Home | Psychology | SUNY Plattsburgh |

PSY105: General Psychology Lab — Fall 2013

This course examines and applies the methods and techniques of scientific inquiry used in psychology, including computer-simulated demonstrations, small group discussion, and written assignments. You will gain hands-on experience with a sample of the phenomena studied in PSY101 (General Psychology) and other psychology courses.

Course objectives

  1. Students will acquire an understanding of the requirements of empirical investigation including the need for objectivity and the establishment of appropriate controls.
  2. Students will acquire basic skills in data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
  3. Students will develop question answering and discussion skills through participation in recitation sessions.
  4. Students will develop writing skills through the completion and review of written assignments.
  5. Students will acquire a rudimentary understanding of the use of computers in psychological research and practice.

classroom: Beaumont Hall 105.
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.

class time: Class meets once a week — the day and time depends on your section as follows:

sectionday/timeteaching assistant
ATue 10amColleen Corrigan
BTue 10amJonathan Coupal
CTue 11amNicole Bennett
DTue 11amSarah Ducatte
ETue 2pmNicole Bennett
FTue 2pmSarah Ducatte
GThu 10amColleen Corrigan
HThu 10amJonathan Coupal
IThu 11amNicole Bennett
JThu 11amSarah Ducatte
KThu 2pmColleen Corrigan
LThu 2pmJonathan Coupal


There is NO textbook for this class. However, there are worksheets for each lab (available on the class web site) that you must print and bring to lab each week.

You should keep you worksheets in a three-ring binder, as you will need to refer to them for your homework and study from them for the final exam.

How this course works

After the introductory week (and the Psychology pretest which is held in second week of class) this course consists of 11 labs. The procedure for each lab is the same: Each class will start with a short quiz about the introductory material on the worksheet for that day's lab. You will then complete the lab activity, after which your TA will lead you in a group discussion. Each lab also has a homework assignment which is due by the start of your lab in the following week.

Your grade

Each lab is graded out of 10 points as described below.

At any time during the semester you can log in to the class web site to view your quiz, discussion, and homework grades, and to review my comments and feedback on your homework assignments.

Lab notes quiz (1pt)

Before each class, you are expected to read the introduction on the worksheet and to review the instructions for that week's lab. There will be a short quiz on the introductory material at the start of each lab session.

Lab discussion (3pts)

After each lab activity is completed, there will be a group discussion based on the questions presented in the lab manual. It is important that you participate in this discussion. At the end of the discussion you will rate your own contribution to the discussion (on a 0–3pt scale). The TA will also grade your contribution.

Homework (6pts)


A short homework assignment is due for each lab. The assignments can be accessed from your personal PSY105 web page. The assignments are also printed on each lab worksheet so that you do not need to be at a computer to see the questions or to start working on your answers.

Submitting homework

Homework must be submitted via the link on your personal PSY105 web page. When you submit your homework, you will see a web page indicating the time and date you sent the assignment, along with a record of the work you sent. You must save this page (either save it on your computer or print it out) as proof that you completed the assignment, in case a discrepancy arises.

Spelling and grammar

Points will be deducted for poor spelling and grammar: 0.1 pts will be deducted for every error in excess of two (i.e., I will ignore your first two errors).

Some spelling and grammar errors are so egregious that they supersede the above rules. The following errors are each worth 0.2 pts, and the deduction is immediate.

Confusing then and than
Confusing there and their
Using the word of instead of have
Any misspelling of the word psychology
Using lowercase i instead of uppercase I
Using texting abbreviations

Work with 20 or more errors will receive zero credit.

Homework deadlines

Each homework assignment must be submitted by the beginning of class one week after the lab is completed. For example, if you conduct Lab 1 on Tuesday at 2:00pm, you must submit the homework for Lab 1 no later than the following Tuesday at 2:00pm.

Late work

Work submitted after the deadline will earn zero credit unless you have a valid and documented reason that prevented you from submitting your work for the entire week prior to the deadline.

Submission problems

If you have an internet problem which, despite your best efforts, prevents you from submitting your homework through the web page, you can print out a complete copy of your assignment and hand it to your TA at the beginning of your lab (this will be sufficient to document that you completed your work on time). However, in order to receive a grade, you will still be required to submit your homework via the online form once your internet problem is fixed.

Final exam (optional)

An optional final exam will be held during the final exam week. This exam will consist of 40 multiple-choice questions about the lab activities. It will focus on the key concepts, basic research methods, data interpretation and analysis, and the communication of research findings.

Each question is worth 0.25 points (i.e., the 40 questions total 10 points). Your grade on the final exam can be used to replace your lowest lab grade.

Overall grade computation

When I calculate your overall grade at the end of the semester I will drop your lowest scoring lab. I will then replace your next lowest scoring lab with your score from the final exam (if your final exam score is greater.) This will give you a score out of 100.


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.

Extra credit

Extra credit can be earned in the following ways:

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: What did you learn from a class? 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.

Error spotting (0.1% each.)

I hold you all to a high standard for accurate spelling and correct grammar. It is only fair that I should be held to the same standard. So, 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.

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.).


You are required to attend your lab section every week. You may not attend another lab section. Attendance will be taken at each lab.

Missing class results in you earning zero for that week's lab. Homework may only be submitted for labs you have attended.

You must arrive on time for each lab. If you arrive after the lab-notes quiz has started you will not be allowed to take the quiz. If you arrive after the lab activity has started you will not be permitted to do the lab, and you will score zero for that lab.

Note that class will be held whenever classes are in session, including days surrounding holiday breaks. Please plan your travels accordingly. Missing class or lab because your ride is leaving early or getting back late is not an acceptable excuse.

Make-ups for missing labs

Missed labs can be made up if you have a valid and documented excuse. You should submit a make-up request via the form on the course web site.


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.


WEEKDatesLab Activity
1Aug 27 & Aug 29 Course overview
2Sep 3 & Sep 5 Psychology pretest
3Sep 10 & Sep 12 Lab 1. Introduction to psychology
4Sep 17 & Sep 19 Lab 2. Extrasensory perception
5Sep 24 & Sep 26 Lab 3. Operant conditioning
6Oct 1 & Oct 3 Lab 4. The blind spot
7Oct 8 & Oct 10 Lab 5. The Stroop effect
8Oct 17 Make-ups
9Oct 22 & Oct 24 Lab 6. Lateral transfer of learning
10Oct 29 & Oct 31 Lab 7. Artificial Intelligence
11Nov 5 & Nov 7 Lab 8. Speed Reading
12Nov 12 & Nov 14 Lab 9. Personality
13Nov 19 & Nov 21 Lab 10. Implicit attitudes
14Nov 26 Make-ups
15Dec 3 & Dec 5 Lab 11. Data analysis
16Dec 12Final Exam 12:20 in Yokum 200