Swift Thinking: Fall 2013

Registration Information

Winter Courses

A table showing our anticipated Winter 2014 course offerings is available online. Please check this table and the Registrar's website for updates. Descriptions of Psychology courses are available on the Registrar’s site.

The department plan for the 2013-2014 Academic Year  with all our undergraduate offerings can be found online as well. This can assist you in planning for your Spring courses.

Preregistering for Winter Courses

The Psychology department will be offering preregistration through CAESAR for most of our courses the week prior to regular registration. To see which courses are available for preregistration, look at the “prereg” column in our Winter 2014 course table. All students listed as psychology or cognitive science majors or minors in the registrar's database should be able to preregister through CAESAR for these courses. The last day for students to declare a major in order to pre-register for Spring quarter is Friday, Feb. 7th.

Preregistration times are announced by the Registrar's Office. You can preregister for at most two courses.

Wait Lists

Psychology courses are very popular, and they often close during registration. What should you do if a course you want to take has closed? That depends on which course it is.

For most of our courses, we will use the "electronic wait list" function on CAESAR. If you try to add a course that is full, CAESAR will tell you there are no openings and will ask if you would like to be on the wait list. As students drop the course, we will check the electronic wait list and send permission numbers to students who can enroll.

All Psychology courses will require department permission during the add period (the first week of winter classes). Course professors will submit lists of students whom they have agreed to add to their courses, and these students will then receive permission from the department office. In many cases, available slots will be offered to interested students who come to the first class and are nearest the top of the CAESAR wait list.

Registering for PSYCH 205-Research Methods

Students listed in CAESAR as majoring or minoring in psychology, cognitive science, or music cognition may preregister for PSYCH 205 through CAESAR. Make sure you have the statistics prerequisite (see below) before you enroll. Once regular registration starts, any student with the prerequisite may enroll. When a section fills, a CAESAR wait list will be started. If students drop the course, we will check the wait list and give permission to students who can now enroll.

Special Psych 205 Sections

We will be offering two special sections of Research Methods this year; one that includes discussion sections and one that is only for sophomores. Greg Miller will teach the discussion section based 205. The course and meets Monday from 3:30 to 4:30, with students breaking up into smaller discussion sections once a week. The discussion sections meet on Wednesday from 3:30 – 5:30. Students in these classes must sign up for both the lecture and a discussion section.

Karl Rosengren will be offering a section of 205 just for sophomores. This course meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 – 10:50.

Statistics prerequisite. PSYCH 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology or an approved substitute is a prerequisite for all sections of PSYCH 205. We will regularly check class rosters for PSYCH 205 during the registration process. Those who lack the prerequisite will be required to drop the course. You must complete the prerequisite before taking PSYCH 205. For example, if you are in PSYCH 201 this Fall, you may sign up for Psych 205 for Winter because you will complete PSYCH 201 before Winter quarter starts. However, you may not take both PSYCH 205 and the prerequisite during the same quarter.

Research Courses Requiring Department or Instructor Permission: 397-1,2, 398-2, and 399

One great way to learn more about psychological research is to become actively involved in research activities through PSYCH 399-Independent Study or the two-quarter PSYCH 397-Advanced Supervised Research. This is especially valuable for students considering graduate study in psychology, and it can be an educational and enjoyable experience for others as well. To enroll in PSYCH 397 or PSYCH 399, get an application in the department office, fill it out, and have it signed by the professor with whom you will be working. Then, take the signed application to the department office to get permission to register for the course.

PSYCH 205-Research Methods in Psychology is a prerequisite for PSYCH 397. For more information on 397 and 399 -- including the differences between them, how they count towards requirements, and tips on finding a research adviser -- see our webpage on doing research for course credit. PSYCH 397-2 fulfills the upper-level research requirement for the psychology major. Students who will be taking PSYCH 398-Senior Honors Seminar next quarter will also need permission to enroll. The course will be set up in CAESAR so that only those on the list provided by Dr. Waxman, the Honors Coordinator, will be able to register for the course

Special Courses For Winter Quarter

In Winter 2014 the Psychology department will be offering four sections of PSYCH 314-Special Topics, two sections of PSYCH 357-Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social, and two sections of PSYCH 358-Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience. The topics for these special courses, as well as their prerequisites (when available), are listed below, along with course descriptions provided by the instructors.

PSYCH 314-0-23: Special Topics: Sins of Memory: From Freudian slips to Alzheimer Disease

Aryeh Routtenberg

There are several neuroclinical disorders in which memory disturbances are well-known such as Alzheimer's disease, Korsakoff's, Epilepsy. But memory dysfunction is also apparent in other disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and Parkinson's disease. What is the nature of the memory disorder in these cases? Are there common neural substrates that are pathological? Answers to these questions will be sought in the current primary literature.

Suggested prerequisite: 212 or 312-1; the Biological Sciences 210 sequence is recommended

PSYCH 314-0-22: Special Topics: Schools of Psychotherapy

Carol Donnelly

Clinical psychology is the application of theoretical perspectives to an individual, couple or group for the purpose of psychological healing. This course will investigate, within a biological-psychological-social framework, the major theoretical perspectives and their views on normal, abnormal development and their therapeutic interventions. Special focus will be given to competing and controversial perspectives both between and within paradigms. The emphasis will be on Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioral, Dialectical (DBT), Humanistic, and Psychopharmacological approaches with some background discussion on recent developments in Neuroscience.

Prerequisite: Psych 110 and Psych 303

PSYCH 314-0-20: Special Topics in Psychology: Buddhist Psychology

Marcia Grabowecky

In this seminar we will examine the nature of the mind from both Buddhist and traditional Western psychological perspectives. We will employ a Buddhist technique for investigating mental activity by incorporating a brief meditation period into class and homework activities. We will also examine written materials from both traditions, and these will form the primary basis for class discussion and examinations.

Prerequisite: Psychology 110

314-0-21: Special Topics in Psychology: Non-Laboratory Research Methods

Doug Medin

As you know by now, psychological research is overwhelmingly based on laboratory studies conducted with undergraduates as major research universities. This strategy is useful if the results from lab studies generalize to the world at large (and to other peoples). There are reasons to be worried about this single-minded focus on lab studies and this course will consider a number of strategies that have potential for diversifying psychological research. As its title suggests, this course will focus on research conducted outside psychology labs. We will read and discuss a variety of examples of non-laboratory research, but the main focus will be for students to actually conduct some research outside the laboratory. Over the term students will be involved in three non-laboratory research projects.

PSYCH 357-0-21: Advanced Seminar-Personality/Clinical/Social: Identity & Motivation

Mesmin Destin

This discussion-based course focuses on the connection between conceptions of the self and goal-oriented motivation, with particular attention devoted to the influence of social, structural, and cultural forces. The first segment of the term will cover classic theoretical work concerning the self and identity. Next, we will consider the relevance of a variety of social influences on identity and motivation. Finally, the course will close with a survey of contemporary identity-based intervention research and practical applications relating to trends in social inequalities, including education and health. PSYCH 205 is a prerequisite for this course. The course counts toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) and upper-level research requirements for the major.

Prerequisite: Psychology 205

357-0-20: Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical or Social: Anxiety and Its Disorders Richard Zinbarg

Anxiety is nearly universal and is almost certainly adaptive. Yet the central features of a class of psychiatric disorders that many people suffer from are various manifestations of anxiety. And the symptoms of anxiety disorders come in an almost bewildering array of manifestations subsuming such diverse phenomena as a pounding or racing heart, the perception of derealization, intrusive and repetitive thoughts, sensitivity to negative evaluation, compulsive rituals, worry and flashbacks of traumatic events. In addition, the symptoms of anxiety disorders co-occur with depression so frequently it can difficult to distinguish them from each other. What then determines whether anxiety is experienced within healthy and adaptive limits or spirals out of control into an emotional disorder? What are the relations among the various manifestations of anxiety such as panic attacks and the worry associated with generalized anxiety and between anxiety and depression? And what types of interventions are effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety disorders? In this course we will explore these questions by reviewing research on anxiety performed by cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. Evaluations will be based on preparation of discussion questions, class participation and several written assignments.

Prerequisites: Psychology 201, 205 and 303 are required

358-0-21: Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Mind and Communication

William Horton

A critical aspect of social interaction is the capacity to reason about the mental states of others, and also to understand that other people have beliefs and knowledge that are different from your own. This capacity influences not only how we interpret what other people say and do, but also how we communicate our own thoughts and desires. In this research seminar, we will read and discuss a selection of original theoretical and empirical literature related to perspective-taking and communication. These readings will cover topics such as: when and how young children acquire an understanding of others' minds, evidence for failures of perspective-taking in adult communication, and the role that "mirror neurons" may play in human interaction. There will be 2-3 readings each week. Students will be expected to prepare brief responses to each set of readings and to participate in class discussions. The bulk of the course grade will be based on a final research paper.

358-0-20: Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Visual Thinking

Steven Franconeri

The human brain is severely limited in how much it can process and remember. How many times have you watched presenters ignore these limits, producing an information 'fire hose' effect where their audience understands and retains far too little? This class will survey techniques for avoiding this problem in your presentations, by understanding why and where our cognitive and perceptual limitations arise. We will focus on harnessing the power of a processing system that occupies over 40% of your viewer's brain - their visual system. We will explore visual presentation strategies that keep an audience's attention engaged, and a speaker's message understood and remembered. Course grading will be based on class participation, discussion board postings, occasional quizzes on readings, and a class presentation.

Undergraduate Advising in Psychology

Psychology department advisers are available to talk with undergraduates about major and minor requirements, course selections, career choices, and how to plan an undergraduate program that will best prepare you for whatever you might do next. They are also good resources for learning about research opportunities in our department. You should see an adviser to complete your official Graduation Petition, which you should file at the registrar's office one year before your expected graduation date (typically in spring of your junior year).

The current department advisers for Psychology students are:

  • Karl Rosengren
  • Joan Linsenmeier
  • Sara Broaders
  • Ben Gorvine
  • David Smith

To make an appointment with any of these department advisers, call or stop by the department office, Swift 102, 847-491-5190. While all advisers can help you with major and minor requirements, some advisers have a special focus.

Advising for freshmen. David Smith is a good resource for freshmen considering majoring or minoring in psychology.

Study abroad applications. If you plan to study abroad and need a department signature on your Study Abroad application, you should set up a meeting with Joan Linsenmeier or Sara Broaders.

Requirement substitutions. Joan Linsenmeier and Sara Broaders are the only advisers who can:

  • approve the counting of courses taken abroad toward department requirements
  • approve the counting of credits from other US and Canadian schools
  • approve other non-standard ways of completing our requirements

Students with an interest in clinical psychology and related careers. Ben Gorvine is a good resource for students with an interest in clinical psychology.

Graduate study in Psychology. If you’re thinking of attending graduate school in Psychology, you should meet with faculty members whose areas of interest are similar to their own.

News from the Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA)

By: Zara Quader, UPA President

The UPA Exec Board is excited to welcome all new and old Psychology majors to a new school year! We had a great time meeting all prospective majors and minors at both the Fall Activities Fair and the Majors Fair this year. UPA has already had some great events this quarter, and we look forward to seeing you guys at our upcoming ones as well.

We had a great turnout at our information session this quarter! We had many attendees who offered us great ideas for programming they would like to see out of UPA this quarter, all the while enjoying pizza! A quick summary of our fall quarter events: we host graduate student, research, and career panels, sponsor a “Lunch with a Prof.”, hold social events, and more! Thanks to everyone that provided suggestions about what events you’d like to see UPA put on in the future, and we will do our best to accommodate your requests.

UPA has also been working closely with the Psychology Department advising staff in order to both improve the advising system and foster more of a community within the department. Again, if you have any more suggestions, feel free to contact us!

Last week, UPA held our first Lunch with a Prof. of the quarter! Nineteen students joined Professor Gorvine for an intimate lunch held in Norris and sponsored by UPA! Professor Gorvine’s research, classes, and general life were discussed, and lots of positive feedback was given to us about the event. Lunch with a Prof. is usually held once a quarter, but for this Fall Quarter, we are actually planning another one the week of November 18th with Prof. Reber! Professor Reber conducts fMRI studies and teaches cognitive and neuroscience classes. Keep checking your email for updates on how to sign up as the date approaches!

We also have a great upcoming event during reading week that we are working on with the Psychology Department faculty in which we will showcase a few of the Psych labs in Swift, and help interested students find ways to get involved with Psychology research on campus. Stay tuned for more details on this event as well!

To join the listserv and receive our most up-to-date news, send us an e-mail at upa.northwestern@gmail.com. Also be sure to check out and like our Facebook page, “Northwestern Undergraduate Psychology Association”. And as always, if you have any suggestions, comment, or questions about UPA, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are looking forward to a great quarter with you!

NU Library Portal for Psychology Students and Faculty

The Northwestern University library has created a website providing links to useful resources for Psychology students and faculty. The place to start is http://libguides.northwestern.edu/Psychology.

From there, you can quickly get to PsycInfo and to other tools for searching Psychology journals, to online versions of useful books, to guides on writing in APA style, to Psychology articles in the general media, and more. This can be a great asset if you’re preparing an assignment for one of your courses, or if you just want to explore topics that intrigue you. Take a look!

Psychology Students and Chicago Field Studies

Are you thinking about doing an internship in some area that interests you? Many psychology students do internships for academic credit through Northwestern’s Chicago Field Studies program. Internships are available with a wide range of Chicago-area businesses and organizations—organizations focused on mental health, education, and other social services, legal and environmental organizations, financial services, health clinics, start-ups, and market research groups, among others. For more on options for psychology students, including a list of sites where psychology students have interned, see our webpage on Psychology and Chicago Field Studies

Getting practical, hands-on experience in fields you find intriguing can help you see links between your academic studies and real-world issues. It is a good way to learn more about which career paths might be best for you. In addition, it can become a valuable credential when you apply for a job or for graduate study. Keep in mind that many work experiences not labeled as “internships” provide similar opportunities and benefits. See our webpage on Internships and Field Studies  for more information and ideas.

Resources for Students Interested in Research

The Provost’s office has developed a searchable database to assist you in learning about new opportunities to get involved in research on campus. The Undergrad ARCH (Accessing Research and Creative Help) currently has links to over 200 opportunities and is being updated regularly! Just click on this link for more information: http://undergradresearch.northwestern.edu/research-opportunities

Also, check out Northwestern’s undergraduate research website for all undergraduates interested in, or just thinking about, research. This site addresses such topics as how to get involved in research, how to find research opportunities throughout the university, outlets for presenting research findings, and more. It includes information on how to write a research proposal, as well as examples of successful student proposals from recent years.

Northwestern’s Undergraduate Research Grants (URGs), coordinated by the Provost’s Office, fund independent academic and creative work in all fields of study. Under faculty supervision, URG winners immerse themselves in novel scholarly projects in the laboratory, the library, or the studio, on campus and around the world. All undergraduate students are eligible for these grants. They can be used to support research during the academic year and summer, as well as travel to present your work at conferences.

Lab Notes

From the Joormann Lab:

The Joormann lab studies the role that cognition and emotion regulation play in the development and maintenance of mood and anxiety disorders. We are currently starting a project that seeks to examine the relation between cognitive control and people’s ability to use specific strategies to regulate their emotions, and we are looking for new research assistants to help with this project. Research assistants will conduct phone interviews to screen potential participants for current and past psychopathology, and they will help collect and process self-report and behavioral data. If you are interested in volunteering as a research assistant in our lab, please contact Dr. Joormann at jutta.joormann@northwestern.edu.

From the McAdams Lab:

The Foley Center for the Study of Lives is an interdisciplinary research group directed by Professor Dan P. McAdams. Bringing together perspectives from psychology, sociology, education, and the humanities, the Foley Center focuses on research into adult social and personality development, with an emphasis on the kinds of stories that people create to give their lives meaning and purpose. We are currently conducting a number of studies that involve analyzing autobiographical memories of emotionally intense experiences, such as life story high points and low points. If you are interested in getting involved in this research or learning more about our projects, feel free to contact Dan McAdams at <dmca@northwestern.edu> or Professor Gina Logan at <rlogan@northwestern.edu>.

From the Paller Lab:

For those who are interested in learning more about the research currently being conducted in Ken Paller’s Lab, check out this video.

Recent honors and URGC-funded summer projects completed by NU undergrads focused on: (1) memory activation during sleep to improve spatial memory; (2) memory activation during sleep to improve memory for stories; and (3) learning to make accurate intuitive judgments in a recognition test based on implicit memory.

Awards for Undergraduates

The Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Award

The Psychology Department is happy to announce an award to fund student travel to professional conferences. The Undergraduate Travel Award provides funds to support students presenting their work at conferences. The money can be used to pay for conference fees and travel expenses.

Preference will go to students who are first author on the presentation. Applications will be considered on a “rolling” basis. Please submit your applications to Karl Rosengren <k-rosengren@northwestern.edu> via email. Put "Undergraduate Travel Award" in the subject line of the email. In the email, please include the following information:

  • Name
  • Class (e.g., sophomore, junior, senior)
  • Name of conference
  • Conference location
  • Dates of conference
  • Title of presentation
  • Author/s on presentation (in order)
  • Abstract of conference presentation (250 words or less)

In addition to providing this information, please ask your faculty sponsor to write a brief letter of recommendation describing your role in the research. This letter can be emailed to Dr. Rosengren as well. Please ask your faculty sponsor to put “Undergraduate Travel Award” in the subject line.

Funds for Summer Research

It's not winter yet, but it's also not too soon to start thinking about summer – and about the possibility of spending your summer doing research in our department. Each summer the Psychology Department offers two or more undergraduates a Benton J. Underwood Summer Research Fellowship. Professor Underwood was chair of the Psychology department and a distinguished researcher in the field of memory. He worked to establish the fund that makes these fellowships possible.

Acceptance of an Underwood Fellowship implies a commitment to spend most of your summer working on research here at Northwestern with a Psychology professor. Your exact schedule will be worked out with the professor who supervises your research. Both current juniors and current sophomores can apply for this award. However, priority will be given to current juniors. Work on an Underwood project often serves as the foundation for a senior honors project. (Receipt of an Underwood fellowship does not guarantee acceptance to our honors program.)

If you are interested in doing research this coming summer, you should look into other funding sources too. All Underwood applicants should also apply for a Northwestern University Summer Research Grant from the Provost’s Office. Weinberg College also; funds for summer research by students. Different funding sources have different selection criteria, and applying to more than one will enhance your chances of receiving an award.

To apply for an Underwood Fellowship, follow these steps:

  • Choose a faculty member to supervise your research and talk with him or her about what you will be doing and what your time commitment will be. You should also talk with the faculty member about the need for Institutional Review Board approval for your planned project.
  • Prepare an application in which you include (a) a statement describing your plans for this research; this can be the same proposal you submit to the university's grants committee; (b) a copy of your transcript (an unofficial transcript is fine); and (c) information about your general interests in psychology, your relevant course work, your previous research experience, and anything else that you think is relevant.
  • Have the faculty member who will supervise your research write a confidential letter of support for your application.
  • Get your application and letter of support to Joan Linsenmeier (j-linsenmeier@northwestern.edu) by Friday March 14, 2014. This is also the deadline for submitting summer grant applications to the University's Undergraduate Research Grants Committee.

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