The elective course, Psychology, engages students in the understanding, articulation, and dissemination of psychology as a science. Students are introduced to psychology, with a focus on the scientific study of human development, learning, motivation, and personality. It emphasizes the empirical examination of behavior and mental processes and it infuses perspectives fostering students' growth, development, and understanding of cultural diversity. Students of psychology acquire information from a variety of sources, use information as they make decisions and evaluations, and solve problems. The study of psychology enables students to recognize and cope with uncertainty and ambiguity in human behavior.

Strands: Research Methods, Cognitive Domain, Lifespan Developmental, Biopsychological Dimensions, Sociocultural Dimensions

Competency Goal 1 The learner will become familiar with the history and research methods of psychology.


1.01 Discuss the contemporary perspectives used by psychologists to understand behavior and mental processes.

1.02 Identify the major subfields and career opportunities that comprise psychology.

1.03 Distinguish between the different research strategies used by psychologists to explore behavior and mental processes.

1.04 Distinguish and employ the basic concepts of statistical data.

1.05 Analyze the ethical issues in psychological research.

1.06 Discuss the development of psychology as an empirical science

Competency Goal 2 The learner will demonstrate an understanding of the biological bases of behavior.


2.01 Identify the structure and function of the neuron.

2.02 Identify, describe, and explain the organization of the nervous system.

2.03 Describe the structure and functions of the brain.

2.04 Differentiate among the technologies and clinical methods for studying the brain.

2.05 Compare and contrast the specialized functions of the brain's hemispheres.

2.06 Describe the structure and function of the endocrine system.

2.07 Assess how heredity interacts with environment to influence behavior.

2.08 Explain how psychological mechanisms are influenced by evolution.

Competency Goal 3 The learner will examine lifespan development.


3.01 Explain development as a lifelong process.

3.02 Analyze research techniques used to gather data on the developmental process.

3.03 Identify the stage theories of development.

3.04 Discuss issues surrounding the developmental process.

3.05 Assess the impact of technology on aspects of the lifespan.

Competency Goal 4

The learner will explore the basic concepts of sensation and perception.



4.01 Analyze the basic concepts explaining the capabilities and limitations of sensory processes.

4.02 Examine the components of vision.

4.03 Describe the interaction of the person and the environment in determining perception.

4.04 Explain the nature of attention.

Competency Goal 5

The learner will analyze basic concepts of motivation and emotion.



5.01 Identify theories of motivation.

5.02 Examine the biological and environmental cues instigating basic drives or motives.

5.03 Analyze the theories and physiology of emotion.

5.04 Discuss the effects of motivation and emotion on perception, cognition, and behavior.

Competency Goal 6

The learner will examine factors associated with stress.



6.01 Identify major sources of stress.

6.02 Explore psychological and physiological reactions to stress.

6.03 Identify and explain cognitive strategies to deal with stress and promote health.

Competency Goal 7 The learner will analyze factors influencing the cognitive domain.


7.01 Analyze the various learning processes and factors influencing classical and operant conditioning, and cognitive learning.

7.02 Explain the role of biology and culture in determining learning.

7.03 Describe the processes of encoding information into memory.

7.04 Distinguish between short-term and long-term memory systems and explain the process of retrieval.

7.05 Discuss methods for improving memory.

Competency Goal 8

The learner will explore the process of thinking and language development.



8.01 Describe the tools used in the individual's thought process.

8.02 Identify the strategies and obstacles for problem solving and decision making.

8.03 Identify theories and developmental stages of language acquisition.

8.04 Discuss the links between thinking and language.

Competency Goal 9

The learner will analyze the differing states of consciousness.



9.01 Classify the characteristics of sleep and theories that explain why we sleep.

9.02 Analyze theories used to explain and interpret dreams.

9.03 Assess basic phenomena and uses of hypnosis.

9.04 Categorize the different psychoactive drugs and their effects.

Competency Goal 10

The learner will examine individual differences and personalities.



10.01 Describe concepts related to the measurement of individual differences.

10.02 Explain the influence and interaction of heredity and environment on individual differences.

10.03 Analyze the nature of intelligence and intelligence testing.

10.04 Define personality and personality constructs.

10.05 Explain personality approaches and identify important contributions to the understanding of personality.

10.06 Analyze the different tools and tests used in personality assessment .

Competency Goal 11

The learner will examine the characteristics and treatments of psychological disorders.



11.01 Describe the characteristics and origins of abnormal behavior, and explain methods used in exploring abnormal behavior.

11.02 Discuss major categories of abnormal behavior and explore the challenges associated with accurate diagnosis.

11.03 Analyze the impact of mental disorders and efforts to promote greater understanding of abnormal behavior.

11.04 Explain methods used to treat people with disorders.

11.05 Discuss the legal and ethical challenges involved in delivery of treatment.

Competency Goal 12

The learner will evaluate the social and cultural dimensions of behavior.



12.01 Assess how people relate to one another.

12.02 Identify the primary social and cultural categories of the United States culture.

12.03 Examine how social and cultural categories influence behavior.

12.04 Explore how group interaction affects behavior.


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