Dr. Chris Mruk, Professor of Psychology
Bowling Green State University, Fall, 2017

Phone: 419-433-5560, Ext: 20612
E-mail address:
Web site through

Click here for Office Hours


OpenStax College (2017). Psychology. Houston: Rice University. (Note: This text was chosen primarily because it is free. In addition to the BGSU book finder, you can view it online or download a PDF here Link (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.)


Weiner, I., B., & Craighead, W., E. (Eds.) Corsini encyclopedia of psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.


The course is constructed so as to help you reach three goals, each of which has two parts. The first goal is common to most introductory courses as it involves exposing you, as a student, to the basic concepts, issues, and knowledge concerning a particular area of study. Therefore, we will examine the major problems of psychology, its leading theories, the types of research methods that psychologists use, major topics of study, and the controversies concerning the science of human behavior. Of course, the most distinguishing feature of using psychology to understanding human behavior is the scientific method, so it will be stressed as an important theme throughout the semester.

The second goal is to help you understand that there are at least five major, comprehensive perspectives in psychology. The biological, learning, cognitive, psychodynamic and humanistic approaches all represent historical and sociocultural ways of viewing human behavior in this field. Each of them consists of several basic assumptions concerning human beings and a set of related strengths and weaknesses. These viewpoints are presented at the beginning of the course and will become a recurring theme throughout the semester. These views also reflect the fact that there are various values in psychology. Thus, it is important to know about them, how they create a certain degree of ambiguity in the discipline, which may be the single most difficult issue for introductory students to grasp at first.

The third major goal of the course is more practical: helping you to become an educated consumer of psychological information. Such psychological literacy is important in a service and information oriented society, as the principles of psychology can be used to improve functioning in many different areas. Topics such as effective learning techniques, stress management, and problem solving will be discussed in order to illustrate the practical side of psychology. Also, it must be said that psychology is a social science that seems to have caught the eye of the press and popular media. It is hoped that you will come away from the course with the "critical thinking" ability to identify the difference between good and poor psychological work, so that you will be an informed consumer of psychological information in your future. To that end, I will sometimes use hyperbole to make a point or to clarify an issue.

Learning Outcomes

Lectures, readings, and multiple choice as well as essay questions are designed to assess your progress on the university learning outcomes for this course: They include using basic psychological terms, concepts, and theories to explain behavior and mental processes (including antecedents and consequences); increasing awareness of the sociocultural dimensions of all human behavior; interpreting quantitative data such as those presented in statistics and other means; developing plausible oral and written psychological arguments and describing relevant, practical applications of psychology to everyday life. In addition, I have designed four distinct learning activities with clear objectives and grading rubrics that are designed to help meet these objectives. They include demonstrating attention to key concepts, evaluating psychological work, developing a position on a key controversy in the group setting, and writing an integrative piece on at the end of the semester.


You are responsible for all the assigned readings/writing assignments, class activities, and lecture material. There will be three 50-point exams spaced fairly evenly through the course. These exams are scored on the basis of a modified standard distribution, which is not to be confused with simple "curving" and total 150 points.

In addition, the course includes a set of graded "cognitive activities" that occur at various points during the semester. Since this book is a new one, it is difficult to know exactly how many of these activities we will have time to do, though they will count for points. However, I will discard your lowest activity score (not exam) so that if you miss an activity, there is no need for a makeup as your grade will not be affected. However, it would not be wise to miss two activities as the second one counts. Finally, you will take the standard 20-question BGP final quiz for PSYC 1010 near the end of the course.

The points will be graded according to Canvas, which uses a standard "rolling" percent system to calculate grades. Accordingly, a score of 90% of total points = A, 80% of total points = B, and so on, for the course grade.

Some of the activity assignments mentioned above will require written work that must be turn in on time for full points. Others will occur only in class so attendance is very important even though I've made an accommodation for missed activities.


Attendance: Text is a basic one so it is by no means the final authority on the subject. Instead, the lectures are the key to the course and attendance is expected.

Cheating: Of course, any form of cheating cannot be tolerated and students are referred to the "Academic Honesty" section of the current Student Code/Affairs Handbook for specific information concerning definitions of cheating, plagiarism, other offenses, and their respective penalties beyond the one for violating class policies. All violations will be reported. Naturally, students are expected to use the computer in responsible ways that are consistent with general university guidelines concerning email, posting, linking, or sharing files and so forth.

Disability Policy: In accordance with the University policy, if the student has a documented disability and requires accommodations to obtain equal access in this course, the student should contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester and make this need known. Students with disabilities must verify their eligibility through the Office of Disability Services, 105 George Mylander Hall - Firelands or 38 CPOB - BG campuses. Students wishing to discuss their eligibility for such accommodations are encouraged to contact the office at phone: 419-372-8495, fax: 419-372-8496, or email: If you need to take an exam in the learning center at Firelands, then you MUST follow these procedures: (a.) Follow all of BGSU's procedures for accommodation, (b.) If the accommodations involve extended time for testing, you must first email me notification of that need 24 hours in advance of the time the class will take any particular exam - a blanket request will not suffice as sometimes students wish to take the exam in the regular classroom anyway, (c.) Make arrangements to start the exam at the same time as the regular class does but in a proctored environment, such as the learning center, or I will need to create a makeup version for you. Other accommodations, such as readers, note takers, and so on, must be made through the learning center or disabilities staff.

Class Cancellations, Modifications, and Office Hours. Note that notification of class cancellations, changes, and other modifications in case of illness or other events will be sent to you as an Announcement in the Canvas pages for the course, BGSU email, or both. My office hours can be found at under the appropriate link.

Copying and Recording: The use of electronic data recording or transmitting devices, is acceptable except when taking or going over an exam. The University has suggested that professors make it clear to students that lectures and other course materials are protected under copyright laws, meaning that you should not make a complete copy of the course lectures or materials and that you should not pass your copy or recording on to others. Absolutely no audio or video material generated in class or on its web pages is to be posted or displayed anywhere without the written permission of the instructor. Although it is unclear who actually owns student generated material other than exam responses (which belong to the instructor), I will make an effort to return written or project material to you as soon as is reasonably possible.

Class room behavior: Pagers, cellular phones, lap tops, text messaging devices and so forth may buzz, ring, make noise, or otherwise distract any person at any time. Such intrusions can disrupt the teaching and learning process, which is the most important priority of a university. It is the responsibility of those who use such equipment to make sure it does not disturb either the instructor or other students. Similarly, excessive talking in the class while someone else holds the floor, or any other kind of disruption to the learning process, cannot be tolerated. If I determine that any of the above phenomena interfere with the learning process in the classroom, I will try to offer the individual(s) concerned a verbal warning. If the disruption continues or is repeated in any way, I may take the steps necessary to have the individual(s) removed from the course.

Make-ups and Drops: As you should know, BGSU does not require the instructor to provide make-up examinations. However, this instructor may allow them for problems deemed by the instructor to be reasonable, such as documented illness, emergencies, and so forth. The make-up exam must be completed within one week of the regular offering of the exam or it becomes an "F." You should know that the make-ups will take place in the Learning Center and that they require you to make an appointment with them for such exams. If for some reason you intend to drop the course after the first few weeks of class, do not just stop showing up and assume that BGSU knows you've dropped it. Instead, make sure you fill out a drop form and turn it in to registration or take care of it online.

Incompletes: Grades of "Incomplete" must be approved by the instructor, who gives them only under extremely extenuating circumstances occurring near the end of the semester. Requests to extend an incomplete must be made to the Dean's office before the appropriate deadline has passed. In case class is canceled, we may meet for up to hour longer after the usual ending time until we make up material, providing space is available. If this happens, I will attempt to make a recording of the lecture and place it in the library in case you cannot stay.


The following schedule is offered as a general guide to the course. It is organized in terms of subject areas more than dates and is flexible, not fixed. In other words, the pace at which we move through material may vary slightly and alter the sample schedule. Note that the order of the lectures differs from the order of the chapters in the text. It is a good idea, a very good idea, to keep your reading ahead of the lecture: At least be familiar with the material ahead of time.

Week 1: Chapter 1: Introduction to Psychology? Skim only -- follow lecture in class

Week 2: Chapter 2: Psychological Research: All sections

Week 3: Chapter 3: Biopsychology: Section 3.2, 3.3, 3.4

Week 4 Chapter 5: Sensation and Perception: Sections 5.1, 5.3, 5.6

Week 5: Chapter 11: Personality: Sections 11.1, 11.2, 11.4, 11.5, 11.6

Week 6: ---- FIRST EXAM ----- (Foundations: Lecture on Chapter 1 plus Chapters 2, 3, 5, 11)

Week 7: Chapter 4: States of Consciousness: All Sections

Week 8: Chapter 6: Learning: All sections

Week 9: Chapter 7: Thinking and Intelligence: Sections 71., 7.3, 7.4.,7.5

Week 10: Chapter 8: Memory: Sections 8.1, 8.2, 8.3

Week 11: Chapter 10: Emotion and Motivation (Sections 10.1 and 10.4)

Week 11: ----- SECOND EXAM ----- (Behavioral Basics: Chapters 4, 6, 7, 8, 10)

Week 12: Chapter 9: Lifespan Development: All sections

Week 13: Chapter 14: Stress, Lifestyle, and Health: All sections except pages 514-525

Week 14: Chapter 15: Psychological Disorders: All sections

Week 15: Chapter 12: Social Psychology: All Sections

Week 16: ----- FINAL EXAM ----- (Real Life: Chapters 9, 14, 15, 12)

Return to 101 Course Page