Florida Department of Education COURSE DESCRIPTIONS - GRADES 9-12
Title: Psychology I Credit: 0.5
A. Major concepts/content. Through the study of psychology, students acquire an
understanding of and an appreciation for human behavior, behavior interaction
and the progressive development of individuals. This will better prepare them to
understand their own behavior and the behavior of others.
The content should include, but not be limited to, the following:
-major theories and orientations of psychology
-memory and cognition
-human growth and development
B. Course Requirements. After successfully completing this course, the student
1. Recognize that the study of psychology provides an organized scientific way of
understanding human behavior, growth and development.
2. Understand and appreciate the various theories or orientations which
psychologists have developed to explain human behavior.
3. Understand the basic methods and techniques used by psychologists to investigate
4. Explain the various methods by which human beings acquire specific behaviors
and build those specific behaviors into appropriate patterns of behaviors.
5. Understand how information is collected, organized, processed and recalled by
the brain and used to build a database of knowledge in human beings.
6. Describe the stages of psychological development and recognize the relationship
between physical and chronological development and psychological development.
7. Recognize various forms of abnormal behavior, possible causes of those abnormal
behaviors and modern therapies to correct abnormal behaviors.
8. Recognize the relationship between stress and psychological well being.
9. Apply research, study, critical-thinking and decision-making skills and
demonstrate the use of new and emerging technology in problem solving.
Approaches to Psychology
1. Describe the rage of topics that are covered in an introductory psychology course.
2. Cite the goals and scientific basis of psychology.
3. Explain important trends in the history of psychology.
4. Identify various approaches to the study of psychology.
The Life Span
1. Describe the process of psychological research.
2. Name the different types of psychological research.
3. Summarize the methodological hazards of doing research.
4. Examine experimental procedures psychologists use to avoid basis.
The Workings of Mind and Body
1. Describe the physical and perceptual development of newborns and children.
2. Summarize the cognitive-development theory.
3. Discuss how children develop emotionally.
4. Describe theories of social development.
5. Outline Kohlberg’s stages of moral reasoning.
Learning and Cognitive Processes
1. Describe the physical changes that characterize adolescence.
2. Describe research related to the sexual attitudes and roles of adolescents.
3. Describe the cognitive and ideological changes that characterize adolescence.
4. Outline the process by which adolescents find a personal identity.
5. Describe the role of family and peers during adolescence.
6. Discuss difficulties that some adolescents encounter.
7. Explain the difference between gender identity and gender role.
8. Describe gender differences in personality and cognitive abilities.
Personality and Individuality
1. Characterize the physical changes that take place during adulthood.
2. Describe the social and emotional changes that occur during adulthood.
3. Identify changes that occur in health and life situation during old age.
4. Summarize how people physically, mentally and socially adjust to old age.
5. Identify the stages of dying.
Adjustment and Breakdown
1. Identify the parts of the nervous system.
2. Describe the functions of the nervous system.
3. Identify the structure and functions of the human brain.
4. Discuss the different ways psychologists study the brain.
5. Describe the endocrine system.
6. Identify hormones and their function in the endocrine system.
7. Give examples of the effects of heredity and environment on behavior.
8. Summarize research on the effects of heredity and environment on behavior.
1. Describe the research related to sleep and dreams.
2. List and discuss sleep disorders.
3. Determine how hypnosis relates to consciousness.
4. Describe research into such techniques as biofeedback and meditation.
Sensation and Perception
1. Define and discuss threshold, Weber’s law and signal detection.
2. Describe the nature and functioning of the sense organs.
3. Outlines the principles involved in perception.
4. Describe how we learn to perceive and what illusions are.
Learning Principles and Applications
1. Describe the principles of classical conditioning.
2. Outline the techniques of classical conditioning.
3. Outline the principles of operant conditioning.
4. Describe applications of operant conditioning.
5. Cite the principles involved in cognitive learning and modeling.
6. Identify the principles of learning used in behavior modification.
Memory and Thought
1. Explain the three processes of memory.
2. Describe the information-processing model of memory.
3. Identify several memory retrieval processes.
4. Explain the processes involved in forgetting.
Thinking and Language
1. Identify the units of thought and the kinds of thinking.
2. Explain strategies for and obstacles to problem solving.
Motivation and Emotion
1. Describe four theories of motivation.
2. Discuss the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
3. Describe the biological and social needs of humans.
4. Explain Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
5. Give Examples of physiological theories of emotion.
6. Explain the cognitive theorists’ approach to the study of emotion.
1. Identify three ways of measuring reliability.
2. Explain test standardization and how test validity is assessed.
3. Explain the various views of intelligence.
4. Identify two kinds of IQ tests.
5. Identify the most widely used aptitude tests, achievement tests, and interest tests.
Theories of Personality
1. Describe the major purposes of personality theories.
2. List the major schools of personality theory.
3. Explain Sigmund Freud’s structural concepts of personality.
4. Describe Carl Jung’s theory of personality.
5. Describe Skinner’s concept of personality.
6. Explain Bandura’s social cognitive theory of personality.
7. Explain Maslow’s idea of self-actualization.
8. Describe Carl Rogers’s view of human behavior.
9. Explain the main features of trait personality.
10. Describe Allport’s, Gattell’s and Eysenck’s theories of personality.
Stress and Health
1. Define stress.
2. Identify various sources of stress.
3. Give examples of the psychological, physical, and behavioral reactions to stress.
4. Identify stages of the stress reaction.
1. Define psychological disorder.
2. Distinguish between the concepts of normality and abnormality.
3. Identify the behavioral patterns that psychologists label as anxiety disorders.
4. Explain what causes anxiety disorders.
5. Identify the behavioral patterns that psychologists label as somatoform disorders.
6. Describe the symptoms of dissociative disorders.
7. Describe the disorder of schizophrenia.
8. Describe several theories that try to explain mood disorders.
9. Describe how personality disorders differ from other psychological disorders.
Therapy and change
1. Explain the nature of psychotherapy.
2. Describe the role of therapist.
3. Describe psychoanalysis and its aim.
4. Explain humanistic therapy and its goals.
5. Describe cognitive therapies and their aims.
6. Explain the processes and goals of behavior therapy.
7. Explain biological approaches to treatment.
1. Discuss why we need friends.
2. Explain how we use first impressions and schemas.
3. Describe several factors that influence how we interpret others’ behavior.
4. Describe sources of parent-adolescent conflict.
1. Define and explain different types of groups.
2. Explain why most people tend to obey authority figures.
3. Explain causes of group conflict and cooperation.
4. Summarize how group dynamics promote or restrain altruism and aggression.
Attitudes and Social Influence
1. Describe prejudice and its relationship to stereotypes and roles.
2. Describe the factors involved in the communication process.
3. Explain the different types of persuasion processes.