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Swift Thinking: 2009 Spring

Registration Information

Fall Courses

Tables showing our anticipated undergraduate course offerings for Fall 2009 and a still-tentative Academic Year 2009-2010 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 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 Fall 2009 course schedule. 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 those for which students need department or instructor consent in order to enroll. Psych 205, 397, 398, and 399 require department permission throughout the registration period. See the sections below on Registering for Psych 205 and on Other 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.

For Psych 205-Research Methods in Psychology (all sections), wait lists will be maintained in the Psychology department office.

All psychology courses 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.

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:

Juniors & Seniors:

Monday, May 11

 1:00pm - 4:00pm


Tuesday, May 12

 9:00am - noon


Tuesday, May 12

 1:00pm - 4:00pm

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

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 Monday, May 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 year will also need permission numbers. These will be available in the department office beginning Monday, May 11, for everyone on the list of students selected to participate in our honors program next year.

Special Courses for Fall Quarter

Psychology 150 – Advanced Introductory Psychology
This course will be open only to first-quarter Northwestern students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology exam or have completed an Introductory Psychology course elsewhere. The course is not open for May registration, and it is not open to students who are already enrolled at NU. Additional information will be provided to eligible students in the summer. Through readings, discussions, lectures, and hands-on experiences, students in the course will explore principles of scientific psychology at an advanced level. 

Psych 314 – Special Topics: Buddhist Psychology and the Science of Meditation
Dr. Marcia Grabowecky will teach this course. Students will examine the nature of the mind from both Buddhist and traditional Western psychological perspectives and will employ a Buddhist technique for investigating mental activity by incorporating a brief meditation period into class and homework activities. Students will also examine written materials from both traditions, and these will form the primary basis for class discussion and written assignments. See the registrar's webpage for further information. 

Psych 314 – Special Topics: Native American Cultures and Environmental Decision Making
This seminar, taught by Prof. Doug Medin, will focus on Native-Americans, culture, and cultural processes and environmental decision making. Some have argued that Native Americans have a spiritual connection with nature that leads them to respect and protect the environment. Others have suggested that "the ecological Indian" is a myth. Students will examine some of these ideas but the primary focus will be on research relevant to these questions. Although the course will begin with some historical information, the focus will quickly shift to contemporary contexts. Student will prepare an analysis of contemporary Native-American cultures in relation to the environment and propose further studies. See the registrar's webpage for further information.

Psych 358 – Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Social/Cultural/Affective Neuroscience
This course will be taught by Prof. Joan Chiao. It can count toward both the Column B (cognition/neuroscience) and upper-level research requirements for psychology majors. Prerequisites include Psychology 205 AND one course in cognition and/or neuroscience (e.g., 212, 228, 312-1, 324, 364, 361, Biol Sci 306, 326, Cog Sci 210, or Com Sci 303). Below is Prof. Chiao's description of the course; see the registrar's webpage for more information.

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 ones (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 & experience; 2)emotion, stress and memory; 3) affective disorders; 4) moral reasoning & decision making; 5) self perception & knowledge; 6) regulation of self and emotion; 7) personality & individual differences; 8) person perception& agency; 9) imitation, empathy & theory of mind; 10) fairness, reputation, cooperation & competition; 11) social categories, stereotyping & prejudice; 12) social relations: affiliation, attraction & aggression. Emphasis will be placed on foundational topics and current debates within social and affective neuroscience as well as 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.

News from the Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA)

by Rachel Ostrov, UPA President

Spring Quarter is an exciting time for the Undergraduate Psychology Association! We will be hosting our annual Career Panel featuring members of the community that work in a wide variety of psychology-related fields.  Look for more information through the UPA listserv.  In the beginning of April, UPA held a Bake Sale in Tech in order to raise money for a local mental health organization.  Thanks to the Northwestern community, we were able to raise over $100!  We also co-sponsored the screening ofKinsey during Sex Week.  The elections for the 2009-2010 Executive Board were also held at the beginning of April. We are proud to announce the new board members:

President: Carolyn Hsu
Vice-President: Bonnie Vu
Secretary: Stephanie Richman
Treasurer: Scott Beymer
Academic Chair: Katie Belleville
Social Chair: Aime Lynn Goudie
Community Service: Josilyn Banks
Event Planner: Rachel Salk
Publicity Chair: Stacy Congdon

We (the outgoing board) are extremely excited for all of the upcoming events and creative activities that the new board has to offer!  First, the UPA would like to encourage all psychology majors and minors to nominate their favorite psychology professor for the UPA Distinguished Teaching Award. Each year, the UPA recognizes a professor who has “demonstrated dedication to undergraduates, creativity in the classroom, and enthusiasm for his/her field.” If you would like to submit a nomination, please write a brief paragraph, explaining why your professor is a great candidate for this award, and submit it to Stephanie at

In addition, we will be continuing our popular ‘Lunch with a Prof’ this quarter with one of UPA’s very own advisers Dr. Eli Finkel!  Keep an eye out for the next lunch advertised on the UPA listerv.  The new board is excited for next year, and they have already begun generating some ideas for fall quarter events. However, they would love to hear your ideas for UPA events! Please email Carolyn with your suggestions. If you would like to receive email updates about our events, please email Bonnie at to subscribe to our listserv.

Finally, we would like to thank our members for their enthusiasm and for attending our events this year. We hope that we have been a resource for you, as well as a way to connect to other psychology students and professors. Thank you again for a wonderful year!

Psychology Honors Students and the Undergraduate Research Symposium

The psychology department has a stellar group of honors students this year!  Please consider attending the 2009 Undergraduate Research Symposium to see these students present the results of their honors research. The symposium will be held in Norris University Center on Tuesday, May 26. 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!
Here's a list of this year’s honors seminar students and their projects: 

Amanda Armour (Adviser: Joan Chiao)
Ironic Effects of Egalitarian Priming on Intergroup Empathy and Altruistic Motivation

Amrita Bhatia (Adviser: Rick Zinbarg)
The Interaction Between Perception of Control and Desire for Control as Nonspecific Risk Factors for the Development of Mood Disorders

Rita Biagioli (Adviser: Eli Finkel)
The Effects of External Anxiety on Bondedness to a Potential Romantic Partner

Hannah Chapel (Adviser: Wendi Gardner)
Other-Oriented Empathy and Self-Breadth

Mandi Delong (Adviser: Sandra Waxman)
The Role of Experience in Preschool Children's Racially-Based Category Inductions

Laura Drislane (Adviser: Emily Durbin)
Validation of Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality (SNAP)-Derived Analogues of Primary and Secondary Psychopathology

Katherine Funkhouser (Adviser: Bill Revelle)
Individual Differences in Affective Experience

Samantha Gitelis (Adviser: Sue Hespos)
Near-Infrared Spectroscopy: A Method for Studying Brain Development in Infancy

Kathrin Hanek (Adviser: Dan McAdams)
The Psychology of Christian Prayer: Conservatism, Liberalism, and Happiness

Sara Kobaissi (Adviser: Emily Durbin)
A Prospective Study Linking SASB Profiles to Marital Dissatisfaction and Dissolution

Jackie Korpics (Adviser: Bill Revelle)
Risk Taking and Personality: A Look at Two Types of Risk Taking

Joseph Lee (Adviser: Joan Chiao)
Effects of Attribution Style on Depression for Multicultural Asian Americans

Suegene Lee (Adviser: Joan Chiao)
Cultural Priming Modulates Emotional Attention and Experience

Emily Medvin (Adviser: Renee Engeln-Maddox)
The Relative Impact of Maternal Modeling and Weight-Related Criticism on Daughters' Body Images

Josephine Menkin (Adviser: Jennifer Richeson)
Ageism vs. Racism: An Experimental Examination of Interacting Stereotypes About Black Older Adults

Luke Olson (Adviser: Daniel Molden)
Motivating the Establishment of Trust before and after Violations of Trust

Rachel Ostrov (Adviser: Renee Engeln-Maddox)
Experimental Evidence that Peer Comments Encourage Restrained Eating in Undergraduate Women

Ashley Poltermann (Adviser: Dedre Gentner)
Rapid Spatial Learning in an Informal Educational Setting through Analogical Comparison

Priya Rajakumar (Adviser: David Uttal)
Helping Hands: Gesture and Spatial Learning

Marissa Smith (Adviser: Emily Durbin)
Neural Correlates of Emotion in Young Children

Sarah Stanton (Adviser: Eli Finkel)
Too Tired to Care: Self-Regulatory Depletion and Perceptions of Romantic Partner Transgressions

Rachel Vaughn (Adviser: Jennifer Richeson)
Are the Wealthy Also Born Healthy?: Stereotypes about Mental Health, Physical Disfigurement, and Socioeconomic Status

Gouri Vemuri (Adviser: Wendi Gardner)
The Connection Between Romantic Parasocial Attachment and Relationship Status

Jaclyn Weisman (Adviser: Sue Mineka)
Measures of Dysfunctional Cognition in Depressed Individuals Over the Course of a Depressive Episode as a Function of Life Stress

Amie Wolf (Adviser: Emily Durbin)
Association Between Self-report and Observational Lab Measures of Personality Traits in Parents

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 Courses 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 the Weinberg Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising (OUSA) and from our department. Take your course descriptions to the OUSA at 1922 Sheridan Road, pick up the relevant forms, and then see either Prof. Linsenmeier or Prof. Broaders to talk about getting psychology department approval. You can schedule an appointment to see either of them by contacting Brenda Robertson in the department office (Swift 102, phone 847-491-5190). Weinberg College guidelines and the petition form for courses taken away from Northwestern are also available online.

The Hunt Award for Undergraduate Research

Each year the Psychology Department chooses a student to receive the William A. Hunt Award. Dr. Hunt was a distinguished clinical psychologist and a past chair of our department. The award goes to the student judged to have written the best research paper in psychology. It includes a small cash prize and a mention in the Commencement program.

All students writing senior honors theses in psychology are automatically considered for this award and do not need to apply. Students who have completed a research paper as part of a 397 or 399 can be considered as well; give a copy of your paper and a letter of support from the faculty member who supervised your research to Joan Linsenmeierby Friday, May 15.

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 Petition to Graduate

Spring quarter is the usual time to file your Application for a Bachelor's Degree (also called the Petition to Graduate). You need to file an application for each major you plan to complete, as well as a Minor Application if you plan to graduate with a minor. 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. Get a copy of the appropriate form at the Registrar's Office or in our department office, or download it from the Registrar's webpage . You should fill the form out and then discuss it with your psychology faculty adviser, Dr. Broaders, or Dr. Linsenmeier. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Broaders or Dr. Linsenmeier, contact Brenda Robertson in Swift 102 (phone 847-491-5190). Our tentative 2009-2010 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 file this form.

Seniors: Graduation Reception

The psychology department will honor all students graduating with a major in psychology at a reception on Friday, June 19, 2009. The reception will he held from 2:00-3:30 P.M. on the first floor of Swift Hall; a formal awards ceremony will take place at 2:30 in Swift 107. All of our graduating seniors and their families are invited to attend and to celebrate with us!

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.

Three students will receive Benton J. Underwood Fellowships from the Department of Psychology for their research this summer:

Four students will receive Northwestern University Undergraduate Research Grants for their research this summer:

Two students received Lois Elizabeth Henrikson Undergraduate Travel Awards. These awards provide funding for undergraduate psychology students traveling to conferences to present their research. Award winners this year were:

Lab Notes

Waxman Lab

Under the direction of Professor Sandra Waxman, researchers involved in The Project on Child Development explore early linguistic development, cognitive development, and links between the two.  Their work on how infants learn nouns and verbs was recently published in Cognitive Psychology, where they provided an innovative analysis of the timecourse of children's successful word learning. They have now begun conducting similar studies of verb learning with collaborators in China and Korea.  This interest in cross-linguistic research is also reflected in a recent publication in The Journal of Child Language, describing a study analyzing the linguistic input available to children acquiring English and Spanish.  This study revealed distributional regularities in both languages that can provide cues to grammatical category (e.g., noun, verb, etc.) and therefore meaning. Another study in preparation examines the input to children acquiring English and Indonesian, and how it might influence the acquisition of biological concepts like "living thing." For more information, please contact Dr. Sandra Waxman

McAdams Lab

Professor Dan McAdams works with students in the Psychology Department and in the School of Education and Social Policy on many different projects investigating personality and social development during the adult years.  Most of the projects consider some dimension or feature of a person’s narrative identity – the internalized and evolving story of the self that a person constructs to provide life with meaning and purpose.  Professor McAdams is especially interested in the themes of growth and redemption that appear in the life stories of highly generative American adults at midlife – that is, adults who have distinguished themselves for their caring contributions to the next generation. 

Recent research has also focused on the relationships between life stories on the one hand and political and religious values on the other, examining in-depth life-narrative interviews collected from almost 150 highly religious American Christians, mainly in their 30s and 40s.  During the past year, undergraduate psychology major Kathrin Hanek analyzed portions of these interviews to complete an honors thesis on the psychology of prayer.  To read a recent article about the life stories of political/religious conservatives and political/religious liberals, click here.  Students with strong interests in personality psychology and/or life stories are encouraged to contact Professor McAdams for research opportunities in the coming year.

Engeln-Maddox Lab

Dr. Renee Engeln-Maddox and her dedicated team of undergraduate research assistants in the Body and Media Lab have been exploring several questions related to body image and experiences of sexual objectification.  During the summer of 2009, undergraduate Rachel Salk (funded by an Undergraduate Research Grant) collected data to explore how women with healthy relationships with their bodies learned to resist cultural pressures toward body dissatisfaction.  Also during the summer of 2009, undergraduate Tim Herrmann (funded by a WCAS Research Grant) examined the conditions under which women might have positive reactions to mild experiences of sexual objectification, and how these reactions relate to eating disorder symptoms.  Both Tim and Rachel presented their findings at the annual convention of the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago in early May. Undergraduate Rachel Ostrov will present research from her honors thesis at the annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science in San Francisco in late May.  Rachel conducted a series of experiments demonstrating that even a minor comment from a peer that encourages restrained eating can have an effect on undergraduate women’s eating behavior. Other research in the Body and Media lab this year has explored the impact of sexual orientation on eating disorder symptoms and the influence of sorority rush on women’s body image disturbance.

If you are interested in working in this lab as a research assistant, please email Tim Herrmann (our current lab manager) for an application ( Please return your completed application to Tim by Monday, May 11th.  Feel free to contact Renee Engeln-Maddox for more information.

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