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Swift Thinking: 2009 Fall


Winter Courses 

A table showing our anticipated course offerings for winter is available online. Please check this table and the Registrar's website for updates. Descriptions of psychology courses are available on the Registrar’s site. 

The department plan for the 2009-2010 Academic Year with all our undergraduate offerings can be found online as well. This can assist you in planning for your Spring courses. 

Preregistering for Winter Courses 

The psychology department will be offering preregistration through CAESAR 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 Winter 2010 course table. All students listed as psychology or cognitive science majors or minors in the registrar's database 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. 

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 use the "electronic wait list" function on CAESAR. If you try to add a course that is full, CAESAR will tell you 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) 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 may use your permission number to sign up for the course during preregistration or during your regular registration time. The prerequisite for Psych 205 is Psych 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology (or an approved substitute for Psych 201). 

When to get your Psych 205 permission number
Seniors Monday, November 9 9:00 - noon


Tuesday, November 10

9:00 - noon


Wednesday, November 11

9:00 - noon

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

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, 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 availablebeginning Thursday, November 12.

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 Thursday, November 12, for everyone on the list of students participating in our honors program. 

Special Courses For Winter Quarter

In Winter 2010 the psychology department will be offering two sections of Psych 314-Special Topics, one section of Psych 357-Advanced Seminar, and two sections of Psych 358-Advanced Seminar. The topics for these special courses, as well as their prerequisites, are described below.

Psych 314 – Special Topics: Psychology of Diversity    
Instructor: Dr. Mona Weissmark

The United States is becoming increasingly diverse and the world increasingly globalized. The central focus of this 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 prerequisites for this course are Psych 110-Introduction to Psychology and either Psych 204-Social Psychology or Psych 215-Psychology of Personality.

Psych 314 – Special Topics:  Memory Disturbances and their Substrates in Neuroclinical Disorders 
Instructor:  Dr. Aryeh Routtenberg

There are several neuroclinical disorders in which memory disturbances are well-known, such as Alzheimer's disease, Korsakoff's, and epilepsy.  But memory dysfunction is also apparent in other disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and Parkinson's disease.  What is the nature of the memory disorder in these cases?  Are there common neural substrates that are pathological? Answers to these questions will be sought in the current primary literature. The suggested prerequisite for this course is Psych 212 or 312-1; the Biological Sciences 210 sequence is recommended.

Psych 357 – Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social: Prosocial Behavior
Instructor: Dr. 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. The prerequisite for this course is Psych 205. The course counts toward the Column A and upper-level research requirements for psychology majors.

Psych 358 - Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Human Memory
Dr. Ken Paller

This course 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. Psych 205 is a prerequisite for this course. In addition, one or more of the following are recommended: Psych 324, 361, 363, 364, 365. This course counts toward the Column B and upper-level research requirements for psychology majors.

Psych 358 - Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Insight in the Brain
Dr. Mark Beeman                 

This course will examine how the brain solves problems with sudden creative insight—the  Aha! or Eureka! moment. We will explore this specific topic in depth, as well as examining how it relates to myriad other mental behaviors, including humor, intuition, complex language processing, and visual perception (gestalt). Simultaneously, we 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.  Prerequisites for the course are Psych 205 plus any one course in cognition and/or neuroscience [e.g., 212, 228, 312-1, 324, 361, 363, 364, 365, Biol Sci 306, 326, Cog Sci 210, Com Sci 303; OR Psych 150 (Advanced Intro)] This course counts toward the Column B andupper-level research requirements for psychology majors.

Blackboard Site for Psychology Students

If you are a psychology major or minor, you have probably noticed a new course link on your Blackboard site.  The psychology department has set up this site as a way of sharing information and resources more efficiently.  On the site you can find job postings, lab openings, links to Swift Thinking and registration information, and information about our departmental advisers. We’ll also use Blackboard to post announcements and to send email messages to you.

If you have suggestions for other types of content or other ways we could utilize this new resource, please send your ideas to Dr. Sara Broaders at

New Faculty Member in Psychology

Dr. Karl Rosengren joined the psychology department this fall.  He received his Ph.D. in Child Psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the College of Wooster in Ohio.  Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern he was a postdoctoral research fellow in Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan and then for the past 17 years held joint appointments in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.   His research interests focus on the cognitive development of children and motor development across the life span.  He has conducted research on children’s understanding of possible (e.g., biological growth, illness, and death) and impossible (e.g., magic and fantasy) events, children’s scale errors (behaviors where children attempt an action on an object that is way too small to accommodate the action), and factors that influence the acquisition of motor skills (e.g., drawing and balance).  In much of this research he is interested in cultural influences on development.

Dr. Rosengren is already actively involved in our undergraduate program. He is Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology, and he is teaching two undergraduate courses this year:  Psych 218-Developmental Psychology this quarter and an upper-level research course, Psych 362-Cognitive Development, in the winter.

Dr. Rosengren lives in Evanston with his wife, Sarah Mangelsdorf (the Dean of WCAS) and younger daughter (Julia, 14).  Their older daughter (Emily) is a junior at the University of Michigan. When not in the lab or classroom, Dr. Rosengren enjoys a wide range of athletics including soccer, biking, and squash, and he used to go winter camping in Northern Minnesota.

Our New Undergraduate Advising System

The psychology department is transitioning to a new advising system this year. In past years, each new psychology major and minor was assigned to a specific faculty adviser.  New this year, several members of the department faculty are serving as department advisers for our undergraduates, and students can meet with any adviser whose schedule fits well with their ownCurrently, the department advisers are:

Other faculty members may join the advising team later this year.

To make an appointment with a department adviser, contact Ms. Brenda Robertson in the department office, Swift 102, 847-491-5190.

 Advisers can talk with you about major and minor requirements, course selections, career choices, and how to plan an undergraduate program that will best prepare you for whatever you might do next.  They are also good resources for learning about research opportunities in our department. You should see an adviser to complete your official Application for a Bachelor's Degree (Petition to Graduate) or Minor Application, which you should file at the registrar's office one year before your expected graduation date (typically in spring of your junior year).

Study abroad applications.  If you plan to study abroad and need a department signature on your Study Abroad application, you should set up a meeting with Dr. Rosengren or Dr. Broaders.

Requirement substitutions.  For certain situations, you will need to meet with the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies, Joan Linsenmeier, or the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies, Sara Broaders. Drs. Linsenmeier and Broaders are the only advisers who can:

To make an appointment, contact Ms. Brenda Robertson in the department office, Swift 102, 847-491-5190. Or, you can contact Dr. Linsenmeier directly by email,

Graduate study in psychology. If you’re thinking of attending graduate school in psychology, you should meet with faculty members whose areas of interest are similar to their own. 

Of course, students who have already established a relationship with their assigned adviser from last year are welcome to continue to meet with that person.

News from the Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA)

by Carolyn Hsu (

It’s the start of a new year, and UPA has jumped right in!  We hosted our annual Meet ‘n’ Greet in October for psychology majors and minors to get to know the UPA board and each other.  We talked about the field of psychology, psychology at Northwestern, and what UPA can do for the students.

Beginning this year, we’re doubling up on the volunteering front.  We have established relations with the Rice Center in Evanston (, and we have partnered up with Natural Ties on campus (contact:  At Rice, our volunteers will be helping and playing with disadvantaged kids. Volunteers will interact with adults with disabilities through Natural Ties.  E-mail the contact people for more information on how to begin volunteering!

Upcoming events include our Graduate School Panel where Psychology professors will be talking and answering questions about what it’s really like to go to graduate school in Psychology.  We are also continuing our popular Lunch with a Prof program, where five students get to converse casually with a Psychology professor over lunch.  The first one was with new professor and director of undergraduate studies, Dr. Karl Rosengren.  The second lunch is in planning stages and will be announced on the listserv soon so keep your eyes open!

To join the listserv and receive our most up-to-date news, contact Bonnie  And as always, if you have any suggestions, comments, or questions about UPA, don’t hesitate to contact any one of our Executive Board members listed below.  We’re looking forward to an exciting year with you!

President: Carolyn Hsu, 
Vice President:  Bonnie Vu,
Secretary:  Stephanie Richman,
Treasurer:  Scott Beymer,
Academic Chair:  Katie Belleville,
Community Outreach Chair:  Josilyn Banks,
Events Implementation Chair:  Rachel Salk,
Publicity Chair:  Stacy Congdon,
Social Chair:  Aime Lynn Goudie,

NU Library Portal for Psychology Students and Faculty       

The Northwestern University library has created a new website providing links to useful resources for psychology students and faculty.  The place to start is From there, you can quickly get to PsycInfo and to other tools for searching psychology journals, to online versions of useful books, to guides on writing in APA style, to psychology articles in the general media, and more. This can be a great asset if you’re preparing an assignment for one of your courses, or if you just want to explore topics that intrigue you. Take a look!

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, 2009. There will be another application period in March 2010 for conferences later in the spring and summer. Please submit your applications to Dr. Karl Rosengren 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. Rosengren 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 also 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:

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