PSY-131: Introductory Psychology

Liberal Arts
Academic Level
Course Subject
Course Number
Course Title
Introductory Psychology
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
ENG-094 eligible
Catalog Course Description

Introduces elementary concepts and principles related to the scientific study of behavior and of the mental processes of cognition and affective states. Variables examined include the history of psychology, the scientific method, theory, biological foundations, psychological processes related to cognition and affective states, developmental changes over time, and applications related to healthy and unhealthy personalities.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Goal Statement
The initial goal of the course is to provide structure and teaching for the acquisition of a hierarchical organization of facts and concepts constituting elementary knowledge of the science of behavior and mental processes. Since the goals of this science are to enhance each student’s ability to describe, understand, predict and influence human behavior, thinking critically about themselves and others is a second and more important course goal.
Core Course Topics
  1. History of psychology and its research methods
  2. The biological foundations of psychology
  3. Sensation and perception
  4. States of consciousness
  5. Learning
  6. Memory
  7. Cognition, language and intelligence
  8. Motivation and emotion
  9. Personality
  10. Stress and health psychology
  11. Psychological disorders
  12. Therapies
  13. Social psychology
  14. Development
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)

1.0 Understand scientific method as applied to psychology and can: 1.1 distinguish between scientific and nonscientific statements (i.e., between explanations and interpretations). 1.2 recognize examples of standard experimental designs. 1.3 select correct designs for different research problems. 1.4 recognize examples of various experimental controls. 1.5 discuss elementary statistical problems relevant to research.

2.0 Know technical terms and can: 2.1 select correct definitions of terms. 2.2 match terms and definitions. 2.3 distinguish between correct and incorrect usage of terms. 2.4 state correct definition of terms.

3.0 Understand basic psychological concepts and can: 3.1 recognize new examples of various concepts. 3.2 distinguish among examples of closely related concepts. 3.3 recognize correct and incorrect interpretations of statements in which basic concepts appear. 3.4 recognize correct and incorrect usage of concepts. 3.5 state concepts in own words.

4.0 Understand theories of human behavior and can: 4.1 identify different theories based on descriptions. 4.2 match prominent psychologists with their theories. 4.3 recognize new applications of different theories. 4.4 match procedures with theories. 4.5 appraise the adequacy of a given theory.

5.0 Understand behavioral problems and can: 5.1 identify behavioral principles operating in various real and hypothetical cases. 5.2 select best analysis of real and hypothetical cases. 5.3 describe several economic, sociological, and political aspects of behavioral problems. 5.4 contrast the treatment of individuals with behavioral problems in the United States with the treatment of similar patients in other countries.

6.0 Understand behavior-change and behavior-influence procedures and can: 6.1 list steps in various procedures. 6.2 identify descriptions of various procedures. 6.3 select correct interpretations of different procedures. 6.4 recognize new examples of procedures. 6.5 recognize correct and incorrect applications of procedures.

7.0 Appreciate the role of the scientific method in psychology and can: 7.1 explain why evidence-based approaches are key to establishing all sciences. 7.2 differentiate between evidence-based approaches and those that lack supporting data.
7.3 report on a popular conception of behavior that is not based on evidence. 7.4 share research that appears to refute a previously held belief about human or animal behavior.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Each instructor will implement appropriate methods for assessing the achievement of the learning objectives of the course with the following exceptions:

  • Each student will be required to write at least one critical thinking paper, with guidelines determined by each instructor.
  • Either a comprehensive final examination covering the entire coursework or a midterm covering the first half and an exam covering the second half.


General Education Categories
  • Social Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Civil Society and Culture - U.S. and Global
MTA Categories
  • Category 4: Social Sciences

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Options for Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Other Details

Determined by department

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2020
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date