Introduction to Psychology

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSY 101

       Course Name: Introduction to Psychology

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces study of human behavior.  Content includes survey of all elements of this behavioral science.  Focus is on learning, motivation, emotion, perception, intelligence, human development, mental processes, and contemporary research.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will:

  1. Characterize the nature of psychology as a discipline including the abilities to:
    1. Explain why psychology is a science
    2. Identify and explain the primary objectives of psychology to describe, understand, predict, and control behavior and mental processes. (APA Goal 1, Outcomes 1.1 a, b)
  2. Explain major perspectives of psychology (e.g., behavioral, biological, cognitive, evolutionary, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural), compare and contrast the major perspectives, and describe advantages and limitations of major theoretical perspectives. (APA Goal 1, Outcomes 1.4 a, b)
  3. Describe the basic characteristics of the science of psychology, articulate strengths and limitations of various research designs, and distinguish the nature of designs that permit casual inferences from those that do not. (APA Goal 2, Outcomes 2.1, 2.2 b, c)
  4. Use critical thinking effectively to
    1. Evaluate the quality of information, including differentiating empirical evidence from speculation and the probable from the improbable
    2. Challenge claims that arise from myth, stereotype, or untested assumptions
    3. Make linkages or connections between diverse facts, theories, and observations (APA Goal 3, Outcomes 3.1 a, c, i)
  5. Identify appropriate applications of psychology in solving problems, such as:
    1. The pursuit and effect of healthy lifestyles
    2. Origin and treatment of abnormal behavior
    3. Psychological tests and measurements
    4. Psychology-based interventions in clinical, counseling, educational, industrial/organizational, community, and other settings
    5. The resolution of interpersonal and intercultural conflicts (APA Goal 4, Outcomes 4.2 a-e)
  6. Apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings as these relate to everyday life. (APA Goal 4 Outcome 4.4)
  7. Recognize the necessity of ethical behavior in all aspects of the science and practice of psychology (APA GOAL 5 Outcome 5.1)
  8. Recognize and respect human diversity by
    1. anticipating that psychological explanations may vary across populations and contexts an
    2. exhibiting sensitivity to issues of power, privilege, and discrimination (APA Goal 5 Outcomes 5.5 a, b)
  9. Use information and technology ethically and responsibly by:
    1. Quoting, paraphrasing, and citing correctly from a variety of media sources
    2. Defining and avoiding plagiarism
    3. Honoring commercial and intellectual copyrights (APA Goal 6 Outcomes 6.3 a, b, d)
  10. Demonstrate effective writing skills in various formats (e.g., essays, correspondence, technical papers, note taking) and for various purposes (e.g., informing, defending, explaining, persuading, arguing, teaching). (APA Goal 7 Outcome 7.1)
  11. Demonstrate insightful awareness of their feelings, emotions, motives and attitudes based on psychological principles (APA Goal 9.1 b)
  12. Apply psychological principles to promote personal development by:
    1. Demonstrating self-regulation in setting and achieving goals
    2. Self-assessing performance quality accurately
    3. Incorporating feedback for improved performance
    4. Purposefully evaluating the quality of their thinking (metacognition) (APA Goal 9 Outcomes 9.2 a-d)

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Nature of Psychology
    1. Relationships to other social sciences
    2. Contemporary issues
  2. Conceptions of Behavior
    1. Biological
    2. Behavioral
    3. Psychoanalytical
    4. Humanistic
  3. Methodology
    1. Scientific method and research
    2. Statistics
  4. Perception
    1. Sensory psychology
    2. Perception
    3. Extrasensory perception
  5. Physiology
    1. Brain
    2. Altered states of consciousness
    3. Drugs and behavior
  6. Learning
    1. Classical conditioning
    2. Social learning theory: operant conditioning and modeling
    3. Cognition (concepts, problem-solving)
  7. Importance of the early years
    1. Emotional development
    2. Intellectual development (language)
  8. Motivation
    1. Emotion
    2. Basic motivations: hunger, sex, stress, and aggression
    3. Higher motivations: affiliation, novelty, achievement
  9. Personality
    1. Theories
    2. "Normal" mental health
    3. Abnormality
  10. Psychotherapy
    1. Growth
    2. Approaches
  11. Social Psychology

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Instructional methods vary with the instructor and may involve any of the following: lectures, discussions, readings, papers, audio-visual resources, group projects, simulation games, guest speakers, case studies, exercises, group interaction, role playing.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Reading
  2. Writing:  Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.
  3. Oral presentations
  4. Mathematics
  5. Computer use
  6. Lab practices
  7. Fieldwork
  8. Clinical
  9. Other

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Representative textbooks include:

  • Myers, David G. (2011). Exploring Psychology in Modules (8th  Edition).  New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
  • Coon, Dennis and John O. Mitterer (2011).  Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior (12th Edition).  Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation methods vary with the instructor and may involve any of the following:
examinations, conferences, self-evaluation, papers, class discussion, and projects.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance
  2. Class policy on make-up exams, late assignments, etc.
  3. Important dates

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.