General Information


Instructor:                Dr. Charles I. Abramson

Office:                    Psychology Department - North Murray (NM) 401

Laboratory:                Life Sciences West - 117

Phone:                    744-7492 (Office), 744-6561 (Lab)

Office Hour:                Monday 9:00 – 10:00 AM and by Appointment

Class Times: M,W,F 10:30 - 11:20 (AGH, 275), Laboratory Sessions: F- 8:30 – 10:20 in 001 NM, F- 2:30 – 4:20 in 001 NM

T.A.                        Angel Belden

Pre-requisites:                A desire to learn, Psych 3213 (Quantitative methods)

Course Goals:                Psychology 3914 will introduce you to the basic principles, concepts, and technical

language of the experimental analysis of psychological phenomena. The format will be lectures, discussions, and laboratory experiences.

Materials: The reading assignments will come predominately from The Primer of Invertebrate Learning: The behavioral perspective (Abramson, 1994) and Invertebrate learning: A laboratory manual (Abramson, 1990). These books are available from the OSU bookstore. Occasionally the books will be supplemented with additional readings.


A second source of materials will come from the lectures and discussions. The lectures will overlap the books but will often not be identical to it.


A third source of materials will come from the laboratory section. The laboratories are designed to illustrate the lectures.


A fourth source of materials, and perhaps the most important, is your experiences, goals, desires, and expectations. Be motivated!


Examinations:                There will be three exams and one laboratory project. The first two exams will consist of

approximately 50 short answer – multiple choice questions. The final examination is an approximately 70 question test in a multiple choice - short answer format. The final is cumulative. In addition to the examinations there will be 2 laboratory reports and an independent experimental project.  The independent project contains a written and oral component. Each examination and the independent project counts for 25% of your grade. The grading scale is as follows:

A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; F = 0-59.


The independent project requires you to design and conduct an independent research project, analyze the results, and report the results both in class and in written form (APA style). The report and presentation are worth 25% of the grade and the tests are worth 75% of your grade.


Attendance:                Attendance in lectures is strongly encouraged. Attendance will provide you with the

opportunity to discuss and learn about material that is not covered in the readings. Attendance for the laboratory section is mandatory. For each laboratory section you miss 5 points will be deducted from your final grade! It is your responsibility to notify me of any circumstances that may interfere with your work in the course.


Important!                Do not make the mistake that because the readings are comparably light this course

is “easy.” Nothing could be further from the truth. You are only assigned two books in an effort to keep your book costs low. Much of the material will not be in the books!



Dropping:                Last day to add a course (nonrestrictive)                                                           8-23-02           

                                Last day to add a course (restrictive)                                                                  8-30-02

Last day to drop a course with no grade:                                                           8-30-02

                                Last day to drop a course with an automatic grade of  “W”:                            11-8-02

                                Last day to withdraw from all courses with automatic grade of “W”:        11-8-02

                                Last day to withdraw from all courses with assigned grades of “W” or “F”  11-27-02


Cheating:                It goes without saying that academic dishonesty will not be permitted.

                                You will be required to leave the class and be given a grade of “F”.





Date        Topic                                                                                      Reading

8-19M                Syllabus; Orientation                                                          Lec

8-21W    History, Experi. Strategies & Scientific Method  Ch. 1

8-23F                Introduction to experimental design                                    Ch. 2

8-26M     How to use a research library                                     Lec

8-28W                Research techniques I: Overview                                               Ch. 3

8-30F                Experimental design                                                            Lec

9-2M       Holiday 

9-4W                Research techniques II: Observation & Correlation                Lec

9-6F                Experimental design                                                            Lec

9-9M                Research Techniques III: Experimental                          Lec

9-11W                Experimental design                                                            Lec

9-13F                Research Ethics                                                                  Lec

9-16M                Discussion of Independent Projects                                  Lec

9-18W    How to read and write research reports (APA)    Lec

9-20F                Experimental design                                                            Lec

9-23M                Experimental Area: Nonassociative conditioning I                Ch. 4

9-25W                Experimental Area: Nonassociative conditioning II                Ch. 4

9-27F      TBA

9-30M     Review

10-2W    Test 1 (all readings, notes, slides, movies)

10-4F                Experimental Area: Classical Conditioning I                      Ch. 5, 6

10-7M     Fall Break     

10-9W                Experimental Area: Classical Conditioning II                Ch. 5, 6

10-11F                Experimental Area: Instrumental/operant I                        Ch. 5,6

10-14M                Experimental Area: Instrumental/operant II                       Ch. 5,6

10-16W                Discussion of Independent Project/outline due         Lec

10-18F                Experimental Area: Psychophysics I                  Lec

10-21M                Experimental Area: Psychophysics II                 Lec

10-23W Experimental Area: Simple Systems I                               Ch 7,8

10-25F                Experimental Area: Simple Systems II                             Ch 7,8

10-28M                Experimental Design                                                            Lec

10-30W                Experimental Area: Social Psychology I                        Lec

11-1F                Experimental Area: Social Psychology II                       Lec

11-4M                Experimental Area: Clinical I                                               Lec

11-6W                Experimental Area: Clinical II                                             Lec

11-8F      TBA

11-11M   Review Test 2

11-13W  Test 2 (all readings, notes, slides, movies)

11-15F                Experimental Area: Statistical Analysis I                              Lec

11-18M                Experimental Area: Physiology I                                         Lec

11-20W                Physiology II                                                                        Ch. 8

11-22F    Help with presentation/project                                           Lec

11-25M   In class presentations I    

11-27W  In class presentations II

11-29F    Holiday

12-2M     Dead Week                                                                      REV

12-4W    Dead Week                                                                      REV

12-6F      Dead Week                                                                      REV

12-9M     Final (Cumulative) 10:00-11:50            



Laboratory Schedule


Week one: No Labs


Laboratory 1: How to use a research library

Laboratory 2: How to use the internet

Laboratory 3: Unobtrusive methods of behavior

Laboratory 4: Associative and Nonassociative learning

Laboratory 5: Physiology Lab

Laboratory 6: Social Laboratory (Field Experiments)

Laboratory 7: Clinical Laboratory

Laboratory 8: APA Writing Laboratory

Laboratory 9: Perception Laboratory

Laboratory 10: Independent Projects