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Swift Thinking: 2008 Fall


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 2008-2009 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 2009 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 2009 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

When to get your Psych 205 permission number


Tuesday, November 11

1:00 - 4:00


Wednesday, November 12

9:00 - noon


Wednesday, November 12

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

You will also need permission to register for Psych 357 – Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social: Child Psychopathologywith Dr. Durbin.  Students must have taken Psych 205-Research Methods in Psychology and either Psych 218 – Developmental Psychology or Psych 303 – Psychopathology to register for this course. Students should go to the department office and see Ms. Brenda Robertson 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 11

1:00 - 4:00


Wednesday, November 12

9:00 - noon


Wednesday, November 12

1:00 - 4:00

After you turn the form in, Ms. Robertson 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 11. 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 11, for everyone on the list of students participating in our honors program. 

Special Courses For Winter Quarter

Psych 314 – Special Topics: Psychology of Diversity 
This course will be taught by Dr. Mona Weissmark. The United States is becoming increasingly diverse and the world increasingly globalized. The central focus of the course will be on the links between diversity and psychological processes at individual, interpersonal, and international levels. Students will consider several basic questions, including: What is diversity? How do race, nationality, and religion influence individuals? What impact does diversity have on cross-group relationships? How is diversity related to people's perceptions of fairness and justice? What is the relevance of people's perceptions of fairness and justice to social problems and social change? Does respect for diversity promote peace and positive change? Much research has addressed these questions, and the class will closely examine the evidence that has emerged so far. The prerequisite for this course is Psych 110 – Introduction to Psychology and either Psych 204 – Social Psychology or Psych 215 – Psychology of Personality. 

Psych 357 – Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social:Child Psychopathology
This course, taught by Dr. Emily Durbin, will survey major forms of psychopathology present during childhood, including disorders exclusive to childhood, as well as those that may appear during any developmental period, including childhood. The theoretical framework of the course is developmental psychopathology; students will be exposed to developmental models of the etiology and course of major psychopathologies.  This course can count toward both the Column A and the upper-level research requirements for psychology majors. Students must have taken Psych 205-Research Methods in Psychology and either Psych 218 – Developmental Psychology or Psych 303 – Psychopathology to register for this course. 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: Social and Affective Neuroscience – Inside the Social and Emotional Brain

This course will be taught by Dr. Joan Chao. Our daily social environment presents us with countless challenges that we successfully navigate with ease. How does the human mind and brain give rise to our amazing capacity for everyday social interaction and emotion?  Social and affective neuroscience are modern interdisciplinary fields that use neuroscience techniques (e.g., neuroimaging, neuropsychology, electrophysiology) to better understand affective and social processes, and how these processes interact with cognitive processes (e.g., memory, attention, perception, cognitive control). A neuroscientific understanding of social interaction and emotion may inform broad range of issues from health and wellbeing to intergroup conflict and atypical social behaviors including autism, William's syndrome and prosopagnosia.  Topics to be covered will include: 1) emotion: perception, expression, and experience; 2) emotion, stress, and memory; 3) affective disorders; 4) moral reasoning and decision making; 5) self perception and knowledge; 6) regulation of self and emotion; 7) personality and individual differences; 8) person perception and agency; 9) imitation, empathy, and theory of mind; 10) fairness, reputation, cooperation, and competition; 11) social categories, stereotyping, and prejudice; 12) social relations: affiliation, attraction, and aggression.  

Emphasis in this seminar will be placed on foundational topics and current debates within social and affective neuroscience as well as the theoretical advances that work within these fields may bring to bear on questions in nearly every area of psychology, including social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and cognitive science. Students will read primary scientific articles and learn to critically evaluate the design, methods, and interpretation of studies as well as learn how the methods of cognitive neuroscience are best applied to examine affective and social processing. Students will be strongly encouraged to direct this knowledge towards designing novel, independent experiments that further our conceptual and empirical understanding within and beyond these fields. A firm prerequisite for this course is Psych 205-Research Methods in Psychology. This course counts toward the Column B and upper-level research requirement for psychology majors. 

Psych 358 - Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Insight in the Brain

This course, taught by Dr. Mark Jung-Beeman, will examine how the brain solves problems by insight. Students will explore this broad topic in depth, as well as examine how it relates to myriad other mental behaviors, including humor, intuition, complex language processing, and visual perception (gestalt). Simultaneously, students will learn about the many methods and theoretical approaches of cognitive neuroscience. The course will be taught in a mix of lecture and seminar style, depending on the enrollment.  

Prerequisites include Psych 205- Research Methods in Psychology AND at least one of the following courses: Psych 212, 228, 312-1, 324, 361, 363, 364, 365, Biol Sci 306, 326, Cog Sci 210, Com Sci 303; OR Psych 150. This course counts toward the Column B andupper-level research requirement for psychology majors.

Psych 394 – Professional Linkage Seminar: Psychological Development and the Juvenile Court System

This course will be taught by Linda Uttal, Acting Chief and Attorney Supervisor in the Juvenile Justice Division of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender. The purpose of the course is to examine the relation between children's psychological and psychosocial development and the juvenile court system. Students will examine whether the court system serves the best interests of children and how it might be improved. Approximately the first hour of each class will be devoted to a presentation of the research focus for the week, along with examination of various legal cases that may be relevant. Professionals from the Cook County Juvenile Court system will visit the class and lead discussions. Visitors may include a public defender, a state's attorney, a public guardian, a social worker, a psychologist, and a probation officer. Students will also be given the opportunity to visit the court. This experience can serve as the basis for the final paper. The course should be relevant to anyone interested in pursuing further study and a career in law, juvenile justice, psychology, or social work.  If you have questions you can contact Linda Uttal at lindauttal@yahoo.comTen of the fifteen spaces in this course will be available for pre-registration for psychology majors and minors.  The other five spaces will be made available during the normal registration period. 

New Faculty in the Psychology Department

Dr. Ben Gorvine joined the psychology department this fall. He received his doctorate in Clinical and Developmental psychology from the University of Michigan, and his bachelor's in Psychology from Earlham College. Prior to coming to Northwestern, he taught at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and at Aurora University, and trained as a postdoctoral clinical fellow at the Family Institute at Northwestern University. He currently maintains a clinical practice as an affiliate psychotherapist at the Family Institute at Northwestern.  His research interests include fathers in poverty and young children's social development, and he currently co-facilitates a fathering/young men's group at the Howard Area Leadership Academy in Rogers Park.  This quarter, Dr. Gorvine is teaching Psychology of Personality, as well as Statistical Methods. He will also teach Clinical Psychology and Research Methods later this year.

Dr. Gorvine lives in Evanston and has two daughters, Emma (age 9) and Sophie (age 3).  When not feverishly teaching and thinking about psychology, Dr. Gorvine is an avid reader, especially of books of fiction that are character studies; a die-hard baseball fan who tries to root for both the Cubs & Sox (but is constantly told by native Chicagoans that this cannot be done); and a devoted viewer of the serialized television shows "Lost" and "Heroes."

News from the UPA

by Rachel Ostrov (, 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.

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 Professor Wendi Gardner, our recipient of the 2007-2008 UPA Distinguished Teaching Award.

This quarter, the UPA began the school year with our Annual Meet & Greet for prospective majors and minors. Current UPA members, the Exec board, and prospective students enjoyed delicious Jimmy Johns subs while meeting new people, and learning more about being a psychology major.

For those of you interested in attending graduate school in psychology or related fields, our Annual Graduate School Panel will be taking place on Tuesday, November 11th in University Hall 122 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. This year we will have panelists from Kellogg, SESP, CSD, and Weinberg. With such a selection of graduate school options available right here at Northwestern, our panel will be able answer a wide variety of questions about the admissions process.

In October, the UPA held its first Lunch with a Psychology Professorwith Professor McAdams.  These new and exciting monthly lunches will bring together one psychology professor with five undergraduate students interested in psychology. If you are interested in signing up for the next monthly ‘Lunch with a Psych Prof,’ look for the next announcement through the UPA listserv!

Lastly, the UPA is working to create a new volunteer program with the Rice Child and Family Center in Evanston. The dates and times of this monthly volunteer program will be announced over the UPA listserv. If you are interested in volunteering with the UPA please contact our Community Outreach Chair: Josilyn Banks,(

Look out for more events hosted by the UPA throughout the year!  If you would like to join our listserv and learn more about our ongoing events, please email our Vice President, Carolyn Hsu, ( 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 2008-2009 UPA Board

President: Rachel Ostrov (
Vice President: Carolyn Hsu (
Secretary: Emily Medvin (
Treasurer: Christian Alvia-Ramos (
Academic Chair: Bonnie Vu (
Academic Chair: Marissa Smith (
Community Outreach: Josilyn Banks ((
Event Implementation: Stephanie Richman (
Publicity Chair: Stacy Congdon (
Social Chair: Natalyn Wong (
Social Chair: Tiffany Wu (

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.  Lab members 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.  Dr. Franconeri and his students 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.  The lab uses behavioral measures, as well as eyetracking and brain electrophysiology. Students interested in volunteering in the lab should contact Dr. Franconeri

Horton Lab

As part of the Cognition and Communication Lab, Prof. Horton’s research explores the social and cognitive factors that influence how people (of all ages) produce and understand language. One fundamental question concerns the extent to which speakers and listeners explicitly consider the knowledge and beliefs of other individuals as part of routine social interactions. Prof. Horton is also interested in how people understand non-literal uses of language, such as metaphor and irony.  These issues are explored in a variety of ways, using standard computer-based tasks, detailed analyses of spoken interactions, and visual eyetracking.  Students who would like more information or who are interested in volunteering should contact Dr. Horton at

Waxman Lab

The researchers of the Waxman lab have several accomplishments to share this quarter.  Prof. Waxman was recently awarded the Ann L. Brown Award for Excellence in Developmental Research.  Marian Chen, a post-doc in the Waxman lab, was awarded a 2008 Young Scholars Grant from the Jacobs Foundation.  The Jacobs Foundation supports research that contributes to the “welfare, social productivity, and social inclusion” of young people. This grant will support Dr. Chen’s research on the integration of early social and language development. Specifically, she will look at how 14-month-old infants use language to interpret the goals and intentions of others. 

Awards for Undergraduates

The Lois 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 1, 2008. There will be another application period in March 2009 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 13, 2009.