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Swift Thinking: Winter 2013

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 website for updates.

Preregistering for Winter Courses

The psychology department will be offering preregistration through CAESAR for most of our courses the week prior to regular registration. All students listed as psychology or cognitive science majors or minors in the registrar's system should be able to preregister through CAESAR for these courses. The only courses not available for preregistration for Spring quarter are the PSYCH 397/398/399 research 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? 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.

Registering for PSYCH 205-Research Methods

Students listed in CAESAR as majoring or minoring in psychology, cognitive science, or music cognition may preregister for PSYCH 205 through CAESAR. We are offering three sections next quarter (one also includes discussion sections). Make sure you have the statistics prerequisite before you enroll.  PSYCH 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology or an approved substitute is a prerequisite for all sections of PSYCH 205, and 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 Winter, you may sign up for PSYCH 205 for Spring because you will complete PSYCH 201 before Spring quarter starts. However, you may not take both PSYCH 205 and the prerequisite during the same quarter.

Registering for PSYCH 397, 398, 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, 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 Wednesday, February 16. 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.

Special Courses For Spring Quarter

In Spring 2013 the psychology department will be offering four sections of PSYCH 314-Special Topics and two sections of PSYCH 357-Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology.  The topics and course descriptions for these special courses, as well as their prerequisites (when available), are listed below.

All sections of PSYCH 314 count toward the 300-level requirement for psychology majors and minors. They do not count toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) or Column B (cognitive/neuroscience) requirement.

PSYCH 314-20: Special Topics: Psychology of Beauty 
Renee Engeln

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?

Prerequisite: Psychology 110

PSYCH 314-21: Special Topics: Schools of Psychotherapy. 
Carol M Donnelly

Clinical psychology is the application of theoretical perspectives to an individual, couple or group for the purpose of psychological healing.  This course investigates the major theoretical perspectives on normal and abnormal development and their therapeutic interventions within a ‘biological-psychological-social’ framework. The seminar provides special focus on competing and controversial perspectives both between and within paradigms. The emphasis is on Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioral (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral (DBT),  Humanistic, and Psychopharmacological approaches, with a background discussion on recent developments in Neuroscience.

Prerequisites: Psych 110 and Psych 303

PSYCH 314-22 (crosslisted with PSYCH 470): Special Topics: Hallucinations and the Perception of Reality
Marcia Grabowecky 

What do hallucinations reveal about our minds? Most of us can reliably differentiate between externally driven (normal vision, hearing, etc.) and internally driven (imagination, dreams, etc.) perceptions. For some people, and in some circumstances that line isn’t quite so clear. In this class, we will examine a variety of conditions and experiences that blur the lines between external and internal perceptions, ranging from the synaesthetic experience of hearing colors to out-of-body experiences. Through our exploration of neuropsychological disorders and altered states, we will broaden our understanding of an array of topics including sensation, perception, consciousness, and memory. We will examine research on these topics and discuss treatment of hallucinations.

Prerequisites: Psych 205
Psychology Department permission required. If you would like to take this class, please email Dr. Grabowecky at Tell her that you would like to be added to Psych 314-22: Hallucinations, and tell her what prerequisites you have taken. She will give Maria Candelario in the department office a list of students who can enroll, and Ms. Candelario will then email students once they have been granted permission on CAESAR to enroll.

PSYCH 314-23: Special Topics: Health Psychology.
Edith Chen

This course will provide an introduction to health psychology. The course will provide exposure to topics including stress and coping, personality and health, social support and health, health behaviors, and adjustment to chronic illnesses. 

Prerequisites: None 


PSYCH 357 counts toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) requirement and also fulfills the Row 2 (upper-level research) requirement for students majoring in psychology. In addition, it counts as a 300-level course for both majors and minors.

PSYCH 357-20: Advanced Seminar: Psychoneuroimmunology
Greg Miller

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the field of psychoneuroimmunology. We will:

  1. Explore the conceptualization of major psychological constructs in the field, including stress, coping, social relationships, and sickness behavior
  2. Explore the basic principles that govern the immune system, and the issues involved in accurately measuring its function
  3. Identify behavioral and biological pathways that might link psychological processes with alterations in the immune system’s functioning 
  4. Evaluate the empirical evidence linking psychological constructs to health outcomes in the domains of infectious disease, cancer, and inflammatory disease

Each session we’ll spend half our time discussing course readings, and the rest of the time will be allotted for students to present research proposals. The major assignments will include an oral research proposal, performance in one of the class debates, and a written research proposal.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205     

PSYCH 357-21: Advanced Seminar: Anxiety and Its Disorders
Rick Zinbarg

Anxiety is nearly universal and is almost certainly adaptive.  Yet the central features of a class of psychiatric disorders that many people suffer from are various manifestations of anxiety.  And the symptoms of anxiety disorders come in an almost bewildering array of manifestations subsuming such diverse phenomena as a pounding or racing heart, the perception of derealization, intrusive and repetitive thoughts, sensitivity to negative evaluation, compulsive rituals, worry and flashbacks of traumatic events.  In addition, the symptoms of anxiety disorders co-occur with depression so frequently it can difficult to distinguish them from each other.  What then determines whether anxiety is experienced within healthy and adaptive limits or spirals out of control into an emotional disorder?  What are the relations among the various manifestations of anxiety such as panic attacks and the worry associated with generalized anxiety and between anxiety and depression?  And what types of interventions are effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety disorders?    In this course we will explore these questions by reviewing research on anxiety performed by cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.  Evaluations will be based on preparation of discussion questions, class participation and several written assignments.

Prerequisites: Psychology 201, 205 and 303 are required

New Faculty Members

The Psychology Department is excited to welcome two new professors, Edith Chen and Greg Miller, to our department this year. Professor Chen and Miller are a husband-and-wife team coming to Northwestern from the University of British Columbia. Both are health psychologists who have joint appointments with the Psychology Department and the Institute for Policy Research.  Their research relates to how socioeconomic status, poverty, and early life conditions affect physical health later in life. They study the psychological and biological pathways that can explain the relationship as well as the protective factors that can buffer people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.  Dr. Chen received her bachelor’s in the history of science from Harvard University, and her doctorate at University of California, Los Angeles.   This Spring she will be teaching a course in “Health Psychology”. Dr. Miller earned his B.A. and his Ph. D. from UCLA. This Spring he will be teaching an advanced seminar in “Psychoneuroimmunology”. When not doing research, they spend time with their six-year-old son, Jonah, and enjoy skiing, traveling, and hiking.

Graduation Petitions

All Northwestern undergraduates are supposed to complete and submit Graduation Petitions one year prior to their intended graduation date (e.g., by the end of this Winter quarter if you expect to graduate in March 2014, and during Spring 2013 if you expect to graduate in June 2014).  If it’s time to do your Graduation Petition, use our online appointment system or contact Maria Candelario in the department office (Swift 102, 847-491-5190) to set up a meeting with a department adviser.  Be sure to bring a copy of your CAESAR Degree Progress report to the meeting.

Doing your Graduation Petition on time makes sure you are on appropriate graduation lists and that you, the adviser, and the Registrar’s Office agree on what requirements you still need to complete. It also provides an opportunity to talk about your experiences in the department thus far and your plans for the coming year and beyond.

You can read more about the petition process and access petition forms on the Registrar’s website. A good place to start is Registrar's Graduation Petition.

News from the Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA)

By: Sree Kathiravan, UPA President

Welcome to Winter Quarter 2013 from UPA! We hope you are having a great quarter, hopefully exploring some psychology courses. It was nice meeting more of you at the Weinberg College Majors Fairs at Norris in December.

We have a lot of events planned this quarter. First, our coffee chat program is ongoing and we hope you have been finding it helpful. Please feel free to email us if you would like to schedule a chat. This will just be an informal way for you to learn more about the psychology program, what classes to take, possible career paths, lab positions, and anything else you’d like to ask.

This quarter, we are having our annual Lab night collaboration with the Cognitive Science Club! This is a great way to find a research assistant lab position. Lab representatives from the Rosenfeld lab, Dr. Horton’s lab, Dr. Wendi Gardner’s lab, and more will be coming to talk about their research, their lab experience, the Research Assistant position responsibilities, and the lab application process. We hope you enjoy the opportunity to network with other similar undergraduate majors like the Cognitive Science majors and the Cognitive Science labs, too.

We also have a UPA Professor Career Program Panel event planned. We have speakers from clinical psychology, industrial organization psychology and more.  This event will help you learn about different career and higher education options.

Finally, we are having our psychology movie night during reading week! This quarter, we will feature Momento, which is about a man suffering from short-term memory loss trying to piece back his life. After the movie, you can have pizza and munchies and have a great discussion with other psychology majors about the movie.

We will have our usual quarterly events such as Lunch with Prof. event and our general member meeting. Lunch with Prof. this quarter is with Professor Bailey. This’ll be a great way to meet other UPA members and talk to a professor in an informal setting. Last quarter, we had lunch with Professor Nusslock and had 20+ members show up and we hope to keep that trend going! Our general meeting will consist of the UPA executive board and any member that’d like to come see how the club is run, from the event planning to any other operations. We have open elections in the beginning of the spring quarter so we’d love to meet you and hear your opinions, especially if you’re interested in running for UPA executive board 2013-2014.

To join the listserv and receive our most up-to-date news, send us an e-mail at Also be sure to check out and like our Facebook page, “UPA Undergraduate Psychology Association.” And as always, if you have any suggestions, comments, or questions about UPA, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re looking forward to a great quarter with you!

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 a senior 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. At this point prospective Honor’s Program candidates should be thinking about who might be their thesis adviser.  Updated information on this program, including details on how to apply, will be posted on our website on Honors in Psychology soon.  The deadline for applying is April 12, 2013.

University Resources for Students Interested in Research

Are you thinking about doing an internship in some area that interests you? Many psychology students do internships for academic credit through Northwestern’s  Chicago Field Studies program. Internships are available with a wide range of Chicago-area businesses and organizations—organizations focused on mental health, education, and other social services, legal and environmental organizations, financial services, health clinics, start-ups, and market research groups, among others. For more on options for psychology students, including a list of sites where psychology students have interned, see our webpage on Psychology and Chicago Field Studies.

Getting practical, hands-on experience in fields you find intriguing can help you see links between your academic studies and real-world issues. It is a good way to learn more about which career paths might be best for you. In addition, it can become a valuable credential when you apply for a job or for graduate study. Keep in mind that many work experiences not labeled as “internships” provide similar opportunities and benefits. See our webpage on Internships and Field Studies for more information and ideas. 

Resources for Students Interested in Research

The Provost’s office maintains a searchable database to assist you in learning about 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 updated regularly!  Just click on this link for more information: Undergrad 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’s Undergraduate Research Grants (URG) Program offers Academic Year Grants (up to $1000) and Summer Grants ($3000) to undergraduates pursuing independent research projects. The remaining deadlines for 2013 are February 19 (for Academic Year Grants) and March 8 (for Summer Grants). More information is available at 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. For more information on summer funding, see the next article in this newsletter.


Research and Travel Awards for Undergraduates

The Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Award  

The Psychology department is happy to announce an award to fund student travel to professional conferences. The Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel 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 considered on a rolling basis. Please submit your applications to Dr. Karl Rosengren via email. Put "Undergraduate Travel Award" in the subject line of the email. In the email, please include the following information:

In addition to providing this information, please ask your faculty sponsor to write a brief letter of recommendation describing your role in the research. This letter can be emailed to Dr. Rosengren as well. Please ask your faculty sponsor to put “Undergraduate Travel Award” in the subject line.

Students applying for the Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Award should look into other funding sources too. The university provides grants to assist students who are presenting the results of their research at professional conferences through the Provost’s Office Undergraduate Research Grants program. Information on Weinberg College grants is available through the college website on funds for undergraduate research.

Funds for Summer Research

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 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). Psychology students might also be interested in the Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant (SURA) program offered by the Institute for Policy Research. For more information, contact Cynthia Kendall at  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 at by Friday, March 8.