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.


Registering for Psych 205-Research Methods

You will need a permission number in order to register for Psych 205-Research Methods in Psychology. Psychology and cognitive science majors and minors interested in this course should go to the department office, Swift 102, the week prior to registration to get permission numbers. You should be able to use your permission number to sign up for the course during preregistration or during your regular registration time. Remember that Psych 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology is a prerequisite for Psych 205.



Tuesday, November 6

1:00 - 4:00


Wednesday, November 7

9:00 - noon


Wednesday, November 7

1:00 - 4:00

If you are unable to go to the office at your scheduled time, then go as soon after that as you can.

Other Courses Requiring Department or Instructor Permission

Departmental permission is required to register for Psych 314 – Cognitive Behavior Therapy with Professor Mineka. The prerequisite for the course is Psych 303. Interested students should see Ms. Ginger Gilmore in the psychology department office according to the schedule below (or as soon as possible after your scheduled time).


Tuesday, November 6

1:00 - 4:00


Wednesday, November 7

9:00 - noon


Wednesday, November 7

1:00 - 4:00

Ms. Gilmore will ask you to fill out a form and will check to make certain that you have completed the prerequisite. Eligible students will then be given a permission number to register for the course. For more information on this class, see the section on special courses .

You will also need permission to register for Psych 357 – Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social: Brainwashing, Mind Control and Seduction with Dr. Herrera. The professor requires that students have taken Psych 205-Research Methods in Psychology and Psych 204 – Social Psychology. Students should go to the department office and see Ms. Ginger Gilmore during preregistration to obtain the form required to register for the course. You may obtain this form according to the following schedule (or as soon as possible after your scheduled time):


Tuesday, November 6

1:00 - 4:00


Wednesday, November 7

9:00 - noon


Wednesday, November 7

1:00 - 4:00

After you turn the form in, Ms. Gilmore will check that you have completed the prerequisites. If there is room in the course, you will then be given a permission number. For more information on this class, see the section on special courses.

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; permission numbers will be available beginning Tuesday, November 6. 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 Honors Seminar next quarter will also need permission numbers. These will be available in the department office beginning Tuesday, November 6, for everyone on the list of students participating in our honors program.


Special Courses For Winter Quarter

Psych 314 – Special Topics: Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

This course will be taught by Professor Sue Mineka. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a leading treatment for many emotional and behavioral problems. This course should be of special interest to students thinking of careers in clinical psychology and to other students as well. The course will provide students who have completed Psych 303-Psychopathology with an enhanced understanding of the scientific foundations of cognitive-behavior therapy for a wide range of disorders--anxiety disorders, depression, addictive disorders, sexual disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, personality disorders, etc. Lectures, readings, and discussion will focus on the scientific rationale for different treatments, as well as scientific evidence showing that certain treatments work and how they work. Some exposure to case examples will also be provided. Comparisons with other scientifically validated treatments such as medications and interpersonal psychotherapy will be made. The prerequisite for this course is Psych 303-Psychopathology. Please see the above section on Other Courses Requiring Department or Instructor Permission to learn how to register for this course.

Psych 357 – Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social: Brainwashing, Mind Control, and Seduction

This course, taught by Dr. Nick Herrera, will consider real-world examples of extreme and systematic attempts at social influence. It will build on what students learned in Introduction to Psychology (Psychology 110) and Social Psychology (Psychology 204). Consequently, in addition to Research Methods in Psychology (Psychology 205) both of these courses are prerequisites. Topics to be covered include principles of social influence, the “brainwashing” of American POWs by the Chinese Communists during the Korean War, classical and operant conditioning, Communist interrogation tactics, the CIA's MKULTRA mind control program, hypnosis, the seduction community, indoctrination and hazing, psychological warfare, and attitude change and persuasion. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities, students will learn the reality of brainwashing, mind control, and seduction. This course can count toward both the Column A and the upper-level research requirements for psychology majors. Please see the above section on Other Courses Requiring Department or Instructor Permission to learn how to register for this course.

Psych 358 - Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Human Memory

This course, taught by Professor Ken Paller, concerns the scientific study of human memory. Key concepts will include: memory systems, encoding, working memory, consolidation, retrieval, remembering, false remembering, and forgetting. A cognitive neuroscience perspective will be emphasized. One or more of the following are recommended as prerequisites for this course: Psych 361, 363, 364, 365, 324. Additionally, a firm prerequisite for this course is Psych 205-Research Methods in Psychology. This course counts toward the Column B and upper-level researchrequirement for psychology majors.

Psych 359 - Advanced Seminar: Children and the Law

This course, taught by Dr. Sara Broaders, will address a variety of issues pertaining to children's involvement in the legal system in roles such as decision-makers, witnesses, victims, and perpetrators. Among the topics we may cover are: What are the effects of violence on children? How reliable are children as witnesses? Should children be allowed to make decisions that affect their future? What types of decisions should they be allowed to make? How can/should we deal with violent children? What is the current state of the juvenile justice system? Should children have the same rights as adults? What types of accommodations should the legal system make for children? Do children understand the difference between right and wrong? Prerequisites include Psych 205- Research Methods in Psychology AND Psych 218-Developmental Psychology. This course counts toward the upper-level research requirement for psychology majors.

New Faculty in the Psychology Department

Nick Herrera received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2000. He has conducted research on a number of different topics including operant conditioning, emotional contagion, the hunting patterns of serial rapists, and beliefs about birth order differences in personality traits. His current research focuses on flirting. People seem to flirt for many different reasons. Although many studies have examined the specifics of how people flirt, little is known about why people flirt. It seems likely, however, that how people flirt depends on why they flirt. In addition, cultural, personality, and situational factors almost certainly affect why and how people flirt. Dr. Herrera is also interested in real-world examples of extreme and systematic attempts at social influence that are sometimes referred to as brainwashing, mind control, and seduction. In his free time, Dr. Herrera enjoys drawing and painting, flying airplanes, and spending time with his Chihuahua.

News from the UPA

by Stacy Grossman (, UPA President

The Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA) is happy to welcome new majors and minors to the psychology department! The UPA is dedicated to providing academic, social, and community outreach opportunities to anyone with an interest in psychology. The executive board, with the help of our advisers, Professors Durbin and Finkel, is starting to plan several exciting events for this year. We sincerely hope that you will take advantage of these opportunities.

Before looking ahead to our exciting upcoming events, we would like to share some news from our organization. Last spring, UPA members nominated outstanding professors from the department for the UPA Teaching Award, an award that recognizes professors who are highly dedicated to teaching undergraduates. We would like to congratulate Dr. Renee Engeln-Maddox, our recipient of the 2006-2007 UPA Distinguished Teaching Award .

Additionally, last spring, we also held an information session about career opportunities related to the field of psychology. Professors, clinicians, a social worker, and other professionals from psychology-related fields gathered together at our Career Panel to help make students aware of many exciting opportunities after graduation and to inform them of how to get involved. Many students attended this panel and found it very helpful and informative.

This quarter, the UPA began the school year with an informal social meet and greet for current and prospective majors and minors. Professor Finkel and Dr. Broaders introduced the psychology department and curriculum, sharing their personal advice and suggestions. Additionally, upperclassmen shared advice with new and prospective majors, and everyone enjoyed a pizza dinner!

For those of you interested in attending graduate school in psychology, we have a couple of upcoming events that may be of interest to you. On Wednesday, November 7 th , we will be hosting a Graduate School Panel in Annenberg G15 from 6-8 p.m. Majors, minors, and anyone interested in the graduate school application process and graduate school life in general should take advantage of this opportunity. Professors Durbin, Suzuki, Rapp, Dr. Engeln-Maddox, and other psychology professors will be offering valuable advice about graduate school admissions (and more) in all of the major areas of psychology.

Lastly, the UPA hopes to plan a volunteer event at Greenwood Care psychiatric rehabilitation center. The date and time of this event will be announced over the UPA listserv. Additionally, our community service chair is working on other community outreach events in Evanston and Chicago .

Look out for more events hosted by the UPA throughout the year. In the winter, we are planning to host a career panel similar to last year's with representatives from various psychology-related fields. In addition, in the spring, we hope to have a “Path to Graduate School” workshop let by current Northwestern psychology graduate students.

If you would like to join our listserv, please email our Vice President, Yoon-Hee Hong, ( We encourage you to join because we will be sending out more detailed information about our events, as well as announcements about psychology-related opportunities both on-campus and in the community. We also encourage you to email the UPA executive board members with questions you have – we will do our best to answer them or to get you in touch with faculty members who can. Also, please email us with ideas and suggestions for events because we greatly appreciate your input. We hope to see you at our upcoming events!

The UPA Board

Lab Notes

Franconeri Lab

Work in the Visual Attention & Cognition Lab explores how the visual system manages the overwhelming amount of information presented by the visual world.  We study the tools that people use to sift through this information, such as eye movements, internal visual selection of location and features, and visual memory.  We also study how these tools are used in seemingly simple processes such as the perception of spatial relations, to more complex processes like face and scene perception, or selecting objects that refuse to stay in one place.  Our lab uses behavioral measures, as well as eyetracking and brain electrophysiology. Students interested in volunteering in the lab should contact Dr. Franconeri.

McAdams Lab

Prof. Dan P. McAdams heads up an interdisciplinary research group – called The Foley Center for the Study of Lives – that draws undergraduate and graduate students from Psychology, Education, and other departments to study adult personality development, with an emphasis on the life narratives that adults construct to provide their lives with meaning and purpose. Professor McAdams's overall approach to psychological theory and research is featured in his book, The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By(Oxford University Press, 2006). Funded by a new 10-year grant from the Foley Family Foundation, McAdams's research group is currently focusing its efforts on three major projects. The first is a study of the life stories of 128 midlife American Christians, who have been interviewed at great length and asked to describe their own faith development and the ways in which their religious faith links to personality, social relationships, and their political engagement with the world. Currently, undergraduate seniors Matt Braslow and Brooke Bielinski are doing honors projects that use portions of this rich data set. Matt is examining the different ways in which these Christian adults describe the relationship between their own faith and their political views; Brooke is testing the hypothesis that people project their own personality traits onto their favored political candidates. First-year graduate students in Clinical Psychology – Keith Cox and Josh Wilt – are also planning new studies that draw on the data set. The second major project involves launching a 10-year longitudinal study of approximately 160 community adults in their mid-50s (half African-American, half White; half male, half female) wherein assessments of personality, religion, politics, community involvement, family life, mental and physical health, and life narratives will be collected on a regular basis. Data collection for the Foley Longitudinal Study of Adulthood (FLSA) will begin in the winter quarter of 2007-08. Spearheaded by Ph.D. student Jonathan Adler, the third project for the Foley Center is an ongoing investigation of how psychotherapy patients narrate their experiences in therapy. Currently, undergraduate senior Marina Miloslavsky is working with Jon Adler on an honors thesis examining different perceptions of the self as portrayed in these narratives.

Rapp Lab

In the Reading Comprehension Laboratory, we are currently examining the types of memory errors that influence readers' understanding of texts.  In particular, we are now focusing on individuals' failures to update knowledge, as well as their difficulties in recruiting prior knowledge when it might prove useful for understanding a text.  Several undergraduates have been integral to these ongoing projects, and we encourage students interested in memory functioning and failures, reading comprehension, and cognitive science in general to contact us about becoming actively involved as research assistants in our lab activities. Please e-mail for further information.

Uttal lab

The Uttal lab investigates cognitive development, specifically spatial and symbolic reasoning in children, and cultural differences in mathematics cognition and achievement. In recent research, we've studied whether learning about a space from a map versus a verbal description affects how children think about the space. Children learn the layout of a six-room space either from verbal descriptions or from a map and then recall information about the layout.  So far, we've found that children who learn about the space from a map are better at remembering the layout of rooms than those who learned from a description. Our results suggest that graphic representations like maps are especially important to helping children think about space. Aspects of this work are being published in the journal Developmental Science.

We have also examined how children's play with toys that are also symbols (such as magnetic letter toys or letter blocks) is related to children's developing literacy skills. We asked children to play various games with letter blocks and then later watched how they used the letters on a test of symbolic understanding (using the letters to stand for certain sounds). We found that guided play that specifically highlights the symbolic properties of the letter toys can improve skills that are important for learning to read. This work is being presented at the upcoming meetings of the Cognitive Development Science.

Our lab is beginning a new project in which we are interested in how novices in geosciences courses acquire the necessary understanding and cognitive skills to interpret geoscientific information and the role of spatial reasoning in these interpretive processes. We will also investigate the role of comparison in the acquisition of basic geosciences concepts, such as faults (fractures that show evidence of sliding). For more information, please contact Dr. David Uttal:

Zinbarg Lab

In the Anxiety Laboratory we study factors involved in the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders as well as studying treatments for anxiety disorders. Among the factors that might predispose people to the development of anxiety disorders and/or serve to maintain the symptoms of anxiety disorders, we are most interested in normal personality traits such as neuroticism and introversion and in information processing styles such as the tendency to interpret ambiguous situations in a negative manner and the tendency to pay attention to negative cues when multiple cues are present. We also collaborate with researchers who have expertise in biological risk factors and, with their help, include measures of biological risk factors in some of our studies. In fact, five years ago we started a longitudinal study of risk for anxiety and depressive disorders that includes measures of personality, information processing styles and biological processes as hypothesized risk factors and we just received a major grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to continue the study for another five years. In terms of our research on the treatment of anxiety disorders, we are currently focusing on efforts to improve current treatments for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). We recently completed a study (Zinbarg, Lee & Yoon, 2007) in which we found that the ways in which our patients with GAD and their partners interacted prior to the start of the patients' individual therapy predicted how much benefit the patient derived from the therapy. Specifically, the more hostile the partners were toward the patients, the less the patients benefited from the therapy. In contrast, the more the partners disagreed with the patients in a non-hostile way, the more the patients benefited from the therapy. We are currently collecting data attempting to replicate these findings while also testing the effectiveness of a new individual therapy technique for GAD. If we replicate our findings that partner hostility and non-hostile disagreement predict how much benefit the patient derives from the therapy, we will begin to develop a family therapy for GAD designed to decrease hostility and increase non-hostile forms of disagreement. Students interested in getting involved in the lab should email Dr. Zinbarg.


Awards for Undergraduates

The Loise Elizabeth Henrikson Undergraduate Travel Award

The psychology department is happy to announce an award to fund student travel to professional conferences. The Henrikson Award provides up to $400 to support students presenting their work at conferences. The money can be used to pay for conference fees and travel expenses. Preference will go to students who are first author on the presentation. Applications for this award are due December 1st, 2007. There will be another application period in March 2008 for conferences later in the spring and summer. Please submit your applications to Prof. Wendi Gardner via email. Put "Undergraduate Travel Award" in the subject line of the email. In the email, please include the following information:

In addition to providing this information, please ask your faculty sponsor to write a brief letter of recommendation describing your role in the research. This letter can be emailed to Dr. Gardner as well. Please ask your faculty sponsor to put “Undergraduate Travel Award” in the subject line.

Funds for Summer Research

It's not winter yet, but it's still not too soon to start thinking about summer – and about the possibility of spending your summer doing research in our department. Each summer the Psychology Department offers two or more undergraduates a Benton J. Underwood Summer Research Fellowship . Professor Underwood was chair of the psychology department and a distinguished researcher in the field of memory. He worked to establish the fund that makes these fellowships possible. Last year, the amount of the fellowship was $3000.

Acceptance of an Underwood Fellowship implies a commitment to spend most of your summer working on research here at Northwestern with a psychology professor. Your exact schedule will be worked out with the professor who supervises your research. Both current juniors and current sophomores can apply for this award. However, priority will be given to current juniors. Work on an Underwood project often serves as the foundation for a senior honors project. (Receipt of an Underwood fellowship does not guarantee acceptance to our honors program.)

If you are interested in doing research this coming summer, you should look into other funding sources too. All Underwood applicants should also apply for a Northwestern University Summer Research Grant from the Undergraduate Research Grants Committee (URGC). Weinberg College also has funds for summer research by students; see the webpage on Weinberg College undergraduate research funds . Different funding sources have different selection criteria, and applying to more than one will enhance your chances of receiving an award.

To apply for an Underwood Fellowship, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a faculty member to supervise your research and talk with him or her about what you will be doing and what your time commitment will be. You should also talk with the faculty member about the need for Institutional Review Board approval for your planned project.
  2. Prepare an application in which you include (a) a statement describing your plans for this research; this can be the same proposal you submit to the university's grants committee; (b) a copy of your transcript (an unofficial transcript is fine); and (c) information about your general interests in psychology, your relevant course work, your previous research experience, and anything else that you think is relevant.
  3. Have the faculty member who will supervise your research write a confidential letter of support for your application.
  4. Get your application and letter of support to Joan Linsenmeier by the deadline for submitting summer grant applications to the University's Undergraduate Research Grants Committee . The due date is Friday, March 14, 2008.

Northwestern University Psychology Research Opportunity Grants (NUPROG)

The Northwestern University Psychology Research Opportunity Grants (NUPROG) program was designed to enhance the research involvement of NU undergraduates interested in graduate study in psychology. The NUPROG program aims to increase the diversity among students who go on to graduate education in all areas of psychology. Students who are from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate psychology programs (e.g., certain racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, etc.) are encouraged to apply for NUPROG awards. Each student who applies for a NUPROG award must have a faculty sponsor in the psychology department. Academic year awards cover research expenses and summer awards may cover research and/or be applied toward living expenses. We anticipate making three awards of up to $500 each but requests up to $1500 will be considered as long as the student provides a detailed budget and budget justification. At the conclusion of the project, students who receive a NUPROG award will be expected to turn in a written report summarizing their research project.

To apply:

  1. Complete a Northwestern University Psychology Research Opportunity Grants application form; forms can be downloaded from the Psychology Department website.
  2. Complete a short project proposal (approximately two pages) including a clear specification of the timeframe for the project.
  3. Have the faculty member who will supervise your research write a confidential letter of support.
  4. Submit a copy of your transcript (an unofficial copy is fine)
  5. In the case of requests exceeding $500, complete a detailed budget and budget justification.

All application materials should be submitted to Professor Wendi Gardner, Department of Psychology, 102 Swift Hall.

The department will begin to review applications on 12/3/07 and will continue to accept new applications and make awards on a rolling basis