General Psychology: Course Description

General Psychology is a survey course which introduces the student to the major topics in scientific psychology as applied to human behavior. Applications of these principles will be made to the human experience.

The Science of Psychology

  • Examine the major underlying assumptions of the various schools of thought in psychology.
  • Explain how psychological research applies to various aspects of personal and social life.
  • Determine what guidelines should be applied to the evaluation of psychological research and practices.
  • Identify ethical dilemmas that may arise in psychological research.
  • Describe the basic biological foundations of psychology.

Sensation and Perception

  • Describe the concepts of transduction and absolute threshold.
  • Examine sensation as it relates to the visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory systems.
  • Distinguish sensation from perception.


  • Explore the conditioning processes involved with learning.
  • Distinguish between classical and operant conditioning.
  • Define unconditioned stimulus, conditioned stimulus, reinforcement, shaping, and extinction.
  • Examine cognitive-social models of learning.

Memory, Thought, Language, and Intelligence

  • Examine the processes of memory and information processing.
  • Describe short-term memory and long-term memory in relationship to each other.
  • Compare and contrast language, thought, reasoning, and problem solving.
  • Explore the definitions of intelligence and the validity of intelligence measurements.
  • Articulate the relationship between memory and intelligence.

Motivation and Personality

  • Examine basic theories of motivation.
  • Compare and contrast theories of personality in terms of how they explain an individual’s unique patterns and traits.
  • Determine the usefulness and the limitations of personality testing.

Human Development

  • Identify basic theories of development.
  • Distinguish between the influences of heredity and environment on psychological development.

Social Psychology

  • Analyze precursors and consequences of human interaction in terms of social psychology concepts.
  • Explore basic concepts of human interaction from a social psychological perspective.

Abnormal Psychology and Therapy

  • Define abnormal psychology in contrast to “normal psychology.”
  • Examine mental disorders and mental illness from the psychological perspective.
  • Compare and contrast therapies designed for each school of thought in psychology for treating mental disorders.
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