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Swift Thinking: 2009 Winter

Registration Information 

Spring Courses

A table showing our anticipated course offerings for Spring is available online. The table includes information on meeting days and times. In addition, it indicates which major and minor requirements each course can fulfill, whether a course is available for preregistration, and whether you need permission to enroll.

Please check this table and the registrar's webpages for updates. Descriptions of psychology courses are available through the registrar's webpages. 

Preregistering for Spring Courses

The psychology department will be offering preregistration through CAESAR for almost all of our courses the week prior to regular registration. 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. See below for the psychology department’s new policy regarding prerequisites for upper-level research courses.
The only courses not available for preregistration for Spring quarter are Psych 101-Freshman Seminar, Psych 205-Research Methods, Dr. Mineka’s section of Psych 314–Special Topics, and 397/398/399 research courses. Details on how to sign up for these courses are below. 

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. As students drop a course, permission numbers will be distributed to those on the list.

All psychology courses will require department permission during the add period (the first week of spring 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. (If you wait until after preregistration, then it will not count toward your two-course preregistration maximum.)



Monday, February 16

1:00 - 4:00


Tuesday, February 17

9:00 - noon

Sophomores & Freshmen  

Tuesday, February 17

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. Remember that Psych 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology is a prerequisite for Psych 205. See below for the psychology department’s new policy on substitutions for Psych 201.

Other Courses Requiring Department or Instructor Permission

You will need permission to register for Psych 314 – Special Topics: Cognitive Behavior Therapy with Dr. Mineka. You must complete Psych 303-Psychopathology BEFORE you take this course; you may not take both courses at the same time. 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): 


Monday, February 16

1:00 - 4:00


Tuesday, February 17

9:00 - noon


Tuesday, February 17

1:00 - 4:00

Brenda Robertson will check that you have completed the prerequisites for the course, and give you a permission number if there is room in the course. For more information on this class, see the article 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, February 17. 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 in Psych 398-Senior Honors Seminar will need permission numbers to register as well. Permission numbers will be available in the department office beginning Tuesday, February 17th, for everyone participating in the honors program this year.

Special Courses For Spring Quarter 

Psych 314 – Special Topics: Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (Dr. 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. Theprerequisite for this course is Psych 303-Psychopathology. For more information, see the Registrar’s course description.

Psych 314 – Special Topics: Introduction to Schools of Psychotherapy (Dr. Carol Donnelly)

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

Psych 344 – Cultural Psychology (Dr. Joan Chiao)

This course is new to the psychology department this year. 
What is culture? How does culture shape psychological and neurobiological processes across multiple time scales (e.g., generations, lifespan and contextual situations)? In this course, we will explore how cultural psychologists use theoretical and empirical methods to address the influence of our cultural values, beliefs and practices on how we feel, how we perceive things, how we reason, and how we think about ourselves and others. We will also examine how living in a multicultural world affects our psychological and biological selves and how people adapt to new cultural environments through various means, such as acculturation. Emphasis will be placed on understanding and interpreting current research in this field as well as understanding how this research connects to everyday experience.

Psych 357 - Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology: Emotion (Dr. Wendi Gardner)

This seminar will focus upon psychological research and theory in the study of emotion. Classic and contemporary readings will be used to explore long-standing debates and new questions about emotion, including cognitive and physiological components of emotion, the functions emotions serve, emotional biases in decision making, and how best to foster emotional well-being.

The prerequisite for this course is Psych 205 - Research Methods. This course can count toward both the Column A (personality/social/clinical) and upper-level research requirements for psychology majors. For more information, see theRegistrar’s course description.

Psych 358 - Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Consciousness (Dr. Satoru Suzuki)

What is consciousness? Do we have it, do we need it? Why do we think about it? Is it real, is it a physical entity, is it pure computation, is it fundamentally unknowable? The course reviews how psychologists, neuroscientists, and physicists have tackled fundamental questions about consciousness. Additionally, students will develop their own theories of consciousness.

The prerequisite for this course is Psych 205 - Research Methods (or a biology/physics background). This course can count toward both the Column B(cognitive/neuroscience) and upper-level research requirements for psychology majors. For more information, see the Registrar’s course description.

Psych 358 - Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Psychology of Music (Dr. David Smith)

How are human beings affected by music and why do we engage in musical activity? This course will focus on the relation between music and the mind. We will consider such issues as how we perceive, remember, create, and perform music. In addition, special attention will be paid to questions about the development of musical competence, and the social and cultural significance of music. This course draws from literature in the fields of psychology, sociology, music education, and music theory.

The prerequisite for this course is Psych 205 - Research Methods. This course can count toward both the Column B (cognitive/neuroscience) and upper-level researchrequirements for psychology majors. For more information, see the Registrar’s course description.

Psych 375 - Psychological Tests and Measures (Dr. Engeln-Maddox)
This course was taught previously by Dr. Engeln-Maddox under Psych 357 - Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology: Lab in Psychological Tests and Measures, but has now been assigned a new course number.  

What do IQ tests really measure? Do psychologists still show people inkblots? Why does my future employer want me to take a personality test? This course will address these and many other questions related to the current science of psychological tests and measurements. The assessments we'll focus on will primarily be from the fields of clinical and personality psychology. We will also cover some tests relevant to social psychology and industrial-organizational psychology. Course topics include the theory behind psychological testing and assessment; the historical context for psychological testing and related legal and ethical considerations; the basics of test construction and evaluation, including reliability, validity, and standardization; and common measures of personality, psychopathology, and ability, and their psychometric properties. 

During the course, you will work to develop your own measure of a psychological construct and to evaluate the psychometric soundness of test scores resulting from this measure. After successful completion of this course, you should be able to demonstrate proficiency with regard to the terminology and concepts involved in psychological testing, conduct relevant statistical analyses including factor analysis, demonstrate an understanding of the purposes and applications of commonly used psychological tests, and critically evaluate the use and misuse of psychological testing, both historically and presently. This course is highly recommended for those hoping to pursue graduate study in psychology and those planning to do an honors thesis in psychology.

The prerequisite for this course is Psych 205 - Research Methods and one of the following: Psych 204, Psych 215, or Psych 303. This course can count toward both theColumn A (personality/social/clinical) and upper-level research requirements for psychology majors. For more information, see the Registrar’s course description.

New Policy Regarding Prerequisites for Upper-level Research Courses

All psychology majors must complete PSYCH 110-Introduction to Psychology, followed by PSYCH 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology, then PSYCH 205-Research Methods in Psychology, and then at least one upper-level research (Row 2) course. This is intended to be a true sequence, with courses taken in the specified order. Students in PSYCH 205 use skills and knowledge gained in PSYCH 201 to analyze and interpret their data; upper-level research courses build on the foundation in methods and research communication provided by PSYCH 205.

Beginning with registration for Spring 2009 classes, CAESAR will check that all students have completed (or are currently enrolled in) PSYCH 205 before allowing them to register for an upper-level research course. Those who lack this prerequisite will be able to enroll only with a permission number from the department.

If you try to enroll in an upper-level research course and lack the PSYCH 205 prerequisite, you will receive an error message saying "Requisites not met.” In special cases, the instructor may still be willing to let you enroll (e.g., if the course is heavily biological and you plan to count it not toward psychology requirements, but toward a major in biological sciences). If you think your situation may warrant this, you should contact the course instructor.  He or she can authorize the Undergraduate Program Assistant, Ms. Brenda Robertson, to give you a permission number for the course.

Many upper-level research courses have other prerequisites in addition to PSYCH 205. Although CAESAR will not prevent students who lack these prerequisites from registering, students should avoid taking classes for which they are not well prepared.

For a complete list of all upper-level research courses, see the table of major requirements. 


New Policy on Substitutions for Psych 201

PSYCH 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology is a requirement for all psychology majors and minors. Some students complete a different statistics course before declaring a major or minor in psychology and/or to fulfill another requirement. The department has a new policy on using such courses as substitutes for PSYCH 201.

The new policy is that students who have

can count that credit as a substitute for PSYCH 201 without having to take a placement test. (In the past, successful performance on a placement test was always required.) The credit will count toward psychology major and minor requirements in place of PSYCH 201, and it can be used as the prerequisite for PSYCH 205-Research Methods in Psychology. This policy applies to all current Northwestern students. (See Important Note below.)

Psychology majors and minors who have completed STAT 202 or 210 with a grade of B or higher and/or earned AP credit for STAT 202 should contact either Dr. Sara Broaders ( or Dr. Joan Linsenmeier (, who can do paperwork to approve a substitution. They will need to know

What if you earned credit for a different college-level statistics course, either at Northwestern or elsewhere? In this case, you will have to take a statistics placement test. If you do well enough on the test, you can use your credit for the other course as a substitute for PSYCH 201. Contact Dr. Sara Broaders ( or Dr. Joan Linsenmeier ( for details. Students who earned grades below B in STAT 202, STAT 210, or another statistics course are advised to take PSYCH 201 before enrolling in PSYCH 205.

Important Note:  All substitutions for PSYCH 201 are subject to the double-counting rules of Weinberg College. See and for details. 

News from the UPA

by Rachel Ostrov (, UPA President
The Undergraduate Psychology Association is planning some exciting events for winter quarter. This quarter, we are continuing out extremely popular “lunch with a prof.” where students interested in psychology have the opportunity to eat lunch with psychology professors. Dr. Sid Horton, Dr. David Rapp, and Dr. Sue Hespos are just some of the professors who will be lunching with small groups of psychology students this quarter.  Be sure to watch for more “lunch with a prof” flyers on the UPA listserv.  Additionally, UPA members will begin volunteering at the Rice Child + Family AidCenter in Evanston this quarter.  If you are still interested in volunteering with UPA or would like more information please e-mail Josilyn at In the spring, the UPA is planning for its Annual Career Panel featuring members of the community who have taken their psychology degree and applied it to a variety of careers.  Finally, we will be holding UPA elections in April, and we would like to encourage you to begin thinking about running for a position- there are many opportunities to get involved.  If you would like to join our listserv, please e-mail Carolyn at 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 Senior Honors Program: Announcement for Current Juniors

Each spring a few juniors with outstanding records in psychology are invited into Psychology 398, the Senior Honors Program. Each participant in the honors program conducts a year-long research project under the guidance of a faculty member. The project culminates in the preparation of an honors thesis. In addition, honors students participate in a special honors seminar. Those students who fulfill all the requirements for the Honors Program are usually eligible to graduate with Honors in Psychology.

Students interested in participating in the Honors Program next year will need to submit formal applications this spring. Updated information on this program, including details on how to apply, will be posted at our web site on Honors in Psychology by March 13. 


Funds for Summer Research

It's still winter, but it's 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. Students who accept these fellowships spend most of the summer working on research at Northwestern with a psychology professor. The exact schedule is worked out with the professor who supervises the research. Both current juniors and current sophomores can apply for this award; priority is 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). Psychology students might also be interested in undergraduate summer research fellowships from the Cognitive Science Program or the summer research assistants program through the Institute for Policy Research.  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 Friday, March 13. This is also the deadline for submitting summer grant applications to the University's Undergraduate Research Grants Committee and the Cognitive Science Program.

The Hunt Award for Undergraduate Research

If you are actively involved in doing psychology research this year--as an honors project, a 397 or 399, or in some other way--consider submitting a paper for the William A. Hunt Award. Dr. Hunt was a distinguished clinical psychologist and a past chair of our department. The Hunt Award goes to the undergraduate 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 considered for this award. Students who have completed a research paper as part of a 397 or 399 can apply as well; give a copy of your paper and a letter of support from the faculty member who supervised your research to Dr. David Uttal by Friday, May 1st.

Conference Travel Awards

The university and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences both offer funding, on a competitive basis, to assist students who are presenting the results of their research at professional conferences.  The university provides grants through its Undergraduate Research Grants program. Information on Weinberg College grants is available through the college website on funds for undergraduate research.

The Psychology Department’s Lois Elizabeth Henrikson Undergraduate Travel Award provides up to $400 to support psychology 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. The application for this award is due February 13th, 2009. There will be another application period in April for conferences later in the spring and summer. Please submit your applications to Dr. Wendi Gardner via email. Put "Undergraduate Travel Award" in the subject line

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. 

Lab Notes

Franconeri Lab

Work in the Visual Attention and 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 .

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