PSY 101—GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY
INSTRUCTOR: Carol Topping, PhD
Please feel free to call me at home (227-0639), leave a message on my voice mail (452-8600, ext
3289), or e-mail me at: carol.topping @volstate.edu. If I am not available when you call, please
leave a message, and I will do my best to return your call within 24 hours. My office hours will be
posted on my door, room N207B.
REQUIRED TEXTS: Invitation to Psychology, Carole Wade and Carol Tavris, 3rd ed.
DESCRIPTION OF THE COURSE: This course is designed to provide an overview of the field of
psychology and human behavior. This course includes topics related to: philosophical
perspectives, history, personality, the brain and biology, consciousness, sensation and perception,
thinking and intelligence, memory, learning, social and cultural behavior, abnormal behavior,
therapies, motivation and emotion, and applied psychology.
GENERAL EDUCATION GOAL: The general education goal of this course is to provide the
student with a foundation for studying psychology and human behavior. The student will develop a
basic knowledge regarding: the history of psychology and its development as a science; research
and methodology; important psychological concepts and terminology; behavior in relation to social
and cultural contexts; how humans behave in group situations; characteristics of various
psychological disorders; and the theorists and theories that have shaped the field of psychology.
Also, the student will learn: how the brain and human biology are related to psychology; how
human senses and learned perceptions influence our daily lives; theories of cognition, memory and
intelligence; how our lifestyle choices are related to health and stress; and how various states of
arousal influence motivation.
OTHER GOALS: In addition, this course seeks to provide the student with opportunities to
acquire and develop critical thinking skills, skills for the assessment of personal values, and an
understanding of how these values impact mental and physical well-being. It further provides an
opportunity to explore issues regarding problem-solving, communication, interpersonal
relationships, and academic and personal development.
GENERAL EDUCATION OUTCOMES: As a result of successful completion of this course,
the student will have demonstrated an acceptable level of mastery of psychological concepts,
theories, and vocabulary and that they have developed college level written and oral
communication skills. The student will also have demonstrated an understanding of how these
concepts are applied as the individual develops and functions within contemporary society.
Mastery of the course content will indicate sufficient acquisition of skills for pursuing further
course work in the fields of psychology.
SPECIAL NOTICE: In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, students are
encouraged to register with the Office of Student Disability Services for assistance with
accommodations, It is the student’s responsibility to voluntarily and confidentially disclose
information regarding the nature or extent of a disability. The College does not assume
responsibility for providing accommodations or services to students who have not identified
themselves as having a qualifying disability. Disability Services is located in the Campus center,
It is the intent of Volunteer State Community College to fully comply with Executive Order 11246,
as amended, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Vietnam Era Veterans
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Readjustment Act of 1974, as amended, and all regulations implementing those laws and orders, for
the promotion and ensuring of equal opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color,
religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or status as a
qualified disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era. VSCC is an equal opportunity institution,
and it is the intent of VSCC to be free of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, race,
color, religion, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, veteran status,
or physical appearance. It is the intent of VSCC to fully comply with Titles VI and VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the CRA of 1991, Title IX of the Education Amendments of
1972, as amended, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended, the Age Discrimination in Employment
Act of 1976, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the
American with Disabilities Act of 1990, applicable state status and all regulations promulgated
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be
denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity
receiving Federal financial assistance. Students who are receiving Title IV financial assistance
(Pell Grant, Student Loan or SEOG Grant) must regularly attend class or be subject to repay
PART or ALL of the Federal Financial Aid received for the semester.
EXAMINATIONS: Six (6) multiple choice exams worth fifty (50) points each will be given. You
must receive permission in advance in order to miss an exam (except in the case of a
DOCUMENTED emergency). There are NO alternative exam dates, and it is not my policy to leave
exams at the College at Home desk. Your lowest test score will be dropped. Test #6 MUST be
taken, or you will receive a grade of “Incomplete” (I). There will be NO extra credit assignments in
this course as extra credit is built into the exams (up to 5 points per exam). Students who are
allowed to make up a test forfeit the extra credit points. NOTE: If a student is caught cheating on
an exam, the action will result in an automatic grade of “F.”
QUIZZES: Thirteen (13) quizzes of 15 multiple choice questions each will be given to
make sure you are reading your material. Quiz dates will be announced before the date
given. The three lowest quiz scores will be dropped.
CLASS PRESENTATION: Students will give a presentation of approximately 3 to 5 minutes in
length on a topic chosen in class. Presentations will receive up to ten (10) points: organization, 2
pts; presentation, 2 pts; knowledge presented (facts), 2 pts; interesting examples, 2 pts; personal
example(s) or opinion, 2 pts.
CLASS PAPERS: Four (4) discussion papers worth up to ten (10) points each should be 2 – 3
pages in length on any topic of interest related to general psychology. See guidelines and example
for more information.
LIBRARY RESEARCH PRESENTATION: Will be discussed in class; worth 5 pts.
ATTENDANCE: Attendance WILL be taken. Information from lectures that is NOT in the
textbook WILL be on the exams. It is YOUR responsibility to get class notes from your classmates
as I DO NOT give out my notes. It is also YOUR responsibility to let me know reasons for your
absences immediately after they occur so that I can excuse you (if possible) and log it on my
attendance cards. You are expected to be present and on time for all classes. NOTE: Students who
are frequently late may lose attendance points. (Absences:
0 - 2 = 5 pts; 3 - 4 = 4 pts; 5 - 6 = 3 pts; 7 - 8 = 2 pts; 9 - 10 = 1 pt; 11/+ = 0 pts).
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Examinations (5) up to 250 points
Quizzes (10) up to 150 points
Class Presentation (1) up to 10 points
Class Discussion Papers (4) up to 40 points
Library Research Day (1) up to 5 points
Attendance/participation up to 5 points
TOTAL: up to 460 points
The following grade scale is used:
A = 460 - 414; B = 413 – 367; C = 366 – 320; D = 319 – 273; F = 272 and below
INCOMPLETE POLICY: The grade of “I” will ONLY be given under the following
circumstances: 1) if the student has experienced an illness or emergency situation which could not
be avoided (appropriate documentation MUST be provided); and 2) the student has completed AT
LEAST 50% of the coursework and is receiving a passing grade of C or better.
CONFERENCES: If you or I feel the need to schedule a conference, we will need to get together
to schedule a time. Please feel free to meet with me before or after class to do so or call or e-mail
me at the above addresses.
MIDTERM DIFFICIENCY REPORTING: If at midterm you: 1) are not or have not been
attending class; 2) are making failing grades on your tests/quizzes/assignments, or 3) you have not
turned in all work that was assigned up to that point, and I am not aware of the reason why, you
will receive a grade of “U” (unsatisfactory) and be contacted by the Office of Retention Support
Services/Advising Center. A conference will need to be scheduled with me at that time.
CHEATING: Cheating is defined as plagiarism, talking to another student during an exam,
looking at another student’s work during an exam, using notes or books during an exam, turning in
a paper that is the student’s own work, or copying from another student’s answer sheet. Any
student caught engaging in these behaviors will be given an automatic failure for the course,
regardless of the grade up to that point.
CLASSROOM DEPORTMENT: All policies and procedures for classroom misconduct are
discussed in the Student Handbook. As a point of emphasis, the instructor will NOT tolerate any
activity that is disruptive to the classroom setting, which adversely affects others, and which is
considered by the instructor to be unethical, immoral, or illegal. Students will be dismissed from
the class and the issue of misconduct will be brought before the Associate Deal of Students.
In addition, there is to be NO smoking, drinking, or eating in the classroom. Parents are asked not
to bring children to class. Cell phones need to be turned off before entering the class.
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY: If Volunteer State Community College is officially open,
all classes WILL meet as scheduled. All assignments WILL be due and any scheduled tests or
exams WILL be given. Any missed work will be subject to the policies outlined in this syllabus. If
classes are closed, work will be due on the NEXT class date and scheduled exams will be moved to
the NEXT class date (for example: if a test is scheduled for Wednesday and classes for Wednesday
are cancelled, the test will be given on Friday). Check Channel 5 for closings.
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TENTATIVE TIMELINE FOR FALL SEMESTER 2005
Week One (8/30 – 9/1): Intros, syllabus overview; how to write a discussion paper
Thurs: meet in LIBRARY
Week Two (9/6 – 9/8): Chapter 1: What is Psychology?
Week Three (9/13 – 9/15): Chapter 4: The Brain; Thurs: PAPER #1 DUE
Week Four (9/20 – 9/22): Tues: EXAM #1; Chapter 5: Consciousness
Week Five (9/27 – 9/29): Chapter 6: Sensation and Perception
Week Six (10/4 – 10/6): Tues: EXAM #2; Chapter 9: Learning
Week Seven (10/11 – 10/13): Chapter 7 & 8: Intelligence and Memory; Thurs: PAPER #2
Week Eight (10/18 – 10/20): Tues: FALL BREAK!! NO CLASSES Thurs: Review 7 - 9
Week Nine (10/25 – 10/27) Tues: EXAM #3; Chapter 2: Personality
Week Ten (11/1 -- 11/3): Chapter 10: Social Behavior; Thurs: PAPER #3 DUE
Week Eleven (11/8 – 11/10): Tues: EXAM #4; Chapter 13: Stress and Health
**Wednesday, Nov 9—LAST day to withdraw from classes**
Week Twelve (11/15 – 11/17): Chapter 14: Motivation and Arousal
Week Thirteen (11/22 – 11/24): Tues: EXAM #5; Chapter 12: Therapies
Week Fourteen (11/29 -- 12/1): Chapter 12: Therapies continued; Chapter 11:
Psychological Disorders; PAPER #4 DUE
Week Fifteen (12/6 – 12/8): Chapter 11: Psychological Disorders continued
Week Sixteen (12/__): FINALS WEEK: EXAM #6 (TBA)
NOTE: This is a TENTATIVE timeline and changes may occur which will be announced
in class. It is YOUR responsibility to keep up with these changes, especially if you miss
Guidelines and Format For Discussion Papers
The objective of this assignment is to encourage the student to become familiar with
the mechanics of scientific research as it relates to psychology and human development.
The student is to submit four (4) discussion papers on any subject related to the study of
psychology. Each discussion paper is worth 10 points; however, in order to receive credit,
ALL papers must be submitted. Submission of only a portion of the required number of
papers will result in an INCOMPLETE. Incomplete assignments will not be graded.
The general psychology text for the class is unacceptable as a resource for the
discussion paper. The discussion papers must be based on information from professional
journals, scientific research or published books, NOT on opinions or discussions of specific
topics. Newspaper articles and magazines are NOT acceptable. Discussion papers
submitted that are not based on research are unacceptable. If you are not sure what
constitutes research, please refer to the chapter in the book that discusses scientific
research and the book Writing Papers in Psychology.
Each paper MUST include the attached “title page for discussion papers” and answers to
the following questions:
1. Where is the abstract located?
2. What is the general purpose of an abstract?
3. Was a hypothesis stated? What is the general purpose of a hypothesis?
4. What was the hypothesis found in your article?
5. What information can be found in the methods section? What information was
found in the methods section of your article?
6. What information can be found in the conclusion section? What information was
found in the conclusion section of your article?
7. How is this article significant to the study of human behavior?
8. What is your opinion of the article? How was it written? (This is a critical portion of
the paper, so give it some thought. Simply stating that it was a good or bad article is
NOTE: All of these points MUST be addressed in your paper. Omission of any will result
in lost points in grading your paper. Grading scale: effort = 1 point; title page = 3 points;
questions 1 - 4 = 2 points total; questions 5 - 8 = 1 point each.
TITLE PAGE FOR DISCUSSION PAPERS
(This title page MUST be turned in with each discussion paper)
*Title of the professional publication or journal:
*Title of the article:
*Date the article was published:
*Name(s) of the author(s):
*What type of research is the article discussing? (survey, experimental, naturalistic
observation, correlational, etc—refer to the research section in the book)
*Describe this particular type of research (meaning: describe what survey, experimental,
naturalistic observation, etc research entails—refer to the research summary sheet):
*What chapter(s) in our textbook does this article relate to?