PSYC 100/6.0 Principles of Psychology
Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour, in effect the science of the mind. Humans interact with one another with apparent ease, relying on what seems at first glance to be an innate understanding of the actions and intentions of others. We are able to adapt our behaviour according to our physical and social environment, we learn to carry out complex and demanding tasks, and are able to acquire new skills throughout our lifetime. In psychology we thus attempt to understand, via observational and experimental studies, how humans are able to achieve such a high level of social functioning. While no social science could hope to teach us to read minds, psychology can and does help us to understand the extent and limitations of human – and animal – behaviour and capabilities. This understanding is vital from a fundamental perspective – who are we? Why are we? How do we fit into the animal kingdom? And it is also central to applied psychology, for example the development of treatments and interventions for so-called "abnormal" behaviours and clinical disorders such as schizophrenia or clinical depression.
Because psychology draws heavily on related disciplines such as biology, sociology, anthropology and philosophy, this course provides a valuable introduction to many fields of academic interest, making it useful not only for students who are interested in pursuing further psychological or physiological study in their second year and beyond, but also for those students interested in gaining a general introduction to science and scientific method.
PSYC100 provides an introduction to biological, social, cognitive, development and clinical sciences, and will enable students to gain a new appreciation of psychological findings and experimental methods across a broad range of topics. Within an exceptionally small group for first year psychology, students will be introduced to appropriate psychological terminology and protocols and will have the opportunity to put their newfound knowledge into practice in a variety of ways, including during class presentations and fun field trips.