2019/2020 Honours Seminars: Expanded descriptions

Definitions of requisites for enrolment

  • Antirequisite: When two courses are listed as antirequisites, this means that there is too much overlap between the two courses to allow credit towards the degree for both courses.
  • Corequisite: A course that is named as a corequisite for another course must be taken before or at the same time as the course for which it is listed as the corequisite.
  • Prerequisite: A course that must be successfully completed before taking the current requested course.

Enrolment in honours seminars

Review the honours seminars / special subjects for the coming year including expanded course descriptions and requisites for enrolment:

PSYCH 453: Being Bilingual

PSYCH 457:  Depression

PSYCH 457: Autism Spectrum Disorder

PSYCH 458: Psychology of Economic Decisions

PSYCH 458: Evolutionary Medicine

PSYCH 461: Honours seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience


PSYCH 453  (Winter 2020)

Honours seminar in developmental psychology
Specific topic: Being bilingual

Instructor: Katherine White

Enrolment limit: 20

See the PSYCH 453 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

Learning even a single language is a monumental task. Yet, while most research on how people acquire and use language focuses on monolinguals, the majority of the world's population speaks (or signs) more than one language.

In this seminar we will explore the complexities of multilingualism. Some of the questions asked will include:

  • In what ways does the developmental course of bilingual acquisition differ from or parallel the acquisition of a single language?
  • How separate or interdependent are a bilingual's two languages?
  • How does the brain process and handle multiple languages?
  • Does learning more than one language have effects outside of the language system itself, affecting other aspects of our cognition?

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 211, 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology; Psych average of 74% or higher.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.


PSYCH 457  (Fall 2019)
Honours Seminar in Clinical Psychology. 
Specific Topic: Depression

Instructor: Pamela Seeds

Enrolment limit: 20

See the PSYCH 457 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

This course will expose students to contemporary research and controversies in the area of depression by examining primary empirical and review articles from leading researchers in the fields of psychology and psychiatry.  Initially, we will discuss ways of conceptualizing major depressive disorder.  The course will then focus on cognitive, social, and biological theories of the etiology and maintenance of depression.  We will also discuss several empirically-supported treatment approaches, including cognitive behavioural therapy, pharmacotherapy, and behavioural activation. 

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 257, 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology, Psych average of 74% or higher
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.


PSYCH 457 (Winter 2020)
Honours Seminar in Personality and Clinical Psychology. 
Specific Topic: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Instructor: Tara McAuley 

Enrolment limit: 20

See the PSYCH 457 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is arguably one of the most controversial and poorly understood disorders of neurodevelopment. This course will provide students with an in-depth examination of basic research and applied science that is relevant to understanding ASD, which will be accomplished via the integration of readings, in-class discussion, and knowledge translation activities. The course will begin with an historical overview of ASD and will then delve into specific topics including etiological factors, clinical assessment, brain and neuropsychological development, conventional vs. alternative treatments, and long-term prognosis.  

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 257/257R, 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology, Psych average of 74% or higher
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

PSYCH 458  (Fall 2019)
Honours Seminar in Cognition
Specific Topic: Psychology of Economic Decisions

Instructor: Derek Koehler

Enrolment limit: 20

See the PSYCH 458 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

Throughout our lives we are faced with difficult economic decisions, both major (selecting a pension plan) and minor (buying a television). How do people make such decisions, and are there ways in which their decisions could be improved? Psychologists and economists have developed an increasingly sophisticated and influential depiction of the processes by which people make choices under conditions of uncertainty and conflicting objectives. This research field is sometimes referred to as behavioural economics. 

This seminar provides a survey of recent research on the psychology of economic decision making, with an emphasis on the ways in which people's financial decisions systematically deviate from those expected under a 'rational', economic analysis.

Each week we will read and discuss three original research articles on a common topic, with a focus on generating new research ideas based on the work reported in the articles.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 207, 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology, Psych average of 74% or higher
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

PSYCH 458 (Winter 2020)
Honours Seminar in Cognition
Topic: Evolutionary Medicine

Instructor: Jennifer Stolz

Enrolment limit: 20

See the PSYCH 458 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

Just as the environmental pressures that our ancestors faced influenced the evolution of our physical form, human behaviour can also be viewed through the lens of evolutionary adaptations. 

In this seminar, we will consider how adaptations in our ancestral history affect our health, both physical and mental.  We will evaluate how contemporary circumstances may be at odds with evolved adaptations in our ancestral history and as a result constitute a source of many medical and psychological problems. 

Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, diet and exercise, sources of infection and immunity, sleep patterns and the photo period, recreational drug use, cosmetic enhancements, breeding patterns, mate choice, the use of birth control, and various other reproductive issues. 

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 207, 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology, Psych average of 74% or higher
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

PSYCH 461 
Honours seminar in cognitive neuroscience
Specific topic: The social brain: Cognitive Neuroscience of face processing and social cognition

Instructor: Roxane Itier

Enrolment limit: 20

See the PSYCH 461 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

We encounter people every day of our lives and the cues we extract from their face shape our social behaviour. For example you behave differently with your professor than with your best friend, or with someone looking distressed than with someone looking ready to jump at you. Successfully decoding the human face is central to navigating appropriately our social environment and relies on complex brain networks that can go awry or simply break down as seen in Autism Spectrum disorders or prosopagnosia. This course will consider the cognitive and brain basis of face processing and its links to social cognition, including the recognition of face identity, facial expressions of emotion, gaze perception and social attention. We will take a multidisciplinary approach and integrate classic and more recent data from several neuroimaging techniques, cognitive theories and behavioural evidence, neuropsychology and clinical disorders. Students will develop an understanding of how cognitive neuroscience informs current theories of socio-cognitive perceptual functions and get a better idea of what the fascinating social brain is all about

Requisites for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 261, 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

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