Fall 2002


OfficeNorth Murray 310744-9062(Office hours held in 015 North Murray)

Office HoursTuesday & Thursday 12:30-1:30, and by appointment


Course DescriptionPsychology and Human Problems examines the problems humans face during the course of their lifetime. This course covers the psychological reasons for human reactions to everyday situations and provides significant research findings. Finally, this course offers effective strategies for helping the student apply psychological knowledge to personal issues and problems encountered in daily living.

PrerequisitesIntroductory Psychology (PSYCH 1113)

Required TextPsychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century, 7th Edition. (Weiten, W. & Lloyd, M.) Publisher – Thomson/Wadsworth.


On the course website you will find an outline of lecture notes for the chapter(s) we will be covering that week. Spaces are provided for you to take notes during the class. Extra credit opportunities will be posted on the website. Also, you can find a copy of your course syllabus. For some chapters, I will also try to provide links to sites on the web that will expand on the information presented in class.

AccommodationsOklahoma State University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Students with disabilities who need assistance should do the following:

1.Talk to your instructor after class or during office hours about your disability or special needs related to coursework.

2.Contact Student Support Services and ask to speak to the ADA Officer.

DisciplineAny student creating a disruption will be dismissed from class that day. Evidence of cheating of ANY KIND is call for immediate dismissal and a ZERO for the exam or assignment. Plagiarism on any writing assignment will result in a ZERO on the paper.
Exams and Assignments
1.4 Exams
100 points (each)
2.Group Project
80 points
3.Project Presentation
20 points
4.Individual Project
50 points
5.Class Participation
50 points
6.Extra Credit
20 points (max.) – added to final total points

Grading Scale
A = 600 – 540 total points
B = 539 – 480 total points
C = 479 – 420 total points
D = 419 – 360 total points
F = 359 – 0 total points

Class ParticipationAttendance will be taken randomly throughout the semester. Each attendance will be worth 1 – 3 points, for a total of 30 points. Students are responsible for material covered in class and must obtain the notes from another student. Because part of the material for the exams will only be presented in class, attendance is highly recommended. 

There will be two class debates during the semester focusing on current psychological topics. For each debate, students will be required to prepare a one page typed paper (Double Spaced, 12 point, Times New Roman font, 1” margins on all sides) summarizing both sides of the debate topic. These papers will be worth 5 points each. Active participation in the debates will also be worth 5 points each, making the class debates worth a total of 10 points each.

ExamsFour exams are scheduled for the course. The final is NOT comprehensive and will only cover new material presented after the previous exam. Exams will consist of various formats such as multiple choice and matching. Each exam will be worth 100 points. Exams will cover materials from the book and lecture. Make-up exams will only be given under extenuating circumstances (i.e., doctor’s notes, death in the family). Make-up exams are given at the instructor’s convenience.

Group ProjectEach student will participate in a group project related to psychology. Groups will consist of 2 students. The projects will involve observing or interacting with people in the community and writing a report relating your observations and experiences to the material you have learned in class and from the book. For example, if interested in gender differences in social behavior you could observe a behavior such as door opening (i.e. opening and holding a door for another person). If interested in the development of elderly citizens you could visit a nursing home or assisted living center and interact with elderly residents (this option would require approval by the institutional director). All projects MUST be approved by the instructor prior to beginning them. Each group will develop an observational data sheet, and these sheets must accompany the final paper (these sheets are not included in the length of the paper). Each group will be required to spend at least 4 hours observing/interacting in the setting you have chosen. Each group member must participate in at least 2 of these hours. In your paper you should describe the major concept investigated, how it was investigated, where the observation occurred, what you observed and learned, and how the project related to the information you learned in the course. Each group will also be required to obtain at least 1 article from a psychological journal (e.g. Journal of General Psychology) that addresses your area of interest and incorporate this information into your paper.

Reports must meet the following guidelines:

1.Typed in 12 point, Times New Roman font.

2.Double-spaced with 1” margins on all sides.

3.Be at least 6 pages, but no more than 8 pages in length (including the title page, abstract page, and reference page). The body of the paper must be 3 – 5 pages in length.

4.Contain 6 sections: Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Conclusion/Discussion and References (consult APA Guide to Psychological Writing).

If the minimum page length and requirements specified above are not met points will be automatically deducted. Project ideas are due on September 5th. You may turn in ideas before this date. This should consist of a summary of the project you plan to complete, including where, when, and what you will be doing. These summaries will not be graded but will be used to judge the appropriateness of the project. However, if the summary is not turned in on time 3 points will be deducted from the project grade. If the instructor deems the project unacceptable the student group will have to select a different project and have it approved by the instructor. If at any time you decide to change your topic you need to consult with the instructor. Papers are due on November 19th. Late papers will be penalized 5 points per day. The instructor will look over drafts of the paper and provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the paper up to one week before the due date.

Project PresentationEach group will give a brief 5-minute presentation of their project. This component will be worth 20 points. Each group member is expected to equally contribute to the presentation. Groups will need to sign up for a day to present. Note that some dates for presentations are before the due date for the paper.

Individual ProjectEach student will be required to pick a personal behavior they would like to change. This could include a behavior they would like to decrease (e.g. smoking) or a behavior they would like to increase (e.g. study time). Students must turn in a ½ page typed summary of their project to the instructor prior to beginning the project. This summary should include a definition and description of the specific behavior, the manner in which this behavior will be measured, personal goals for behavior change, and potential ways the student plans to change the behavior. This project will be easier to conduct if students pick easily measured behaviors (e.g. cigarette smoking can be measured by number of cigarettes smoked and study time can be measured by number of hours spent studying during a given period). A recording sheet must accompany the summary. Recording sheets may be based on a daily or weekly schedule, depending on the behavior. Project summaries are due on August 27th. After the instructor approves the project, students will use their recording sheet to obtain a base rate of the behavior. A copy of the base rate recording is due on September 10th. Students will use their recording sheets to monitor the specific behavior throughout the semester. Students must monitor their behavior at least 8 times (randomly spaced throughout the semester) using their recording sheets. Each student will be required to write a brief report summarizing the project. This report should include a definition and description of the behavior, why this behavior was chosen, how the behavior was measured, original goals for behavior change, a summary of the base rate of behavior, descriptions and discussion of the ways the student attempted to change the behavior, and a brief summary of the outcome. This paper should be at least one page (typed, 12 point Times New Roman font, 1” margins on all sides) but no more than 3 pages in length. Copies of all recording sheets must accompany the report. The report is due on December 3rd.

Extra CreditExtra credit can be earned in two ways. Throughout the semester extra credit can be earned by participating (as a subject) in research sponsored by the Psychology Department. You will be made aware of these opportunities as they arise. Students will receive 3 points for each hour of research. The second way to earn extra credit is to participate in extra credit assignments announced in class and posted on the web page. There will be many extra credit assignments throughout the semester. Students may earn up to 20 total extra credit points, and these points will be added to their final total accumulated points. 

Important DatesLast day to drop with no grade – August 26th

   Last day to drop with grade “W” – November 8th 

Fall Break (tentative) – October 5th – 8th

Thanksgiving Break – November 28th – December 1st

Finals – December 9th – 13th

The materials contained in this syllabus are subject to change. If a change is necessary, the instructor will announce changes in class and post the changes on the course website.