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Swift Thinking: 2010 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 website for updates. Descriptions of Psychology courses are available on the Registrar’s site.

The department plan for the 2010-2011 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 2011 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.

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

We will continue the new registration policy for Psych 205-Research Methods in Psychology introduced in Spring 2010. Students will no longer need to visit the department office to get permission numbers for this course.

The new plan.  Students listed in CAESAR as majoring or minoring in Psychology, cognitive science, or music cognition may preregister for Psych 205 through CAESAR without a permission number. Make sure you have the statistics prerequisite (see below) before you enroll. Once regular registration starts, any student with the prerequisite may enroll; no permission number will be needed. When a section fills, a CAESAR wait list will be started. If students drop the course, we will check the wait list and send permission numbers to students who can enroll.

Special Psych 205 Section
For the first time we will be offering a special section of Research Methods that includes discussions sections.  This section will be taught by Sara Broaders and meets Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00 to 12:20.  Students will break up into smaller discussion sections once a week. These will be at the same time as the other class meetings. Students in these classes must sign up for both the lecture and a discussion section.

Statistics prerequisite.  Psych 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology or an approved substitute is a prerequisite for all sections of Psych 205. We will regularly check class rosters for Psych 205 during the registration process. Those who lack the prerequisite will be required to drop the course. You must complete the prerequisite before taking Psych 205.  For example, if you are in Psych 201 this Fall, you may sign up for Psych 205 for Winter because you will complete Psych 201 before Winter quarter starts. However, you may not take both Psych 205 and the prerequisite during the same quarter.

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 available beginning Wednesday, November 10.

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 Wednesday, November 10, for everyone on the list of students participating in our honors program.

Special Courses For Winter Quarter    

In Winter 2011 the Psychology department will be offering two sections of Psych 314-Special Topics, three sections of Psych 357-Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social, and one section of Psych 359-Advanced Seminar in Psychology. The topics for these special courses, as well as their prerequisites, are described below.

Psych 314 – Identity and Motivation - From Theories of the Self to Real-World Applications
Instructor: Mesmin Destin

Course Overview:
The discussion-based course focuses on the connection between conceptions of the self and goal-oriented motivation, with particular attention devoted to the influence of social, structural, and cultural forces. The first segment of the term will cover classic theoretical work concerning the self and identity. Next, we will consider the relevance of a variety of social influences on identity and motivation. Finally, the course will close with a survey of contemporary identity-based intervention research and practical applications relating to trends in social inequalities, including education and health. The suggested prerequisite for this course is Introduction to Psychology.

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

There are several neuroclinical disorders in which memory disturbances are well-known such as Alzheimer's disease, Korsakoff's, Epilepsy.  But memory dysfunction is also apparent in other disorders such as schizophrenia, PTSD, depression and Parkinson's disease.   What is the nature of the memory disorder in these cases?  Are there common neural substrates of the memory consolidation process that are pathological? Answers to these questions will be sought in the current primary literature on both normal and pathological memory.  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: The Social Self: The Psychology of the Interpersonal and Identity 
Instructor: Erica Slotter

In this course we will examine the interplay between individual and interpersonal forces that shape our sense of who we are. We will cover topics such as social identity construction and maintenance, interpersonal goal pursuit, and the effect of social isolation and loss on individual's selves and well-being. Students will be expected to critically read and analyze peer reviewed journal articles from the field and discuss these readings in class. Students' work in the course will culminate with a proposal outlining an independent research plan to investigate a topic of interest to them as it relates to the social self. Psych 205 is a prerequisite for this course. The course counts toward the Column A and upper-level research requirements for Psychology majors.

Psych 357: Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social: Consumer Psychology and Marketing Research
Instructor: Renee Engeln-Maddox

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the application of Psychological theories, findings, and methods to marketing and consumer behavior. The course can be roughly divided into two components. The first is a survey of important theories and empirical findings relevant to the science of consumer Psychology. The second is a series of hands-on activities designed to increase proficiency in applying common Psychological methods to marketing-based problems and questions. The primary course project will involve conducting marketing research for actual Evanston-based clients. This project will give students the opportunity to refine their knowledge of research design and data analysis and practice their ability to clearly communicate research results to a non-scientific audience.  This project will also give students valuable experience negotiating the practical challenges associated with applied Psychological research.  

We will consider how basic Psychological topics such as memory, motivation, persuasion, perception, mood, and decision making are relevant to marketers, and how academic research has long informed the study of consumer behavior. In terms of methodology, we will consider survey research, experiments/test markets, and observational studies. Psych 205 is a prerequisite for this course.  This course satisfies Column A and upper-level research requirements.

Psych 359: Advanced Seminar: Foundations of Psychology - Causality 
Instructor: Lance Rips

This course examines basic issues in cognitive science, drawing on research from Psychology, philosophy, and linguistics. Topics may include people’s concepts of objects and categories, personal identity over time, reasoning about hypothetical or counterfactual situations, and understanding of causal systems. Assignments will emphasize original research on these topics. Readings will be posted on the course’s Blackboard website.  Psych 205 is a prerequisite for this course, and the course fulfills the upper-level research requirement for Psychology majors.

Psych 357: Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social: Emotion 
Instructor: Wendi Gardner

  1. No description for this course is available at this time but will be added to the department web site when available. Psych 205 is a prerequisite for this course. The course counts toward the Column A and upper-level research requirements for Psychology majors.

New Faculty Members in Psychology

This fall, Dr. Mesmin Destin became a member of the faculty in the Department of Psychology, joining the Social area. He completed his Ph.D. in Social Psychology during the summer of 2010, ending five years of graduate study at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His research centers primarily on understanding broad societal issues and trends, such as socioeconomic disparities in educational attainment, from a Psychological perspective. In articles published in Psychological Science and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Dr. Destin and his dissertation chair, Daphna Oyserman, summarized a series of field experiments that influenced academic motivation for middle school students by shaping their thoughts about financial issues surrounding college. At Northwestern, he is working to expand this and other lines of related research as a joint faculty member in the School of Education & Social Policy as well as the Department of Psychology. Dr. Destin is delighted to have returned to Northwestern, where he completed his undergraduate studies and his very first work in social Psychology. In addition to a program of lab and field-based research, Dr. Destin looks forward to teaching an undergraduate course during the Winter Quarter surrounding topics of the self, identity, and motivation.  In his free time, Dr. Destin enjoys travelling and playing the piano.

Also joining the faculty is Dr. Robin Nusslock.  Dr. Nusslock completed his PhD in clinical Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a post-doctoral fellowship in affective neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. He joined the faculty of Northwestern University this fall as an Assistant Professor of Psychology.  Dr. Nusslock’s research focuses on integrative bioPsychosocial models of bipolar disorder and unipolar depression. With regards to bipolar disorder, he and his colleagues  propose that an abnormal increase in reward-related brain activity during reward processing may represent a neural mechanism for predisposition to expansive mood and hypo/mania in response to reward-relevant life events that characterizes bipolar disorder. The possible dopaminergic basis of elevated reward-related brain activity in bipolar disorder has important implications for treatment choices and new treatment development for the illness. A primary focus of research in his laboratory is identifying biological markers for bipolar disorder and unipolar depression to help facilitate diagnosis and treatment. When not doing Psychology, Dr. Nusslock enjoys running, cycling, triathalons, skiing, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Undergraduate Advising in Psychology

Psychology department advisers are available to talk with undergraduates 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 Graduation Petition, which you should file at the registrar's office one year before your expected graduation date (typically in spring of your junior year).

The current department advisers for Psychology students are:

* Dr. Karl Rosengren, Director of Undergraduate Studies
* Dr. Joan Linsenmeier, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies
* Dr. Sara Broaders, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies

Other faculty members may join the advising team later this year. To make an appointment with any of these department advisers, call or stop by the department office, Swift 102, 847-491-5190.

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. Linsenmeier or Dr. Broaders.

Requirement substitutions.  Drs. Linsenmeier and Broaders are the only advisers who can:

* approve the counting of courses taken abroad toward department requirements
* approve the counting of credits from other US and Canadian schools
* approve other non-standard ways of completing our requirements

  1. 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.

News from the Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA)

by Scott Beymer (

It’s the start of a new year, and UPA is starting off with some great new ideas!  We hosted our first Lunch with a Prof earlier this quarter with Lance Rips, and it was a great time for everyone present. Lunch with a Prof has been a popular program where five students get to converse casually with a Psychology professor over lunch and we are planning on having one more this quarter with a to-be-determined guest.

Beginning this year, we’re planning on solidifying our volunteering efforts with a few organizations. These ties are in the works, so keep an eye out for listserv emails for volunteering opportunities soon. We are also planning to host some talks where graduate students will present some of their research findings. A lot of new ideas are also being developed, so watch your inbox!

Upcoming and confirmed 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 would also like to Paint the Rock as an organization and promote the field of Psychology.

To join the listserv and receive our most up-to-date news, contact Aime Lynn at 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: Scott Beymer,
Vice President:  Aime Lynn Goudie,
Secretary:  Caroline Dzeba,
Treasurer:  Stephanie Tang,
Academic Chair:  Katie Belleville, 
Volunteering Chair: Kathryn Rulon,
Events Chair: Janice Li,

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!

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 funds 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, 2010. There will be another application period in March 2011 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:

* Name
* Class (e.g., sophomore, junior, senior)
* Name of conference
* Conference location
* Dates of conference
* Title of presentation
* Author/s on presentation (in order)
* Abstract of conference presentation (250 words or less)

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:

    * 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.

    * 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.

    * Have the faculty member who will supervise your research write a confidential letter of support for your application.

    * Get your application and letter of support to Joan Linsenmeier by Friday, March 11, 2011. This is also the deadline for submitting summer grant applications to the University's Undergraduate Research Grants Committee.

Newly Updated NU Resources for Undergraduate Research

The university has created a new undergraduate research website for all undergraduates interested in, or just thinking about, research. This site addresses such topics as how to get involved in research, how to find research opportunities throughout the university, outlets for presenting research findings, and more. It includes information on how to write a research proposal, as well as examples of successful student proposals from recent years.
Northwestern University Undergraduate Research Grants (URG) fund independent academic and creative work in all fields of study. Under faculty supervision, URG winners immerse themselves in novel scholarly projects in the laboratory, the library, or the studio, on campus and around the world.  All undergraduate students are eligible for these grants. They can be used to support research during the academic year and summer.  For more information on summer funding, see the preceding article in this newsletter.

Lab Notes

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.

Broaders Lab 
Sara Broaders is collaborating with Dr. Mike Smutko from the department of physics and astronomy on a study of the effects of student technology use on classroom performance.  We're using naturalistic data from classes that we teach and experimental sessions directly manipulating the types of technology students use as they are listening to a lecture.  If you're interested in becoming involved in the project, please contact Dr. Broaders at

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