PSYC 407
Success and Failure Fall 2019
Division II

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The theme of this psychology senior seminar will be success. We will discuss the path to personal success, including the relative importance of hard work, genetic talent, and luck; barriers to success like poverty, discrimination, and incarceration; what parents should want, and do, for their children; how having a disability changes one’s definition of success; what success means, and requires, during a war; and how science itself has been weakened by scientists’ ambition for success. We will read a book or watch a film about each topic we choose, then delve deeper by reading and discussing scientific journal articles. Class meetings will be student-led discussions. You will learn how to assess an argument skeptically, seek additional evidence, and argue for solutions. You will practice useful life skills such as how to lead and participate in a meeting (i.e., a class discussion) and how to write engagingly and convincingly. The larger goal will be to leave this class more prepared to develop and communicate informed opinions in the future.
The Class: Type: Seminar with student-led discussions
Limit: 12
Expected: 10
Class#: 1785
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participating in and leading class discussions, choosing topics and readings, and writing essays
Prerequisites: senior Psychology majors or permission of instructor in rare cases
Enrollment Preferences: senior Psychology majors
Distributions: Division II

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