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A.P. Psychology
Course Guide
Mercer Island High School
Overview of the course
Title: AP Psychology
Textbook: Myers, David G. Psychology. Holland, Michigan: Worth Publishers, 8th ed.
2007.
Suggested Supplemental Materials:
Hock, Roger. Forty Studies that Changed Psychology: Explorations into the History of
Psychological Research. New York: Prentice Hall, 5th ed. 2004.
Myers Textbook Companion Website (choose the textbook, and it will take you to the
companion website) http://worthpublishers.com/myers/
Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink. New York: Back Bay, 2007.
Brown, Alan and Chris Logan, eds. The Psychology of the Simpsons. Texas: Banbella
Books, 2005.
Sacks, Oliver. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Touchstone: Simon and
Schuster, 1985.
Medina, John. Brain Rules. Seattle: Pear Press, 2008.
Zimbardo, Philip. The Lucifer Effect. New York: Random House, 2007.
Various psychology journals, websites and databases
Videos:
Nova The Wild Child
PBS Secret Life of the Brain
Frontline: The Persuaders
A&E Biography: Sigmund Freud
Course Description:
This rigorous course provides students with a systematic and scientific study of the
behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Included is a
consideration of the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each
of the major subfields within psychology. Students also learn about ethics and methods
psychologists use in their science and practice, particularly when they design and
complete their own research-based psychology study. Assignments will include quizzes
and tests, research papers, written reflections, group and individual projects, and daily
reading notes. In addition to the text, readings will be taken from supplemental, scholarly
articles. The aim of the course is to provide a learning experience equivalent to that of an
introductory college psychology course.
Course Objectives:
1. Students who are taking the Advanced Placement Examination in Psychology will
score a “3” or higher.
2. Students will study the major core concepts and theories of psychology and assess
some of the differing approaches adopted by psychologists, including the biological,
behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural perspectives.
They will be able to define key terms and use them in their everyday vocabulary.
3. Students will learn the basic principles of psychological research. They will be able to
devise simple research projects, interpret and generalize from results, and evaluate the
validity of research reports.
4. Students will be able to apply psychological concepts to their own lives. They will be
able to recognize psychological principles when they are encountered in everyday
situations.
5. Students will develop critical thinking skills. They will become aware of the danger
of blindly accepting or rejecting arguments without careful, objective evaluation.
6. Students will build their reading, writing, and discussion skills.
7. Students will learn about psychology as a profession and become aware of the
educational requirements which must be met to pursue such careers. They will learn
about the ethical standards governing the work of psychologists.
Content Outline:
Unit
1
Topics
History and
Approaches
(Prologue)
2
Research
Methods (Ch.
1)
Concepts
 History of psychology
 Psychological
perspectives







Experimental method
Correlational method
Naturalistic
Observation
Case studies
Data analysis/Statistics
APA Ethical Guidelines
Essential Questions
 In what ways does
psychology approach
the study of human and
animal behavior?
 How do the different
perspectives in
psychology compare
and contrast?
 Who were the movers
and shakers in the
evolution of
psychology as a
science?
 How do psychologists
use the scientific
method to study
behavior and mental
processes?
 Which methods of
research are
appropriate for the
study of different
behaviors?
 How do psychologists

1st Exam
3
Social
Psychology
(Ch. 18)






4
Learning (Ch.
8)



Attribution
Theory/Attitudes vs.
behaviors
The Influence of others
on an individual’s
behavior
Attraction
Aggression/Altruism
Stereotypes, prejudice
and discrimination
Cross-cultural
psychology
Classical conditioning
Operant conditioning
Observational learning





draw appropriate
conclusions about
behavior from
research?
How do psychologists
make ethical decisions
about researching
behavior?
How do people explain
the behavior of others?
How are individuals
affected by groups?
How do psychologists
define culture? What
influence does culture
have on individuals
and groups?
How do psychologists
define learning?
How do principles of
classical, operant, and
observational learning
work to create
learning?
2ndExam
Guided Course
Work
5
3rd Exam
6
Biological
Bases of
Behavior (Ch.
2 &3)
Sensation and
Perception
(Ch. 5&6)









Research
Hypothesis development
Literature Review
Neuro-anatomy
Nervous system
Brain
Endocrine system
Genetics
Nature versus nurture
debate





Thresholds
Sensory mechanisms
Sensory adaptation
Attention
Perceptual processes





4th Exam
7
Motivation &
Emotion (Ch.
12, 13)


Motivation
Emotion


How do biological
processes relate to
behavior?
How does damage to a
biological process
affect behavior?
How do the 5 senses
receive and translate
signals to the brain for
processing?
How does each sense
affect behavior?
How do sensation and
perception differ?
In what ways are
humans motivated to
behave?
How can one increase
motivation to behave





Review/Semester
Final Exam
News reporting
8
9
Developmental
Psychology
(Ch. 4)
Testing and
Individual
Differences
(Ch. 11)









100 multiple choice
2 free-response
cumulative
Analysis of psychology
in everyday life
Research methods
Prenatal
Influences/Infancy
Adolescence
Aging
Stage theories
Reliability and validity
Types of tests
Theories of intelligence
Intelligence tests

How do people grow
and develop
physically, socially and
intellectually
throughout the
lifespan?

How do psychologists
define and study
intelligence?
How did the use of
intelligence tests
evolve throughout the
last two centuries?
How do psychologists
know whether a test is
reliable and/or valid?


5th Exam
10
Cognition (Ch.
9 & 10)




Memory
Language
Thinking




6th Exam
11
Personality
(Ch. 15)




12
7th Exam
States of
Consciousness
(Ch. 7)





Psychodynamic
theories of
personality
Trait theories of
personality
Social-cognitive theories
of personality
Humanistic theories of
personality
Consciousness
Sleep
Dreams
Hypnosis
Drugs
in certain ways?
What role do emotions
play in behavior?





How do humans
encode, store, and
retrieve information
from memory?
How do humans think?
How do humans
acquire language and
use it to communicate
ideas?
How do psychologists
define and study
personality?
What advantages and
limitations exist for
each theory’s
description of
personality?
How do psychologists
define consciousness?
What happens during
the sleep cycle?
How does lack of and
REM and NREM sleep
affect behavior?
13
Psychological
Disorders (Ch.
16)








Defining abnormality
Anxiety disorders
Somatoform disorders
Dissociative disorders
Mood of affective
disorders
Schizophrenic disorders
Personality disorders

How do psychologists
measure and define
abnormal behavior?
How are the various
psychological
disorders identified and
studied?
14
Treatment of
Psychological
Disorders (Ch.
17)





Psychodynamic theory
Humanistic therapies
Behavioral therapies
Cognitive therapies
Somatic therapies

What are the treatment
options for the various
types of psychological
disorders?
15
Stress (Ch. 14)



Stress
Coping
Health

What are the three
stages of Hans Seyle’s
GAS?
How does stress affect
the immune system?
What are the main
coping strategies?


8th Exam
Final Exam
AP Testing
Final Project
Guided Course
Work
News reporting
.

Analysis of psychology
in everyday life