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PSY101B: General Psychology — Fall 2013

This is an introductory course with major emphasis on basic concepts which characterize the laws of behavior. Topics include observation and measurement, learning, motivation, and important physiological, social and personality influence on normal and abnormal behavior are studied

This course also meets the college's Social Sciences General Education requirement. The student learning objectives for this category are as follows:

Courses in this category provide students with “understanding of the methods social scientists use to explore social phenomena” and “knowledge of the major concepts of one or more disciplines in the social sciences” (SUNY Required Learning Outcomes). Courses focus on developing in students an understanding and appreciation of the complexity of our world, the great ideas and cultures of the world, the nature of society, and the moral responsibility of the individual (Plattsburgh General Education Objectives). Courses reinforce the students’ ability to read with comprehension, to communicate effectively in written and spoken English, to use technology effectively, (while also assessing the impact of technological innovation), and to filter, analyze and critique information and experiences (Plattsburgh General Education Objectives).

classroom & time: Ward 110, Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11:00 –11:50 am.
instructor: Dr. J. Stephen Mansfield

email: steve.mansfield@plattsburgh.edu
phone: 564-3384
office: 207b Beaumont Hall
office hours: Tuesday 9–10am & Thursday 12–2pm, or email me to arrange an appointment.

Text book

Author: Griggs, R. A.
Title: Psychology: A concise introduction (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Worth (2012)
ISBN: 978-1-4292-6155-5
View in College Store


Your final grade in this class will depend on your performance in the following areas:

Class activities, participation and attendance: 4 points

Attendance is required at all class meetings.

Many classes include activities related to the day's learning materials. Missing class means you will miss these important experiences. You will indicate your attendance by signing the attendance sheet for each class. If the sign-in sheet does not reach you during class you must come to me at the end of class and sign in before you leave, otherwise you will be marked as absent.

If you have a valid reason for missing class you should keep documentation to support your excuse (e.g., a doctor's note, hospital discharge sheet, funeral notice, etc.) Provided you miss no more than six classes I will trust that you have a valid documented reason, and there is no need to bring your documentation to me. Those absences will not affect your participation-and-attendance grade.

If you miss more than six classes and you have valid documented reasons for all of these absences then you should come to me to explain your absences (bring your documentation with you), otherwise your participation-and-attendance grade will be reduced for each absence in excess of six.

Homeworks: 36 points (9 × 4 pts each)

There are 10 reading/homework assignments. For each assignment you are required to read the specified chapter from the textbook, and then answer a quiz on that chapter.

The quizzes consist of multiple-choice questions, and are administered via the web site for this course http://faculty.plattsburgh.edu/steve.mansfield/101F13homework.asp. The goal of these assignments is to ensure that you have read and are familiar with all the material from each chapter. You are allowed to refer to the book when you answer the quiz. In order to receive full credit (i.e., 4 pts) for the quiz you are required to score at least 75% correct. Partial credit will be awarded for quizzes in which you score more than 25% but less than 75% according to the following formula: credit = 4 × ( your score − 25) / 50. You may retake the quiz as many times as you like in order to improve your score. I will only take your highest score when I calculate your grade for that quiz.

I will ignore your poorest quiz when I calculate your final grade at the end of the semester.

Due dates for each assignment are given below. You must submit your quiz by midnight on the due date.

 Due Date Chapter(s)
QUIZ 19-SepChapter 1
QUIZ 218-SepChapter 2
QUIZ 32-OctChapter 3
QUIZ 49-OctChapter 4
QUIZ 523-OctChapter 5
QUIZ 630-OctChapter 6
QUIZ 78-NovChapter 7
QUIZ 815-NovChapter 8
QUIZ 94-DecChapter 9
QUIZ 1012-DecChapter 10

Important: Each time you complete a quiz and/or submit a quiz, you will receive a confirmation code. You should keep a copy of this code (e.g., cut and paste it into a file you save on your computer) — if your computer crashes before you submit your score to me, or if something else prevents me from receiving your score, you will be able to send me your confirmation code instead to verify your score on that quiz.

Note: Homework may not be done during class time. Homework assignments that are completed during class will not be scored.

Exams: 60 points (5 × 12pts each)

There will be 5 exams on the dates specified in the schedule. Each exam will consist of short-answer questions about the material covered since the previous exam.

There will be an optional final exam at the end of the semester. This final exam will have 5 sections, corresponding to the 5 exams during the semester. You can use this exam as a make-up or replacement for any of the exams that you missed or scored poorly on during the semester.

Students who arrive more than 10 minutes late for an exam will not be allowed to sit the exam.

Students who miss an exam will be allowed to sit a make-up exam only if they provide documentation of a valid reason for missing the exam (the documentation must be dated to show that the student could not take the exam at the scheduled date and time). Examples of valid reasons include illness, participation in college sports, etc. Examples of invalid reasons include needing to ride-share with another student to go home for break, oversleeping, etc. If you wish to make-up an exam please complete and submit my make-up request form (available on the course web site).

Psychology research requirement: 2 hours

All students enrolled in PSY101 are required to EITHER: participate in research conducted by members of the Psychology Department, OR: complete alternative assignments. You must complete a total of 2 hours of research and/or alternative assignments.

The requirement can be met in the following ways:

a) Research participation

For this option you will participate in research conducted by members of the Psychology Department. Participation is awarded in units of ½ hour or 1 hour, depending on the time commitment required by the study.

Research participation opportunities will be announced in class when they become available during the semester.

Some studies require students to sign up in advance. These studies will also be announced in class, but the sign-up binder will be in Beaumont 211 (this office is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm Mondays through Fridays). If you sign up for a study and fail to attend, then your final course grade in PSY101 will be reduced by 1%. If you need to cancel a scheduled study, you must follow the cancellation instructions specified by the researcher in the sign-up binder.

The last day to complete research participation is Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013.

b) Alternative assignments

If you are ineligible, unable, or unwilling to participate in the research studies you can meet the research requirement by completing alternative assignments. These are designed to approximate the time requirement for participating in research studies, and the assignments are designated as earning either ½ hour or 1 hour.

The last day to complete these alternative assignments is Wednesday Dec 11, 2013.

You have the option to mix these credits, e.g., 1½ hours of research participation and ½ hour of alernative assignments. But you must earn a total of 2 hours.

If you do not complete this requirement by December 11 then you will be given a grade of 'I' (incomplete) for PSY101. You will need to complete the remaining research credit by the end of the next semester in order to change the incomplete grade into the grade you earned.

NOTE: If you are repeating this course, you must still complete the research requirement this semester, even if you have completed it previously.

Extra credit

Extra credit can be earned in the following ways:

a) Personal Reactions (0.25% each. Maximum 6)

Write a 1-page report (approximately 300 words) that describes how the material presented in a specific class was personally relevant to you. For example: Did the material conform to your understanding of the world, or did it challenge your beliefs or opinions ... etc?

To submit a personal reaction for extra credit follow the 'personal reaction' link once you have logged into the course web site. Your reaction must be sent within one week of the day the class was given, and you must have been present in class on that day.

b) Error spotting (0.1% each.)

If you find a spelling error or a grammar error in any class materials that I distribute to you, or post on class web pages, or in a course textbook, and you are one of the first students to report it to me, I will reward you with extra credit.

To report an error for extra credit follow the 'error report' link once you have logged into the course web site. Your error report must be sent within one week of the day the material was distributed (or referred to) in class, and you must have been present in class on that day. Additionally, your error report must itself be free of errors in order to receive extra credit.

c) Research participation

You are required to complete a total of 2 hours of research participation or alternative reading assignments. It is possible that more than 2 hours of research studies will be offered during the semester. If you complete more than 2 hours then your overage will be converted to extra credit: each extra hour will add 1% to your final grade.

For each study you can EITHER participate OR do the alternative reading assignment. You cannot boost your grade by doing both. For example, if three 1-hour studies are offered during the semester then the most extra credit you can get via research is 1% (2 hours will meet the course requirement and 1 hour will be extra credit).

NOTE: I place a cap on the maximum extra credit you can earn. At most, extra credit can only raise your grade by one grade boundary (e.g., from a D to a D+, from a C+ to a B-, ..., etc.).


Your letter grade will be determined according to the following table.

≥ 93A
≥ 90 and < 93A−
≥ 87 and < 90B+
≥ 84 and < 87B
≥ 81 and < 84B−
≥ 78 and < 81C+
≥ 75 and < 78C
≥ 72 and < 75C−
≥ 69 and < 72D+
≥ 63 and < 69D
< 63 E

The final application of these guidelines is subject to the discretion of the instructor.

Note: Except for the extra-credit opportunities stated in this syllabus, students will not be allowed to do any additional "extra work" to make up for poor performance in class.


If you do not understand something, or you are unsure how to complete an assignment, the first thing you should do is contact me. I will help you if you ask.

Use your official college email account when you email me about this course. If you email me from something else, your message may be marked as junk/spam and I may never see it. You should plan to regularly check your campus account for email. I will use this as my official mode of communication for this class, and you are responsible for any information I send to your campus account.

If you leave me a phone message and you would like me to call you back, please include your name, state your phone number clearly at the start and end of your message, and suggest an appropriate time (or range of times) when I will be able to reach you.

You are responsible for all material presented and announcements made in class, whether you are in class or not.

Course web site

I make extensive use of my class web site for this course.

You can login in to the class website using the "student login" on my homepage: http://facweb.plattsburgh.edu/steve.mansfield (You can also use this shortened URL http://is.gd/stevem.) Enter your last name in the "last name" box, and your password into the "password" box. Your password will be initially set to your Banner ID number (you should change your password once you have logged in.)

You will need to use the class web site to access all the course materials, to submit homework, to send in extra credit assignments, and to review your grades.

You must check your grade page at least once a week.

If you are unable to access the class web site you should contact me.

Academic honesty

It is expected that all students enrolled in this class support the letter and the spirit of the Academic Honesty Policy as stated in the college catalog.

All cases of suspected academic dishonesty will be reported to the college judicial board in accordance with the college's procedures for addressing suspected academic dishonesty.

Class schedule

DateTopic / ChapterHomework due
26-AugIntroduction to PSY101
28-Aug1. The Science of Psychology
30-Aug1. The Science of Psychology
2-Sep1. The Science of Psychology
4-Sep2. Neuroscience
6-Sep2. Neuroscience
9-Sep2. NeuroscienceQuiz 1
11-Sep2. Neuroscience
13-SepEXAM 1
16-Sep3. Sensation and Perception
18-Sep3. Sensation and PerceptionQuiz 2
20-Sep3. Sensation and Perception
23-Sep3. Sensation and Perception
25-Sep3. Sensation and Perception
27-Sep4. Learning
30-Sep4. Learning
2-Oct4. LearningQuiz 3
4-OctEXAM 2
7-Oct5. Memory
9-Oct5. MemoryQuiz 4
11-Oct5. Memory
14-OctColumbus day break
16-Oct5. Memory
18-Oct6. Thinking and Intelligence
21-Oct6. Thinking and Intelligence
23-Oct6. Thinking and IntelligenceQuiz 5
25-OctEXAM 3
28-Oct7. Developmental Psychology
30-Oct7. Developmental PsychologyQuiz 6
1-Nov7. Developmental Psychology
4-Nov8. Personality Theories and Assessment
6-Nov8. Personality Theories and Assessment
8-Nov8. Personality Theories and AssessmentQuiz 7
11-NovEXAM 4
13-Nov9. Social Psychology
15-Nov9. Social PsychologyQuiz 8
18-Nov9. Social Psychology
20-Nov9. Social Psychology
22-Nov10. Abnormal Psychology
25-Nov10. Abnormal Psychology
27-NovThanksgiving break
29-NovThanksgiving break
2-Dec10. Abnormal Psychology
4-Dec10. Abnormal PsychologyQuiz 9
6-DecEXAM 5
11-DecFINAL EXAM 10:10amQuiz 10

Other important dates

Tuesday Nov 26: Last day to complete research participation.

Wednesday Dec 11: Last day to complete the research reading assignments.