Class Descriptions

I teach a wide variety of psychology classes at the University of Washington, including introduction to psychology, research methods, social psychology, and several new classes I created myself! Below are descriptions for all of the classes I teach. Titles in pink indicate classes I created.

Psych 101: Introduction to Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and behavior. This course will introduce you to the fundamental principles of psychology, the major topics of psychological inquiry, and the methods used by scientists to investigate these topics. The course is primarily structured around broad areas of psychological research, including neurobiology, sleep, development, learning, memory, social interaction, personality, and psychological disorders. We will focus on well-supported research and current directions within each of these categories. Through readings, lectures, and discussion, you will learn about the basic subject matter of psychology, how psychologists study behavior, and how psychological knowledge has been applied to improve the quality of life.

Psych 208: Happiness

How can our lives be fulfilling, joyful, and meaningful? Through reading, discussion, and hands-on activities, we will explore the theme that happiness stems from social connections and contribution to something larger than oneself. We will also try practical strategies for nurturing our own happiness by improving social and emotional health.

Psych 209: Fundamentals of Psychological Research

Psychology majors must learn the content of psychology, but they also must learn how psychologists know what they know. Fundamentals of Psychological Research is a critical thinking skills class in which the main goal is to help you become a better consumer of information—both in psychology and in the real world. You will learn how to systematically evaluate the validity of different claims that you might encounter in a future psychology textbook, in a psychology research article, in the media, or in casual conversation. This class will also teach you how to plan psychological research that can test different claims. You will learn to articulate the pros and cons of different research choices and plan research that optimizes these pros and cons.

Psych 222: Connection & Consciousness in the Digital Age

This course explores the ways technology is shaping how we know ourselves, how we perceive others, and how we communicate and interact. For example: Is social media making us more connected or more isolated? What makes us human? Could a machine think and feel? In relying on technology, are we becoming less human? And what role will technology play in our future? Through readings, films, discussions, and social experiments, we explore questions about consciousness and humanity as they relate to our relationship with technology.

Psych 245: Introduction to Social Psychology

Overview of major findings of social psychology, emphasizing the relevance for understanding the social behaviors of individuals and groups of individuals and their relationship to social context.

Psych 345: Social Psychology

This class explores how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior influence and are influenced by their social context. Through readings, discussions, and active involvement in research, we investigate diverse topics including attribution, persuasion, cognitive dissonance, conformity, ingroup bias, prejudice, social identity, romantic attraction, and bystander intervention.

Psych 440: Psychology of Emotion

This course provides an overview of psychological research and theory on emotion, including biological, developmental, cognitive, social, and cultural perspectives. Questions to be addressed include: Why do we have emotions? How do they influence our thoughts, actions, and interactions with others? What purposes are served by specific emotions such as anger, fear, hope, and joy? Are some emotions more social than others? How do we control our emotions?

Psych 445: Theories of Social Psychology

This advanced undergraduate course exposes students to a selection of contemporary major theories and controversies that guide social psychological research. Readings are a mix of “modern classics” in social psychology as well as more current papers. The readings provide students with the opportunity to develop their understanding of the field as well as learn how social psychologists theorize and conduct research. My goals are for you to gain a deeper appreciation for social psychological theory, further develop your integrative and critical thinking skills, and enjoy the learning process.

Psych 448: The Good Life

One of the fundamental goals that motivates all human behavior is having a life worth living. This course explores contemporary psychological research that addresses how to build such a life. We explore the types of thoughts and actions that are most reliably connected with enduring satisfaction and meaning in life, and how to avoid some of the traps and pitfalls in modern society caused by a disconnect between what we think we want and what will actually make us happy. Topics to be explored include work, friendship, altruism, creativity, exercise, music, humor, play, parenting, spirituality, and more. Students will read original research articles on these topics and gain hands-on experience collecting and analyzing data. Throughout the course, students will recognize the strengths and limitations of the scientific method for approaching questions such as these, and are encouraged to articulate their own emerging views of what constitutes a life worth living.