Educational Resource


Introduction to Psychology

Brief Course Description

This introductory course in psychology is a survey of the multiple aspects of human behavior. It involves a survey of the theoretical foundations of human functioning in such areas as learning, motivation, emotions, personality, deviance and pathology, psychological factors and social influences. It directs the student to an insightful understanding of the complexities of human relationships in personal, social and vocational settings.

Course Outline/Objectives

  • Introduction and Research Methods defines the science of psychology, describes its history, identifies the methods for examining behavior and mental processes, and reviews scientific careers available in the discipline.
  • Biological Bases of Behavior addresses how the brain processes information and how the body adapts to the demands of its environment.
  • Sensation and Perception examines how the brain makes meaning out of the physical sensations generated by the environment.
  • Motivation and Emotion examines the drives and needs that direct behavior, including sex, thirst, hunger, and social needs, as well as the range of human emotions. Social and Cultural Dimensions of Behavior Psychology explores how we perceive the social world and how we behave in relation to other people.
  • Stress, Coping, and Health identifies how stress reactions hinder our effectiveness and proposes alternatives that lead to a healthier existence.
  • Learning demonstrates how we make changes in our behavior through experience with the environment, usually focusing on classical conditioning, instrumental conditioning, and cognitive learning.
  • Memory addresses how we remember as well as how we can improve memory.
  • Thinking and Language examines the role of language, problem-solving skills, creativity, multilingualism, and intelligence testing as primary interests of researchers in this area.
  • States of Consciousness explores varying stages of awareness, including sleep, reactions to drugs, daydreaming, and controlled conscious processes.
  • Lifespan Development examines how nature and nurture influence our development from conception until death.
  • Individual Differences focuses on how psychologists measure and compare individuals abilities and characteristics. This unit emphasizes test construction, text selection appropriate to the context, and objective and fair-minded interpretation.
  • Personality and Assessment demonstrates scientific explanations of personality development along with the methods psychologists use to measure personality concepts.
  • Psychological Disorders investigates patterns of behavior that are considered deviant or distressful in our culture and includes how psychologists diagnose these patterns.
  • Treatment of Psychological Disorders discusses the various intervention methods, including psychotherapy and medical interventions that mental health practitioners use in treating abnormal conditions.
  • Social and Cultural Dimensions of Behavior explores how we perceive the social world and how we behave in relation to other people. This unit also explores how social and cultural contexts influence behavior.

Methods of Assessment
Assessment tools include the following but are not limited to:

1. Periodic review of work by independent study teacher (IST)
2. Portfolios
3. Parent facilitator and education specialist observation
4. Student demonstrations,
5. Student grades
6. Written examinations
7. Research projects
8. Oral communication