Western University PsychologyFaculty of Social Science


Psychology 1000 650

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 Psychology 1000! I have tried to make this online course every bit as successful as my on-campus course. Below you will find a course description, evaluation summary, lecture outline, and some study tips. Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the outline right now. I look forward to talking to you in the lecture sections of Psych 1000 Distance Studies and wish you all the best for a great course!


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.


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     atkinson@uwo.ca

         Office Hours:   Virtual on Wednesdays 10:00 – 11:00 am or appointment

         TA:                    Britney Haynes (bhaynes4@uwo.ca)



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 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. Please feel to email your questions to me, or start a discussion, or ask questions during a Virtual Office Hours session.


If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit:  http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ 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.

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit:  http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ 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:




There will TWO tests during the course. The first term test is set for the Christmas Exam period (Dec. 10 – 21). Rooms will be posted on the OWL site once they are finalized by the Registrar’s Office. Term test 1 will consist of 100 multiple choice questions (Chapters 1 – 8 plus the Appendix ) and is worth 30%. Questions will be based on both the text and the online lecture material. The final exam will be scheduled during the final exam period (April 14 -30). The exact date and times will be posted when finalized. The final exam (also worth 30%) covers Chapters 9 - 17 and will consist of 100 questions from both the text and online lecture material. In addition to the exams, there is an online discussion requirement. You will be assigned to a group of about 10 students and four times during the course, you must go online and generate both questions and answers about specific issues based on the Ask Dr. Mike book. There will be two required online discussion during the first half of the course, and two during the second. Each discussion is worth 5%. Specific due dates for the discussions are shown below and the marking scheme will be posted on the Owl site.

You must also complete the chapter quizzes on the CONNECT site. Each quiz will be open for a specific amount of time and may be attempted as many times as you like. Your highest grade will be counted. Overall the quizzes are worth 10% (5% per term)



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 http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/general/grades_undergrad.pdf ):

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


Mid year test:     30%     Xmas Exam Period (Dec. 10 – 21, 2017)

Final exam:         30%     Final Exam Period (April 14 – 30, 2018)

Discussion:        20%     Discussion 1 due Fri. Oct. 6, 2017

                                         Discussion 2 due Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017

                                         Discussion 3 due Thurs. March 8, 2018

                                         Discussion 4 due Tues. April 10, 2018

Quizzes:                10%   Chapters 1 – 8 due Nov 27, 2017

                                         Chapters 9 – 17 due April 10, 2018



Total                     100%


Psychology 1000  Calendar


Topics are covered in the following order in the text. In order to keep up with the readings and online lectures, I suggest that you plan on covering a chapter every week and half (I have provided some suggested finish times below).  This is the pace that we use in the on-campus course as well.  I suggest that you skim the topics in the textbook before you listen to the online lecture.  Then return to the text and read the appropriate section.  This should help you to learn the material more efficiently.


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 again that there is a fairly heavy reading load in this course -- it is important for you to keep up with the readings.


                                                     First Term


Topic                             Chapter                                          Finish by


Introduction                1 & 2                                               Sept. 19

& Methodology


Biological Foundations        3                                                 Sept.  29


Genes & Behaviour              4                                                   Oct. 6


Fall Break                                                                            Oct. 9 - 13


Statistics                Appendix                                            Oct. 10



Sensation & Perception             5                                             Oct. 24


Consciousness                            6                                             Nov. 3


Learning                                        7                                             Nov. 17


Memory                                          8                                             Nov. 27



Mid-year TEST (20%)                  1 - 8 + Appendix                    Dec. 10 – 21





                        Second Term—Classes resume week of Jan. 8



Topic                                  Chapter                                     Finish By



Language                                   9                                               Jan. 18


Intelligence                                 10                                   Jan. 31


Motivation & Emotion               11                                             Feb. 9


Development                              12                                             Feb. 19


Conference Week                      Feb. 19 - 23


Social Psychology                     13                                             March 1


Stress                                            15                                          March 9


Personality                                   14                                           March 20


Disorders                                       16                                          March 29


Treatment                                      17                                          April 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.




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:  http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf

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 Turnitin.com http://www.turnitin.com

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:  http://registrar.uwo.ca

Student Development Services web site: http://www.sdc.uwo.ca

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.