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General Psychology

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2014
Prothro-Yeager Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times


General Psychology

PSYC 1103, section 1H1

Fall 2014


Professor: Michael A. Vandehey, Ph.D.                                 Office: O’Donohoe 112

Office Hours: MWF 9:00-10:00                                             Phone: 397-4026

                       TR 9:00-11:00                                                  Location: PY 101

Class Time:   TR 11:00-12:20                                                




1. Engage in weekly discussions about historical and current topics as related to the chapters.

            1. Write 5 reaction papers taking a stand on the issue.

            2. Apply psychological knowledge to the topic.

            3. Engage in public discourse about a variety of topics.


2. To increase multiple-choice -taking skills and improve study skills/time management. This will be accomplished by:

            1. Taking 5 s.

            2. Instruction on study and -taking skills.

            3. Having questions over sections of the chapter that are not discussed in class.

            4. Having to decipher ambiguously written questions.

            5. Having to choose between the “best” and “almost best” answer. 


3. Be introduced to the exciting field of psychology.

            1. Each chapter is a survey of a major area of study within the field.

            2. In-class group exercises.


Texas Core Objectives (Competency Based)

1.      Critical Thinking Skills—including creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information.

2.      Communication Skills—including effective development, interpretation, and expression of ideas through written communication.

3.      Empirical and Quantitative Skills—including the analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions.

4.      Social Responsibility—including intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities.






Text: King, L. A. (2014). The science of psychology: An appreciative view (3nd Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill   


Note: Connect: Psychology can be found at

From the Publisher: This online, interactive program focuses on building students’ 21st Century skills through interactions, project-based learning, listening, journaling, and self-evaluation. This anytime, anywhere program prepares students academically, socially, and cognitively for college and career. It addresses all aspects of college and career readiness, including areas in which students report needing help, such as personal and life skills, like time management and self-motivation; 21st Century skills like lateral thinking and problem solving; exploring careers against lifestyle choices, wants, and needs; and the relevancy of academic skills.


Course Requirements: Grades will be based on five reaction papers, performance on 3 out of 4 exams, and a final.


(50 points-10 points each) Reaction papers are to be two double-spaced pages and include two peer-reviewed references (Wikipedia and .com-web-pages do not count as a reference). Papers are to take a side and argue for it. Personal opinion is appropriate as long as there is support for it in the literature. Feedback will be provided over the semester to aid with academic growth. Some students may be asked to read their papers to the group. Topics are negotiable. If something occurs during the semester, we may replace a listed topic with an emerging one (e.g., arming teachers). In addition, students may suggest topics, and if time permits, additional topics will be added. 


(200 points-50 points each) Each exam will be worth 50 points and the lowest score will be dropped. This means a student who has earned an “A” average on the first 4 exams does not have to attend the final (those students will be notified after the 4th exam). Students with a “B+” or lower must attend the final. s will be multiple choice and answers will be marked on Scantrons. I reserve the right to add essay questions at any point during the semester.


Texas Core Objectives (Competency Based)


Midterm Exam I (15 points): Being a good consumer of research is essential in the global economy. A 15-item additional will be administered at the end of the first exam. These questions will directly measure your understanding of psychological research design and entry-level statistics.


Midterm Exam II (10 points): By the midterm, you will develop a list of your three favorite theoretical perspectives in psychology. The purpose of this activity is to help you to ‘think psychologically’ about the world around you. You will be asked to list and describe each of these perspectives. These perspectives will then be used during the final exam to address a societal, interpersonal or personal problem. This portion of the exam will contribute 25% toward your grade on that exam. Answers will be graded on (a) whether you listed three recognizable psychological perspectives, (b) the accuracy of your descriptions, and (c) the structural and grammatical adequacy of your answer.


Final Exam (15 points): A portion of your final exam will include an essay component that requires you to address an issue of social, interpersonal, or personal concern (e.g., an unproductive employee, a student who can’t control his spending, religious intolerance) from the perspective of one of your psychological theories or perspectives listed at the midterm. This portion of the exam will account for 25% of your grade on the final exam. Answers will be graded on (a) your ability to address the problem from one of the psychological perspectives, (b) the strength and accuracy of your argument, (c) your level of empathy, ethics, and respect for diversity in your response, and (d) the structural and grammatical adequacy of your answer.


Research Requirement


(10 points) It is important that students of scientific psychology learn firsthand something about the scientific nature of the discipline. Therefore, all students in PSYC 1103 and 2203 are required to participate in one of the following research-related exercises. No extra credit is given for research participation, but failure to complete the research requirement will result in a one letter grade reduction for the course. The deadline for completing the research requirement is MONTH, DAY, YEAR.


1.   Participate in one or more psychology research projects totaling at least 90 minutes. Research opportunities will be announced throughout the semester in postings that appear at




2.   Complete a research ethics essay. Participating students will read academic writings addressing research ethics. Following this, students will complete a 3 or 4 page double-spaced, typed summary and review of the information they read. Tables, figures, pictures do not count toward the minimum page requirement. Essays must be submitted no later than MONTH, DAY, YEAR.


300 points are possible and grade ranges are as follows:


A = 300-270

B = 269-240

C = 239-210

D = 209-180

F = 179 or lower



Note: Students with disability must be registered with Disability Support Services before classroom accommodations can be provided. Individuals requiring special accommodation may contact me after class or during office hours.


Electronic Contact: I require 5 working days to be able to read and respond to all email. Please note that my spam filter does keep some emails from getting to me (most recently my wife). In addition, I do not check email after 5 pm nor on weekends/holidays. My cell phone is to be used only be students who have been given it by me (e.g., honor society officers, graduate students). Please do not text me on my cell unless I have personally given you my cell number.


Graduating Seniors: Only graduating seniors who are graduating with honors (Cum Laude or better) and are on the honors list from the registrar are excused from taking the final.


Make-up Policy: Make-up exams will be essay in nature and can be scheduled with me. I need one week to prepare the exam; thus, the earliest a make-up exam can be taken is one week after the initial exam. See the 2012-2014 Student Handbook and Activities Calendar on Class Attendance Policy (pg. 70-71).


Cell Phones and Pagers: Please turn all cell phones and pagers off (no sound) during class. DO NOT text message during class. DO NOT answer your cell phone in class. Exceptions include emergency calls (e.g., birth of child, family member in hospital). Students who are unable to comply will not be allowed to attend class.


Cheating Policy: Any evidence of cheating on exams or quizzes will result in dismissal from this class with a grade of “F”. To avoid questions of cheating, mark Scantrons clearly, use a No. 2 pencil, and erase completely. Errors due to a poorly marked Scantron will not result in a grade change.


Travel Plans: Please do not make travel plans during finals week. The final will be given when the university has scheduled it as per the schedule of classes. Early finals will only be offered to graduating seniors with honors.



Tentative Reading and Exam Schedule


Weeks                        Reading Assignment


8/26-9/11                                 Semester Overview/Course Requirements

                                    Study and taking skills

            Chapter 1-What is Psychology?

            Chapter 2-Psychology’s Scientific Method

                                                Chapter 5-States of Consciousness


                                    Topics: Correlation versus Causation and its misuse by the media.

                                                 Drinking age


9/1                               Labor day, no classes


Tuesday 9/16:                        Exam I


9/18-10/2                                 Chapter 6-Learning

                                                Chapter 17-Health Psychology


                                    Topics: Use of YouTube to advertise for free and attract young                              viewers.

                                                Legalization of Marijuana  


9/29                             Last day for December graduates to file

10/6                             Last day for May graduates to file


Friday 10/7:               Exam II

            *First two papers must be turned in by Exam II


10/9-10/21                               Chapter 9-Human Development


                                    Topics: Should we require a license to be a parent?

                                                 Adolescent sexual behavior

                                                 Emerging Adulthood


10/27                           Last day for “W”


Thursday 10/23:        Exam III

            *all corrections from first two papers due.


10/28-11/6                               Chapter 11-Gender, Sex, and Sexuality

                                                Chapter 12-Personality


                                    Topics: Gay Marriage

                                                 Impact of Poverty on Personality


Tuesday 11/11:          Exam IV

            *Third and fourth papers must be turned in by Exam IV



11/13-12/4                               Chapter 15-Psychologyical disorders

                                                Chapter 16-Therapies


                                    Topics: Politics of DSM-IV to DSM-5 diagnostic changes

                                                 Does therapy work?


11/26-30                      Thanksgiving break, no classes


*Last paper must be turned in by 12/2 as well as all corrections from the third and fourth papers.



Final Exam: Tuesday, December 9th from 1:00-3:00 p.m.







Permission to Post Grades


Check One


_____  I give Dr. Vandehey Permission to post my grade via the password I have chosen and written below.


_____ I do not want my grade posted. DO NOT give me a password, but please give me your CWID and sign it at the bottom.


Name (print):                                                               CWID:








Signature                     Date


Dr. Michael A. Vandehey (view Profile)

Course Attachments


Submission Format Policy Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at