2012-2013 Psychology Courses
First-Year Studies: The Developing Child: Perspectives from Experience, Observation, and Theory
In this course, we will explore how children develop by considering the perspectives on the process afforded by the experience of one’s own life, careful observation of children in natural settings, and readings in developmental psychology. The course is built around in-depth field work at the Early Childhood Center, our campus laboratory school, where students will spend eight hours a week as participant observers, facilitating the children’s school experience as part of the teaching team, and learning to observe their language and thought, play, social interaction, and evolving personalities. Developmental and educational theories will be used as lenses for understanding the children, taking into account the immediate context of the school and the broader cultural contexts in which development is occurring. Readings for the seminar will be drawn from theoretical and research sources and literary and memoir accounts of childhood. Seminar writing assignments will include observation, reflection, and analysis and application of theory. First-semester conference work will explore students’ individual interests and culminate in a carefully developed proposal for a project to be carried out for the rest of the year. Often such projects will center on qualitative research projects or case studies carried out in the field setting; and while always including a research/theory written component, they may also include a creative dimension.
First-Year Studies: Child and Adolescent Development in North American and African Contexts: Opportunities and Inequalities
Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu [Isizulu: A person is only a person through other persons]
How do the contexts in which we live influence our development? And how do these contexts influence the questions we ask about development and the ways in which we interpret our observations? How do local, national, and international policies impact the contexts in which children live? Should we play a role in changing some of these contexts? What are the complications of doing this? In this course, we will discuss these and other key questions about child and adolescent development in varying cultural contexts, with a specific focus on the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. As we do so, we will discuss factors contributing to both opportunities and inequalities within and between those contexts. In particular, we will discuss how physical and psychosocial environments differ for poor and nonpoor children and their families in rural upstate New York, urban Yonkers, and rural and urban Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. We will also discuss individual and environmental protective factors that buffer some children from the adverse effects of poverty, as well as the impacts of public policy on poor children and their families. Topics will include health and educational disparities; environmental inequalities linked to race, class, ethnicity, gender, language, and nationality; environmental chaos; children's play and access to green space; cumulative risk and its relationship to chronic stress; and the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the growing orphan problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Readings will be drawn from both classic and contemporary research in psychology, human development, anthropology, sociology, and public health; memoirs and other first-hand accounts; and classic and contemporary African literature and film. This course will also serve as an introduction to the methodologies of community-based and participatory action research within the context of a service-learning course. As a class, we will collaborate with local high-school students in developing, implementing, and evaluating effective community-based work in partnership with organizations in urban Yonkers and rural Tanzania. As part of this work, all students will spend an afternoon per week working in a local after-school program. In addition, we will have monthly seminars with local high-school students during our regular class time.
The Changing Self: Narratives of Personal Transformation
This yearlong lecture will introduce students to the theory and practice of narrative psychology by looking to a number of narratives to consider questions about structure and transformation in a life. Today, personal narratives are increasingly accepted as a useful inroad to understanding one’s sense of self and identity. During the first semester, we will focus particularly on the issues of structure in writing about one’s own life and another’s life. We will read psychoanalytic case studies, existential and phenomenological case studies, ethnographies written outside of one’s own culture, and contemporary narrative work in psychology. In so doing, we will inquire into power dynamics and ethics, the relationship between experience and writing, and the shifting genre of the life history on the boundary between the social sciences and the humanities. During the second semester, we will focus on the question of transformation in a life. What does it mean to change? Is there any continuity to what we call “self”? What is the difference between writing amidst and after a transformation? We will read a number of autobiographical accounts, especially those dealing with major life change such as exile, madness, creativity, violence, illness, and the sublime. Course work will include essays, exams, and in-class presentations.
Trauma, Loss, and Resilience
How people remember and respond to stress and trauma has garnered much attention and controversy in the field of psychology. These debates have reached well beyond therapists’ offices and academic departments, figuring prominently in the media, policy debates, and judicial decisions. Through a review of theory, research, and clinical case reports, this course aims to provide a nuanced examination of traumatic stress research. The course will begin with a historical exploration of how the mental health community has defined and treated trauma over the past century, including the sociocultural forces that shaped these definitions and interventions. We will also delve into more current issues involving trauma, specifically posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Readings will survey a range of topics, drawing on cognitive, developmental, neuroscientific, and psychoanalytic perspectives. We will discuss and question: What are the impacts of stress and trauma across the lifespan? How is trauma processed cognitively, and what brain regions are involved in trauma-related distress? What is the impact of trauma and loss on mental and physical health? What is an appropriate response to trauma (and who decides)? Are there outcomes to stress and trauma other than distress? Is memory for trauma special? Are horrific experiences indelibly fixed in a victim’s memory, or does the mind protect itself by banishing traumatic memories from consciousness? How do those working in the field of traumatic stress cope with secondary exposure? Why are some people able to experience repeated exposure to trauma without significant impairment? Conference work will offer students the opportunity to apply ongoing issues in trauma and resilience research to a wide range of disciplines, including science, law, medicine, art, media, politics, and ethics.
Babies, Birds and ’bots: An Introduction to Developmental Cognitive Science
Do lemurs see red? Do you? What about newborns? Do you really have déjà vu? Does listening to Mozart in the womb really make children more intelligent? What about Metallica? What is intelligence, anyway? Why are phone numbers seven digits long? And why do children learn language better from an adult in person than from the same adult on television? In this course, we will attempt to answer all of these questions and many more that you may have about how we process visual and auditory information, first put things in categories, solve simple and complex problems, communicate with each other and with our pets, and remember how to ride a bicycle and how to get to New York City. To answer these questions, we will read and discuss both theory and research in developmental psychology, psychobiology, linguistics, anthropology, cognitive neuroscience, and philosophy on various aspects of cognitive development across the life span in different cultural contexts, focusing on infancy, childhood, and adolescence. We will also discuss both the usefulness and the limitations of this research in light of the populations studied and the methodologies employed. Topics will include perception, categorization, reasoning, theory of mind and autism, language and thought, multilingualism and second-language acquisition, social cognition, memory, metacognition and metamemory, consciousness, and competence in context.
Child and Adolescent Development
In this course, we will study the psychological growth of the child from birth through adolescence. In the process, we will read about some of the major theories that have shaped our thinking concerning children, including psychoanalytic (Freud and Erikson), behaviorist (Skinner), social learning (Bandura), and cognitive developmental (Piaget). A number of aspects of child development will be considered, including: the capabilities of the infant; the growth of language, thinking, and memory; various themes of parent-child relations, including attachment, separation, and different parenting styles; peer relations (friendships, the “rejected child”); sex role development; some of the “real world” challenges facing today's children and adolescents (e.g., “pushing” young children, divorce, and single-parent/blended families); and the modern study of childhood resilience in the face of difficult circumstances. Direct experience with children will be an integral part of this course, including fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or other venues. Written observational diaries will be used as a way of integrating these direct experiences with seminar topics and conference readings.
Crossing Borders and Boundaries: The Social Psychology of Immigration
“Remember, remember always, that all of us…are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” —Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Immigration is a worldwide phenomenon, where people move into another nation with the intention of residing there (either temporarily or permanently) to make a better life for themselves. Anchored in a multidisciplinary perspective, this seminar explores the crucial role of psychology in understanding the processes associated with our conceptualizations of immigration and immigrants. The course begins with a brief historical overview of sociological, as well as social-psychological, research on immigrants, complemented by the highlighting of some theoretical perspectives on immigration. We then examine the identity of the immigrant, stressing here the profound distinctions between forced and voluntary immigrants. Reflecting on the lives of undocumented immigrants, we analyze the processes by which “illegality” is constructed. Here we look at how the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and culture shape the psychological experience of immigrants. Extending our analysis in the final part of the seminar to immigration’s impact on the host population enables us to conclude the course with a discussion of several social-psychological issues such as intergroup relations, discrimination, and modes of adaptation.
The Psychology of Religious Experience
How do humans understand the relationship between their immediate world and what lies beyond it? What are the ways in which private lives become embedded in wider fields of meaning? Ever since William James published The Varieties of Religious Experience in 1902, questions about the nature of religious experience have circulated through the centers and margins of psychology. For James, religious experience was not limited to mere belief or church practices; it was felt in everyday life. Similarly, we will treat religiosity as a domain of experience that calls attention to the limits of language, methods of understanding, and the makeup of identity. During the semester, we will take a descriptive and interpretive approach to study the topics of mysticism, conversion, healing, spirituality, literalism, and much more, as we explore how humans make meaning, kinship, and construct new ways of being-in-the-world. In so doing, we will address the ways in which psychologists study issues that elude a clear understanding. We will read from classic and contemporary psychologists of religion, anthropologists, and critical theorists, as well as autobiographical accounts, to create an interdisciplinary perspective.
“The self is an incredibly ingenious novelist.”—Richard Powers
Narrative neuropsychology explores notions of mind, memory, sensory perception, language, mind-body interactions, consciousness, and self through study of cases of the breakdown, hyperdevelopment, or recovery of mental function. In this course, we will draw on a mixture of neuropsychological case studies, scientific research papers, novels, and memoirs to investigate conditions such as agnosia, amnesia, synesthesia, aphasia, autism, and other alterations in consciousness that arise from brain damage or variations in brain development. “Narrative” refers to the narrative accounts of neurologists but also to the view of the human brain as primarily a storyteller. A third sense of the term “narrative” will be invoked in our reading of current fiction and memoirs that incorporate neuropsychological material. This course is designed for students interested in the intersections of science and art.
Environment, Race, and the Psychology of Place
This service-learning course will focus on the experience of humans living within physical, social, and psychological spaces. We will use a constructivist, multidisciplinary, multilevel lens to examine the interrelationship between humans and the natural and built environments, to explore the impact of racial/ethnic group membership on person/environment interactions, and to provide a critical analysis of social dynamics in the environmental movement. The community partnership/service-learning component is an important part of this class. We will work with local agencies to promote adaptive person/environment interactions within our community.
Focusing on how individuals create their social reality and use this construction to provide a normative context for their engagement with each other, this seminar explores the major theories, methodologies, and content areas of social cognition. We look at classic studies in social psychology to apply the knowledge thus gained to contemporary issues of general interest, gaining in the process both a historical and a theoretical perspective. We want to examine, in particular, three areas of interest. The first concerns the role of unconscious processes in our interpretations and explanations of the social world, especially emphasizing here our mistakes in judgment and our misperceptions of causation. Then, we take a closer look at the individual as a social “cognizer” to see how we derive interpretations for our own behavior in comparison to those attributed to the behavior of others. Finally, we analyze the issue of attitude as the first epistemological inquiry of social psychology to understand better how it has given impetus to the cognitive revolution.
Landscapes of Injustice: Psychology and Social Change
What role can psychology play in the aftermath of collective trauma? What are the responsibilities psychologists have to those who have suffered catastrophe? How does psychology engage with the realities of survival? In this course, we will take a global and critical perspective on these questions, as we explore the ways in which psychology participates in social change. In particular, we will look at how psychology engages with the aftermath of collective injustice and upheaval by studying the issues of postwar communities, environmental crisis, exile and mental health repercussions, memorialization, and much more. Students will also be encouraged during the semester to inquire critically into the moral and ethical foundations of psychological theories, as we sketch the history and practice of participatory methods that seek to transform the plight of marginalized individuals and groups. Readings will bridge psychology, feminist and critical theory, and sociology. This is a course well-suited for students who are anxious to explore the ways in which psychology may engender social change.
Mindfulness: Neuroscientific and Psychological Perspectives
Mindfulness can be described as nonjudgmental attention to experiences in the present moment. For thousands of years, mindfulness has been cultivated through the practice of meditation. More recently, developments in neuroimaging technologies have allowed scientists to explore the brain changes that result from the pursuit of this ancient practice, laying the foundations of the new field of contemplative neuroscience. Study of the neurology of mindfulness meditation provides a useful lens for study of the brain in general, because so many aspects of psychological functioning are affected by the practice. Some of the topics that we will address are attention, perception, emotion and its regulation, mental imaging, habit, and consciousness. This is a good course for those interested in scientific study of the mind.
Gender Research Seminar: Focus on Men and Masculinities
This class is a hands-on introduction to conducting qualitative and quantitative psychological research on gender. Although research is an indispensable part of scientific endeavors, the conduct of research itself is part scientific ritual and part art form. In this class, we will learn both the science and art of conducting ethical research with diverse participants. We will also engage in a critical study of gender by examining the social construction of biological sex and categories/conceptions of “man” and “masculinities.” Students will design and implement an independent research study of gender during the course of this seminar. Students with a background in psychology or other social sciences and LGBT studies will be given preference.
Puzzling Over People: Social Reasoning in Childhood and Adolescence
We humans tend to find other people the most interesting “objects” in our lives—and for good reason. As infants, we are completely dependent upon them for our very survival; and throughout our lives, other people serve as the social bedrock of our existence. We are a social species, one that derives “fitness” through our abilities to read the social terrain and to figure out social meaning in our interactions with others. There is a range of timely questions to address: How do we do this, and how does it develop throughout childhood? Are we “hardwired” in some ways to feel what other people are feeling? What about the special case of childhood autism? How do our emotions interact with our cognitions about the social world to affect our views of self and other and our future social lives? What would cause us to have a relatively good or poor “emotional IQ,” and what are the consequences? What are the roles of family and childhood friends in this process? These are some of the issues we will address in this course. The opportunity will be available for hands-on fieldwork with children to observe them puzzling over people in real life. Prior course in psychology is required.
Theories of the Creative Process
The creative process is paradoxical. It involves freedom and spontaneity yet requires expertise and hard work. The creative process is self-expressive yet tends to unfold most easily when the creator forgets about self. The creative process brings joy yet is fraught with fear, frustration, and even terror. The creative process is its own reward yet depends on social support and encouragement. In this class, we look at how various thinkers conceptualize the creative process—chiefly in the arts but in other domains, as well. We see how various psychological theorists describe the process, its source, its motivation, its roots in a particular domain or skill, its cultural context, and its developmental history in the life of the individual. Among the thinkers that we consider are Freud, Jung, Arnheim, Franklin, and Gardner. Different theorists emphasize different aspects of the process. In particular, we see how some thinkers emphasize persistent work and expert knowledge as essential features, while others emphasize the need for the psychic freedom to “let it happen”and speculate on what emerges when the creative person “lets go.” Still others identify cultural context or biological factors as critical. To concretize theoretical approaches, we look at how various ideas can contribute to understanding specific creative people and their work. In particular, we consider works written by or about Picasso, Woolf, Welty, Darwin, and some contemporary artists and writers. Though creativity is most frequently explored in individuals, we also consider group improvisation in music and theatre. Some past conference projects have involved interviewing people engaged in creative work. Others consisted of library studies centering on the life and work of a particular creative person. Some students chose to do field work at the Early Childhood Center and focus on an aspect of creative activity in young children. Background in college psychology or philosophy is required.
The Empathic Attitude
“It is when we try to grapple with another man’s intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun.” —Joseph Conrad
“We mark with light in the memory the few interviews we have had, in the dreary years of routine and of sin, with souls that made our soul’s wiser; that spoke what we thought; that told us what we knew; that gave us leave to be what we…were.” —Emerson, Divinity School Address, 1838
After graphically describing her predicament to her cousin Molly, Sarah asked: “So, do you understand?” “Yes, I do, I certainly do,” her cousin replied. “You do?” Sarah asked again. “Most emphatically, I do.” “Then you agree with me?” “Oh no.” “You sympathize with me then?” “No, I don’t.” “Then you at least see it from my point of view.” “Hardly.” “Then what do you understand?” “You are simply a fool!” “How dare you judge me?” “If I see it from your point of view, I shall only be a different kind of judge. My dear Sarah, don’t you see that there is no escaping judgment?”
For Conrad, the other is so shrouded in mists that our empathic understanding must necessarily fall short. For Emerson, an empathic rapport is rare but possible. As for Sarah and Molly, what can we say? Do they completely fail to understand each other, or do they understand each other only too well? Indeed, what do we mean by understanding in this context? Too often, understanding is confused with agreement or the absence of judgment. This course will examine what an empathic understanding entails and the function of empathy in defining areas of conflict, as well as the resolution of conflict. In brief, the empathic attitude requires us to enjoy and appreciate the differences between ourselves and others even as we attempt to bridge those differences.
Individualism and/or Diversity Reconsidered
“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never harm you.” Can anything be further from the truth? This course will examine how reputation in all its guises shadows our lives. Do we not dispense praise and blame to control the lives of others? Can we deny that pride and shame represent the rewards and punishments that we employ to imprison ourselves? Can we inhabit a world that goes beyond pride and shame? For example, consider the following tale: Alexander the Great allegedly came across the philosopher Diogenes, clothed in rags and taking a sunbath while reclining on the street. According to one version of this tale, Alexander asked Diogenes if there were anything he desired. If there were, then certainly Alexander would grant his wish. Diogenes waved his hand and replied: “Stand out of my light.” Addressing his troops, Alexander exclaimed, “If I were not Alexander the Great, I would like to be Diogenes.” What of you, dear student?
The Feeling Brain: The Biology and Psychology of Emotions
The processing of emotion was an enduring concern for early biologists and psychologists. Charles Darwin devoted a monograph to the expression of emotion in men and animals and argued for an evolutionary understanding of emotions as a biological phenomenon. William James considered emotions a key topic in his investigations of the science of mental life. Despite this early interest, emotions were not a major focus in the development of modern cognitive neuroscience. Instead, efforts to understand mental life focused primarily on reason or cognition. Recently, this neglect of emotions has been redressed through the growth of the new interest area of “affective neuroscience.” This integration of psychological and biological approaches has been fueled by an increasing awareness of the function of emotions in mental life and by technological and experimental advances, such as brain imaging, which have allowed the development of sophisticated experimental approaches to the study of emotions. In this course, we will begin with the early history of the investigation of emotions in order to define our terms and then quickly proceed to the new experimental work being developed in both human and animal models. Some of the questions to be entertained are: What brain systems regulate emotions? How do emotions modulate memories? How are different emotions processed by the brain? How do emotions and reason interact to shape decision-making? This is a joint seminar. Open to sophomores and above.
Theories of Development
“There’s nothing so practical as a good theory,” suggested Kurt Lewin almost 100 years ago. Since then, the competing theoretical models of Freud, Skinner, Piaget, Vygotsky, and others have shaped the field of developmental psychology and have been used by parents and educators to determine child-care practice and education. In this course, we will study the classic theories—psychoanalytic, behaviorist, and cognitive-developmental—as they were originally formulated and in light of subsequent critiques and revisions. Questions we will consider include: Are there patterns in our emotional, thinking, or social lives that can be seen as universal, or are these always culture-specific? Can life experiences be conceptualized in a series of stages? How else can we understand change over time? We will use theoretical perspectives as lenses through which to view different aspects of experience: the origins of wishes and desires, early parent-child attachments, intersubjectivity in the emergence of self, symbolic and imaginative thinking, the role of play in learning. For conference work, students will be encouraged to do fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or in another setting with children, as one goal of the course is to bridge theory and practice. For graduate students and for seniors with permission of the instructor.
Making friends, losing friends, keeping friends...through the use of psychological and literary texts, we will explore the important functions of friendship for children and adolescents. During this century, psychologists have assumed that adults serve as the major social influence on a child’s developing sense of self and personality, that perhaps only toward adolescence would children’s social relations with peers come to play an important role in their lives. We now know better. In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the study of friendships and peer relations throughout childhood, even in toddlerhood. The important psychological benefits of having friends are increasingly recognized. So, too, are the potential problems of its obverse: Children who are truly without friends are at greater risk for later social-emotional difficulties. We will explore the writings of major theorists such as Sullivan, Youniss, Selman, and Rubin; read and discuss the recent studies that have observed “friendship in the making”; and examine what friendship means to children and adolescents in their own words. In addition, fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or elsewhere will be encouraged, so that students can have firsthand knowledge of children’s social relations. Prior course in psychology is required.
Children’s Literature: Developmental and Literary Perspectives
Children’s books are an important bridge between adults and the world of children. In this course, we will ask questions such as: What are the purposes of literature for children? What makes a children’s book developmentally appropriate for a child of a particular age? What is important to children as they read or listen? How do children become readers? How can children’s books portray the uniqueness of a particular culture or subculture, allowing those within to see their experience reflected in books and those outside to gain insight into the lives of others? To what extent can books transcend the particularities of a given period and place? Course readings include writings about child development, works about children’s literature, and, most centrally, children’s books themselves—picture books, fairy tales, and novels for children. Class emphasis will be on books for children up to the age of about 12. Among our children’s book authors will be Margaret Wise Brown, C. S. Lewis, Katherine Paterson, Maurice Sendak, Mildred Taylor, E. B. White, and Vera B. Williams. Many different kinds of conference projects are appropriate for this course. In past years, for example, students have worked with children (and their books) in fieldwork and service-learning settings, written original work for children (sometimes illustrating it, as well), traced a theme in children’s books, explored children’s books that illuminate particular racial or ethnic experiences, or examined books that capture the challenge of various disabilities. Open to sophomores and above. Background in psychology is required.
Memory Research Seminar
The experimental study of remembering has been a vital part of psychology since the beginning of the discipline. The most productive experimental approach to this subject has been a matter of intense debate and controversy. The disputes have centered on the relationship between the forms of memory studied in the laboratory and the uses of memory in everyday life. We will engage this debate through the study of extraordinary memories, autobiographical memories, the role of visual imagery in memory, accuracy of memory, expertise, eyewitness testimony, metaphors of memory, and the anatomy of memory. Frederic Bartlett’s constructive theory of memory will form the theoretical backbone of the course. Most conference work will involve experimental explorations of memory. Some previous coursework in psychology is required.
Children’s Health in a Multicultural Context
This course offers, within a cultural context, an overview of theoretical and research issues in the psychological study of health and illness in children. We will examine theoretical perspectives in the psychology of health, health cognition, illness prevention, stress, and coping with illness and will highlight research, methods, and applied issues. This class is appropriate for those interested in a variety of health careers. Conference work may range from empirical research to bibliographic research in this area. Community partnership/service-learning work is an option in this class. A background in social sciences or education is recommended.
Introduction to the Theory of Social Representations
Humans are social animals who live through interaction with each other. Individuals, therefore, do not think in isolation. Instead, they construct a framework of shared references that define how to think about the world around them. Such shared references can be viewed as social representations. This seminar aims to familiarize students with social representations theory, an original approach to social psychology. The interdisciplinary orientation of this approach provides us with new insights into many key aspects of modern life. With the help of social representations theory, we are able to re-examine and shed new light on engaging societal phenomena such as health and illness, madness, AIDS, biogenetics, intelligence, food, money, or race.
Cultural Psychology of Development
Cultural psychology is the study of the ways in which individual and culture, subject and object, person and world, constitute each other. This course will explore how children and adolescents make meaning of their experiences in the contexts in which they live, assuming that, for all of us, development is an ongoing response to the cultural life around us and that culture is a dynamic process of engagement. We will consider topics such as language and culture, early storytelling in families, transitions from home to school, gendered and racial identities. We will read a combination of psychological and anthropological texts. Questions to be explored include: How are a sense of self and place constituted in early childhood? How are these values expressed in children’s stories, art, and play? How do adolescents navigate differing language communities and cultural values in forging their identities? What are some of the implications for public education in this country? Students will have the opportunity to do fieldwork in school or community settings and to use conference work to bridge reading and practical experience. A previous course in psychology or another social science is required.
A century ago, Sigmund Freud postulated a complex theory of the development of the person. While some aspects of his theory have come into question, many of the basic principles of psychoanalytic theory have become part of our common culture and worldview. This course will explore developmental and clinical concepts about how personality comes to be through reading and discussion of the work of key contributors to psychoanalytic developmental theory since Freud. We will trace the evolution of what Pine has called the “four psychologies of psychoanalysis”—drive, ego, object, and self-psychologies—as well as the integrative “relational perspective”; and we will consider the issues they raise about children’s development into individuals with unique personalities within broad, shared developmental patterns in a given culture. Readings will include the work of Anna Freud, Erik Erikson, Margaret Mahler, Daniel Stern, Steven Mitchell, Nancy Chodorow, and George Vaillant. Throughout the semester, we will return to such fundamental themes as the complex interaction of nature and nurture, the unanswered questions about the development of personal style, and the cultural dimensions of personality development. Fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or other appropriate setting is required, although conference projects may center on aspects of that experience or not, depending on the individual student’s interest. For graduate students and for juniors and seniors with permission of the instructor.
Pathways of Development: Psychopathology and Other Challenges to the Developmental Process
This course addresses the multiple factors that play a role in shaping a child’s development, particularly as those factors may result in what we think of as psychopathology. Starting with a consideration of what the terms “normality” and “pathology” may refer to in our culture, we will read about and discuss a variety of situations that illustrate different interactions of inborn, environmental, and experiential influences on developing lives. For example, we will read theory and case material addressing congenital conditions such as deafness and life events such as acute trauma and abuse, as well as the range of less clear-cut circumstances and complex interactions of variables that have an impact on growth and adaptation in childhood and adolescence. In discussing readings drawn from clinical and developmental psychology, memoir, and research studies, we will examine a number of the current conversations and controversies about assessment, diagnostic/labeling, early intervention, use of psychoactive medications, and treatment modalities. Students will be required to engage in fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center or elsewhere and may choose whether to focus conference projects on aspects of that experience. For graduate students and for juniors and seniors by permission of the instructor.