Psychology, broadly defined, is the systematic, scientific study of physiological, behavioral and mental processes in humans and animals. The field of psychology is simultaneously a scholarly discipline, a research domain and an applied profession. Psychologists may work in clinical, counseling, educational, industrial or social settings and play central roles in the fields of health, sports, politics and business.
The main goal of the Department of Psychology at Bridgewater College is to teach students the significant concepts, theories, research findings and methodological approaches that have shaped the history of psychology and that represent the contemporary status of the field. A vital component of a Bridgewater student’s training in psychology is direct involvement in psychological research and the application of knowledge, skills and techniques to the prevention, treatment and solution of individual and social problems.
The Department of Psychology offers a wide range of courses to students to represent the diversity of the field and to meet the diversity of students’ interests. Students have the opportunity to choose those courses that best serve their interests and career goals.
The curriculum is research-focused while sampling from subfields within psychology that are traditionally regarded as fundamental (cognition, developmental and social) and those more often labeled as applied (clinical and sexuality), in addition to the neurosciences. Students often culminate their educational experiences through a faculty-mentored research project using state-of-the-art computing and laboratory or through applied research in an internship or practicum setting at one of many human service agencies in the area.
Introduction to psychology as a natural and a social science. Topics include the methods of science, biological bases of behavior, developmental processes, sensation and perception, states of consciousness, conditioning and learning, memory and cognition, motivation and emotion, theories and assessment of intelligence and personality, diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders, and social-cultural influences on behavior. FILA general education: social sciences.
Introduction to the biological bases of human and animal behavior. General introduction to the nervous system, including its development, structure, and function, with particular emphasis on the role of brain mechanisms in movement, circadian rhythms, hunger and thirst, sexual behavior, emotional behaviors and stress, learning and memory, and psychological disorders.
Exploration of descriptive, correlational, and experimental research methods and statistics. Topics include the scientific method, ethical research, hypothesis testing, reliability and validity, the nature and correct use of inferential statistics, and how to interpret main effects and interactions.
Introduction to the experimental analysis of behavior. Historical and modern approaches in the scientific study of learning are discussed. Students are required to demonstrate factual knowledge in the major content areas, procedures, and other advanced issues in regards to simple forms of learning such as habituation and sensitization and more complex forms of associative learning exemplified in classical and operant conditioning.
Introduction to basic principles of data analysis. Topics include data distributions, preparation of data and graphs, measurement of central tendency and dispersion, hypothesis testing, and descriptive and inferential statistics. Students develop expertise using JASP and Excel through lab experiences and a summative group project.
Empirical findings related to the description, classification, assessment, etiology and treatments of various psychological disorders. Specific disorders examined include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, substance-related disorders, personality disorders, and schizophrenia. An important emphasis is understanding the impact of mental illness on individuals and their family and friends.
Examination of the contribution of neuroscience techniques to the understanding of sensation/perception, attention, learning, memory, language and consciousness. Lectures and papers involve an analysis of the interdisciplinary methods such as functional neuroimaging, electrophysiological methods , and the neurological impairments of brain-damaged patients. Offered alternate years. (Cross-listed as BIOL-317)
Comprehensive analysis of the organization of vertebrate nervous systems is approached from a structural perspective with emphasis on the human central nervous system. Principles of organization are stressed. Laboratory component introduces students to neuroanatomical and neurohistological methods and techniques. Both he gross and fine microscopic anatomy of the nervous system are studied. Offered alternate years. (Cross-listed as BIOL-319)
Introduction to the field of Clinical Psychology. Emphasis on covering the two main tasks of clinical psychologists: psychotherapy and testing. Content includes a variety of treatment approaches and therapeutic techniques, as well as testing situations and common clinical applications. Special emphasis given to clinical competence, client rights, and matching therapeutic techniques and tests with specific referral questions. Theoretical and applied material will be integrated so as to provide students with the rationale for, and a "hands-on" feel of, clinical psychology. As appropriate, students will have the opportunity to observe and/or informally administer psychological testing instruments and therapeutic techniques.
Investigation of the major areas of cognitive psychology. Topics include perception and attention, representation of knowledge, models of memory, problem solving/reasoning, language and intelligence. Analysis of the validity and reliability of measuring cognitive processes occur through participation in hands-on experiments and demonstrations.
Exposes students to a broad view of public mental health and psychology in the public interest. Stimulates the interest of future researchers, clinicians, and policy makers toward improvement of public mental health. Specific attention is given to discerning science from pseudoscience in the practice of psychology.
Overview of the study of how people's behaviors, attitudes, and feelings are shaped by other people and the social environment. Topics include attraction, prejudice, deindividuation, persuasion, cognitive dissonance, social cognition, attribution theory and the social self. Emphasis on classic research and the latest studies in the field and their applicability to everyday experiences of the students.
Introduction to selected topics from the study of drug effects on behavior and other psychological processes, including memory, motivation and perception. Special emphasis on the reinforcing properties of drugs and substance abuse/dependence.
Surveys historical approaches, basic issues, recent research, and current theoretical perspectives in developmental psychology. Emphasis on describing and explaining the changes that characterize physical, perceptual, cognitive, social, and emotional development across the lifespan.
Multidisciplinary course in neuroscience, with clinical ties to neurology, psychiatry, and psychology, as well as basic scientific links to biology, computer science, and cognitive studies. Examines how the structure and function of the brain relate to specific cognitive processes and overt behaviors through the use of neuropsychological testing methods. Topics include orientation, learning and memory, intelligence, language, visuoperception, and executive functioning. The administration, scoring, and interpretation of various neuropsychological measures are discussed. Offered alternate years. (Cross-listed as BIOL-375)
Overview of the psychological, social and biological aspects of sexuality that will be of use for communicating with romantic partners, doctors and family members. Topics include: sexual anatomy and physiology, sexually transmitted diseases, methods of contraception, prenatal sexual differentiation, sex research, attraction and love, sexual orientation and sexual dysfunction, and sexual ethics.
Survey of theories, principles, and facts concerning the sensory sciences. Emphasis on the study of physical, physiological, and psychological principles governing how we acquire information from the environment through the senses, and the organization of these sensations into meaningful, interpretable experiences. Although the focus is on mechanisms, the influence of disease, development, and aging are also considered. Offered alternate years.
Examination of the psycho-analytic, neo-analytic, trait, biological, and adjustment approaches to "normal" and abnormal personality. The contributions of major personality theorists (Freud, Adler, Erikson, etc.) are examined as well. Coursework emphasizes reflective essays and assessments to foster insight into the students' own personality.
Emphasizes basic principles, procedures and ethical concepts of ABA. Specific topics include complexities and schedules of contingencies, antecedent analyses, prompting, shaping and fading in establishing alternative adaptive behaviors. Theory and application of techniques for improving communicative behaviors are covered, as are the evidence-based conditions for ABA. Completion satisfies part of the requirements needed for admission to the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst examination (BCaBA).
Course covers ABA tasks and responsibilities in specific intervention situations. Ethical issues related to intervention are addressed. Focus is on person-centered responsibilities including problem identification; problem measurement and assessment; task analyses, selecting, developing and modifying individual and group interventions based on data; analyses of support systems in the environment; the fidelity of the implementation of the intervention; precision teaching; and the management and supervision of contingency systems. Completion satisfies part of the requirements needed for admission to the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst examination (BCaBA).
Lecture and laboratory course exposing students to a variety of research techniques employed by neuroscientists: behavioral and cognitive procedures for measuring reward, memory, attention, and emotion; neuroanatomical procedures for staining and examining brain tissues; physiological procedures for recording the electrical activity of nerve cells, as well as commonly used techniques used to explore brain-behavior relationships (EEG, lesions, electrical and chemical stimulation). (Cross-listed as BIOL-425)
Reviews the history of psychology by focusing on its recurring theoretical issues (specific focus may vary). The course will include; historical foundations, cultural "zeitgeist" influences, identification of influential persons, track historical progression or cycles, and conclude with the current state of the discipline - with some projection of the future.
Overview of the psychology of social interactions involving status rituals and politeness expectations. Contemporary topics include forgiveness, lying apologizing, teasing and gossiping. Discussion based seminar causes students to examine their daily interactions more closely and gives them insight into their own status in their social groups. Daily reflective essays, class participation, seminar leadership and a final self-analysis paper are the bases of the course grade.
Directed study of a selected research topic. Designed to help the advanced student develop knowledge of a specific area of research or practice.
Delineates a new field of Neuroethics concerned with the social, legal and ethical implications of modern research on the brain. Brings together contemporary writings from neuroscientists, bioethicists, public policy makers and scholars in the humanities for discussion and debate on these issues. The relationship between different faith and philosophical positions on decision making from an applied (clinical) perspective will also be investigated. FILA general education: ethical reasoning. Offered alternate years.
Provides an opportunity for a student to gain field experience in an area related to the student's program of study or career goals. The learning objectives for internships include connecting academic knowledge and problem-solving processes to experiences and problems in professional settings. Supervision of an intern is provided by an appropriate faculty member and by a site supervisor of the agency or business in which the student is an intern. A student who wishes to engage in an internship must consult with the appropriate faculty member at least eight weeks in advance of the start of the term in which the internship is to be completed. A description of the internship, signed by the student and the faculty sponsor, must be filed with the director of internships by the first day of the semester prior to the start of the internship. Approval of each application for an internship is made by the director of internships based upon approved policies and guidelines. Internships are graded on an S or U basis. Students must complete 120 hours of internship-related work as well as weekly journal entries and a final reflective paper completed in accordance with approved requirements. A student may enroll in an internship program for 3 credits per semester, and internship credit may be earned in subsequent semesters subject to the limitations that no more than two internships may be pursued in any one agency or business and a maximum of 9 credits in internships may be applied toward graduation. FILA general education: experiential learning.
Supervised practicum experience in a public or private agency setting that provides psychological or educational services. A student may enroll in a practicum for three credit hours in a semester, and practicum credit may be earned in one additional semester. Grade based on supervisor evaluations, class attendance and participation, setting up a specific learning agreement, completing weekly note-writing, compiling a scientific rationale for intervention, and developing a case presentation. FILA general education: experiential learning.