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Abnormal Psychology

Psychology 330: Spring 2000

WLS M311; TR 8:10-9:25


There is no textbook for this course. The reason is that currently available texts have a mental disease focus that is limiting and unfortunate. Although we will discuss the concepts of mental health and illness, and consider the fascination exerted by the topic of madness, the main focus of the course is everyday abnormalities–what I call “standard deviations.” We will consider those feelings and behaviors that lead us to say, “I am not myself” and conditions (like aging) that we all encounter.

It is important for college courses, in addition to imparting specific information, to involve strengthening of information access and communication skills, like reading and writing. For this reason, I will expect you to use the library. The course will also require you to formulate questions and to express your thoughts in writing.

There are two kinds of writing assignments. You will write three one page (150-200 word), typed, doublespaced “minipapers” on topics I will assign. You will also write three question sets. Each question set will consist of two typed questions that relate to the course. I will try to answer these questions on the returned papers and/or in my lectures. Twenty-five per cent of your final grade will be based on this written work.

These assignments will be due at the beginning of class on the assigned day, and points will be deducted for late work.

During the course I will give seven pop quizzes, each consisting of ten short answer questions. The quizzes will be open book, so having taken good notes will help you. Your best five of seven grades will be averaged and will count for another twenty-five percent of your final grade. There will be no make-up quizzes. If you take fewer than five quizzes, those you have taken will be averaged and ten points deducted for each quiz less than five. For example, if you take two quizzes and get 100 on one and 90 on the other your average will be 190/2 =95 – 30 = 65.

There will be a mid term and a final examination. Each will consist of approximately 100 multiple choice questions. The final will be comprehensive. Both will be closed book. Each will be worth another twenty-five percent of your final grade.

Please be sure to check the class spread sheet several times during the semester to help avoid last minute record keeping problems in this large class.


Jan 13 Introduction/Review of Syllabus
Jan 18 Definitions of Abnormality Question Set #1
Jan 20 Health and Illness
Jan 25 Classifications of Mental Illness
Jan 27 Classification of Mental Illness
Feb 1 Everyday Psychopatdology
Feb 3 Sleep and Dreams Mini Paper #1
Mary Field’s Dream
Feb 8 Sleep and Dreams Question Set #2
Feb 10 Grief and Depression
Feb 15 Grief and Depression
Feb 17 Anxiety Mini Paper #2
Feb 22 Question Session
Feb 24 Midterm exam
Feb 29 Midterm review
Aging and Brain Injury
Mar 2 Intoxication
Mar 7 Intoxication Question Set #3
Mar 9 Intelligence and Talent
Mar 14 Intelligence and Talent
Mar 16 Superstition, Religion and Cults
Mar 28 Superstition, Cults and Religion Minipaper #3
Mar 30 The Paradox of Pain
Apr 4 The Paradox of Pain
Apr 6 Sex, Love and Marriage
Apr 11 Sex, Love and Marriage
Apr 13 Suckers and Hoaxters
Apr 18 Doing the Splits
Apr 20 The Incredible Shrinking Professions
Apr 25 The Incredible Shrinking Professions
Apr 27 Review
May 4 Final Exam Thursday: 10:15


…the past influences everything and dictates nothing. – Adam Phillips, Darwin’s Worms