Psychological Conversations

(or in more boring and prosaic language, History and Methods of Psychology)

Fall, 2012, St. Olaf College

Psychology 130

(Class under construction, anything might change)

Chuck Huff

Class: 9:05-10:00 RNS 150

Lab A: Weds 10:45-1:45 RNS 240
Lab B: Fri 1:00-4:00 RNS 240

current as of 10/01/12

Regents Science Hall 120, 786.3169
Mail to the Prof
Office Hours: by appointment
Mail to the class

Welcome to the evolving History and Methods of Psychology class! This syllabus will also evolve as we put the class together over the term. But you will be notified of the thing you need to do in time for its completion.I appreciate your patience as we continue to figure out how this course best works and change things on the fly.

Required Texts

The lab manual is available on the web. In addition to the manual, you will read many current and historical psychological articles. These will be available as regular files on moodle, listed below in the schedule for the class.

Three books we will be reading:

Collins, H.M, & Pinch, T, (1998) The Golem: What you should know about science. Cambridge University Press. 0521645506 $17.09

Sternberg, R.J.,  Roediger, H.L, & Halpern, D.F. (2007). Critical Thinking in Psychology. Cambridge University Press.

Chung, M.C. & Hyland, M.E. (2012). History and Philosophy of Psychology. Wiley-Blackwell.

One Writing Manual:

Hacker, D., & Sommers, N. (2012). A pocket style manual, 6th Edition, APA version.  New York, Bedford St. Martin’s 9780312568498 $23.42

The class has been designed by the entire department to introduce students to the ongoing conversations in psychology about what we study, why we study it, and what it means. Thus it has a series of labs as a major component. The point of the labs is to give you an idea of the many different ways we collect data in psychology, with humans and with other animals, from questionnaires to observation, from self report to sophisticated electronic measurement, from experimental design to simple naturalistic observation.

Most of your grade (65%) will come from things you do in the lab. But the division is not so easy, since some of the lab is outside the building, lectures will help you with lab, and lab procedures will extend into the classroom.


Help with Assignments

For many of you, this will be the first lab you have taken and the first time you will be writing up lab reports. We have included some helps for you here. If you are struggling with lab notes or reports, look here first for help. But by all means go to the lab help sessions even if you are not prepared. This is better than avoiding it because it looks too difficult. It will not go away on its own. So, with that advice behind us, here are some helps:

APA Style

Lab Notes

You will need to purchase a lab notebook. These will be available in the bookstore, and should be shelved in the moddle of the store near the other notebooks. For (almost) every lab session we ask that you keep notes about the procedures, apparatus, the data collected, unusual occurances, etc. At the end of the lab, clean up the notes (making corrections, or addition, elaborating on some points, making a drawing more clear, etc.) then make a narrative section explainaing the whole lab, then turn it all by the time noted on the syllabus. The lab notes will be graded by the preceptors for the class as 0, √-, √, or √+ (0 to 3). Most times you should receive a √ for this, with significant deviation in either direction resulting in a + or -. A zero is for any week that you should have had lab notes and did not. The lab manual will be graded every week, and you must hand it inthrough the slot by the RNS 240 lab room door. Lab notes turned in after this time will recieve a 25% reduction in grade. Lab notes turned in after Monday at 2 PM will receive a 50% reduction in grade. Lab notes cannot be turned in later than Monday of the week following the lab except by special arrangement with the instructor.

Formal Lab Writeups

The three labs that are listed in red require a formal writeup. The formal lab report is a typed APA style paper. You will turn in the formal lab writeup in class on the date listed in the syllabus. You should not turn in your lab notebook. Note that the grade for the lab writeups are stepped so that the first does not count much, but the last counts 15% of your grade.

Lab Poster

Don't like the labs we have? You get a chance to propose a better one. We provide most of what you need to know for this project through the link above. The rest comes from class and lab and from your own investigation and research. The Design-A-Lab lab sessions will be dedicated to helping you and a lab partner do this together.

Take Home Exams

We will be doing some significant reading in the class, and class lectures will be devoted to helping you understand them. There will be three take-home exams to provide motivation and documentation. These will take the form of a 48 hour take home, open book essay. A superset of the questions will be given to you at least a week before the exam (actually, you should receive some every week as we go through the books). At the beginning of the 48 hour period, I will post the subset of questions that require an answer. The days labeled "question time" are designed to allow you to ask questions in class about the questions you are supposed to be answering. The rubric for the exams is one the moodle site.

CEL Participation

Several classes and one lab will be dedicated to acquainting you with the Center for Experiential Learning. These folks have lots of professional knowledge and practical experience in helping students figure out what sorts of careers they might attempt, planning for those careers, and integrating undergraduate experience (classes, internships, extra-curricular things) into those plans. As a part of this experience, you will be required to take the Strong Interest Inventory (and to understand how it works) and also to make an appointment with the CEL sometime in the semester to discuss your SII score and to begin to make career plans. The CEL will give me a list of those who have worked with them, and I will use this to asign the 3% credit (enough to push you over a border in the grading scheme). It will be difficult for me to find grading grace for students who cannot manage to take advantage of this resource.

Grading Weights


Percent Grade

Lab Assignments 65%
Informal Lab Notes 10%
First Lab Writeup 5%
Second Lab Writeup 10%
Third Lab Writeup 20%
Lab Rewrite (rewrite*.7)+(original*.3)
Lab Poster 20%
Course Assignments 35%
1st Take Home 10%
2nd Take Home 10%
3rd Take Home 12%
CEL Participation 3%


There are three preceptors for each lab that will help in running the labs and grading lab notebooks and lab reports. You will be assigned to one of them as your primary "grader" for the term, and you may interact with all of them throughout the semester. These students have taken the lab before and come highly recommened for their work in the major.They have significant research and internship experience beyond the coursework in the major, and so have practical advice to give in addition to running the labs. They will be giving presentations in the labs and helping you as you step through the procedures and make decisions about what to manpulate and measure. In addition to serving as preceptors in this class, they are also taking a class from Prof. Huff on how to teach. So their work in class is grounded in careful supervision and study.

Lab Section A (Weds 10:45 - 1:45)

Emmett Larsen
Carmen Stubblefield
Stephanie Smith


Lab Section B (Fri 1:00 - 4:00)

Kristen Nelson
Katie Ziomek
Ryan Powley

Classroom Etiquette

This is a large class with some subtle distinctions that require attention and active processing. Therefore, unless there are extenuating circumstances, or I have specifically requested it, laptops are not allowed in this class. Please see me if you have a compelling reason to use a laptop while the class is meeting. If your schedule requires it, feel free to bring your lunch, but please open all items before class begins. Since our final exam time is the poster presentation, there will be no exceptions to the rule that requires students to attend the final exam period. Make your travel plans accordingly.

Late Policy

Late Lab Notes, Lab Reports, and Exams will be reduced according to the following schedule: up to 24 hrs late = - 5%, up to 2 days late = - 10%, up to 3 days late = - 25%, up to 1 week late = -50%. Papers beyond a week late will not be accepted. Grace is available by negotiation, based on hardship. It is your responsibility to keep track of time and to turn your paper in. I may send you an email reminder, but I will not track you down.

Disability Accomodation

If you have a documented disability that will impact your work in this class, please contact me to discuss your needs. Additionally, you will need to register with Student Disability Services in Buntrock Commons 108. All such discussions will be confidential.



Class Topic
Class Notes
Lab Topic

Sep F.

Class Overview; Lab Notes
No lab this week


Making Claims

CTP 11, Golem Intro & Edible

Research Design
CTP 5  
  CTP 8  
M. 17
Huff Gone
Wundt etc.
  HPP 3  
Designing Scales
  CTP 4  
M. 24
McCrae;Roberts; PDFs on Moodle Illusions Lab notes due in RNS 240 by 5:00 PM;
  26 Variation and co-variation   CTP 7 1st Take Home Available
  28 APA Style   Bem PDF on moodle, Style Manual  
Oct M. 1 Experimental Design  
Psych & Career
CTP 2 Online SII due today; 1st Take Home Due 11:59 PM
  3 Quasi-Experiments   CTP 3  
  5 Group Differences and the t-test   T-test Personality Lab Report due 9 PM in RNS 240
M. 8 Prof. Loebach  
PDF on Moodle Career Lab Notes due in RNS 240 by 5:00 PM
  10 Strong Interest Inventory Kirsten Cahoon PDF on Moodle  
  12 Good Theory   CTP 9  
M. 15   Fall Break
Dinner Talk
  17 Prof. Gross   PDF on Moodle  
  19 Qualitative Methods   CTP 6; HPP 16  
M. 22 Literature Searching Brian Conlan Design a lab 1 PDF on Moodle  
  24 Practical Lab Design   PDF on Moodle  
  26 Sex and Death   HPP 9  
M. 29 Animal Cognition  
No lab this week
  31 Career Connections Sandy Malecha, Nate Jacobi

PDF on moodle

Huff in Texas

Nov 2     Huff in Texas Dinner Talk Lab Report due in RNS 240 at 5:00 PM
M. 5 Brain/Mind  
Spatial Cognition
HPP 4  
  7 Rise and Fall of Behaviorism   HPP 7  
  9 Free Will   HPP 8  
M. 12 Social Influence  
PDF on Moodle Spatial Cog Lab Notes due in RNS 240 by 5:00 PM
  14 Ethical Design   CTP 16  
  16 Virtuous Science   CTP 13; Golem Germs & Lizards  
M. 19 Darwin & Functionalism  
HPP 5 2nd Take Home Due in class
  21   Thanksgiving Break    
M. 26 Gestalt  
Design - A - Lab II
  28 The Continental Blend: Psychology/Philosophy   HPP 12  
  30 Critique of Freud   HPP 10  
M. 3 Cognition and Pedagogy  
Make - A - Poster
CTP 1 Social Lab Report Due 5 PM
Dec 5 Angst & Despair   HPP 11  
  7 Poster Design Principles & Protocol   PDF on Moodle  
M. 10 History of Clinical Psych  
HPP 13 Lab Posters Due Electronically for printing, Weds Dec 12 at 5 PM
9-11 AM Joint Poster Session in 4th floor Atrium
Final Exam due at Poster Session

Final Exam due

Revised Formal Lab Report Due