Psychology 2035A-001

Understanding Yourself and Others

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


This course examines ways in which recent research findings in psychology may be applied in the individual's life. Emphasis on psychology as an empirical science and on avenues of self-understanding and personal growth. Topics include personality, stress and coping, person perception, interpersonal communication, friendship and love, sexuality, vocational development.

Antirequisite: Psychology 2050

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, 0.5 course


Instructor: Matthew Maxwell-Smith                                             

Office and Phone Number:  (TBA)                

Office Hours:    Mondays 5:30-6:30pm (or by appointment) 


Course Website:

Teaching Assistant: TBA                              

Office: TBA (see exam review sign-up sheets for location)                           

Office Hours: (TBA) By appointment to review your exams (sign-up times will be available in class and posted on my office door).                                  

Email:        (TBA)                                                   

Time and Location of Classes: Mondays 7:00 – 10:00 PM, Arts & Humanities Building (AHB) 1R40


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.


Weiten, Dunn, & Hammer (2018)

Psychology applied to modern life (12th ed.

Boston, MA: Cengage. 

Be sure to purchase the 12th edition.

I've put two copies of the textbook on 2-hour reserve in Weldon library.  The textbook's website also has some free material (sample quizzes, flashcards) that might be useful for learning the textbook material.  It can be accessed from this link (click on Preview). You are NOT responsible for purchasing anything from the website.  Keep in mind that you are also expected to learn the lecture material.


This course examines ways in which recent research findings in psychology may be applied in the individual's life. Emphasis on psychology as an empirical science and on avenues of self- understanding and personal growth. Topics include: personality, stress and coping, person perception, interpersonal communication, friendship and love, sexuality, vocational development.


 Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

identify major concepts and theories (including examples) relevant to topics in this course;

interpret the results of research that has examined these concepts and theories; and

apply these concepts and theories to everyday life.

The specific Learning Objectives associated with each textbook chapter and lecture should also help students achieve the course objectives and learning outcomes.


Grades in this course will be based on three multiple-choice exams.  Students are responsible for material assigned in the textbook, as well as material covered in lectures.  The First Exam (October 2), worth 25% of the final grade, will cover material from September 11 through September 25.  The Second Exam (November 6), worth 35% of the final grade, will cover material from October 16 through October 30.  The Final Exam (during the Midyear Exam period in December), worth 40% of the final grade, will cover material from November 13 through December 4.

Grades will be posted to the course web site as soon as possible after each exam. 

NOTE: Grades cannot be adjusted on the basis of "need".  In addition, students will not be given the opportunity to improve their grades by completing extra assignments.  As such, it is important that you monitor your performance on exams and take steps to eliminate any problems as soon as possible, so the problems do not interfere with your performance on subsequent exams.

To review your exam performance, please sign-up for a time (posted in class).  Review sessions will be organized by the TA for a two-week period after each exam.  You must sign-up during these times.  If you cannot be available for a sign-up time, then please contact the TA to schedule an appointment.  Appointments should be made no later than three weeks after the exam.

When reviewing your exams, please keep in mind that the TA did not write the exam questions and is not responsible for explaining why a particular answer is correct.  After reviewing your exam, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  Note: Please review the "frequently asked questions" (below) if you have any questions about the posted grades (e.g., why your grade is not posted, etc.).


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


(1) Lecture Attendance:

Material covered in lectures will not always be the same as material covered in the textbook; these two sources of information should be viewed as complimentary, not redundant.  As such, students who want to do well in this course are strongly encouraged to attend lectures on a regular basis.  Also, please note that I will not be providing copies of lecture notes or slides.  Therefore, if you miss a lecture, you should try to obtain this material from another student.  I recommend that you contact a fellow student early in the term, and arrange to exchange notes in case either of you are forced to miss a lecture.  You should not provide notes to students who are chronically absent.

(2) Minimizing Distractions:

To avoid unnecessary distractions, please arrive to each class on time, ensure that your cell phone is off, and avoid private conversations with the person sitting next to you!

In a class this large, some students will be unaware that their private conversations are distracting to other students.  If you feel that students are distracting your attention from the material, then you should ask them to be quiet.  If you feel uncomfortable doing this (or if the problem persists), then please see me and I will arrange to meet privately with the students.  At this meeting, the students will be given an opportunity to explain their behavior.  I will explain why their behavior is distracting or disruptive, and outline the penalties that will be imposed if the behavior continues.  To ensure early documentation of the problem, and fair consideration of the appropriate penalty, a report of this meeting will be sent to the Department of Psychology, the Dean of Social Science, and the Ombudsperson’s office.

(3) Policy on Cheating (and other Academic Offences):

Scholastic offences are taken very seriously at Western.  Therefore, students must be familiar with the appropriate policies, including the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence.  This can be found at the following website: Scholastic Offences at Western.

Cheating is a very serious academic offence and it will not be tolerated.  As of September 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology requires that all multiple-choice tests and exams be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses, using reliable software.  In addition, records will be made of student seating locations during all tests and exams.  If a similar pattern of responses is detected, students will be reported to the Dean’s office for further investigation and possible disciplinary action.

The penalties for cheating can include refusal of a passing grade on the test/exam; refusal of a passing grade in the course; suspension from the University; and expulsion from the University.

To avoid any suspicion of cheating, please take the following steps:

(i) If you studied with another student, then do not sit near this person during the tests/exams.  Students who study together are more likely to have similar answers.

(iiKeep your answers covered so students sitting near you do not have the opportunity to cheat from your exam.

(iii) If you suspect that someone is cheating from your exam, then immediately notify the course instructor or one of the proctors.  That way, a record can be made of the incident, and alternative seating arrangements can be provided.

(4) Make-up Exams:

Students will be allowed to write make-up exams only under special circumstances.  These include medical or compassionate reasons, and must be substantiated with proper documentation as soon as possible (e.g., medical certification verifying that you are unable to write an exam; certificates stating for medical reasons are not sufficient).  Please note that the documentation must be submitted to (and approved by) an academic counsellor in your Dean’s office.  A student who misses an exam for any other reason, or who is unable to substantiate a claim in a timely fashion, will be assigned a grade of zero for that exam.   In fairness to all, no exceptions to this policy will be allowed.

Please see the POLICY ON ACCOMMODATION FOR MEDICAL ILLNESS - UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS at for additional information on medical accommodation.  Additional information on appropriate medical documentation can be found at

(5) Policy Regarding Illness:                                                

If you feel that you have a medical or personal problem that is interfering with your work, then you should contact your Faculty Academic Counselling Office as soon as possible.  Problems may then be documented and possible arrangements to assist you can be discussed at the time of occurrence, rather than retroactively.  In general, retroactive requests for grade revisions on medical or compassionate grounds will not be considered.




% of final grade

Material covered

Exam 1

October 2


September 11 through September 25

Exam 2

November 6


October 16 through October 30

Exam 3

TBA Dec 10-21


November 13 through December 4

Note 1: Exams will cover material from the textbook and lectures.

Note 2: You must go to your assigned room!  Room assignments will be announced in class, posted on the course website, and posted on my office door a few days prior to each exam. Please do not contact the department secretaries for this information!!

Note 3: Electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, dictionaries, ipods/earbuds) are NOT permitted during exams.  Please leave these devices at home or in your book bag.




Topic(s) to be covered

Reading (s)


Sept 11


Ch 1 (pp. 1-15)


Sept 18

Theories Of Personality

Ch 2


Sept 25

The Self

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Ch 6

Ch 7



EXAM 1 (25%)

Sept 11 - 25


Oct 9

University Holiday & Fall Reading Week (no class!)



Oct 16

Interpersonal Communication

Friendship and Love

Ch 8

Ch 9


Oct 23

Friendship and Love (cont’d)

Marriage and Intimate Relationships

Ch 9

Ch 10


Oct 30

Gender and Behavior

Development and Expression of Sexuality

Ch 11

Ch 12



EXAM 2 (35%)

Oct 9 - Oct 30


Nov 13

Stress and Its Effects

Coping Processes

Ch 3

Ch 4


Nov 20

Psychology and Physical Health

Psychological Disorders

Ch 5

Ch 14


Nov 27

Careers and Work

Ch 13


Dec 4

Positive Psychology

Money, Consumption, and Happiness

Ch 16 (pp. 456-475) (lecture only)




Date, Time, and Location to be announced

Nov 13 - Dec 4

Note 1: Chapter 15 will not be covered in this course.  In addition, the Personal Explorations Workbook at the end of the textbook provides some interesting self-assessment and self-reflection exercises that are relevant to each chapter, but this material will not be covered on exams.

Note 2: Exams will cover textbook and lecture material.

Note 3: There will be no lecture after the exams.


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.

See below for answers to some "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQs).


Please read carefully the Department of Psychology document entitled Student Responsibilities at for information regarding:  Policy on cheating and academic misconduct; Policy on makeup exams/extensions of deadlines (including appropriate documentation); Procedures for appealing academic evaluations; and other issues.



Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQs)


As we proceed through the course, students often have questions that could affect their progress.  To facilitate your progress, I’ve provided answers to some of these Frequently Asked Questions.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.




Q: Can I use an older version of the textbook?

A: I recommend that students use the newest version of the textbook so they don’t miss any material that might be on exams.


Q: I don't have access to this course from OWL.  What should I do?

A: If you don't have access, then you are not officially registered in the course.  It's possible that you registered late (in which case I can add your name to OWL if you send me your UWO email "username" [the part before]).  This will give you access to the course website, but it does NOT ensure that you are officially registered in the course!  Therefore, please check the Registrar's website to ensure that you are officially registered.  We cannot submit final grades if students are not officially registered in the course.


Q: I'm experiencing problems with OWL.  Can you help?

A: It's best to ask the experts at the ITS Support Centre (SSB 4100; 519-661-3800;


Q: Do we have to know any lecture material that is not on the slides (e.g., examples you give)?

A: Yes!  Material on the slides is designed to help you organize your notes by outlining the basic topics (and subtopics).  In addition, I will often use examples to expand upon this material.  Some of the exam questions will be derived from these examples!  A good principle for success:  If I'm talking about something in class, it's more likely I'll ask a question about it, even if the material is not on the slides.


Q: I missed a lecture.  Can you provide me with the "lecture notes" and/or "slides"?

A: No.  Try to get this information from another student.  If anything is unclear, please see me during my office hours (or schedule an appointment to meet with me).


Q:  I know you do not provide lecture notes or slides, but could you make an exception for me?

  1. No.  Please see answer to previous question.


  1. I missed a video that was shown in class.  Can you arrange a "second showing"?
  2. No.  Please see answers to previous questions.


Q: Are the exams cumulative?

A:  No.


Q: What textbook chapters will be covered on the upcoming exam?

A: See "Summary of Examination Schedule".  Remember, lecture material will also be covered.


Q: How much detail do we have to remember from the textbook?

A: I try to avoid asking questions that focus on the smallest details.  Nevertheless, some of the exam questions will focus on specific details, so be sure to read the textbook carefully.


Q: Do we have to know all the names and dates in the textbook?

A: No.  Only names/dates that I emphasize in lectures.


Q: Do we have to know material in the textbook "Figures"?

A: Yes.  The Figures are designed to supplement the textbook material (e.g., by providing a graphic depiction of research findings, or a visual representation of basic concepts/ideas).  As such, they will help you understand the material.


Q: Do we have to know material in the "Recommended Reading"  and the "Learn More Online" boxes?

A: Unless I discuss this material in lectures, it will not be tested on the exams.  Nevertheless, you are strongly encouraged to explore this material if you want to increase your knowledge and competence in the area of how Psychology can be applied to everyday life.


Q: Do we have to know the "Application" sections at the end of each chapter?

A: Yes.  These will be treated like other textbook material when it comes to exam questions.


Q: Where do I go to write the exam?

A: You must write the exam in your assigned room.  Room assignments will be announced in class one week before the exam.  They will also be posted on the course website and my office door.  Therefore, please do not phone or email us (or the department secretaries!) for this information.


Q: I can't write the exam at the scheduled time, and want to write the makeup exam.  When is it scheduled?  Will it be the same format?

A: As indicated on the course syllabus, makeup exams are granted under a limited set of circumstances, and must be supported by proper documentation (see the Psychology Department's website for additional information regarding documentation).  Documentation must be approved by your Dean's office.  After the documentation is received and approved, a makeup exam will be scheduled.  At that time, we will also discuss the exam format.  In the meantime, it is your responsibility to ensure that the documentation is submitted as soon as possible.


Q: I'm swamped by three exams in a 24 hour period!  Can I write the  makeup for our 1st(or 2nd) exam?

A: No.  According to Senate regulations, the dates for these exams must be clearly indicated on the course outline during the first class.  This advanced warning should give all students enough time to adjust their schedules so they are prepared for the exams.  If this information was not provided, then you should contact the professor (he/she might be in violation of a Senate Regulation).  The only exception involves Final Exams.  If you have three Final Exams in a 24 hour period, then you should contact the academic counselors in your Dean's office.  They will explain the procedures you should follow, and provide you with the appropriate forms.


Q: I have two exams at the same time.  What should I do?

A: In the case of midterm exams, you should contact the professor in your other course to arrange a makeup exam.  Professors cannot force you to miss our class; if they have scheduled an exam that conflicts with our class, then they must provide an alternative time for makeup exams.  Upon request, I will provide the professor with appropriate documentation indicating that you have another obligation in our course (if you are officially registered in our course).  In the case of Final Exams, you should contact the academic counselors in your Dean's office to discuss the various options.




Q: Can I ask questions during the exams?

A: To be fair to all students, NO questions will be allowed during the exams.  I cannot help you define any "concepts" or "words" on the exams.  I cannot discuss what you remember from the textbook or the lectures (because some questions are designed to test your memory of this material).  I cannot tell you whether the "reasoning" behind your chosen answer is correct, because that's the same as telling you whether or not your answer is correct.  Obviously that's not something we should discuss during the exam!  I cannot help you decide what to do if you think two options are correct (except to tell you to choose the best option).  Note that we CAN discuss these issues AFTER the exams, but we cannot discuss them during the exams.


Q: Can I use the washroom during the exams?

A: If it is a medical emergency, the answer is Yes!  Otherwise, students should not leave the room during exams. The exams are designed to take less than two hours to complete.  Students should use the washroom before the exams.


Q: A student sitting near me is "sniffling".  It's very distracting.  Can you ask the student to blow his/her nose?

A: Yes.  For now, I encourage all students to bring tissues so they can blow their noses if they have the sniffles during exams.


Q: Can I stay in the exam room for the full amount of time?

A: Yes.  But the time provided for exams is designed to ensure that all students can complete the exams in less than the allotted time (so they don't feel any "time pressure").  Please do not feel that you have to stay in the exam room until the last minute!


Q: Does the time allowed for the exams include filling in the scantron, or do we get extra time for this?

A: You DO NOT get extra time!  When the exam ends, your scantron will be removed and blank answers will be recorded as incorrect answers.  See previous question.




Q: When will the exam grades be posted?

A: As soon as possible.  Check your email inbox or the course web site for notices and please be patient.


Q: I missed the exam.  Can we simply re-weight my final grade?

A: No.  Students must demonstrate their mastery of all material in the course.  If you receive permission from your Dean's office, then you will be given an opportunity to write a makeup exam.  Otherwise, you will receive a zero on the exam.  See the next question.


Q: I missed the exam.  When can I write the makeup?

A: As indicated on the course outline, you cannot write a makeup exam until you receive permission from your Dean's office.  Documentation is required.  Please see the course outline for further details, and submit the documentation as soon as possible.  If you miss the makeup, it is possible that you will not be given another opportunity to write it (and a grade of zero will be recorded).


Q: I missed the makeup exam.  What should I do?

A: This is a very serious situation. You should contact your Dean's office as soon as possible if there is anything that is preventing you from writing exams and makeup exams at the scheduled times.  Please ask the Dean's office to contact me.


Q: You posted an announcement on OWL that the grades were posted, but I didn't receive the email.  What should I do?

A: Check that your email inbox is not full (delete any old messages and empty the Trash folder).  Then, email me ( as soon as possible.  There might have been a problem recording your grade if you entered your student number incorrectly on the scantron, so be sure to include your correct student number in the email.


Q: How can I review my performance on the exams?

A: First, make an appointment with the TA during the sign-up times provided in class.  You should look closely at the questions you got wrong and ask yourself (1) "Why did I get these wrong" and (2) "How can I prevent the same mistake in the future?".  Note:  You should NOT ask the TA why you got questions wrong.  This is something you have to diagnose on your own (but feel free to contact me!  See next question).


Q: I'd like to discuss some of the exam questions.  Who should I see?

A: After reviewing your exam with the TA, mark these questions on the answer sheet (provided by the TA).  The TA will forward the answer sheet to me.  We can then discuss these questions during my office hours (or you can see me after class to make an appointment).  Please note that I cannot make adjustments to your grade.  See next question.


Q: I'm not doing as well as I would like on the exams and was wondering if you can provide any tips for improving my performance.

A: One of the best ways to improve your performance is to review your exams to identify exactly what you're doing wrong (this should be done as soon as possible after the first exam).  Finally, see me to discuss possible solutions to the problems you're experiencing.




Q: Can I ask you questions before class?

A: Yes.  I have office hours Mondays from 5:30 - 6:30 pm, so feel free to meet with me then (note, please don't stop by at 6:25 unless you have a very short question).  Typically, I'll be in class 5-10 minutes before the lecture begins.  However, during this time, I'll be organizing the room and setting up the equipment (e.g., computer, overhead projectors, etc).  If I look like I'm busy with this, then it is not a good time to ask questions.  Once everything is set-up, I can answer questions.  Keep in mind that I want to begin class at 7 pm sharp (so use your own judgment when asking questions a few minutes before the class begins).


Q: Can I ask you questions during the break or after the lecture?

A: Yes!  These are especially good times to ask questions about the lecture material, because it will be fresh in our minds.  Although I won't be able to answer many questions during the 10 minute break (use your best judgment if it looks like we're near the end of the break), we will have time for questions after the lecture.  Indeed, when the lecture ends, we'll set aside the remaining class time for questions and discussions.


Q: Can I ask you questions during the lecture?

A: Yes!  Although I will make every effort to be as clear as possible, I realize that I might not always succeed.  For this reason, I will occasionally pause and ask whether you have any questions.  If my presentation is not clear; if there is a concept that has not been defined; if you don't have the basic information that is required to understand the lecture material, then please do not hesitate to ask for clarification.


Often, the lecture material will be clear, but students have other questions that go beyond the lecture material.  In this case, you should use your best judgment and consider the following: (1) Will this question cause us to go on a tangent that takes us away from the focus of the lecture?  (2) Is this a question we could discuss at the end of the lecture?  In a class of 400 students, I'm reluctant to go on tangents.  Indeed, in the past, it seems that for every student who benefitted from the discussion, I hear from 10 students who thought it was a waste of time and interfered with the flow of lecture material.  Therefore, if in doubt, put a question mark in your notes and ask the question at the end of the lecture.  For now, I look forward to your questions and our discussions!