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SSP611UT: APPsyc (2013-2014)

CURRICULUM PROGRAM: Virtual School Program
CALENDAR YEAR: 2013-2014

Major Concepts/Content:

AP Psychology is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about the methods psychologists use in their science and practice. This course is targeted to students who wish to complete studies in secondary school equivalent to an introductory college course in psychology; the learning experience emphasizes development of an understanding of psychology as the science and critical evaluation of "common sense" knowledge about how people function. Instructional activities include direct instruction, demonstrations, class discussions, peer collaborations, simulations and hands-on experiments. The course study includes a balance between classic and current research. Students are expected to take the AP exam at the end of this course.

The course will begin by exploring the historical perspectives that combine to represent the eclectic field of psychology. Throughout the course, concepts will be explored using the research methods employed by psychologists to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior. Topics studied within this course will cover the range of theoretical perspectives and applications to the interpretation of personality, psychological disorders, and therapeutic approaches. Students will learn to evaluate information obtained from empirical research regarding topics such as the biological basis of behavior, learning, and memory and consciousness, development, and the social nature of human beings. As topics are covered, students will learn to identify biological, cognitive, social, and abnormal characteristics of human beings.

Course Objectives: The pursued goals of this course are:

  • To explore the psychology as an integrated and eclectic discipline.
  • To develop an understanding of psychology as a science.
  • To learn to think critically by examining behavior and mental processes.
  • To develop an understanding of the role of psychology within the modern world.

Course Outline:

I. History and Approaches

A. History of Psychology

B. Approaches

  • Biological
  • Behavioral
  • Cognitive
  • Humanistic
  • Psychodynamic
  • Sociocultural<
  • Evolutionary
  • Biopsychosocial

C. Subfields in Psychology

II. Research Methods

A. Experimental, Correlational, and Clinical Research

B. Statistics

  • Descriptive
  • Inferential

C. Ethics in Research

III. Biological Bases of Behavior

A. Physiological Techniques (e.g., imaging, surgical)

B. Neuroanatomy

C. Functional Organization of Nervous System

D. Neural Transmission

E. Neuroplasticity

F. Endocrine System

G. Genetics

H. Evolutionary Psychology

IV. Sensation and Perception

A. hresholds and Signal Detection Theory

B. Sensory Mechanisms

C. Attention

D. Perceptual Processes

V. States of Consciousness

A. Sleep and Dreaming

B. Hypnosis

C. Psychoactive Drug Effects

VI. Learning

A. Classical Conditioning

B. Operant Conditioning

C. Cognitive Processes

D. Biological Factors

E. Social Learning

VII. Cognition

A. Memory

B. Language

C. Thinking

D. Problem Solving and Creativity

VIII. Motivation and Emotion

A. Biological Bases

B. Theories of Motivation

C. Hunger, Thirst, Sex, and Pain

D. Social Motives

E. Theories of Emotion

F. Stress

IX. Developmental Psychology

A. Life-Span Approach

B. Research Methods (e.g., longitudinal, cross-sectional)

C. Heredity–Environment Issues

D. Developmental Theories

E. Dimensions of Development

  • Physical
  • Cognitive
  • Social
  • Moral

F. Sex and Gender Development

X. Personality

A. Personality Theories and Approaches

B. Assessment Techniques

C. Growth and Adjustment

XI. Testing and Individual Differences

A. Standardization and Norms

B. Reliability and Validity

C. Types of Tests

D. Ethics and Standards in Testing

E. Intelligence

XII. Abnormal Behavior

A. Definitions of Abnormality

B. Theories of Psychopathology

C. Diagnosis of Psychopathology

D. Types of Disorders

  • Anxiety
  • Somatoform
  • Mood
  • Schizophrenic
  • Organic
  • Personality
  • Dissociative

XIII. Treatment of Abnormal Behavior

A.Treatment Approaches

  • Psychodynamic
  • Humanistic
  • Behavioral
  • Cognitive
  • Biological

B. Modes of Therapy (i.e., individual, group)

C. Community and Preventive Approaches

XIV. Social Psychology

A. Group Dynamics

B. Attribution Processes

C. Interpersonal Perception

D. Conformity, Compliance, Obedience

E. Attitudes and Attitude Change

F. Organizational Behavior

G. Aggression/Antisocial Behavior

H. Cultural Influences

Course Philosophy:

It is the philosophy of this course for students to develop an eclectic perspective of the field of psychology and to think scientifically about issues related to human behavior. This course strives to encourage students to explore the applications of psychological principles to everyday situations and to develop a deeper understanding of your own and others' thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Students will learn to evaluate information that comes out of empirical research and question the way in which the media and popular culture communicate psychological findings. They will also learn to identify biological, cognitive, social, and abnormal characteristics of human beings.

Essential Software:


  • Psychology: Ninth Edition in Modules
  • Author: David G. Myers
  • Publisher: Worth, 2010
  • Student Text ISBN: 1429216387

Course Notes: (Unweighted - Did Not Take AP Exam)