Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

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Bard College Catalogue 2013-14

Bard College Catalogue 2013-14



Frank M. Scalzo (director ), Sarah Dunphy-Lelii, Richard Gordon, Kristin Lane, Barbara Luka, David Shaenfield, Stuart Stritzler-Levine


The science of psychology is a quest to understand the human mind and behavior. Bard psychology faculty and students seek to answer questions about the workings of the brain; the interactions of brain, mind, and behavior; the person in social context; the development of the person throughout childhood and adulthood; the nature of thinking and language; and the problems and pathologies that people develop, along with methods of helping them. The Psychology Program is rooted in the idea that mind and behavior are best understood from multiple, intersecting levels of analysis, ranging from biological mechanisms and individual psychological processes to social, cultural, and other environmental influences. 

The Psychology Program offers all students the opportunity to learn how the unique perspectives and empirical methods of psychology can illuminate human thought and behavior. The language and analytical approaches of psychology have become a common basis for many ­professional endeavors, making students who major in psychology well equipped for graduate study in this field, as well as in a variety of related career pursuits.  

Areas of Study

The program of study provides grounding in the areas of clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology. It provides a thorough foundation in empirical methodology and analysis, and offers opportunities to participate in meaningful research and laboratory experiences. 

In brief, clinical psychology is both an applied discipline and a research-oriented science that pertains to the study of psychopathology (i.e., psychological disorders), personality, and treatment of psychopathology. Cognitive psychology seeks to understand how the human brain governs action, imagination, decision making, and communication. Developmental psychology involves the study of change (both growth and decline) over the life span, including changes in cognition, social interaction, and brain development. Neuroscience focuses on understanding the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems as it investigates questions of brain and behavioral development, normal brain function, and disease processes. Finally, social psychology is the scientific study of people in their social contexts, emphasizing the empirical study of behavior and social thought, preferences, and feelings about oneself, one’s social groups, and others.


Prior to Moderation in psychology, students entering the College in or after the fall semester of 2012 are required to complete the following courses: Introduction to Psychological Science (Psychology 141), preferably in the first year (although a score of 5 on the AP Psychology exam may fulfill the requirement); a sophomore sequence of Statistics for Psychology (Psychology 203) in the fall and Research Methods in Psychology (Psychology 204) in the spring; and at least two 200-level courses in psychology.

Psychology students must complete the following requirements to graduate: two additional 200-level courses in psychology; one course in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or physics; two 300-level courses follow­ing Moderation, at least one of which must be completed before beginning the Senior Project; and the Senior Project. At least one 200-level course must be completed from each of the following course clusters: in Cluster A, a core course in clinical or personality psychology (courses numbered 210–219); in Cluster B, a  core course in developmental or social psychology (courses numbered 220–229); in Cluster C, a core course in cognitive psychology or neuroscience (courses numbered 230–239).

All requirements for the major must be completed with a grade of C or higher.

Although the Psychology Program is housed in the Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing, students decide at the time of Mod­eration whether they will pursue their degree in psychology from either the Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing (SM&C) or the Division of Social Studies (SSt). These divisional degrees are distinguished by two features: a) an SSt degree entails at least two courses in one or more related disciplines in the Social Studies Division (see the Psychology Program website for particular courses that fulfill this requirement) and b) the Senior Project for an SM&C degree must have an empirical focus, in which the student collects and analyzes data, or presents a detailed plan for doing so. The SSt Senior Project does not carry this requirement, though it may of course do this. An SSt degree may be particularly suited for those intending to pursue law, social work, or education; and an SM&C degree may be particularly suited for students intending to pursue a research degree in psychology, medicine, or the natural sciences.

Requirements for students entering the College prior to fall 2012 can be found on the Psychology Program website.

Opportunities for Additional Learning

Students are strongly encouraged to pursue opportunities for research or community-based practicum experiences that complement their regular course work and that connect academic learning with practical applications. The program offers advanced methodology courses in clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, and neuroscience under the direction of program faculty who provide opportunities for learning how to conduct research in each subfield of psychology. In addition, opportunities exist in local communities for students to pursue interests in cognitive, clinical, and developmental psychology. Students are also encouraged to gain experience through summer research opportunities in the Bard Summer Research Institute. Students have also been successful at obtaining summer research positions at major universities.

Recent Senior Projects in Psychology

“Cultural Meaning Making: The Definition, Experience, and Treatment of Social Anxiety in Japan,” a case study of the Japanese ­culture-bound syndrome taijin kyofusho
“The Evolution of Coalition Detection and Wariness of Outgroups”
“The Expressive Writing Paradigm: Theory and Clinical Applications for First Onset of Major Depression” 
 “The Impact of PTSD on Veterans’ Family Relationships: Mechanisms of Distress and Available Treatments”


The course descriptions that follow are listed numerically, from introductory 100-level courses to 300-level Upper College courses and seminars. 

History and Systems in Psychology
Psychology 121
This course reviews theoretical insights and conceptual attempts to understand human behavior, from speculations within the ancient world to current scientific thinking and methods. Because a discipline is also about the people who advance it, students are introduced to the lives, times, and ideas of individuals who have made significant contributions to the field, among them James, Pavlov, Freud, Skinner, and Asch. Critical analyses and integrations are juxtaposed with historical renderings.

Psychology of Women
Psychology 122
cross-listed: gss
An integrated study of women’s behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and social experiences. The course offers a broad overview of relevant topics, among them sex differences and similarities in personality and cognition, gender development, media portrayals, and violence against women. Several disciplinary domains of psychology (e.g., personality, abnormal/clinical, social, developmental) provide the theoretical and research lenses through which these topics are contextualized. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Cultural Perspectives of Human Development
Psychology 123
This course explores the nature of culture as an environmental context within which development occurs across the life span. It examines cross-cultural research from two perspectives: cross-national comparisons and subcultures within a larger, dominant culture. Particular focus is placed on the contrasting of Western and non-Western cultures. Empirical investigations of cultural variability in development are strongly emphasized. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Close Relationships 
Psychology 124
cross-listed: gss
This course takes a social psychological perspective as it explores interpersonal attraction, theories of love and relationship development, common problems in relationships (jealousy, loneliness, conflict), and therapeutic interventions. The major theories of close relationships are emphasized, including examinations of evolutionary, attachment, interdependence, and cognitive approaches. Methodological concerns are discussed within the context of each topic. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Psychology of Good and Evil 
Psychology 125
cross-listed: human rights
This course takes a social psychological perspective as it explores interpersonal attraction, theories of love and relationship development, common problems in relationships (jealousy, loneliness, conflict), and therapeutic interventions. The major theories of close relationships are emphasized, including examinations of evolutionary, attachment, interdependence, and cognitive approaches. Methodological concerns are discussed within the context of each topic. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Foundations of Mind, Brain, and Behavior
Psychology 131 / Computer Science 131
See Computer Science 131 for a full course description. 

Introduction to Psychological Science
Psychology 141
How does the mind create the reality we perceive? How do experiences shape the brain, and how do processes in the brain influence thought, emotion, and behavior? This course investigates these and similar questions by studying the science of the human mind and behavior. Topics covered include memory, perception, development, psychopathology, personality, and social behavior. A focus is on the biological, cognitive, and social/cultural roots that give rise to human experience. The course also considers how behavior differs among ­people and across situations. 

Statistics for Psychology
Psychology 203
An introduction to the concepts and methods of statistics, aimed at helping students gain a fundamental grasp of the tools needed to understand and conduct research in psychology. Topics include frequency distributions and probability, descriptive statistics, simple correlation and regression, sampling distributions, t-tests, and basic analysis of variance. Prerequisite: Psychology 141 or its equivalent.

Research Methods in Psychology
Psychology 204
cross-listed: mbb
This course is a continuation of Psychology 203. Its objectives are to extend the skills and abilities students have already acquired and to provide an introduction to research methods and data analyses through readings, lectures, class discussions, and hands-on laboratory experience. There is a strong emphasis on learning to present research results in different ways. Ethical issues are discussed at each stage of the research process, and students develop their ability to assess research critically.

Adult Abnormal Psychology
Psychology 210
A review of the main forms of psychopathology, with an emphasis on clinical definition, formal diagnosis, etiology, and treatment. The system of psychiatric diagnosis offered by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV is utilized in defining clinical syndromes including anxiety disorders, conversion disorders, psychophysiological disorders, antisocial and impulse disorders, schizophrenia, affective disorders, alcoholism, and eating disorders.

Child Abnormal Psychology
Psychology 211
cross-listed: mbb
This course investigates the early and multiple factors contributing to psychopathology emerging in childhood, as well as the diagnostic and treatment standards now in practice. Students work from an empirically based developmental psychopathology perspective, with an emphasis on the risk and protective factors that shape abnormal and normal developmental trajectories. The course explores various models for understanding maladaptive development through the examination of current research and diagnostic practices in specific diagnostic areas.

Personality Psychology
Psychology 220
A broad overview of the major historical and contemporary psychological theories of personality and their applications. Theories covered include, but are not limited to, psychoanalytic, neoanalytic, existential, humanist, behavioral, cognitive, and trait. The applications of personality theory to the understanding of health and behavior (i.e., clinical applications) and Axis II personality disorders are also considered.

Social Psychology
Psychology 220
cross-listed: gss, sociology
Social psychology is the scientific study of human thought, behavior, and feelings in their social contexts. This course surveys many of the processes that influence and are influenced by our interactions with others. Students use principles of social psychology to understand the ordinary origins of benevolent (e.g., altruism) and malevolent (e.g., aggression) aspects of human behavior. The course emphasizes the influence of culture, race, and gender on the topics addressed. Prerequisite: Psychology 141.

Developmental Psychology
Psychology 221
cross-listed: gss
This course explores the many ways in which humans grow and change across the life span, and the ways that cultures deal with these changes. The physical, motor, cognitive, intellectual, emotional, personality, and social changes from infancy and childhood through old age are examined. Textbook, research articles, and popular writings on the nature of growth and decline at different life stages are used to facilitate discussion and writing.

Child Development
Psychology 222
This specialized course prepares students to understand the biological, motor, perceptual, cognitive (including intelligence), language, emotional, social, and gender development of children. The process of human development from conception through early adolescence is studied, with an emphasis on what enables children to reach physical, mental, emotional, and social maturity, and what environments promote their optimum development. This class is not appropriate for students who have already taken Psychology 221.

Cognitive Psychology
Psychology 230
cross-listed: mbb
This course is about how people perceive, remember, and think about information. The major topics covered include object recognition, memory, concept formation, language, visual knowledge, judgment, reasoning, problem solving, and conscious and unconscious thought. The course also considers the neural underpinnings of these topics. Prerequisite: Psychology 141 or permission of the instructor.

Psychology 231
The ability to express thoughts and emotions and to interact with the environment largely depends on the function of the nervous system. This course examines basic concepts and methods in the study of brain, mind, and behavior. Topics include the structure and function of the central nervous system, brain development, learning and memory, emotion, sensory and motor systems, the assessment of human brain damage, and clinical disorders such as schizo­phrenia, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.

Drugs and Human Behavior
Psychology 232
cross-listed: mbb, sts
An exploration of the biological bases for the behavioral effects of several psychoactive ­substances, including therapeutic compounds, such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, and drugs of abuse. The course focuses on mechanisms of drug action and physiological and behavioral effects. Broader societal issues such as drug addiction, drug policies and testing, and controversial therapeutic interventions are ­discussed in relation to selected compounds. Prerequisite: an introductory psychology or biology course, or permission of the instructor.

Social Neuroscience
Psychology 241
cross-listed: biology
Social neuroscience aims to elucidate the links among mind, brain, and social behavior. The course covers basic neuroanatomy and explores research on the neural underpinnings of social judgments, culture and cognition, emotion recognition, embodied cognition, empathy, attachment, theory of mind, sexual attraction, endocrine responses, love, and neuroeconomics, among other topics. Students are introduced to various neuroscience methods involving social psychology paradigms, lesion studies, patient research, and neuroimaging. Prerequisite: an introductory psychology or biology course, or permission of the instructor.

Health Psychology
Psychology 242
This course provides a survey of health psychology—the scientific study of behavioral, cognitive, and affective influences on biological function. Course work emphasizes the interaction of biological and psychological factors on individuals’ health. Among the topics covered are behavioral influences in cardiovascular disease, weight management, pain management, physiological manifestations of stress, and lifestyle interventions. A focus is on the biopsychosocial model in understanding health and disease. Prerequisite: Psychology 141 or an introductory-level course in biology.

Human Memory
Psychology 243
cross-listed: mbb
This course is an overview of classic theories and current research in human learning and memory. Students evaluate models of memory, including debates on the cognitive representations of knowledge. They examine the role of awareness in memory, false memory, the biological bases of memory, diseases and disorders of memory, and methods for brain imaging. Prerequisite: 100-level course in psychology or biology, or permission of the instructor.

Judgment and Decision Making
Psychology 244
cross-listed: mbb
John F. Kennedy once noted, “The essence of ultimate decision remains impenetrable to the observer—often, indeed, to the decider himself.” As this quote reminds us, conscious reflection and verbal report often lead to inaccurate descriptions of the causes of our judgments and decisions. In this course, students strive to ascertain the underlying causes of these mental processes by relying on contemporary research in fields such as psychology, neuroscience, economics, and political science. Source materials include empirical articles, review papers, videos, and case studies.

Evolutionary Psychology
Psychology 245
All species are a product of evolution and Homo sapiens is no exception. Nevertheless, the Darwinian revolution that transformed biology a long time ago is only now taking place for the study of humans. Evolutionary psychology is the scientific study of human nature, based on understanding the psychological adaptations that our ancestors evolved in prehistory to cope with the challenges of survival and reproduction. This course investigates multiple facets of human behavior and cognition from an evolutionary perspective. 

Psychology 246
cross-listed: mbb
An introduction to psycholinguistics, the study of the relationship between language and cognition. The goal of the course is to develop a deeper understanding of this relationship, by examining how language is represented, processed, and acquired. Research areas relevant to psychology, linguistics, philosophy, computer science, and neuroscience are addressed. 

Child Survival 
Psychology 261 / Human Rights 261
See Human Rights 261 for a course description.

Psychophysiology: The Mind-Body Connection
Psychology 324
cross-listed: mbb
Psychophysiology correlates cognitive, emotional, and behavioral phenomena to physiological responses. This course emphasizes theory, research methodology (strengths and limitations of each measure), and practical applications. A variety of response systems are covered, including heart rate, skin conductance, muscle activity (electromyography), changes in pupil diameter, and eye gaze. Special attention is paid to measures of brain activity, including electroencephalography, event-related potentials, functional magnetic resonance imaging, optical imaging, and magnetoencephalography. Prerequisite: Moderation into psychology or consent of instructor.

Anxiety and Its Disorders
Psychology 325
Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent, and the most treatable, of all psychological illnesses. This course provides a detailed overview and critical analysis of anxiety disorders, with particular focus on the etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of such disorders. Recent psychological and cognitive-behavioral models and approaches, and related empirical findings, are emphasized. Prerequisite: a class in abnormal psychology (child or adult).

Grounded Cognition and the Representation of Knowledge
Psychology 331
cross-listed: mbb
Grounded cognition proposes that cognitive systems evolved to support action, so that perceptual systems are the foundation of concepts in memory. Recent advances in neuroimaging methods provide strong support for this new perspective, driving a reevaluation of long-held assumptions regarding the representation of concepts, processes of memory, and the role of language in cognition. This course examines these new theories on the “embodiment” of knowledge in the context of prevailing paradigms. Prerequisite: Moderation in psychology or permission of the instructor.

Psychology of Prejudice and Stereotyping
Psychology 337
cross-listed: human rights
This course focuses on the empirical study of intergroup relations. It is designed to provide an overview of the social psychological study of issues in prejudice and stereotyping. The bulk of the course examines the cognitive, affective, and motivational origins of stereotyping and prejudice, but students also explore the experience of being a target of prejudice. A broad range of social groupings are considered, including gender and ethnicity, as are scientifically based means of prejudice reduction.

Cognitive and Neural Bases of Metaphor Comprehension
Psychology 339
cross-listed: mbb
A basic assumption of language processing research is that the meaning of a sentence arises from the sum of the meanings of its constituent words. Figurative expressions, in contrast, convey meaning that extends beyond the literal meanings of the words—i.e., “You are the sunshine of my life.” Models of language processing predicted that metaphor comprehension would require more cognitive effort, and take more time, for a listener to infer the intended ­meaning. Instead, research shows that even novel metaphorical expressions are understood quickly and easily. Students examine the cognitive and neurological characteristics that make this paradoxical accomplishment possible.

Self and Identity
Psychology 340
“Who am I?” This deceptively simple question underlies classic and current research about the self. This course covers such topics as self-esteem, self-concept, self-illusions, and the centrality of the self in processes such as memory, impression formation, and attitude formation. It also considers how children develop the concept of self as separate from other people, and how identity develops over the life span. Prerequisites: Moderation in psychology or permission of the instructor.

The Medication of Distress
Psychology 343
cross-listed: sts
This course examines the rise in the use of psychotropic medications to deal with a wide spectrum of human behavioral difficulties. Beginning with the origins of modern medication in the antipsychotic, antidepressant, and antianxiety drugs of the 1950s, it focuses on three disorders in which medications have played a central role: depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention-deficit disorder. Contrasting viewpoints on the nature, origins, and treatment of these disorders are critically examined. Prerequisite: Moderation in psychology or permission of the instructor.

Recent Developments in Pharmacotherapies for Mental Illness
Psychology 345
cross-listed: sts
This seminar examines newly discovered drug treatments for several mental illnesses. Initial class meetings focus on in-depth readings that provide a background for understanding the methods used for identifying and testing potential new therapies. Subsequent meetings consist of student-led discussions of topics of interest. Prerequisite: Moderation in psychology or permission of the instructor.

The Work and Legacy of Stanley Milgram
Psychology 348
cross-listed: sts
It has been more than 40 years since the work of Stanley Milgram demonstrated that large numbers of individuals, in multiple samples of men and women studied, were willing to punish another person when ordered to do so by an experimenter. This seminar considers the prominence of Milgram’s work and its continued relevance to the study of social psychology.

The Psychology of Sexual Behavior: Clinical Considerations
Psychology 351
cross-listed: gss
This course provides an in-depth empirical, conceptual, and theoretical examination of sexual behavior and its relevance to clinical science and psychotherapy. Topics include, but are not limited to, sexual ethics and boundaries in the therapeutic relationship; “healthy” sexual functioning; sexual disorders (e.g., premature ejaculation, fetishism) and their treatment; the controversial and questionable veracity of sexual addiction as a diagnostic category; and sexual trauma. Prerequisite: A class in abnormal psychology (child or adult).

Preschoolers’ Thinking: Cognitive Development between Ages 2 and 5
Psychology 358
cross-listed: mbb
The primary focus of the course is on the cognitive developmental underpinnings of children’s burgeoning concepts about the social and biological world around them. For instance, does a 3-year-old understand that two people can have different perceptions of the same experience? When do children realize that thoughts and dreams can’t be touched, the way a toy can? Discussions focus on readings from empirical papers, theoretical essays, and other publications. Open to third- and fourth-year students with permission of the instructor.

Comparative Cognition
Psychology 359
Comparative cognition explores the evolutionary origins of the human mind by comparing the cognitive abilities of humans and other animals. The primary focus of this course is the evolutionary underpinnings of social cognition. Students discuss empirical literature comparing the abilities of human children and animals, and consider which experimental methodologies might be used to address the questions raised. 

Children with Autism
Psychology 364
Within the last 25 years, autism has become one of the most widely recognized childhood disorders. Where did it come from? How have we grappled with its increased prevalence? What is the long-term outlook for these children? The class explores the major theories of autism and the predominant diagnostic methods. Readings consist predominantly of primary empirical work, augmented by theoretical and popular writing. Prerequisites: Psychology 141 and a class in either child development or abnormal psychology.

Sex, Brain, and Behavior
Psychology 365
cross-listed: gss, mbb
From sexual differentiation to partner preference to parental care, sex-related behaviors help to shape and drive processes that allow an organism to adapt to its environment. This course examines research on sex-related behavior in human and nonhuman animals and discusses the neural and hormonal mechanisms that regulate these behaviors. Prerequisites: Psychology 141 and at least one of the following: Neuroscience, Health Psychology, Social Neuroscience, or Drugs and Human Behavior.  

Cultural Psychology
Psychology 366
This course examines the interaction of culture and the mind, and explores theoretical developments and methodological limitations in the field. Topics include the influence of culture on self, cognition, social relationships, and well-being. The course has a particular focus on comparing cultures in East Asia, Latin America, Western Europe, and parts of North America. Prerequisite: Moderation into psychology or permission of the instructor.

Automaticity of Social Life
Psychology 367
The idea that much of mental life occurs without conscious intention, awareness, or control has taken root as one of the central tenets of contemporary psychology. This seminar explores the ways in which large swaths of mental processes and behavior operate outside of conscious awareness. Readings draw from cognitive, social, and clinical psychology as well as neuroscience and philosophy. Prerequisites: Moderation into psychology or the Mind, Brain, and Behavior concentration; and at least one of the following: Psychology 220, 230, 243, or 244.

Psychobiology of Stress and Mental Illness
Psychology 391
cross-listed: mbb
Recent advances in the understanding of the neurobiology and physiology of stress have changed the way stress is viewed, both as a primary phenomenon and as a secondary factor that precipitates or causes a variety of psychiatric disorders. The latter include phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. This research conference examines recent findings on the mechanisms and biological consequences of stress, and explores links between these effects and psychiatric disorders as reported in journal articles.

Cognitive Psychology: Advanced Methodology

cross-listed: mbb
This course provides an opportunity for guided research in psycholinguistics. Students contribute to ongoing studies of language comprehension, including preparing stimuli, working with participants, analyzing collected data, reviewing recently published empirical papers, and developing an independent project. 

Developmental Psychology: Advanced Methodology
cross-listed: mbb
In this course, students participate in laboratory research in child developmental psychology. Special emphasis is placed on 3- to 5-year-olds’ social cognition, perspective taking, and memory in the context of games. The bulk of the course is taken up by independent laboratory work and research, and students work with young children, parents, and members of the community to initiate research protocols. 

Neuroscience: Advanced Methodology
Students participate in laboratory research in developmental psychopharmacology, neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, and/or neurobehavioral teratology using the zebrafish as an animal model. Within these general fields, specific roles of neurotransmitter systems in normal behavioral development and the neurobehavioral effects of chemical insults during early development are investigated. 

Social Psychology: Advanced Methodology
This course provides an opportunity for guided research in social psychology. Students participate in laboratory research on stress and social relationships and conduct an independent project. The majority of time in this course consists of independent laboratory work and research.