Swift Thinking: Fall 2011
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 2011-2012 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 2012 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.
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 not 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. We will be offering a special section of Research Methods that includes discussions sections. This section will be taught by Dan Molden and meets Tuesday from 12:30 to 1:50. Students will break up into smaller discussion sections once a week. The discussion sections meet on Thursday from 11:00 – 12:20, 12:30 to 1:50, and 2:00 – 3:20. 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 Monday, November 7.
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 Thesis Seminar next quarter will also need permission numbers. These will be available in the department office beginning Monday, November 7, for everyone on the list of students participating in our honors program.
Special Courses For Winter Quarter
In Winter 2012 the Psychology department will be offering five sections of Psych 314-Special Topics, three sections of Psych 357-Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology, and two sections of Psych 358-Advanced Seminar in Psychology. The topics for these special courses, as well as their prerequisites (when available), are described below.
Special Topics: Behavior Genetics and Evolutionary Psychology
This class is an overview of two related disciplines: behavior genetics and evolutionary psychology. The first weeks of the class will address methods and findings in behavior genetics, focusing primarily on twin, family, and adoption designs, but also addressing contemporary molecular methods. The second half of the class will focus on topics in evolutionary psychology including the evolution of mate preferences, violence, morality, and their application to life.
Special Topics: Research Outside the Laboratory
As you know by now, psychological research is overwhelmingly based on laboratory studies conducted with undergraduates at major research universities. This strategy is useful if the results from lab studies generalize to the world at large (and to other peoples). There are reasons to be worried about this single-minded focus on lab studies and this course will consider a number of strategies that have potential for diversifying psychological research.
As its title suggests, this course will focus on research conducted outside psychology labs. We will read and discuss a variety of examples of non-laboratory research, but the main focus will be for students to actually conduct some research outside the laboratory. Over the term students will be involved in three non-laboratory research projects. Grades will be based on class participation, responses to the readings, and their project reports. There will be no final, large project so students will need to be engaged throughout the term.
Special Topics: Buddhist Psychology
In this seminar we will examine the nature of the mind from both Buddhist and traditional Western psychological perspectives. We will employ a Buddhist technique for investigating mental activity by incorporating a brief meditation period into class and homework activities. We will also examine written materials from both traditions, and these will form the primary basis for class discussion and examinations.
Special Topics: Philosophy in Psychology
This course explores connections between theories in current philosophy and research in cognitive and developmental psychology. Possible topics include personal identity, the nature of objects and substance, causality, and ideas of abstract entities, such as numbers. Readings will include articles and chapters from both fields. Assignments engage students in research in this area.
Text: Perry, “Reference and Reflexivity” CSLI 978-1575863108
Special Topics: The Psychology of Beauty
The purpose of this course is to thoughtfully consider psychological theory, methodology, and empirical data relating to questions such as the following: What is it that makes us find beautiful people beautiful? How can evolutionary psychology explain why we find certain features beautiful? Where does this theory fail in terms of predicting perceptions of beauty? Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? How have beauty ideals shifted over history? How are gender roles and sexual orientation related to beauty and its pursuit? Why is beauty associated with femininity? What cultural biases help those perceived as beautiful and hurt those perceived as lacking in beauty? Are beautiful people happier or more successful? In what ways are beauty standards sometimes destructive? How do cultural standards of beauty affect disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and body dysmorphic disorder? The only pre-requisite for this class is Introduction to Psychology (Psych 110). The teaching method will be a combination of lecture, class discussions, student presentations, and in-class activities/demonstrations. Grading will be based on two exams, one paper, one blog, and a final (group) research project and presentation. There is no textbook required for this course. All readings can be downloaded from Blackboard (or purchased in the form of a course packet at Quartet for approximately $40).
Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology: Identity & Motivation
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. This course will be co-listed in Human Development and Psychological Services. Prior completion of an introductory or higher level course in Psychology is required to enroll. Psychology majors and minors must complete Psych 205 before taking this course. The course counts toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) and Row 2 (upper-level research) requirements for psychology majors.
Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology: Consumer Psychology
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 working with a group to conduct 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 the 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
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 pre-requisite for this course, and it counts toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) and Row 2 (upper-level research) requirements for psychology majors.
There is no textbook for this course. A course packet will be available at Quartet copies. The cost last quarter was approximately $20.
Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology: Gender and Leadership
This course analyzes the experiences of women and men as leaders by answering two questions: Why and how have some women gained more access to powerful leadership positions? Why do men continue to have far more access than women do? To address these questions, the course reviews research mainly from social and organizational psychology. The course emphasizes the design of research as well as its content.
The prerequisites for the course are Psychology 201 (Statistical Methods) and 205 (Research Methods) or equivalent background, and it counts toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) and Row 2 (upper-level research) requirements for psychology majors. Class attendance is required.
Assignments include two short papers, one that proposes a study with an experimental design and one that proposes a study with a nonexperimental design. For the final paper, students will expand one of these short papers into a longer paper that includes details
about measurement techniques and statistical analysis. The course also requires in-class oral critiques of assigned research, graded pass-fail.
Class Materials (Required)
Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. L. (2007). Through the labyrinth: The truth about how women become leaders. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. isbn 9781422116913 Other readings include journal articles and chapters from edited books, which will be available on Blackboard.
Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Psychology or Neuroscience: Cognitive Neuropsychology
This seminar will introduce students to fundamental topics in Cognitive Neuropsychology. Topics will include disorders of perception, awareness, memory and language. Discussions and readings will focus on the behavioral features and neuroanatomical bases of these cognitive disorders. Lectures and textbook readings will be complemented with classic case studies, recent empirical advances and neuropsychological writings intended for a general audience.
Psych 205 is a pre-requisite for this course, and it counts toward the Column B (cognitive/neuroscience) and Row 2 (upper-level research) requirements for psychology majors.
Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Psychology or Neuroscience: Language & Categories
Word-learning, perhaps more than any other aspect of human development, stands at the very intersection of language and cognition. This course will be devoted to the topic of word-learning, cognitive development, and the relation between them in infancy and early childhood. The very best work in this area draws upon strong theoretical traditions in psychology and linguistics to discover new insights into existing evidence and to forge new programs of research that are well-informed by each of the intellectual traditions. In this course, we will consider both traditions. We will take advantage of recent reviews and primary source materials. The first several weeks will be focused on fundamental psychological issues. We next go on to explore current evidence on word-learning and its relation to conceptual development. All along the way, we will consider the ways in which cross-species, cross-linguistic, and cross-cultural developmental research can inform these issues. This is a very advanced, writing-intensive and participation-intensive seminar. There is no text and the reading will consist largely of scholarly reviews and primary source materials. All students (undergraduates and graduate students alike) will be expected to summarize and critique seminar readings. There will be two papers (no exam). Psych 205 is a pre-requisite for this course, and it counts toward the Column B (cognitive/neuroscience) and Row 2 (upper-level research) requirements for psychology majors.
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
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 Kathryn Rulon, President
The Undergraduate Psychology Association has had an exciting and transitional fall quarter. For the first time in the organization’s history, we are operating with only 4 executive board members (President Kathryn Rulon, Vice President Matt Zellner, Secretary Sree Kathiravan, Treasurer Hee-Jae Kim). This change has streamlined the
Organization and improved internal communication.
We started the quarter by co-hosting Lab Night with the Cognitive Science Club. This event exposed students to psychological research opportunities within the Psychology and Cognitive Science Departments as well as opportunities in SESP. If you were unable
to make it to Lab Night and want to get involved in research, contact Kathryn Rulon at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Upcoming events include Graduate School Applications Night and Lunch with a Professor. On November 2nd from 5:00-7:00 in Swift 231, professors and graduate students will host a panel discussion about how to submit a successful application to graduate school. Students are encouraged to attend and ask lots of questions. Pizza will be provided. Also, be on the watch for an email about Lunch with a Professor soon to have a free lunch with a professor!
During winter quarter we will begin linking students with opportunities for clinical experience in the community, so be sure to watch for emails from UPA. If you are not on the Listserv and would like to be, contact Matthew Zellner at email@example.com.
NU Library Portal for Psychology Students and Faculty
The Northwestern University library has created a website that provides links to useful resources for Psychology students and faculty. The place to start is http://libguides.northwestern.edu/Psychology.
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!
New Resources for Students Interested in Research
The Provost’s office has developed a new searchable database to assist you in learning about new opportunities to get involved in research on campus. The Undergrad ARCH (Accessing Research and Creative Help) currently has links to over 200 opportunities and is being updated regularly! Just click on this link for more information. http://undergradresearch.northwestern.edu/research-opportunities
Also, check out Northwestern’s 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 next article in this newsletter.
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 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 January 15, 2012. There will be another application period in March 2012 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:
- 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 thesis 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 Provost’s Office. 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 March 9, 2012. This is also the deadline for submitting applications to the Provost’s Office for a Northwestern University Summer Research Grant.