Introduction to Psychology
This course will highlight the most interesting experiments within the field of psychology, discussing the implications of those studies for our understanding of the human mind and human behavior. We will explore the brain and some of the cognitive abilities it supports like memory, learning, attention, perception and consciousness. We will examine human development – both in terms of growing up and growing old – and will discuss the manner in which the behavior of others affect our own thoughts and behavior. Finally we will discuss various forms of mental illness and the treatments that are used to help those who suffer from them. The fact of the matter is that humans routinely do amazing things without appreciating how interesting they are. However, we are also routinely influenced by people and events without always being aware of those influences. By the end of this course you will have gained a much better understanding and appreciation of who you are and how you work. And I can guarantee you that you’ll learn things that you’ll be telling your friends and family about, things that will fundamentally change the way you think of yourself and others. How can you resist that?! Syllabus Welcome and Orientation to the Course This section is about your orientation to the Coursera interface and the logistics of the course. History & the Scientific Method This section is about exploring the introduction to the Science of Psychology. At the end of this first section you’ll be able to identify and discuss some of the major movements in the Science of Psychology. The Matter of the Mind There was a time when one could study Psychology without linking phenomena back to the brain itself, but those days are slowly disappearing. Now every Psychology student, yourself included, is expected to have at least a general knowledge of brain organization and structure. At the end of this section you will be able to locate structures of the brain and discuss its organization. Sensation, Perception, Attention and Awareness This section is all about the systems our brain uses to get input from the world … you will be able to recognize what those things around us are and where they are … and be able to interpret who we are and how we fit. Learning This section is all about learning and behaviourism. When you’re done the videos you’ll be able to name and describe the topic of learning and behaviour in contexts such as flirting and gambling! Memory This topic is Memory, and it’s a big topic, and one I know a fair amount about. It was hard to figure out what to present and what to leave out. I tried to include some of the most interesting stuff. I hope you agree. After this section you’ll be able to define and summarize topics such as False Memory and Amnesia. The Social Mind This topic is Social Psychology and it features some of the most controversial experiments in psychology. Some of these will having you thinking very deeply for a long time after you see them. You’ll have time to analyze and interpret our experience with conformity and authority. Mental Illness This topic is Clinical Psychology and you’ll learn both about various clinical disorders, and about the therapies commonly used to treat them.You’ll be able to extend this knowledge to different disorders. Be careful to not start diagnosing all your friends or family (or yourself!) Final Assignment Final Peer Assessment Assignment Links to Outside Resources This reading item has links to resources referenced in the course Optional Videos – Previous Course by Request This module is all about you and is about extending our foundational knowledge in the field of psychology so you can discover and describe to others more of what’s interesting to you. These curated videos are based on past course requests. We will add new ones as well from time to time as new cohorts make requests. Super Optional Videos These are extras and side videos that you are not tested on. Feel free to watch if you’re interested.
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