Psychology | Introductory Psychology I
P101 | 3606 | G. Frommer
Preparation: Some background in biology is recommended. This course is
an introduction to psychology as a natural science. Format: Most of the
material for this class will be presented by computer on the World Wide
Web. You can take a look at the material for this semester by typing the
following address in a network browser like
This opens the home page for this class. The first item on the menu
Visitors) gives instructions to see sample exercises, which take the place
of a conventional textbook. I hope they are clear.
Students do about 90-95 "exercises" (2 to 9 per week) on any computer that
can be connected to the web. These exercises are like sections of
chapters in a textbook; they have text and graphics to present the
material. In addition, they contain 5 to 10 quiz questions about the
preceding material. These questions are intended to help you pay
attention to the material and think about it. They encourage you to use
"deep processing", to use the jargon of cognitive psychology. The
questions will also help you test your mastery of that material. I expect
to have weekly, required "lab sessions" in which you do (part of) the
exercises due for that week. An assistant will help you work on them by
showing you strategies for doing the questions most effectively.
Important areas: P101 will cover biological bases of behavior, including
brain function and behavior genetics; sensory function and perception;
aspect of animal and human learning, motivation, emotion, and cognitive
(mental) function. The questions "how do you know?" and "what is the
evidence?" are emphasized throughout.
Texts: None required, but paper versions of the exercises and a booklet
of sample questions for the exams will be available in the bookstores.
Some people may find Carlson, Psychology, any edition useful.
Tests and Grades: Grades will be based on four tests (about 55%), weekly
computer-based repeatable "exercises" described above (about 20% of the
semester grade), and a comprehensive final exam (about 25%). The grades
are NOT curved and no test will be dropped. The tests will be primarily
multiple choice, but will also have some matching, fill-in-the-blank and
short answer questions. Many of the multiple-choice questions will ask
you to recognize examples of an idea or the relation between an idea, its
definition, and an example. Up to twelve points extra credit may be
earned by written reports on experiment participation or approved
Availability of instructor: My office hours will be after class, in the
early afternoon, and Tuesday evenings. I am usually in my office much of
the day. I strongly encourage use of electronic mail for communication.