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Fall Semester, 2021                                                                           Prof. Natalie Kacinik

TR9 – Tue, Thur 9:30-10:45 am                                                          [email protected], OR

Synchronous Online Sessions                                                             [email protected]

Conducted through Zoom                                                                  Office: 5309 James Hall,

 718-951-5000 x. 6019

Cell: 530-204-7177

Office Hrs: Thur 4-5pm on campus,

or by phone or Zoom on appointment basis.


This course provides an introduction and overview of psychological science. You will learn some of the main issues, concepts, methods, and terminology of psychology. We will cover a broad range of topics involving a) the biological basis of behavior, b) aspects of consciousness, how we pay attention, perceive, and remember our experiences, c) the nature of human development, d) characteristics of our social behavior, and e) abnormal psychology (i.e., when normal development and behavior fail to occur).


REQUIRED TEXT: Gazzaniga, M. S. (2018).  Psychological Science, 6th ed., New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.


Although we will follow this most recent edition, the previous 5th and 4th editions are also generally fine, but 3rd is too old. FREE electronic copies of the textbook and other Open Access Resources will be made available. However, if you plan to take more Psychology courses and/or have the funds, then I recommend buying the book to have as a useful resource.


I also strongly recommend the book’s accompanying online “InQuizitive” tool designed to test and improve your understanding of the material. You will be able to access this resource if you buy the book, but you can also purchase a separate account if you choose not to buy this edition of the book. 




1. BLACKBOARD & ZOOM: All class-related documents and information will be posted on or disseminated through Blackboard, the College’s course-management software. If you are not familiar with this system, please see for more info. It is very important to ensure that you have access to this site and can receive my announcements. They are sent to the email address on file for you at the College and attached to your name in the roster. Emails will often be sent through the WebCentral system as well, so make sure your current email address is also up to date there.

            Static copies of the Powerpoint slides will be posted in the Lectures folder under Course Documents by the evening before class, so that you can supplement them with your own notes from class. Even though the slides are posted, you should still attend class or watch the recorded lectures to really understand them and because a lot of important information will be said in class (on which you may be tested) that can’t be obtained from the slides. 

            Unless I notify you otherwise, class sessions will occur during our scheduled Tue/Thur 9:30-10:45am time using Zoom. They’ve been set up as recurring weekly Tue and Thur meetings with meeting ID: 863 0363 7614 and passcode 851226. To respect everyone’s privacy and minimize the possibility of being “zoombombed”, please do not share the class invitations and code with anyone else.

Please try to attend class as regularly as possible and participate to the extent that you’re willing and able. You can choose to show yourself on video or not, but given the size of our class, microphones should be kept off unless you’re asking or responding to questions. Every session will be recorded for the benefit of students who couldn’t attend or wants to go back through the material. The manner in which you attend and present yourself, in terms of whether your camera is on or off, profile image used, and vocal or chat participation will be recorded and you hereby consent to that by attending the session. If you do not want your profile or video image, or verbal contributions recorded, then don’t use a profile pic, and keep your microphone and camera off. 

            Links to the recorded lectures, along with supplementary articles and videos, will be posted in topically organized Folders under Web Links. Recordings can ONLY be accessed with a CUNY Zoom account. Please see for how to set this up, if you haven’t already done so.


2. ATTENDANCE, STUDY HABITS, & SELF-QUIZZING: As mentioned, attending “live” lectures during scheduled class time is VERY STRONGLY ENCOURAGED and MOST IDEAL for SUCCESSFUL PROGRESS and ACHIEVEMENT in the course. Do your best to arrive on time and stay for the entire duration. Since this may not always be possible given your circumstances in these unusual times, sessions will be recorded and available for later viewing and review, as specified above. 

This course and the field of Psychology in general are NOT easy. We will cover a lot of material and specialized terminology. In order to do well you will need to demonstrate a good understanding of concepts, theories, issues, and be able to apply that knowledge to correctly answer test questions. Simply reviewing the lectures and/or your notes right before an exam and knowing the “gist” of the material will NOT be sufficient. If you want to succeed you should plan to attend (or at least watch) lectures regularly, pay attention, and take good notes. You should also review and study those notes on a regular basis. 

            In previous versions of this course, students had weekly quizzes in order to encourage attendance and develop good study habits, instead of trying to cram in all the material right before an exam. Psychological research has actually shown that frequent quizzing facilitates better long-term understanding and learning of material (see article link on Blackboard course site). From my experience, it isn’t feasible to set up and have students do graded online quizzes every week, particularly given the size of this class.

However, since I firmly believe in the value of quizzes as a means of assessing your knowledge, EXAMPLE QUIZZES will be posted on the course blackboard site (see below) at the end of each week, usually by Fri, so that you can test your knowledge of that week’s material. They will typically consist of approximately 7-9 T/F, fill-in-the blank, multiple choice, or short answer questions. You are STRONGLY encouraged to keep up with the reading, study your notes on a regular basis, and do these quizzes in a similar manner to being tested in class (i.e., without using your notes and book).

Doing these quizzes will be one of the best ways to check your understanding of the material before doing the course tests. They will NOT be submitted and graded, but correct answers will be posted, and you can email me, attend an office hour, or make an appointment to meet with me if you have a question about any response or difficulty answering any item. If you find yourself doing poorly on these quizzes and struggling with the material, then please speak to me as soon as possible. Do not wait until just before or after an exam, or further into the semester, because the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to try to help you. 


3. EXAMS: There will be two “midterm” exams (up to 1 hr & 15 min in duration) around Tue Oct 5th and Thur Nov 4th, in addition to the final exam onThur Dec 16th (up to 2 hrs in length). They will consist of approximately 50-60 MULTIPLE CHOICE questions, but a few T/F items may be included as well. Each test will be NON-CUMULATIVE and only assess material covered after the previous exam. You will be allowed to take each test twice (with different specific questions across attempts) if you want, with the highest score counted for your overall grade. The exams will also be scored so that some points, probably around 2 to 4, can be missed without penalty.

They will be administered through Blackboard and you will have a window of at least 24 hrs (likely around 1.5 to 2 days) in which they must be done. More information will be provided closer to these dates, but be aware that the tests will be set up in ways to minimize the possibility of cheating. 


4.  OPTIONAL HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: 31% of your grade MAY be based on the quality of a written homework assignment that you can CHOOSE TO COMPLETE ON YOUR OWN and submit on Thur Dec 9th. More specific information will be provided in a few weeks (Thur Sep 23rd). This assignment is normally a required component of the course, but since this class is too big for me to grade that many papers at the end of the semester, it will be OPTIONAL. Students who find the material challenging, experience difficulties performing well on the tests, and/or have more time in their schedules, can consider doing the homework as a means of improving their grade by reducing the relative “weight” of their test scores. Conversely, students who do not find the material as challenging, score well on the tests, and/or have less time to complete a written assignment, should decide NOT to do the assignment since it most likely won’t affect an already good grade. The class will be polled shortly after the 2nd test to see how many people intend on doing the homework. If there are too many, then only students whose first two test scores average below a B+ will be permitted to do the assignment. EVERYONE WILL ALSO HAVE THE CHANCE TO INCREASE THEIR OVERALL GRADE BY DOING SOME EXTRA CREDIT (as explained in #6 below).

If you do the assignment, it MUST be turned in by 11:59pm on Thur Dec 9th. Otherwise you will lose 2 out of the maximum 25 pts for every 12 hours it is late, unless you have a personal or family health issue or other valid reason supported by documentation. The assignment will be submitted and graded electronically through the Turnitin program in Blackboard, which checks for cheating and plagiarism. 


5. RESEARCH PARTICIPATION: Students across ALL Psych 1000 sections are normally required to earn 3 hours of research credit in order to complete the course and receive their letter grade rather than an INC (incomplete) grade. This is typically done by participating in Psychology Department research. The extent to which “in-person” experiments may be allowed this semester is unclear. Hopefully there will be some for students willing to do them, but there will also be a range of online studies, or the option of reading and writing summaries of research articles, or a combination of study participation credits and article summaries for a total of 3 credits.

            See the “Research Requirement Handout” under Course Information in Blackboard for further information and instructions. In order to see and participate in available studies, you have to go to and click on “Request Account” if you don’t already have one. Make sure to select the Kacinik TR9 section to make sure your credits go into the correct class account. You will then be able to log in and view the studies seeking participants and the number of credits you can earn. If you are unable or don’t want to participate in research studies, then you can do the alternative article summaries mentioned before and in the handout, or a combination of study credit and summaries.

You can find and choose articles to read and summarize on various topics in the “Articles for Research Alternative” folder on Blackboard. Each summary should be at least 1.5 double-spaced pages in length and written sufficiently well and independently enough (i.e., primarily in your own thoughts and words) to receive 1 credit. Summaries should be clearly labeled and combined into a single file to upload into Turnitin. Study credits and/or research article assignments must be completed by Thur Dec 23rd, to receive a grade for the course. I strongly recommend completing this requirement sooner rather than later.

***If there don’t seem to be enough studies available for a majority of students to do, then I will either reduce the requirement to 2 credits or try to find online experiments from other sources or videos of psychological research that can be watched and summarized.


6. EXTRA CREDIT: Up to 3 percentage points of extra credit may be earned by participating in additional online studies to earn up to 3 more credits (i.e., 3 in addition to the 3 research credits required for the course, for a maximum of 6). If you are unable or don’t want to earn extra credit in this way, then you can find psychology-related articles in the media (e.g., NY Times, CNN, MSNBC, Huffington Post, Yahoo News, ScienceDaily, NewScientist, Psychology Today, Big Think etc…) similar to, but different, from those shown in class and/or posted on Blackboard, and write a 1.5 to 2 double-spaced page summary in your own thoughts and words. These summaries must also be combined into one file and submitted electronically through Turnitin on Blackboard. Such media article summaries can ONLY be done for extra credit and NOT for the research requirement described above. The latter REQUIRES USING the scientific research reports from the “Articles for Research Alternative” folder in Blackboard. Each extra research credit or summary will be worth 1% added on to your overall weighted grade at the end of the course. You can earn up to 3 extra credit points by doing online studies, media article summaries, or a combination of both for a total of 3 credits. 

            Another option to get all 3 extra credit points “in one shot” is by watching one of the psychologically relevant movies in the list posted under Course Information, then research and write a 1.5 to 2 page report that scientifically explains at least one psychological issue, disorder, phenomenon… from the film and describe a few examples or aspects of how that’s demonstrated or dealt with in the film. You can also discuss whether you thought the depiction was or wasn’t accurate and why. In other words, the paper should NOT just summarize the movie, and if it is not sufficiently well done in terms of thoroughness, scientific psychological content, and quality of writing, it may not receive the full extra credit or be sent back for improvement before credit is granted. If you think of other potentially appropriate films, then let me know and I’ll determine if they can be added to the list. Any form of extra credit must be submitted by Thur Dec 23rd.

7. MISSED CLASSES AND MAKEUPS: Since lectures will be recorded and posted, if you miss all or part of a class, you should watch the recording to learn what you missed. For further explanation or clarification of the material, attend an office hour session or make an appointment for a meeting.

If you are unable to take a midterm or final exam in the allowed time period due to a personal or family medical issue or other legitimate circumstance, you must contact me as soon as possible to explain the situation and ideally provide evidence. Depending on the circumstances and time-frame, I will decide whether you can still do the test or be excused with other course components re-weighted proportionally. In the latter case, I strongly recommend doing the optional homework assignment, unless you are very confident in your understanding of the material and ability to score well on the tests. If an exam is missed and you have not contacted me within a reasonable time or do not have a sufficiently valid reason, you will receive a zero.

Students who cannot attend certain classes for religious reasons will not be penalized in any way, but they should watch the recorded lecture and do the assigned reading as soon as possible to keep up with the material.


8. COLLEGE POLICY ON ACADEMIC INTEGRITY AND PLAGIARISM: The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both. The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn College procedure for policy implementation can be found at and under Web Links.

Please take the time to read and familiarize yourself with these regulations since “not knowing” is NOT an excuse. Plagiarized assignments will receive a failing F grade, and cheating on a test will be scored as a zero. Depending on the situation, I reserve the right to Fail a student in the course in response to plagiarism or cheating of any kind. In addition, a faculty member who suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member is obligated to report the violation


9. STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES must register with the Center for Student Disability Services, to receive academic accommodations. Students unable to come to campus in person can call (718) 951-5538, or email [email protected] or [email protected] to ensure accommodation notices are sent to professors. If you have a disability and are not registered yet, or suspect you have a disability and would like assistance, contact the Center as soon as possible and provide me with necessary documentation to potentially modify aspects of the course and your test parameters accordingly.


10. IMPORTANT INFORMATION & USEFUL RESOURCES: Given the pandemic and challenging times in which we’ve been living, the College has compiled considerable information and resources to help students succeed. If you are experiencing personal, academic, or financial difficulties or issues with your physical or mental health, please consult and take advantage of appropriate sources to get help. You can find most of this information through the College’s general COVID-19 page: or by going directly to these lists of resources at the college and beyond:


The site developed by Clinical Psychologists at Hofstra University is particularly informative and helpful regarding psychological impacts of the pandemic and suggestions for improving our mental health.


If you tragically have to deal with the passing of a loved one, you can find the College’s policy on bereavement here:


Besides consulting such resources, you should also inform me about serious extenuating circumstances that could prevent you from successful progress and completion of the course. I can be understanding and flexible, but you must contact me to discuss the situation and determine the best way to proceed.



Breakdown of Grade Components WITH and WITHOUT Optional Homework Assignment

Midterm Exam 1 (non-cumulative)               23%            OR             33%

Midterm Exam 2 (non-cumulative)               23%                              33%

Final Exam (non-cumulative)                         23%                              34%

WITH Optional Assignment                          31%            WITHOUT ASSIGNMENT

Research Participation (3 credits)                 Required for course completion & grade submission



A+ = 97-100%            B+ = 87-89%              C+ = 77-79%              D+ = 65-69%           F = below

A   = 93-96%              B  = 83-86%               C   = 73-76%                D  = 60-64%                   60%

A-  = 90-92%              B- = 80-82%              C-  = 70-72%




Date Topic, Assignment Assigned Reading
Thursday Aug 26th Course Info & Introduction Read handouts, Start Chap. 1
Tuesday Aug 31st Introduction & History Chap. 1
Thursday Sep 2nd

Finish Introduction & History?

Start Research Methods?

Chap. 1

Chap. 2

Tuesday Sep 7th NO CLASS due to Rosh Hashanah
Thursday Sep 9th Research Methods Chap. 2


Date Topic, Assignment Assigned Reading
*Tuesday Sep 14th Professor may be away & unable to teach during class time. Bio Foundations Lecture will be pre-recorded & posted.

Chap. 3 (up to p. 99)


Thursday Sep 16th NO CLASS due to Yom Kippur
*Tuesday Sep 21st Professor may be away & unable to teach during class time. Bio Foundations Lecture will be pre-recorded & posted.

Chap. 3 (up to p. 99)


*Thursday Sep 23rd

Optional Homework Assignment

Biological Foundations (Brain & Nervous System)

will be posted & discussed

Chap. 3 (up to p. 99)

Tuesday Sep 28th Biological Foundations (Brain & Nervous System) Chap. 3 (up to p. 99)
Thursday Sep 30th

Finish Biological Foundations (Brain & Nervous System)?

Start Sensation & Perception?

Chap. 3 (up to p. 99)?


Chap. 5 (up to p. 187)?

*Tuesday Oct 5th




On everything covered so far (Chapters 1-3, part of 5?)
Thursday Oct 7th Sensation & Perception Chap. 5 (up to p. 187)
Tuesday Oct 12th Sensation & Perception Chap. 5 (up to p. 187)
Thursday Oct 14th Sensation & Perception Chap. 5 (up to p. 187)
Tuesday Oct 19th Sensation & Perception Chap. 5 (up to p. 187)
Thursday Oct 21st

Finish Sensation & Perception?

Start Consciousness & Attention?

Chap. 5 (up to p. 187)

Chap. 4 (up to p. 133)

Tuesday Oct 26th Consciousness & Attention Chap. 4 (up to p. 133)
Thursday Oct 28th Memory Chap. 7
Tuesday Nov 2nd Memory Chap. 7

*Thursday Nov 4th




On everything since Test 1 (Chapters 5, 4, part of 7?)
Tuesday Nov 9th Memory Chap. 7
Thursday Nov 11th Memory Chap. 7
Tuesday Nov 16th Development Chap. 9 (p. 344-371)
Date Topic, Assignment Assigned Reading
Thursday Nov 18th Development Chap. 9 (p. 344-371)
Tuesday Nov 23rd Development Chap. 9 (p. 344-371)
Thursday Nov 25th NO CLASS Due to Thanksgiving
Tuesday Nov 30th Social Psychology Chap. 12
Thursday Dec 2nd Social Psychology Chap. 12
Tuesday Dec 7th

Finish Social Psychology?

Start Psychological Disorders?

Chap. 12

Chap. 14

*Thursday Dec 9th

Optional Homework Assignment

Psychological Disorders

is due

Chap. 14

Tuesday Dec 14th


Review Session will likely be held during


Class Time or Common Hrs

*Thursday Dec 16th

to Friday Dec 17th

Non-Cumulative FINAL EXAM

(2 hrs allowed, in a given time frame, probably from 8am Thur to 11pm Fri)

On material since Test 2 (Rest of Ch. 7, 9, 12, & 14?)


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