PSYC 408
The Psychology of College Fall 2021
Division III
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Class Details

What happens to people while they’re in college? Does it have an impact on people’s core identity, the way they think, form relationships, or participate in society? Most people’s ideas about the impact of college come from personal experience, and the strongly held views of journalists, filmmakers, college spokespeople, relatives and public figures. Those beliefs are often misguided. Yet research can help us develop an accurate picture of just what it is that college does and doesn’t do. Drawing on films, popular books and articles, as well as research from across the subdisciplines within psychology, we will examine some of the most common beliefs, and then delve into the psychological evidence that supports or refutes them. Our goal will be to develop a scientifically-based understanding of the psychological impact of college, and redesign various features of college to reflect our conclusions. Empirical work on this topic presents unique methodological challenges, so we will also spend some time designing studies that overcome those challenges.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 14
Expected: 12
Class#: 1294
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly readings, leading two class discussions, and writing three 5-7 page papers
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: senior Psychology majors
Distributions: Division III

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