Course Learning Outcomes

The content, assignments, and assessments for this course are aligned to the following learning outcomes. A full list of course learning outcomes can be viewed here: Complete Learning Outcomes.

This course provides coverage for the broad range of learning outcomes that may be taught in introductory psychology courses. With the goal of supporting faculty in the selection of content for their courses, we have organized this course around the 5 pillars, or domains, of psychology as recently recommended by the APA: biological pillar, cognitive pillar, developmental pillar, social and personality pillar, mental and physical health pillar.

Image of building with 5 pillars of psychology: biological, cognitive, developmental, social and personality, mental and physical health.

While we hope that organizing the modules in this fashion proves helpful to faculty, faculty have complete freedom to select and organize modules for their course as they choose, as modules may easily be reorganized.

  • Module 1: Psychological Foundations

    • Describe the evolution of psychology and the major pioneers in the field
    • Identify the various approaches, fields, and subfields of psychology along with their major concepts and important figures
    • Describe the value of psychology and possible careers paths for those who study psychology
  • Module 2: Psychological Research

    • Define and apply the scientific method to psychology
    • Describe the strengths and weaknesses of descriptive, experimental, and correlational research
    • Define basic elements of a statistical investigation

Biological Psychology Domain

  • Module 3: Biopsychology

    • Identify the basic structures of a neuron, the function of each structure, and how messages travel through the neuron
    • Describe the role of the nervous system and endocrine systems
    • Identify and describe the parts of the brain
    • Explain how nature, nurture, and epigenetics influence personality and behavior
  • Module 4: State of Consciousness

    • Describe consciousness and biological rhythms
    • Describe what happens to the brain and body during sleep
    • Explain how drugs affect consciousness

Cognitive Psychology Domain

  • Module 5: Sensation and Perception

    • Differentiate between sensation and perception
    • Explain the process of vision and how people see color and depth
    • Explain the basics of hearing
    • Describe the basic anatomy and functions of taste, smell, touch, pain, and the vestibular sense
    • Define perception and give examples of gestalt principles and multimodal perception
  • Module 6: Thinking and Intelligence

    • Describe cognition and problem-solving strategies
    • Describe language acquisition and the role language plays in communication and thought
    • Describe intelligence theories and intelligence testing
  • Module 7: Memory

    • Explain the process of memory
    • Explain and give examples of forgetting and memory failure
    • Recognize and apply memory-enhancing strategies

Developmental Psychology Domain

  • Module 8: Learning

    • Explain learning and the process of classical conditioning
    • Explain operant conditioning, reinforcement, and punishment
    • Describe latent learning and observational learning
  • Module 9: Lifespan Development

    • Compare and contrast theories lifespan development theories
    • Explain the physical, cognitive, and emotional development that occurs from infancy through childhood
    • Describe physical, cognitive, and emotional development in adolescence and adulthood

Social and Personality Psychology Domain

  • Module 10: Social Psychology

    • Recognize aspects of social psychology, including the fundamental attribution error, biases, social roles, and social norms, in your daily life
    • Describe how attitudes can be changed through cognitive dissonance and persuasion
    • Explain how conformity, obedience, groupthink, social facilitation, social loafing, and altruism relate to group behavior
    • Explain prejudice, discrimination, and aggression
  • Module 11: Personality

    • Define personality and the contributions of Freud and neo-Freudians to personality theory
    • Describe and differentiate between personality theories
    • Explain the use and purpose of common personality tests
  • Module 12: Emotion and Motivation

    • Explain motivation, how it is influenced, and major theories about motivation
    • Describe hunger and eating in relation to motivation, obesity, anorexia, and bulimia
    • Describe sexual behavior and research about sexuality
    • Explain theories of emotion and how we express and recognize emotion
  • Module 13: Industrial-Organizational Psychology

    • Describe the purpose of industrial-organizational psychology and examine its application to the workforce
    • Explain how industrial-organizational psychologists assess leadership and organization

Mental and Physical Health Domain

  • Module 14: Psychological Disorders

    • Define psychological disorders and explain how they are classified
    • Describe the features and characteristic symptoms of anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias), obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder; differentiate these anxiety disorders from each other
    • Describe the characteristic symptoms and risk factors of mood disorders, including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder
    • Explain symptoms and potential causes of schizophrenic and dissociative disorders
    • Define personality disorders and distinguish between the three clusters of personality disorders
    • Explain common childhood disorders, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder
  • Module 15: Therapy and Treatment

    • Describe the treatment of mental health disorders over time
    • Identify and explain the basic characteristics of various types of therapy
    • Explain and compare treatment modalities
  • Module 16: Stress, Lifestyle, and Health

    • Describe stress, its impact on the body, and identify common stressors
    • Explain the negative physiological responses to stress
    • Describe methods to cope with stress and explain ways to increase happiness
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