Honours Seminars: Expanded descriptions Fall 2014, Winter 2015, and Spring 2015

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

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

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


PSYCH 453 (Fall 2014)
Honours seminar in developmental psychology
Specific topic: Language and social disadvantage

Instructor: Daniela O'Neill

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 453 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

What factors impact children’s language development, both positively and negatively, among children growing up in more socially and economically disadvantaged situations?

The issue of accounting for differences in early language ability observed among children is extremely complex. Whether the differences noted in research studies are best interpreted as:

  • individual differences,
  • differences in styles of talk,
  • differences in parental attitudes and beliefs,
  • and/or differences due to socio-economic deprivation

has provoked much debate. However, the issue of why some children are far behind other children with respect to language development, particularly upon the age of school entry, is of great importance in many countries around the world who seek to assure that all children receive the best start they can and develop to their full potential, especially with respect to educational attainment.

Topics in this seminar will include:

  • seminal and recent work investigating child and parent-child interactions in different socio-economic and cultural groups,
  • examination of variables such as maternal education level and socio-economic status,
  • discussion of different theoretical approaches to explain variability observed among children, and 
  • possible differences between the language of home and school.  

Requirements for enrolment

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

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PSYCH 453 (Winter 2015)
Honours seminar in developmental psychology
Specific topic: Being bilingual

Instructor: Katherine White

Enrolment limit: 25

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.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

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PSYCH 455 (Winter 2015)
Honours seminar in social psychology
Specific topic: Close relationships

Instructor: John Rempel

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 455 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

This course will focus on basic concepts in social psychology, examined in the context of the development and course of close relationships.

For the formative stages of relationships, the discussion will centre on topics such as: attraction, romantic love, and the self-disclosure process.

As we move to studying continuing relationships, the focus will shift to topics such as intimacy, trust, and commitment, and on the darker side, interpersonal conflict and relationship dissolution.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 253/253R (or 220R), 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

Antirequisites for enrolment

Only 1 of the following courses is allowed for credit towards the degree:

  • PSYCH 455 (Close Relationships) - instructor Joanne Wood
  • PSYCH 455 (Close Relationships) - instructor John Rempel (St. Jerome's)
  • PSYCH 450R (Close Relationships) - instructor Denise Marigold (Renison)
  • PSYCH 448R (Close Relationships) - offered at Renison

PSYCH 354/354R (Close Relationships) is not antirequisite to PSYCH 455 (Joanne Wood or John Rempel) or visa versa.

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PSYCH 457 (Fall 2014)
Honours seminar in personality and clinical psychology
Specific topic: Anxiety disorders

This course is full. Priority enrolment was given to year 4 students. Priority on the waiting list for enrolment will be given to year 4 students.

Instructor: Christine Purdon

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 457 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

This course will examine current research on the phenomenology, development, and persistence of anxiety disorders, as understood from a cognitive/learning perspective. We will first look at general learning and cognitive processes in anxiety with a particular focus on attention. We will then examine the phenomenology of specific anxiety disorders including:

  • panic disorder,
  • generalized anxiety disorder,
  • social phobia,
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder, and
  • post-traumatic stress disorder,

as well as models for their development and persistence. 

Treatment will be mentioned in class, but will not be a primary focus of the course.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 257/257R (or 323R), 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology.
  • Corequisite:  PSYCH 391

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PSYCH 458 (Winter 2015)
Honours seminar in cognition
Specific topic: Psychology of economic decisions

Instructor: Derek Koehler

Enrolment limit: 25

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 televison). 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
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

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PSYCH 461 (Winter 2015)
Honours seminar in cognitive neuroscience
Specific topic: A novel approach to the brain bases of consciousness

Instructor: Britt Anderson

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 461 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

This seminar will be organized around a careful reading of the following book:

Over the course of the semester we will read and discuss the entire book. Individual class sessions will focus on particular chapters. We will not only discuss the issues presented in the text, but use the text as the basis for extended discussion and review on the historical, literary, neural and psychological facts that inform cognitive neuroscience research in the domains of:

  • attention,
  • memory,
  • self-awareness,
  • decision making, and
  • ultimately consciousness.

You will be responsible for a considerable amount of reading, leading a discussion session, and a significant final paper.

Requisites for enrolment

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

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PSYCH 462 (Fall 2014)
Honours seminar in i
ndustrial/organizational psychology
Specific topic: Topics in Organizational Psychology

Instructor: Wendi Adair

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 462 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

We will focus on understanding major theories and methods pertaining to psychology in the workplace. Particular attention will be given to group processes including:

  • negotiation,
  • conflict management,
  • working in teams,
  • leading teams, and
  • group decision making.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • read and discuss a set of research papers each week,
  • make an oral presentations of course material,
  • develop and present a research proposal extending or related to a research area discussed in class.

Requisites for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: PSYCH 291, 292; 1 of PSYCH 338 or MSCI 211 or AFM 280; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-Up Psychology
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

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PSYCH 463 (Fall 2014)
Honours seminar in special topics
Specific topic: Child and adolescent psychopathology

Instructor: Maureen Drysdale

See the PSYCH 463 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

This seminar will address current issues in child and adolescent psychopathology including:

  • adolescent psychosis,
  • anxiety disorders,
  • mood disorders,
  • Tourette’s Syndrome,
  • conduct disorder,
  • eating disorders, and
  • other severe behavioural problems.

Special emphasis will be placed on the theories and scientific research concerning social-emotional functioning, current diagnostic systems, therapeutic techniques, and the social and cultural contexts in which childhood disorders occur. We will also address the challenges and barriers encountered when raising and teaching children and adolescents with a mental illness.

Assessments will include a written assignment, an oral presentation, and class discussions.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: PSYCH 291 and 292; PSYCH 317 or 336; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-Up Psychology.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

Enrolment procedures for PSYCH 463

Please enrol for PSYCH 463 during Course Selection Week (March 3-9).

Thereafter you cannot self-enrol for PSYCH 463 on Quest because this is a 'special topics' course. Enrolment requests after Course Selection Week must be submitted by  email to the Psychology Undergraduate Advisor. Please include your full name, student identification number, and 'PSYCH 463 Fall 2014' in the body of the message, and your last name and 'PSYCH 463 Fall 2014' in the subject line of the message.

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PSYCH 463 (Spring 2015)
Honours Seminar in special topics
Specific topic: Community-based research

Instructor: Kathleen Bloom

Enrolment limit (PSYCH 463/363 combined): 26

See the PSYCH 463 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

More than ever, community organizations are being asked by those who fund and use social, health, and psychological services to demonstrate that their policies and programs are based on good research evidence. Community organizations need trustworthy reports that demonstrate 'what the research says' about best practices for serving the needs of society.

PSYCH 463 Spring 2015 will be held with PSYCH 363. This course requires active learning as well as teamwork. Materials, assignments, and evaluations of students will differ to some degree depending on the course enrolment (PSYCH 363 versus PSYCH 463).

The course objectives include:

  • learn the skills of finding, evaluating, and synthesizing relevant research using state-of-the-art systematic methods.
  • with the mentorship of government and community leaders, learn how to communicate in ways that make research summaries useful to practioners.
  • gain skills that can prepare you for successful careers in the new field of knowledge mobilization.
  • if preparing for academic careers, learn to create research proposals that attract the interest and support of faculty, scholarship committees, and community partnerships.

For further details, go to:

(Update May 1, 2015) The clients for PSYCH 363/463 Spring 2015 will be three not-for-profit organizations:

  • The Autism Society of Waterloo Region (1 research project)
  • The Local Health Integration Network  (1 research project)
  • Infant and Child Development Services (2 research projects)

Students will be divided amongst the 4 projects based on the students' preference rankings and availability.

If planning to enrol, please attend the introductory class on 6 May.

Prerequisite and corequisite for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: All of PSYCH 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-Up Psychology.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391 (Note: must take PSYCH 391 before PSYCH 463 Spring 2015 because PSYCH 391 is never offered Spring term.)

For those who do not meet the above 2 requirements, go to PSYCH 363.

Antirequisites for enrolment

You may not enrol in PSYCH 463/363 Spring 2015 if you have taken any of the following:

  • PSYCH 463 (Topic: Knowledge Transfer) Winter 2011
  • PSYCH 463 (Topic: Community-Based Research) Winter 2013 or Winter 2014
  • PSYCH 363 (Topic: Community-Based Research) Winter 2013 or Winter 2014 

If you take PSYCH 463/363 Spring 2015 do not enrol in future offerings of PSYCH 463/363 with Kathleen Bloom if the topic is Community-Based Research, Knowledge Mobilization, or Knowledge Transfer.   

Enrolment procedures for Psych 463

Please enrol for PSYCH 463 during Course Selection Week for Spring 2015 (dates pending).

Thereafter you cannot self-enrol for PSYCH 463 on Quest because this is a 'special topics' course. Email enrolment requests for PSYCH 463 to the Psychology Undergraduate Advisor. Please include your full name, student identification number, and 'PSYCH 463 Spring 2015' in the body of the message, and your last name and 'PSYCH 463 Spring 2015' in the subject line of the message.

Testimonials about Psych 463/363 (Community-Based Research)

Testimonial from student A.J. Orena Winter 2011

This is a great course for students who want to learn about how research impacts our community. It's a unique course in that you get to work closely with several stakeholders from the community (with the help of Dr. Bloom) on a project that will be of actual value to them. During our term, we were able to meet with our stakeholders and they told us about their experiences working with children with disabilities and what kind of services are being provided to them. It was very enlightening; the course really shape my views on research and its importance to society. This course is also a great resume builder - you will get plenty of opportunities to strengthen your skills in literature search, writing to an audience, team work, discussions. Dr. Bloom is a great mentor on the topic of knowledge mobilization, and can provide you with very helpful information about careers in research, knowledge transfer, and community work. I personally enjoyed the course, and have taken many good things from it that continue to be helpful to me as a graduate student.

Testimonial from Lorna Montgomery (Manager at Infant and Child Development Services – Peel Region) regarding the positive applied outcomes of the course projects Winter 2013

I use the ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) information every time I have a clinic and a client wants to talk with me about their options other than medication for ADHD. I have a colleague, whose son with ADHD had an opportunity to be enrolled in a class in which they start the day by running up to 4 km. She had asked me what I had thought. I told her that it looked good, on the basis of what your students had told us, she enrolled him, and she says that 3 months later, he can run 4 km, is full of pride about that, and, his ability to focus his attention has increased dramatically. She is ecstatic, the kid feels better about himself and the whole family functions better, she tells me. There is the first anecdotal feedback (on the students’ course project).

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PSYCH 485 (available Fall 2014/Winter 2015/Spring 2015)
Directed studies: Honours seminar

Psych 485 description and application form for enrolment

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Last updated: December 28, 2015