Psychology 1000-001

Introduction to Psychology

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.

Welcome to the redesigned Psychology Superclass! We plan to make this year’s course every bit as successful as in previous years. Below you will find a course description, evaluation summary, lecture outline, and some study tips. We will go over these points in class, but please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the outline right now. I look forward to teaching you in Psych 1000 and wish you all the best for a great year!


Dr. Mike Atkinson


An introductory survey of the methods and findings of modern scientific psychology. The following topics will be covered: history and methodology, biological psychology, sensation and perception, learning and motivation, verbal and cognitive processes, developmental psychology, social psychology, individual differences (intelligence and personality), and clinical psychology. Antirequisites: Psychology 1100E, the former Psychology  1200   


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit.  So if you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course.


3 lecture hours, 1.0 course


Please note: You are responsible for ensuring that you have successfully completed all course prerequisites, and that you have not taken an antirequisite course. Lack of prerequisites may not be used as a basis for appeal. If you are found to be ineligible for a course, you may be removed at any time and will receive no adjustment to your fees. This decision cannot be appealed. If you find that you do not have the course prerequisites, it is in your best interest to drop the course well before the end of the add/drop period. Your prompt attention to this matter will not only protect your academic record, but will ensure that spaces become available for students who require the course for graduation.


         Instructor:         Dr. Mike Atkinson Room 6316, SSC

                                     661-2111, ext. 84644

         Class:                NCB 101 Tuesday & Thursday, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

         Office Hours:   By appointment (usually Mon. a.m.)



Teaching Staff

In addition to Dr. Atkinson, there are a number of Graduate Teaching Assistants assigned to Intro Psych. The graduate students have been part of the Department of Psychology from 1 to 6 years. Teaching assistants may be in NCB 101 before, during, and after class. Please feel free to address any questions about the lecture, the program, or psychology in general to them as well as to Dr. Atkinson. The TAs also will hold office hours during the week ... please drop by and see them.


Psych 1000 Web Site

The course website is located at:


Here you will find class information, study suggestions, links to other resources, etc. Please check it often.



Asking questions during lecture is an extremely important part of learning. I strongly encourage you to ask a question whenever you require clarification on an issue, or have an observation to make yourself. Sometimes we get so many questions on a particular topic that I have to limit the amount of time on any particular issue. If you do not get a chance to ask your question, or if you would rather address the question to me in a more anonymous fashion, there is a large "question box" available at the front of the room. Simply write out the question, deposit it in the box, and I will address the most frequently raised issues at the beginning of next lecture. Note: Routine questions such as ―Where is the exam? What chapters are covered for the midterm?, etc., may already be addressed on the FAQ portion of the course website.


Classroom Conduct

NCB 101 is a new teaching facility. The classroom holds a maximum of 800 people & the technical wizardry available in NCB 101 is awesome. I'm very excited about using NCB 101 again this year, and I hope that you will enjoy the course.

With 800 people in one room, there can be a lot of confusion. A few, simple rules can keep the confusion to a minimum, and help provide a reasonably quiet teaching environment for all students.


  1. Class is scheduled from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Tues. and Thurs. The lecture will start promptly at 1:45 p.m. You must be in NCB 101 by 1:45 p.m. The doors to NCB 101 will be closed at 1:45 p.m. If you

must come late, please use the doors at the back of the room and take the first available seat. Lecture will end by 3:15 p.m. at the latest. I promise not to go over the time limit. This will allow you enough time to exit and get to your next class. Please do not leave early -- shuffling up and down the aisles causes a great deal of distraction. We will take a brief stretch break around 2:30 p.m.


  1. The potential noise level generated by 800 people "whispering" to one another is quite high. In order that everyone can hear the lecture, please do not talk to your neighbours during lecture. If the noise level starts to climb, one of the teaching staff will remind you not to talk. If the noise level continues to climb, you may be asked to leave the room. Please remember that there are many other people in the room and we all must be sensitive to everyone's concerns. Also, please turn off your cell phone when you enter the classroom. The ring tone can be very distracting to your fellow students.

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: for more information on these resources and on mental health.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.



Required Text:                 Passer, M.W., Smith, R.E., Atkinson, M.L., & Mitchell, J.B., (2017). Psychology: Frontiers and Applications. Sixth Canadian Edition. Toronto: McGraw Hill Ryerson.


Note: this text comes shrink-wrapped with a passkey for the

          CONNECT website and the Ask Dr. Mike book.

          Also, it is important to purchase the 6th edition—it has content that is

          not available in earlier editions.




         Recommended:  Ellis, Toft & Dawson (2012).  Becoming a Master

                                         Student.  Nelson


This course is an introductory level survey of the methods and findings of modern scientific psychology. The goal is to provide students with an overview of various topic domains within the realm of psychology. As such, students will be exposed to diverse theoretical viewpoints and various methods and procedures for the scientific investigation of psychological issues. Note: Modern psychology is scientific in nature. Consequently, we will spend a lot of time discussing science-related topics such as research design, neural functioning, sensory mechanisms, brain structure, etc.


Each chapter in the text covers a major interest area in psychology. By the end of this course, the successful student will be able to:


  • Identify the major concepts, theories and topics in Psychology
  • Distinguish between and identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of various theories in Psychology
  • Apply concepts and theories from Psychology to everyday problems
  • Interpret statistical information presented in tables or graphs
  • Ask questions about topics in Psychology
  • Apply DSM criteria to provide the most plausible diagnosis for a set of psychological problems
  • Identify common research designs used in Psychology



There will four tests during the year. All tests are common to all sections of Psych 1000. Term test 1 (Fall term test) is scheduled for Sat. Oct. 28, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Term test 1 will consist of 75 multiple choice questions (chapters 1 – 4 plus Appendix ) and is worth 20%. Questions will be based on both the text and lecture material. The Christmas test will be scheduled sometime during the Christmas exam period (Dec. 10 - 21, 2017). This test will consist of 75 multiple choice questions covering both text and lecture material and is worth 20%. The Christmas test covers chapters 5 – 8.

Term test 2 is scheduled for Sat. March 10, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will be worth 20%. This test is similar to Term test 1 and the Christmas test (i.e., 75 multiple choice questions from the text and lecture material). Term test 2 will cover chapters 9 – 13. The final exam will be scheduled during the final exam period (April 14 – 30, 2017) and is worth 30%. The final exam covers chapters 14 – 17 and will consist of 100 questions from both the text and lecture material.

In addition to the exams, you must complete a series of quizzes on the CONNECT site and participate in a series of on-line discussions. The discussions are based on the content for the Ask Dr. Mike book, included with your text.  Details about the format and a grading scheme will be posted on Owl. The quizzes are worth 5% and the discussions are worth 5%.




Finally, there is a research participation requirement (see details on the Owl site). Please note that this is a Department of Psychology requirement and does not add marks to your grade. Failure to meet the research requirement will result in a loss of up to 10 points on your final grade.



Learning Outcomes, Activities and Assessment


 Learning Outcome

Learning Activity


Identify major concepts, theories, and topics in Psychology

Reading & attendance at lectures,  + CONNECT

Multiple choice exams

Distinguish between and identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of various theories in Psychology

Reading & attendance at lectures, + CONNECT

Multiple choice exams 

Apply concepts and theories from Psychology to everyday problems

Reading & attendance at lectures, + CONNECT

Multiple choice exams

Ask questions about topics in Psychology

 Online discussions

 Quality of posted questions



Interpret statistical information presented in tables or graphs

Reading & attendance at lectures, + CONNECT

Multiple choice exams

Apply DSM criteria to provide the most plausible diagnosis for a set of psychological symptoms

Reading & attendance at lectures, + CONNECT

Multiple choice exams

Identify common research designs used in Psychology

Reading & attendance at lectures, + CONNECT

Multiple choice exams


Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the University of Western Ontario grading guidelines, which are as follows (see ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail


Term test 1:        20%     Sat. Oct. 22, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.

Mid year test:     20%     Xmas Exam Period (Dec. 10 – 21, 2016)

Term test 2:        20%     Sat. March 11, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.

Final exam:         30%     Final Exam Period (April 9 – 30, 2017)

Discussion:          5%     Discussion 1 due Thurs. Oct. 20, 2016

                                         Discussion 2 due Wed. Dec. 7, 2016

                                         Discussion 3 due Thurs. March 9, 2017

                                         Discussion 4 due Fri. April 7, 2017

Quizzes:                5%     Due one day before each exam


Total                     100%


Psychology 1000  Lecture Calendar


Topics will be covered in the following order during the year. Approximate lecture dates are given so that you can keep up with the readings. Ideally, you should do the required readings before the topic is covered in class. Lectures are intended to highlight certain areas of each topic -- there is not enough time available to us to cover all the material. However, you are responsible for all the material in the text. Please note that there is a fairly heavy reading load in this course -- we cover approximately one chapter every week and half. Thus, it is important for you to keep up with the readings.


                                                     First Term


Topic                             Chapter                                          Lecture date


Introduction                1 & 2                                               Sept. 12, 14, 19

& Methodology


Biological Foundations        3                                                 Sept.  21, 26, 28

                                                                                            Oct. 3


Genes & Behaviour              4                                                   Oct. 5, 17, 19


Fall Break                                                                            Oct. 9 - 13


Statistics                Appendix                                            Oct. 24


Review                                                                                         Oct. 26


Term test 1 (20%)                1 – 4, plus Appendix                    Oct. 28, 9:00 a.m.



Sensation & Perception             5                                               Oct. 31

                                                                                                         Nov. 2, 7, 9


Consciousness                            6                                               Nov. 14, 16


Learning                                        7                                               Nov. 21, 23, 28, 30


Memory                                          8                                               Dec. 5, 7



Mid-year TEST (20%)                  5 - 8                                          Dec. 10 – 21





                        Second Term—Classes resume week of Jan. 8



Topic                                  Chapter                                     Lecture date



Language                                   9                                               Jan. 9, 11


Intelligence                                 10                                   Jan. 16, 18


Motivation & Emotion               11                                             Jan. 23, 25, 30


Development                              12                                             Feb. 1, 6, 8, 13


Conference Week                      Feb. 19 - 23


Social Psychology                     13                                             Feb. 15, 27

                                                                                                       March 1, 6


Review                                                                                March 8



Term test 2 (20%)                       9 - 13                                       March 10, 3:00 p.m.



Stress                                            15                                          March 13


Personality                                   14                                          March 15, 20


Disorders                                       16                                          March 22, 27, 29


Treatment                                      17                                          April 3, 5, 10



Final Exam (30%)                        14 - 17                                     April  14 – 30







You will be expected to know the assigned chapters VERY WELL!

Many of the multiple-choice questions in this course are based on material from the chapters that is not explicitly covered in lecture. To be able to answer these questions correctly you will need to know and understand each of the concepts and processes described in the assigned chapters. This a major learning task and many students run into difficulties because they do not know how to handle this learning task efficiently.


Just reading the assigned chapters is NOT enough!

For most people the process of reading something, or even re-reading it, does not mean that they remember it. This is especially true for "heavy" course content such as that found in the psychology text. If you wish to learn the material from the text efficiently, you will need to approach it in a different manner.


Learn the text chapters using ACTIVE reading/learning strategies.


Strategies recommended for efficient learning of text material can be divided into three types: pre-reading, reading for comprehension, and post-reading.

  1. Pre-reading. Learn the headings and subheadings.

Instead of diving immediately into reading the chapter, spend a few minutes learning the headings and subheadings. The headings and subheadings tell you the important ideas that will be covered in the chapter. In the text they are laid out for you on the first few pages of the book in the table of contents. Look at these headings and subheadings, think how they have been ordered, try reciting them from memory, and then write them out on a separate sheet of paper.


  1. Reading for comprehension. Read a few pages and THEN summarize.

Don't try to read most of the chapter in one sitting. It is much easier to learn the material in small chunks. Read a few pages carefully and THEN make a summary of the important points. Continue doing this until you have summarized about 10 pages - then take a break. You can summarize by highlighting sparingly AND making marginal notes, or by making separate written notes.


Note that much of the information in psychology comes in the form of arguments. Here are some the important kinds of information that are crucial to knowing and understanding an argument: i) definitions of new terms, ii) essential explanations of the specific argument, iii) examples, iv) results of studies.


If you make separate summary notes, try using point form and keywords. This has 2 advantages: the notes are made more quickly and they are easier to read. As you record key terms and definitions ALWAYS relate them to the arguments of which they are a part.


  1. Post-reading. Test yourself.

After actively reading 10 or more pages in the manner described above, try reciting (i.e., recalling from memory) all the important points under each heading and subheading that you have studied. This will reinforce the ideas you know and identify those that you need to review. Doing the study guide questions and relevant old exam questions after you have finished the entire chapter can also be very helpful.

The Legal Stuff


Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link:

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:


Office of the Registrar web site:

Student Development Services web site:

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.

Greening the Classroom... it’s a start.

Whether you believe that global warming is one of the most serious challenges we face in the 21st century or that it is wildly exaggerated, the fact remains that dumping endless tons of CO2 onto the atmosphere is not good. And we should try to do something about it. Individually, we should all recycle, use less energy in our homes, and reduce the amount of fossil fuels we burn. But what can we do in the classroom? It is difficult to control the physical infrastructure of any classroom—turning down the heat or AC, shutting down the fans, etc. affects more than just one classroom and may affect an entire block of buildings. In addition, the startup of equipment may actually consume more energy than we save by turning it down. So, I’ve come up with the following suggestion.

I estimate that this class consumes about 93,600 kwh per school year. This is the energy required to run the lights, fans, equipment, etc. This translates into dumping approximately 215,280 pounds (107.6 tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere. The single largest factor I can identify that is under my control is diet. By switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, the average person can offset up to 1.5 tons of CO2 per year. I propose to eat vegetarian on Tuesdays and Thursdays (class days). This will create a savings of approximately 16.44 pounds of CO2 per week--427.44 pounds over the school year for me alone. If 100 students in this class join me in this pledge, we save 42,744 pounds. If 400 join, we save 170,976 pounds. We break even with a little over 500 students. Thus, by this method alone, we can run the class on a zero carbon footprint. There is a section on the website where you can pledge to join me in this project.

I realize that the idea of offsetting only works through a trickle-down effect—it will take time for this initiative to have any impact at all. In addition, my numbers are ballpark estimates at best. Maybe it takes 800 or 1200 students to break even. I also realize that there are consequences to such action (e.g., if many people did this, the price of meat would soar), and we need to consider such outcomes. But the potential consequences of doing nothing are far more serious. Even if, in the end, all we save is a few hundred pounds, well at least we’ve done that. It’s a start.