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CCOG for PSY 101 Spring 2023

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Course Number:
PSY 101
Course Title:
Psychology and Human Relations
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Applies evidence-based psychological principles to personal and professional relationships in social and cultural contexts. Includes an overview of basic psychological and cultural concepts related to human behavior and interactions. Introduces principles of communication, listening, and conflict resolution with an emphasis on skill development to improve relationships. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Human relations are the very foundation of our lives, but we rarely get formalized education on how to effectively interact with others.  Instead, most of us learn our relationship skills -- for better or for worse -- by observing our families of origin, our peers, the media, and others in our social world and culture. In this class, the field of psychology provides a sound, research-based understanding of the major factors that drive human behavior, thought processes, and emotions, as they relate to our interpersonal relationships. Then, armed with a working knowledge of those psychological principles, evidence-based best practices in communication are developed and applied with an eye toward effectiveness in a variety of social and cultural contexts.  

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Describe a variety of psychological, social, and cultural influences on human behavior.
  2. Analyze one’s own intra- and interpersonal experiences through the lenses of research-based principles in psychology.
  3. Use knowledge of diverse cultural norms to communicate effectively in a variety of social and cultural interactions.
  4. Use effective communication, listening, and conflict-resolution skills that represent intercultural competence in human relations.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

Psychology is a science-based discipline aimed broadly at pursuing and advancing the understanding of human behavior. Within the field of psychology are more than 100 diverse specialty areas, including such fields as neuroscience, human development, clinical and counseling psychology, sports psychology, cultural and international psychology, the psychology of law, environmental psychology, health psychology, military psychology, the psychology of religion, media psychology, social psychology, and trauma psychology (just to name a few). With such far-ranging fields of study, psychology is in a unique position to help world citizens develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their environments, and others – along with the complex and reciprocal interactions among these factors. The aspirational goal of psychologists, around the world and here at PCC, is for this deeper understanding to ultimately promote a world society that values and practices empathy and cooperation among our diverse peoples. With that goal in mind, PCC psychology faculty place a high value on helping students see and understand the connections between the psychological concepts they study and their own lives. Offering learning opportunities to our diverse students in the rich context of psychology will allow them to develop their abilities to analyze critically, to communicate effectively, and to understand complex Issues – both local and global – from multiple perspectives. Through student learning and acquisition of its Intended Course Outcomes, PSY 101 specifically addresses the PCC Core Outcomes by helping students to develop and utilize a broader and deeper understanding of various cultural dimensions, along with self-reflection, to communicate more effectively within various contexts. PSY 101 also addresses the PCC GenEd goals of promoting students’ understanding of their culture and how it relates to other cultures, understanding of themselves and their natural and technological environments, and to conceptually organize experience and discern its meaning.

Course Activities and Design

Student achievement of learning outcomes in this course relies heavily on written and oral demonstration and application of concepts and skills on which the class is based.  Thus, in all sections of this course (whether F2F, online, or hybrid) assessments must include frequent opportunities for students to apply concepts to interpersonal interactions in their own lives, in groups, dyads, individual or collaborative projects, and/or written assignments.  Assessment in all sections (F2F, online, or hybrid) must also include individual verbal demonstration of communication, listening, and conflict resolution skills.  Online sections will adhere to guidelines and expectations specified in the document entitled "What Works Well in Online Teaching at PCC", as well as Quality Matters and accessibility guidelines. 

Instructors of this course will employ best practices, which include (but are not limited to):
1. Making expectations clear and transparent, and supporting students in achieving course expectations.
2. Assessing often, via different modes, and providing timely feedback on student performance (generally a week or less, but no more than 10 days unless extenuating circumstances intervene) so that students have the opportunity to improve.
3. Maintaining an environment in which diversity is respected and supported, and addressing the situation when that does not occur.
4. Maintaining an environment in which all students can learn, and seeking appropriate support (PCC CARE program) when a student is demonstrating behavior that is interfering with their own and/or others’ success.  
5. Recognizing and supporting student needs, including disability support, and providing reasonable arrangements for extenuating circumstances while remaining fair to all students in the course. 

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Student assessment will include some combination of the following:

  • Written and /or oral assignments and/or projects designed to promote integration of class material with personal reflection, experience, and/or skill acquisition. 
  • Multiple choice, short answer and essay questions that require integration, application, and critical examination of material covered in the course. 
  • Participation in dyad and group exercises and/or discussions, including skill-building exercises and activities within and outside the classroom. Activities outside the classroom may include interactions via email, online discussion, individual or group video recording of applications, and/or online group meetings that can be recorded and shared with the instructor.
  • Attendance at lectures, workshops, on-campus and community events that are directly related to the course outcomes. 
  • Student-teacher conferences where verbal and non-verbal skills may be demonstrated and competency assessed. 
  • Participation in and critical assessment of a service learning project directly related to the course outcomes

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Human Relations and Culture

  1. Define human relations, and explain the roles of psychology and context in human relations.
  2. Explain why an understanding of individual and/or cultural values is critical to effective human relations.
  3. Define culture, and give several examples.
  4. Describe the cultural dimensions of individualism-collectivism, power-distance, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity-femininity, and give examples of the role of each dimension in human relations.
  5. Analyze a conflict between people of different cultures using cultural dimensions and values to objectively explain both sides.

The Self in Human Relations

  1. Distinguish among self-concept, self-esteem, and self-efficacy, and describe the functions of each.
  2. Explain the influence of culture on self-concept, self-esteem, and self-efficacy.
  3. Identify and analyze two mental strategies that help maintain a stable self-concept.
  4. Identify what self-esteem can and cannot impact, according to scientific research.
  5. Describe how self-efficacy develops, along with its benefits.
  6. Define self-knowledge, and discuss strategies for increasing it.
  7. Identify several ways in which social media influences self-concept, self-esteem, and self-presentation.
  8. Describe Erikson’s stages of adulthood, as well as contributions by Arnett and Sheehy, and give examples of how values and motivations can shift in different stages of life.

How Personality Theories Explain Human Behavior

  1. Compare the psychodynamic, behaviorist, humanist, social-cognitive, and Big Five Trait perspectives on personality.
  2. Give examples of how each of the 5 perspectives could influence a person’s behavior in relationships.
  3. Analyze a case study of an interaction between 2 or more people, using each of the 5 perspectives to explain the various actions, motivations, and viewpoints of each person in the case study.

Emotions and Stress in Human Relations

  1. Describe ways that both thoughts and biological processes influence emotions.
  2. Give examples of common irrational beliefs that influence our emotional reactions in relationships, and explain effective ways of overcoming each one..
  3. Discuss the influence of culture on emotional expression, and give examples.
  4. Distinguish among direct, indirect, constructive, and destructive expression of anger.
  5. Summarize the components of emotional intelligence.
  6. Explain the biological and cognitive components of stress, and enumerate effective coping strategies.

The Influence of Perception on Human Relations

  1. Explain how our human need to make sense out of the world is adaptive, and how common perceptual errors have developed out of that need.
  2. Differentiate between confirmation bias, false consensus bias, the primacy effect, and the fundamental attribution error, and offer strategies for overcoming each one.
  3. Identify several biological influences on perception.
  4. Describe several different types of cultural norms that influence our perception of others.
  5. Discuss some of the ways that memory processes can influence our relations with others.
  6. Explain how perception-checking can help avoid or mitigate potential misunderstandings, and apply perception-checking to real-life examples.

Social Influence and Human Relations

  1. Define conformity (both normative and informational), its benefits and drawbacks,, and explain several situational influences on it.
  2. Explain Cialdini’s 6 principles of compliance, and give examples of each in human relations.
  3. Describe Milgram’s experiments on obedience, as well as more recent replications, and summarize their findings.
  4. Discuss and cultural influences on conformity, compliance, and obedience.
  5. Distinguish between conformity, compliance, and obedience as increasing degrees of social influence, and discuss the implications of these levels on issues of power and powerlessness in relationships.


  1. Describe group formation, ethnocentrism, and stereotyping as foundations of prejudice, and explain how they are universal and have both biological and social contributors.
  2. Discuss ingroup bias, its formation, neural correlates, and ways to overcome it.
  3. Describe the four steps toward flexible ethnocentrism.
  4. Enumerate several contributors to and consequences of stereotyping.
  5. Explain how social learning contributes to prejudice.
  6. Describe three evidence-based strategies for overcoming prejudice.


  1. Explain the importance of relational climate, and identify 3 levels of confirmation in supportive relational climates.
  2. Apply common elements of listening to your own listening habits.
  3. Summarize common internal and external barriers to listening, along with ways to overcome each one.
  4. Evaluate the usefulness of the listening styles of advising, evaluating, analyzing, supporting, questioning, and paraphrasing.
  5. Demonstrate advising, evaluating, analyzing, supporting, questioning, and paraphrasing in real-life conversations.
  6. Describe some typical gender and cultural differences in listening styles.


  1. Identify types of abstract/ambiguous language, and replace with clear language.
  2. Discuss I-language and you-language in the context of responsible communication.
  3. Utilize I-language in real-life conversations.
  4. Differentiate between high-context and low-context cultures, and their various impacts on communication in relationships.
  5. Compare instrumental to affective communication styles.
  6. Explain the importance of non-verbal communication, and give examples of several common types of non-verbal communication.
  7. Discuss cultural norms and differences in nonverbal communication.

Conflict and Conflict Management

  1. Identify myths about conflict, and refute each one with facts about conflict.
  2. Explain the dual-concern model of conflict, analyze strengths and weaknesses of each of the 5 conflict styles within it, and identify one’s own preferred conflict style.
  3. Distinguish passive-aggressive behavior from other conflict styles, and discuss its causes and consequences.
  4. Describe the influences of personality, gender, and culture on conflict styles.
  5. Summarize conflict management skills from the Gottmans' research, including the four horsemen and sound relationship house.
  6. Define a defensive spiral, and apply Gibb’s 6 categories of defense-arousing/supporting communication to real-life conversations.
  7. Recognize defensive responses to criticism in your own life, and apply a variety of strategies to replace them with non-defensive responses.
  8. Apply the integrative style of conflict resolution to an interpersonal situation in one’s own life.