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Course Content and Outcomes Guide for PSY 202A Effective Spring 2021

Course Number:
PSY 202A
Course Title:
Introduction to Psychology - Part 2
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces the following major topics in psychology: emotion and motivation, personality, intelligence, problem-solving and creativity, psychological disorders, therapy and treatment, health psychology, social psychology, and associated topics in cognition. Provides an overview of current trends, and emphasizes the sociocultural approach to understand cognition, emotions, and behavior. This is the second course of a two-course sequence. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

The Psychology Program at PCC adheres to evidence-based course content and teaching best practices.  "[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world..."    President Barack Obama, March 23, 2015.  US Department of Education webpage

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

1.  Describe the key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology, including basic knowledge of psychology’s content domains and applications to everyday life within the course topics: emotion and motivation, personality, intelligence, problem-solving and creativity, psychological disorders, therapy and treatment, health psychology, social psychology, and associated topics in cognition.

2.  Utilize knowledge of psychological research methodologies to discuss and evaluate historical and current theories relative to course topics.

3.  Apply informational literacy and critical thinking guidelines in evaluating claims about human behavior specific to the course topics. 

4.  Describe sociocultural factors and ethical standards in evaluating psychological science and practice.  

Course Activities and Design

All sections of this course, whether F2F or online, will utilize multiple modes of assessment, and not just rely on objective (T/F and MC) tests.   Online sections will adhere to ‘Quality Matters’ and accessibility guidelines along with the “What Works Well in Online Teaching at PCC” document.

Teachers 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 assignments (in-class, homework, or formal papers) designed to promote integration and understanding of class material and assigned reading
  • Short answer and/or essay questions that require integration, application and critical examination of assigned material 
  • Objective tests such as multiple-choice, true-false, and matching assessment items
  • Narrative tests such as fill-in-the-blank, short-answer, and essay exams
  • Participation in individual and group activities
  • Individual and/or group presentations
  • Class participation, including online discussions where appropriate and part of course delivery and outcomes 
  • Service-learning activities, where appropriate and part of course outcomes
  • Other assignments as designed by the instructor

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  1. Explain the physiology of emotional responses.
  2. Compare and contrast the main theories of emotion.
  3. Describe universal vs. culturally-dependent aspects of emotional expression.


  1. Define motivation in terms of drives, motives, and intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivators.
  2. Discuss motivation theories regarding hunger and sex.
  3. Summarize the evolutionary perspective on motivation.
  4. Compare and contrast drive, needs, humanistic, and psychoanalytic theories of motivation.
  5. Explain the relationship between arousal and motivation.


  1. Trace the history of the field of personality psychology
  2. Discuss the relationship between genetics and personality development
  3. Discuss the impact of culture and gender on personality development
  4. Summarize the major personality fields, including type, trait, psychodynamic, humanistic, and socio-cognitive theories.


  1. Trace the history of the study of human intelligence and intelligence testing.
  2. Summarize the major theories of single “g” vs multiple intelligences.
  3. Describe the roles of genetic and environmental factors in human intelligence.
  4. Describe the strengths and limitations of intelligence tests.

Problem-solving and Creativity:

  1. Describe human problem-solving, including trial-and-error, algorithms, heuristics, and insight.
  2. Describe the relationship between language and thinking, including the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.
  3. Describe cognitive biases that interfere with evidence-based judgements and decisions.
  4. Describe creativity, including divergent thinking and overcoming functional fixedness.

Psychological Disorders:

  1. Describe the challenges inherent in trying to define “normal” and “abnormal”.
  2. Discuss the pros and cons of the DSM system of classifying mental disorders.
  3. Summarize the diagnostic characteristics of common psychological disorders, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, dissociative disorders, and somatic disorders
  4. Identify the clusters and types of personality disorders.

Therapy and Treatment:

  1. Discuss the history, goals, and types of psychotherapy and their effectiveness.
  2. Discuss the history and efficacy of various types of biomedical therapies.
  3. Summarize the factors of culture and gender in the therapy process.
  4. Compare and contrast psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, and group therapies.
  5. Compare and contrast the biomedical therapies, including psychotropic medications,  electroconvulsive therapy, and psychosurgery.

Health Psychology:

  1. Define the focus and goals of the field of health psychology.
  2. Discuss biopsychosocial influences on health and illness.
  3. Differentiate between distress and eustress.
  4. Describe the human body’s response to stress.
  5. Describe adaptive and maladaptive strategies for coping with stress.

Social Psychology:

  1. Define the goals, questions, and approaches of the field of social psychology.
  2. Discuss the various types and errors of attribution.
  3. Discuss influences on and motivators of attitude.
  4. Describe the origins and impacts of prejudice.
  5. Explain why conformity and obedience occurs.
  6. Identify common effects and biases of being in groups.