Below you will find descriptions of all undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Psychology catalog. Please note, however, that we do not teach all of these courses every year. For a more representative picture of what our offerings look like in a particular semester, please click on the blue buttons above that provide current semester listings and an archive from past semesters.
Visit the undergraduate and graduate pages for course requirements for specific programs. For the current semester’s up-to-date information on course schedules, room locations, and registration status, please visit the Student Information System (SIS).
PSY 1 Introduction to Psychology. This course will survey current knowledge of human behavior. It will cover the entire spectrum of behavioral functions and examine the biological, cognitive and social processes that underlie these behaviors. Topics will include the brain and functioning of the nervous system, perception, thinking, learning and memory; conscious and unconscious motivations and emotion; language, intelligence, cognitive, social, and personality development; social perceptions, attitudes and social influence; psychological disorders and their treatment; and mental health. The focus of the course will be on understanding the major theories of human behavior and on understanding the practical and theoretical implications of these positions. Offered every semester.
PSY 9 Introduction to Cognitive and Brain Science. Survey of the cognitive, computational and neuronal basis of thought. Topics include the relationship of cognitive and brain systems underlying language, memory, perception, attention, consciousness and development. Students interested in PSY 9 are expected to first take PSY 1 in order to best prepare them for the course. Offered every spring.
PSY 11 Developmental Psychology. A survey of behavioral, mental, and socio-emotional development during childhood from birth through adolescence. General principles of development and related empirical findings will be emphasized. Class will include lectures, demonstrations, and observations of children. Usually offered once per year.
PSY 12 Psychopathology. (Formerly Abnormal Psychology) An introduction to the scientific study of major psychological and behavioral syndromes – including psychotic, mood, anxiety, personality, and substance use disorders – with an emphasis on assessment, symptoms, prevalence, possible causes, and treatment approaches. Offered every semester.
PSY 13 Social Psychology. (Cross-listed as CVS 35) Social psychology is the scientific study of the way people think, feel, and behave in social situations. It involves understanding how we influence, and are influenced by, other people and the social contexts around us. A primary goal of this course is to introduce you to the perspectives, research methods, and seminal findings of the field of social psychology. Equally important is the goal of allowing you to cultivate your skills for analyzing the social situations and events that you encounter in your everyday lives. Lectures will be supplemented by classroom demonstrations, discussion, and various assignments. Offered every semester.
PSY 22 Emotion. Introduction to theory and research on the nature of emotion and its regulation. Topics include defining and measuring emotion and related constructs; theories of emotion elicitation, expression, and regulation; perspectives on the function of emotions; discrete emotions such as joy, surprise, fear, anger, sadness, and disgust; emotion across cultural, developmental, and clinical contexts; the neural, endocrine, and autonomic concomitants of emotion.
PSY 25 Physiological Psychology. This course will serve as an introduction to the biological basis of behavior. The course will begin by providing a basic understanding of the function of the nervous system. With this knowledge in hand, the physiological basis of behaviors such as hunger, thirst, sex, aggression, sleep, learning and memory will be explored. Special attention will be paid to recent advances in research in the growing area of biopsychology. This course is not meant for Biology or Bio-Psychology majors or for pre-medical students. Those students should take Psychology 103. (Students cannot receive credit for both PSY 25 and PSY 103). Usually offered once per year.
PSY 27 Perception. This course will offer an introduction to the processes that transform physical energies (e.g., light, sound, heat) into psychological experiences (e.g., seeing objects, hearing noises, feeling warmth). These processes are crucial for the basic survival of all animal species; understanding them is central to the field of human psychology not only for this reason but because they are prerequisite to the functioning of "higher" psychological processes such as thinking, socializing, playing games, and appreciating art and music. Major emphasis will be on visual perception, but topics such as hearing, speech perception, active touch, pain perception, and the chemical senses will also be covered. Usually offered once per year.
PSY 28 Cognitive Psychology. An introduction to human mental processes. Attention, perception, problem solving, pattern recognition, imagery, memory retention, language comprehension, and knowledge acquisition are examined as fundamental processes of cognition. This course serves as the gateway course to introduce our advanced laboratories and seminar courses in cognition. Lecture and frequent classroom demonstrations. Offered every semester.
PSY 31 Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. Statistical methods for the treatment of data in the behavioral sciences. Descriptive and inferential methods. Use of statistical software to explore conceptual issues and analyze data. One laboratory period in addition to lectures. Enrolling in a lab section (PSY 31A, PSY 31B, PSY 31C, PSY 31D, PSY 31E, or PSY 31F) registers you for both the lecture and laboratory components of the course. Prerequisites: PSY 1 and a declared major in Psychology, Biopsychology, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive & Brain Science, or Engineering Psychology. Offered every semester.
PSY 32 Experimental Psychology. A laboratory focused on individual and group experiments designed to familiarize students with research methods in psychological investigations. Required for psychology majors. Lectures and one laboratory period. Enrolling in a lab section (PSY 32A, PSY 32B, PSY 32C, PSY 32D, or PSY 32E) registers you for both the lecture and laboratory components of the course. Prerequisites: PSY 0031 (or equivalent) and a declared major in Psychology Biopsychology, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive & Brain Science, or Engineering Psychology. Offered every semester.
PSY 51 Black Psychology. An examination of Black experiences through a psychological lens. Theories, paradigms, and research developed to understand the attitudes, behaviors, and psychological experiences of Black Americans. Topics typically include the history of anti-Black racism in psychology and the sciences; measuring racial identity among Black individuals; the adequacy of psychological models and research when it comes to accounting for Black experiences and perspectives; understanding the intersectionality of race with culture, gender, sexual orientation, and other social identities.
PSY 53 Engineering Psychology. Survey of the applied areas of psychology which have proven useful in the design of equipment for human use and in the design of human-machine systems. This course is offered at a beginning or survey level and is conducted as a lecture course with additional readings. The emphasis is on how humans process information and how psychological science can further inform each stage of information processing. Examples are drawn from a wide range of areas. Most of the students in the course will be majoring in Engineering Psychology, but non-majors are welcome and typically come from Biology, Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Physics, Pre-med, and Engineering.
PSY 56 Drugs and Behavior. Introductory examination of how drugs, toxins, food additives, and other chemicals alter human behavior. Topics may include historical and societal views of drug use, drugs for recreational purposes, alcohol, medicinal drugs, drugs in food and food as drugs, and environmental toxins; theories of why drugs are used and reasons for prescribing psychoactive drugs.
PSY 60 Speech-Accompanying Gesture in Human Communication. Theories of gesture, including long-standing controversies regarding the communicative function of gestures, their role in communication, whether or not they are redundant or complementary with speech, and the cognitive mechanism responsible for the simultaneous production of gesture and speech. The basic types of gesture and what they express. Use of gesture in spoken interaction: the related but fundamentally distinct phenomena of nonverbal behavior and sign language.
PSY 64 Introduction to Linguistics. (Cross-listed as Phil 15 and Ling 15) How humans encode language in their brains, so that they can produce and understand an unlimited variety of utterances in context. Language and other forms of communication; how children acquire language; biological basis of language; the structure of language -- phonology (sound structure), syntax (grammatical structure), and semantics (meaning). Offered every fall.
PSY 71 Psychological Evaluation and Treatment. (Formerly Clinical Methods) Introduction to psychological assessment, including history-taking, mental status exam, differential diagnosis, and case formulation. Evidence-based psychosocial treatments and professional ethics. Offered every semester.
PSY 80 The Psychology of Music. (Cross-listed as Music 95.) Examination of a wide range of topics in the psychology of music. Music perception; music cognition; music aesthetics; music and emotions; the influence of music on human behavior; the nature and measurement of musical abilities; music education and child development.
PSY 91 Research in Psychology. Fall semester listing for students who wish to participate in an ongoing program of research. The student is expected to do background reading relevant to the research and to participate in as many phases of the research as possible. Students interested in PSY 91 should speak with potential faculty supervisors far in advance of course registration period. Pre-requisites: Two courses in Psychology and consent of the supervising faculty member. Offered in Fall.
PSY 92 Research in Psychology. Spring semester listing for students who wish to participate in an ongoing program of research. The student is expected to do background reading relevant to the research and to participate in as many phases of the research as possible. Students interested in PSY 92 should speak with potential faculty supervisors far in advance of course registration period. Pre-requisites: Two courses in Psychology and consent of the supervising faculty member. Offered in Spring.
PSY 97 Readings in Psychology. Fall semester listing for supervised readings course mutually arranged by a student and a faculty member. The goal of the course is to enable the student to become better informed on a specialized topic within psychology that is not otherwise covered by the departmental curriculum. Writing assignments are typically expected. Students interested in PSY 97 should speak with potential faculty supervisors far in advance of course registration period, and should be prepared to provide an annotated bibliography for review. Pre-requisites: Two courses in Psychology and consent of the supervising faculty member. Offered in Fall.
PSY 98 Readings in Psychology. Spring semester listing for supervised readings course mutually arranged by a student and a faculty member. The goal of the course is to enable the student to become better informed on a specialized topic within psychology that is not otherwise covered by the departmental curriculum. Writing assignments are typically expected. Students interested in PSY 98 should speak with potential faculty supervisors far in advance of course registration period, and should be prepared to provide an annotated bibliography for review. Pre-requisites: Two courses in Psychology and consent of the supervising faculty member. Offered in Spring.
PSY 99 Internship in Psychology. Internship in settings (hospitals, clinics, schools, non-Tufts laboratories) where work is primarily psychological. Written work is required, whether in the form of a semester-long journal or final paper. Grading is pass/fail, but the course may be used as an elective for psychology majors. Students interested in PSY 99 should speak with potential faculty supervisors far in advance of course registration period and obtain signatures on PSY 99 Internship Approval Form (available on department website) to submit to Department Chair. Pre-requisites: Completion of relevant coursework, prior consent of a supervising faculty member, signed PSY 99 Internship Approval Form.
Both graduate and undergraduate students may enroll in 100-level courses.
PSY 103 Brain and Behavior. This course, like its companion course, Psychology 25, explores the physiological bases of behavior. It differs from Psychology 25 in assuming that the student has a biology background and would like to go into the neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, and neurochemical mechanisms of behavior in more depth. (Students cannot receive credit for both PSY 25 and PSY 103). Psychology 103 also focuses on current research in the various areas of Biopsychology and future directions for research and its applications. General topic areas include: the nervous system, vision, neurological disorders, sexual behavior, hunger, thirst, sleep, aggression, reward mechanisms and addiction, learning and memory, and psychopathology. Offered every semester.
PSY 106 Seminar in Clinical Psychology. Most of this course will focus on the various theories and techniques of psychotherapy through readings and case studies. Other aspects of clinical psychology such as psychological assessment, professional ethics, and pathways towards becoming a psychotherapist will also be considered. Students will be responsible for active participation in a seminar format. Please note that non-clinical majors may show up to the first course meeting to see if additional spots are available, but priority for enrollment given to Clinical Psych majors. Offered every semester.
PSY 109 Seminar in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Cognitive and behavioral approaches to understanding and modifying behavior and thought patterns in adults, children, couples, and families, in both outpatient and institutional settings.
PSY 110 Computer Programming for Psychology. Computer programming in modern psychology for both data collection and analysis. Introductory computer science concepts, including writing basic data-collection programs in Python, and automated data analysis scripts in R. Previous programming experience not required.
PSY 111 Psychiatric Medication in Children. The number of children diagnosed with serious mental illness like bipolar disorder is on the rise. Treatment of these illnesses includes mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, stimulants, antidepressants and some therapy. Do these drugs affect the developing brain? Do these drugs permanently affect the brain? Are these drugs even effective in children? These questions and others will be addressed in this seminar course.
PSY 112 Biological Bases of Psychopathology. Exploration of current research and theory concerning neuropathology, neurotransmitter systems, genetics, psychophysiology, and medication treatment in selected major mental disorders.
PSY 115 Social Identity, Stigma and Coping. People who are targeted by stereotypes and prejudice experience the world in unique ways. This course investigates the psychological consequences of stereotypes for victims and examines how targets of prejudice actively cope with being members of devalued social groups. We will discuss short- and long-term outcomes for people who possess devalued social identities, including the development of strategies to protect well-being in the face of discrimination. In addition, we will discuss situational and interpersonal factors that facilitate versus undermine victims' efforts to speak out about discrimination. This course will place an emphasis on empirical research and on teaching students how to interpret and critique research in social psychology.
PSY 116 Psychology of Fear. Advanced seminar on the emotion of fear and fear-related disorders: anxiety and traumatic stress disorders. Manifestation of fear at behavioral and neurobiological levels. Development, maintenance, and cognitive behavioral treatment of fear-related disorders.
PSY 120 Project Study in Human Systems. (Cross-listed as Engineering Psychology 120) A project-oriented course led by faculty from engineering and psychology, with invited lecturers. Students will participate in team fashion in defining some human-centered problems and then developing, testing, and implementing solutions. Examples of such problems are safety acceptability of an auto and its driver considered as a complete man-machine system, practical development of human-factored products. Each team will be encouraged to seek practical problems of importance. This is a project oriented course that brings Engineering and Liberal Arts students, majoring in Engineering Psychology, together to work on a Human Factors project. Projects change each year but the process which runs from proposal to final presentation is the same. The students are mostly upper-class or graduate students from both sides of the Human Factors discipline.
PSY 121 Applying Cognition to Education. This course is intended to cover topics in the cognitive psychology of human memory, conceptual learning, and comprehension with special focus on areas, theory, and research that have potential application to education. Thus, the course will provide selective coverage of theoretical and empirical work in cognitive psychology that provides potential to inform and improve educational practice. The applicability of these themes to education will be explicitly developed and evaluated through the primary research literature using educationally oriented experimental paradigms.
PSY 122 Cognitive Aging. Biological and socio-emotional factors that influence cognitive aging. Readings may cover age-related changes in attention, inhibitory control across the lifespan, age-related changes in memory language, and age-related changes in source monitoring.
PSY 123 Psychopharmacology. This course introduces the systematic study of the processes by which drugs alter behavior, primarily under experimental conditions. The main theme of the course will be to learn how drugs, in concert with environmental events, influence behavior via biochemical mechanisms. The objectives of this course are: (1) to provide background in experimental psychology and pharmacology necessary for an introduction to clinical and pre-clinical psychopharmacology, (2) to provide an overview of major areas of research in behavioral pharmacology in lectures, (sleep, appetite, sex, aggression, memory, sensation and hallucination, drug abuse, anxiety, depression and psychosis), (3) to analyze and critique selected classic and contemporary research articles in various areas of behavioral pharmacology. The course begins with introducing the neuropharmacological and behavioral foundations and then focuses on weekly topics, as listed above.
PSY 124 Cognition of Games People Play. Advanced undergraduate seminar; explores cognitive processes involved in playing video, board, and card games and how playing games can affect cognitive processing. Topics may include cognitive task analysis, use of games for training, and implications of games in education. Instructor Consent required to enroll.
PSY 126 Origins of Cognition. The origins of complex cognitive behaviors in humans and other animals. Consciousness, counting, tool-using, creativity, imitation, and deceit. Evidence from comparative and developmental psychology, as well as primate studies, anthropology, archaeology, and biology. May be taken for 200-level graduate credit with permission.
PSY 128 Advanced Seminar in Nutrition and Behavior. (Cross-listed as Nutrition 128.) During the past decade, there has been an increasing awareness of the interaction between nutrition and behavior. To examine this interaction, two general themes will be pursued. First, we will investigate the effects of nutritional variables on brain functioning and behavior. Second, we will study the influence of psychological variables in determining nutritional status. Specific topics to be covered include: the effects of protein-caloric malnutrition on brain development and intellectual functioning; obesity and other eating disorders; food additives and behavior; the role of brain mechanisms in determining nutritional intake; and the importance of vitamins and minerals for behavioral functioning. The background of students in this course tends to be varied, which provides for very interesting and provocative classroom discussions.
PSY 129 Cognitive Neuroscience. In this course we will discuss research and theories concerned with understanding the relationship between cognitive processes and the underlying brain systems responsible for these processes. These will include studies in the areas of: memory, attention, development and language.
PSY 130 Advanced Engineering Psychology. This course is intended for students who have already had an introduction to engineering psychology and wish to learn more about selected topics in the area. The course is run in a seminar format, with students selecting topics of interest, doing library research and presenting in class those studies and issues they have found as their work progresses. In their presentation students will put together all they have found in a "state-of-the-art" summary for their particular topic.
PSY 131 Neuropsychology of Cognition. Cognitive Neuropsychology aims to understand the nature of cognitive processes, mostly by using data from brain-damaged individuals to inform theories of normal cognition. The course focus on the methodology by which one may use patterns of impaired performance to determine the cognitive locus of an impairment. Topics will include the anatomy and vasculature of the brain, the philosophical logic of single patient vs. multiple patient case studies, as well as cognitive neuropsychological contributions to theories of spoken and written language processing, vision, attention, and somatosensation.
PSY 133 Psychology & Law. This course will focus on applications of psychology to the study of the legal system. Drawing on theory and research from a range of areas within psychology (cognitive, developmental, clinical, and physiological, with a particular emphasis on social psychology), we will examine a variety of topics, including: criminal behavior; police interrogations and suspect confessions; lie detection; eyewitness performance; children as witnesses; persuasion in the courtroom and jury decision-making; the insanity defense. Class will consist of guest speakers, lectures, and demonstrations, but will rely heavily on student-led discussion of assigned readings.
PSY 136 Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination. History is replete with examples of differential beliefs about and treatment of others based on group membership. This is an advanced course in social psychology where we will examine a social psychological perspective on stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. In particular, this course emphasizes how a social cognition perspective in social psychology has informed our understanding of the formation, maintenance, and expression of stereotypes. In addition, we'll examine the implications that stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination have for stigmatized individuals' thoughts, behavior, and outcomes. The goal of the course is to develop students' understanding of how stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination operate in human relations.
PSY 139 Social Cognition. Psychologists interested in social cognition seek to examine the cognitive processes underlying human thought and interaction. This is an advanced course in social psychology where we will focus on a limited number of topics compared to that typically covered in an introductory social psychology course. The goal of the course is to help you to become more fluent in the issues in social cognition research.
PSY 140 Probabilistic Models of Perception and Cognition. Bayesian- and non-Bayesian models of human behavior and neuronal mechanisms underlying perception and cognition. Modeling techniques including simulations, model fitting, and model evaluation. Modeling as a scientific tool. Basic coding skills required.
PSY 141 Computational Modeling in the Cognitive Sciences. (Cross-listed as CS 134) Scientific logic of using computational models for testing theories in cognitive science. Connectionist and Bayesian models; agent-based simulation. Emphasis upon using models in combination with empirical data to test theories. Appropriate use and critical evaluation of computational modeling as found in scientific publications.
PSY 142 Seminar in Affective Neuroscience. Advanced seminar on the systems-level brain bases of emotion. Topics usually include basic theories of emotion, positive and negative affect, hemispheric asymmetries, emotional memory, emotion regulation, and selected topics in common forms of psychopathology such as depression and anxiety.
PSY 144 Memory and Retention. Cognitive, cognitive neuroscientific, and biological approaches to memory and retention. Topics may include basic memory dynamics, memory organization, imagery, pattern recognition, effects of encoding, memory development, storage and retrieval components of forgetting, amnesias (infantile, post-hypnotic, retrograde, anterograde), memory suppression, false-memory syndrome, Alzheimer's dementia, and other effects of brain injury on memory.
PSY 145 Mental Representation. This seminar-based course will explore how we mentally represent information and how we use this information. Topics will include mental representation formats, acquiring and updating mental representations, internal and external influences on mental representations, distortions and errors in representations, how mental representations are used across contexts, and atypical mental representations (e.g. synesthesia, savants).
PSY 147 Multitasking. An advanced treatment of human attention with an emphasis on multitasking. Topics include how multitasking has been conceptualized, how it has been measured, what it looks like outside the lab in more realistic settings, how individuals vary in their ability to multitask, and whether or not multitasking performance can be optimized.
PSY 149 Psychology of Language. Language is paramount among the capacities that characterize humans. We hold language as a marker of our humanity and by understanding language, we assume that we will understand something important about ourselves. In this course we will ask, and try to answer questions such as the following: Is our capacity for language a biological endowment unique to the human species? How do we produce and understand sentences? What might cause us to fail at either task? What is meaning, and how does language express it? How do social situations change our language use?
PSY 150 Semantics. (Cross-listed as Phil 111 and Ling 113) The structure of meaning as it is encoded in human language and processed by the human brain. Mentalistic theories of sense and reference; word meanings; combining word meanings into phrasal meanings; aspects of meaning not conveyed by words.
PSY 151 Syntactic Theory. Syntactic theory, the study of grammatical structure, is the core subcomponent of contemporary linguistics. Topics of the course include: Syntactic categories, phase structure, long-distance dependencies, the balance between grammar and lexicon and between syntax and semantics, syntactic universals, and the innate predispositions required for children to learn the syntactic structure of their native languages. Multiple theoretical approaches will be compared.
PSY 153 Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Processing. (Cross-listed as Ling 153) The neurocognitive basis of language processing, with a focus on higher-level language comprehension. Primary literature focusing on neuroimaging techniques, including event-related potentials (ERPs), magneto-encephalography (MEG), and functional MRI. The computational principles underlying language comprehension (e.g., probabilistic prediction; interactive and incremental processing and decision making). The neuroanatomical basis and the time-course of neural circuits engaged in language processing.
PSY 154 Psychosis. A seminar course focusing on the symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations, delusions and thought disorder and psychotic disorders (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). Examination of psychotic phenomena and disorders from multiple theoretical perspectives: clinical diagnosis, etiology and pathogenesis, genetics, neurochemistry, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuroscience, including neuroimaging.
PSY 155 Phonological Theory. (Cross-listed as Ling 154) An introduction to phonological analysis -- the study of the sound patterns of the world's languages. Topics will include the structure of phonological representations (features, syllables, metrical structure), cross-linguistic universals, and how abstract phonological competence is related to articulatory and perceptual processes. Analysis of primary linguistic data and introduction to current debates in phonological theory.
PSY 156 Long Term Memory Processes. Focus on the cognitive and biological factors involved in long-term memory processes. In-depth analysis of declarative and non-declarative long-term memory processes from formation to retrieval with a focus on hormonal, genetic, and pathological factors. Laboratory component emphasizing methodologies and procedures relevant to long term memory behavioral and physiological research.
PSY 157 Multisensory Perception. Exploration of behavioral and neuroscientific markers of multisensory integration, the combination of information across the senses. The physiological basis of multisensory perception, its interplay with attention, and computational models describing the mechanisms of multisensory integration.
PSY 159 Emotion, Stress, and Health. Survey of the psychological and biological underpinnings of emotion and stress. Topics usually include theories of emotion and stress; the influence of culture, cognition, and social relationships; the role of the endocrine, immune, peripheral and central nervous systems; stress-related disease and stress management.
PSY 181, 182 Senior Capstone in Clinical Psychology. This is a year-long (5 semester hour credits per semester) weekly senior capstone seminar for the Clinical Psychology Majors. It runs alongside a volunteer fieldwork placement, clinical research project or other type of senior project (minimum 12-16 hours per week). Students' clinical and research experiences and projects are discussed and analyzed: multiple aspects of diagnosis and clinical management and clinical research are covered. By the end of this two-semester course, students will gain important insights into clinical work and research in a range of mental health/human service settings. Intended for students interested in medical school, clinical psychology graduate programs, clinical research and all other careers involving work within the field of mental health and related disciplines. Senior clinical majors only.
PSY 191 Independent Research: Projects in Psychology. Fall semester listing for advanced undergraduates who wish to participate in all phases of a research project. The student's contribution to the research should be at a higher level than for PSY 91/92, demonstrating increased independence and autonomy, with the potential for inclusion as a co-author of a conference presentation or publication. A final paper or presentation is required. Students interested in PSY 191 should speak with potential faculty supervisors far in advance of course registration period. Pre-requisites: Completion of one semester of research (usually PSY 91/92) and consent of the supervising faculty member. Offered in Fall.
PSY 192 Independent Research: Projects in Psychology. Spring semester listing for advanced undergraduates who wish to participate in all phases of a research project. The student's contribution to the research should be at a higher level than for PSY 91/92, demonstrating increased independence and autonomy, with the potential for inclusion as a co-author of a conference presentation or publication. A final paper or presentation is required. Students interested in PSY 192 should speak with potential faculty supervisors far in advance of course registration period. Pre-requisites: Completion of one semester of research (usually PSY 91/92) and consent of the supervising faculty member. Offered in Spring.
PSY 195 Senior Seminar in Cognitive & Brain Science. Fall semester weekly meeting for seniors majoring or minoring in Cognitive and Brain Science. Provides a forum for discussion, as well as exposing students to a range of faculty and graduate student research. Prerequisites: Seniors majoring or minoring in Cognitive & Brain Science.
PSY 196 Seminar in Psychology. Contemporary problems in selected areas of psychology. Details for current seminars provided here.
PSY 199 Senior Honors Thesis. If you plan to do an honor's thesis, you must sign up for PSYCHOLOGY 199 both Fall and Spring of your senior year. Discuss this with a faculty sponsor.
Graduate standing is required to enroll in courses at the 200-level and above. In addition to the courses listed below, psychology graduate students may enroll in 100-level courses, courses in other departments at Tufts, and courses at other schools in the consortium.
Graduate students in our PhD program are required to take year-long proseminar and statistics course sequences in their first year. Together these courses foster professional development and statistical competence and build community. The proseminar sequence is only available to first-year graduate students in our program. The statistics sequence is available to graduate students in any program as space permits.
PSY 201, 202 Proseminar in Psychology. This course is designed to support professional development and written and oral communication in the first year of Psychology's graduate program. Students will attend talks in- and outside their area of study, discuss tools and techniques to support forward progress in the program, and write and present about their first-year project research. Offered yearly.
PSY 207 Advanced Statistics I. Introduction to probability theory and the logical basis of statistical inference. Binomial and normal models are examined. Analysis of variance models are introduced with consideration of their implication in research design. Some nonparametric tests are considered. Offered every Fall.
PSY 208 Advanced Statistics II. This course builds upon the material covered in Psychology 207 (Advanced Statistics I). The bulk of the course will focus on ANOVA and regression models appropriate for the analysis of a variety of experimental designs. In addition, we will overview a range of multivariate and nonparametric techniques. Offered every Spring.
Core courses are comprehensive, professional-level surveys of a particular area of psychology that go beyond the instructor’s specialized area of research. Graduate students in our PhD program are required to take at least two core courses. Core courses can also be used to fulfill any of five elective requirements, including the career preparation course requirement. Because they are key to the field, students should ideally take more than two core courses when possible. Core courses require graduate standing.
PSY 231 Core Course in Neuroscience. The goal of this course is to help graduate students integrate neurobiology and its methods with behavioral and motivational issues in psychology. We will cover the essentials of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurochemistry and use that information to understand current theories and experiments on the biological bases of sexual behavior and sexual differentiation, hunger and body weight control, and learning and memory. Readings will include texts in neuroscience and original literature in physiological psychology. We will discuss the readings and, in these discussions, I will take into account the varying levels of familiarity with this literature and the different interests of the students. This heterogeneity can be an asset in a seminar and lead to the uncovering of some interesting alternative perspectives. During the semester each student will pick one topic in physiological psychology to research in depth and write a paper on that subject. In addition, there will be a comprehensive exam at the end of the course. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 232 Core Course in Cognitive Psychology. An integrative survey of cognitive psychology focusing on the broad theoretical issues that pervade the field, such as, the nature of knowledge representation, discrete versus continuous processing, connectionism versus symbolic processing, and other aspects of cognitive architecture. These issues will be related to specific content areas, such as attention, memory, language processing, reasoning and problem solving, cognitive development, social cognition, animal cognition, and neuroscience (particularly electrophysiology). Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 233 Core Course in Social Psychology. This course offers an advanced overview of theory and research in social psychology. Major representative topic areas will be covered, including person perception, social cognition, social influence, attitudes, intergroup relations, and the self. Emphasis will be placed on seminal, classic experiments in social psychology, as well as contemporary methodologies, findings, and theoretical perspectives. The course format will consist of seminar-style discussions, student presentations, and mini-lectures and demonstrations. This course fulfills one of the core course requirements in the graduate curriculum of the Psychology Department. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 234 Core Course in Developmental Psychology. This course offers an advanced overview of current perspectives and issues in developmental psychology. Topics to be covered include perceptual-motor development, language acquisition and rules of cognitive development. These will be linked to social development. Emphasis will be placed on development as a process in time and on the determinants and constraints which affect that process. Course format will be variable, including mini-lectures, seminar-style discussions, and student presentations. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 235 Core Course in Emotion & Psychopathology. Exploration of current perspectives on emotion, psychopathology, and their intersection. Topics include theories of emotion, manipulation and measurement of affective processes, and the phenomenology, classification, biology, course, and treatment of major psychological disorders, with special emphasis on disorders involving altered emotions. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
Specialized courses are meant to help students achieve depth of understanding of a specific area of psychology, typically one that represents the instructor’s area of research expertise. Specialized courses can be used to fulfill any of five elective requirements in our PhD program including the career preparation course requirement.
Many specialized courses are cross-listed at the 100-level and, thus, are taken by both graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate students who register for 200-level credit generally must meet a higher standard for depth of exploration and understanding than those who register for 100-level credit.
PSY 210 Computer Programming for Psychology. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) Computer programming in modern psychology for both data collection and analysis. Introductory computer science concepts, including writing basic data-collection programs in Python, and automated data analysis scripts in R. Previous programming experience not required. Last offered in Spring 2020; no current plan to offer.
PSY 212 Human Communication. This course is aimed at providing the basic theoretical knowledge about the human communication system, as seen from the perspective of the information processing in the communicating individual. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 216 Psychology of Fear. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) Seminar on the emotion of fear and fear-related disorders: anxiety and traumatic stress disorders. Manifestation of fear at behavioral and neurobiological levels. Development, maintenance, and cognitive behavioral treatment of fear-related disorders. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 218 Developmental Theory and Research. Contemporary problems in developmental psychology related to developmental theory. Typically offered every 5-6 years.
PSY 222 Cognitive Aging. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) This seminar explores a range of topics within cognitive aging. Readings will include journal articles focusing on age-related changes in attention, inhibitory control across the lifespan, age-related changes in memory language, and age-related changes in source monitoring. Last offered in Fall 2018; no current plan to offer.
PSY 224 Cognition of Games People Play. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) Explores cognitive processes involved in playing video, board, and card games and how playing games can affect cognitive processing. Topics may include cognitive task analysis, use of games for training, and implications of games in education. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 229 Cognitive Neuroscience. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) An advanced examination of the brain basis of cognitive processes. Topics will include object recognition, face processing, language processing, human electrophysiology, neuroplasticity, and laterality of brain systems. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 240 Probabilistic Models of Perception and Cognition. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) Bayesian- and non-Bayesian models of human behavior and neuronal mechanisms underlying perception and cognition. Modeling techniques including simulations, model fitting, and model evaluation. Modeling as a scientific tool. Basic coding skills required. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 243 Structure and Process in Cognitive Theory. This seminar focuses on problems of distinguishing between theoretical cognitive structures and processes, and empirical methods for separating structural and processing components of performance in particular cognitive domains. Topics include computation versus search in models of semantic memory; analog versus propositional knowledge representation in models of mental imagery; attention; automaticity, and modularity. No current plan to offer.
PSY 244 Cognition/Learning. Seminar on contemporary issues in the areas of cognition, memory and learning. Last offered in Spring 2019; no current plan to offer.
PSY 245 Mental Representations. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) General interest graduate seminar on mentally representing and using information. Topics include mental representation formats, acquiring and updating mental representations, internal and external influences on mental representations, distortions and errors in representations, and how mental representations are used across contexts. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 247 Nature of Scientific Discoveries. This seminar will focus on the cognitive and social processes of scientific discovery. What thought processes are involved in making important discoveries? Why are some more successful at this than others. How do we identify important problems for study? Is there a science to conducting science? Are there ways that we can enhance our own chances of making an important contribution to science by examining these processes? These and related questions will form and inform the discussion in this class. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 248 The Predictive Mind. This course aims to investigate the theory that the mind/brain is essentially a hypothesis-testing machine that attempts to minimize the error of its predictions about the input it receives from the world. Evidence for and against this theory will be examined from the perspective of both cognitive and neural functioning. Multiple domains of cognition will be covered, ranging from animal learning theory, basic perceptual processes (visual and auditory), attention, executive function, higher-order visual cognition, language processing and cognitive development. The course is geared towards graduate students who have some background knowledge in cognitive psychology and cognitive science. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 251 Cognitive Science of Language. The aim of this seminar is to review the cognitive principles and architecture of adult language processing. Basic principles underlying language processing will be examined from the perspective of cognitive and neural function. We will read and analyze papers that have used multiple cognitive science techniques to probe the mechanisms of language comprehension, ranging from computational modeling, behavioral and eye tracking methods, to neural methods. We will also examine links between language comprehension, production and other domains of cognitive function. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
PSY 254 Psychosis. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) A seminar course focusing on the symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations, delusions and thought disorder and psychotic disorders (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). Examination of psychotic phenomena and disorders from multiple theoretical perspectives: clinical diagnosis, etiology and pathogenesis, genetics, neurochemistry, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuroscience, including neuroimaging. Relevant original papers and reviews from all these perspectives will be discussed and presented. No current plan to offer.
PSY 256 Long Term Memory Processes. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) Focus on the cognitive and biological factors involved in long-term memory processes. In-depth analysis of declarative and non-declarative long-term memory processes from formation to retrieval with a focus on hormonal, genetic, and pathological factors. Laboratory component emphasizing methodologies and procedures relevant to long term memory behavioral and physiological research. Last offered in Fall 2022; no current plan to offer.
PSY 257 Multisensory Perception. (Cross-listed as a 100-level course.) Exploration of behavioral and neuroscientific markers of multisensory integration, the combination of information across the senses. The physiological basis of multisensory perception, its interplay with attention, and computational models describing the mechanisms of multisensory integration. Typically offered every 2-3 years.
Career Preparation Courses
Career preparation courses help students gain knowledge and/or skills that will be useful in their post-PhD careers. Career preparation courses can be used to fulfill any of five elective requirements including, not surprisingly, the career preparation course requirement. (The career preparation requirement can be satisfied by any 200-level course in PSY or another department.)
PSY 260 Seminar: Teaching in Psychology. This seminar focuses on how to teach and related pedagogical issues. Because it is designed to help prepare students for being a teaching assistant, this course is strongly suggested as the one to take in meeting the master's degree requirements. Typically offered every 3-4 years.
PSY 261 Seminar on Research in Psychology. This seminar focuses on research-related issues. Topics to be covered include, for instance, writing a research article, grant writing and preparation, and laboratory management. Typically offered every 5-6 years.
PSY 262 Rigorous & Reproducible Research Practices. This course will provide graduate students with an overview of contemporary debates and practical solutions to conducting rigorous, reproducible quantitative research. Students will come away having developed a principled understanding of relevant concepts (e.g., replication, power and sample size planning, preregistration, sharing data and materials) and a set of concrete tools for producing and consuming high-quality science. Typically offered every 3-4 years.
Graduate students in our PhD program spend most of their time planning, doing, presenting, and publishing their research. They earn credit for their research by enrolling in the research courses described below. These courses are available to graduate students in our PhD program only; students should register for their primary advisor’s section.
PSY 289, 290 Graduate Research I & II. Guided research on a topic that has been approved as a suitable subject for a first-year project. PSY 289 is offered in Fall; PSY 290 is offered in Spring. Graduate students take this in their first year.
PSY 291, 292 Graduate Research Advanced I & II. (Formerly PSY 293, 294.) Guided research on a topic that has been approved as a suitable subject for a conceptual review, typically conducted in preparation for dissertation research. PSY 291 is offered in Fall; PSY 292 is offered in Spring. Graduate students take these in their third year.
PSY 293, 294 Graduate Research III & IV. Guided research on a topic that has been approved as a mechanism for demonstrating comprehensive, increasingly independent expertise, typically supporting one’s dissertation project. PSY 293 is offered in Fall; PSY 294 is offered in Spring. Graduate students take these in their fourth year.
PSY 295, 296 Master's Thesis. Guided research on a topic that has been approved as a suitable subject for a master's thesis. PSY 295 is offered in Fall; PSY 296 is offered in Spring. Graduate students take these in their second year. They should plan a project that will enable them to defend their master’s thesis by the end of the second year.
PSY 297, 298, 299 Doctoral Dissertation. Guided research on a topic that has been approved as a suitable subject for a doctoral dissertation. PSY 297 and 299 are offered in Fall; PSY 298 is offered in Spring. Graduate students take these in their fourth and fifth years. They should plan a project that will enable them to defend their dissertation by the end of the fifth year.
PSY 405, 406 Graduate Teaching/Research Assistant. Graduate student workers register for one of these 0-credit courses when earning a stipend as a teaching or research assistant at Tufts. Offered every semester.
PSY 501, 502 Doctoral Continuation, Part-time (PT)/Full-time (FT). Graduate students register for full-time doctoral continuation credits (PSY 502) to maintain full-time status in the program when they are actively pursuing the PhD degree but taking less than the equivalent of 9 or more credits. (Although part-time doctoral continuation [PSY 501] is an option, it is almost never applicable to students in our full-time program.) Offered every semester.