Honours Seminars: Expanded descriptions Fall 2015, Winter 2016, and Spring 2016

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


PSYCH 451 (Fall 2015 and Winter 2016)
Honours seminar - Child and Adolescent Psychopathology

Maureen Drysdale previously taught the PSYCH 451 content as PSYCH 463 (Special Topics).

No extended description available.  See the undergraduate calendar for the course description and requisites for enrolment. Note in particular the antirequisites.

Instructor: Maureen Drysdale

Enrolment limit: 25

See priority enrolment for Honours Seminars.

PSYCH 453 (Fall 2015)
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? This is the question we will explore in depth in this course via primary readings in relevant fields and group projects that will take you out into community locations to think about these issues from a more applied and experiential perspective. 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 discussion and argument among researchers. But 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. Three in-depth projects will be conducted in small groups over the term and portions of class time will be devoted to group work sessions guided by advice and feedback to individual groups by the instructor. Topics explored 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 SES; 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

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

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PSYCH 453 (Winter 2016)
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

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

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PSYCH 455 (Spring 2016)
Honours seminar in social psychology
Specific topic: Personal Identity and Autobiographical Memory

Priority enrolment will be given to those in the co-op system of study.  Year 4 coop students will have higher priority than year 3 co-op students if necessary.

Instructor: Richard Eibach

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 455 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

How are people able to maintain a sense of personal identity continuity in the face of the dramatic physical and psychological transformations that they undergo over the course of their lives? In this seminar we will examine the various ways that people draw on memories of personal experiences to construct coherent identities and find meaning in their lives despite experiencing dramatic personal changes. Readings and discussions will explore how self-theories and present identity needs can distort recall of one’s personal past. We will cover a number of topics such as why perceiving a contrast between one’s past and present self might help people recover from addiction and mental illness, how developing a politicized identity narrative can fuel social activism, what role nostalgia plays in connecting people to past meaningful events, how the recollection of relationship events can affect the bond between romantic partners, and the function of "coming out" narratives in managing stigmatized identities.

Requirements for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: all of PSYCH 253/253R (or 220R), 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391 (Note: Must take PSYCH 391 before PSYCH 455 Spring 2016 because PSYCH 391 is never offered in the Spring term.)

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

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PSYCH 457 (Fall 2015)
Honours seminar in personality and clinical psychology
Specific topic: Anxiety disorders

March 2015 update: The number of enrolment requests for PSYCH 457 exceeds space availability.  We anticipate that there will be no space in this section for year 3 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

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

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PSYCH 458 (Fall 2015)
Honours seminar in cognition
Specific topic: Applied cognitive science

Instructor: Evan Risko

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 458 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

Understanding how we think has the potential to vastly improve our quality of life. From designing user interfaces in order to reduce human error to teaching machines to do some of our thinking for us, research in applied cognitive science is fundamentally changing our day-to-day lives. This is an exciting time for this field. This seminar will provide a survey of research in the broad area of applied cognitive science (e.g., applied cognitive psychology, cognitive engineering, human factors, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence) with an emphasis on new, exciting, and controversial areas of application (e.g., intelligent tutoring systems, brain training).

Requirements for enrolment

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

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

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PSYCH 459 (WINTER 2016)
Honours Seminar - Close Relationships

We anticipate that there will be no space in PSYCH 459 Winter 2016 for year 3 students. John Rempel formerly taught the PSYCH 459 material as a PSYCH 455 topic.

No extended description available. See the undergraduate calendar for the course description and requisites for enrolment. Note in particular the antirequisites.

Instructor: John Rempel

Enrolment limit = 25

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

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PSYCH 461 (Fall 2015)
Honours seminar in cognitive neuroscience
Specific topic: Cognitive Neuroscience of memory

Instructor: Myra Fernandes

Enrolment limit = 25

See the PSYCH 461 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded description

Memory is intimately involved in most, if not all, domains of human cognition, from the ability to temporarily remember a phone number to the acquisition of language, to defining who we are. This course will consider the cognitive and neural organization of memory, the basis of remembering and forgetting, and the nature of false memories, with an emphasis on the consequences of brain changes associated with normal and pathological aging. Throughout, cognitive theory and behavioural evidence will be integrated with data from neuropsychology and functional brain imaging. By reviewing and discussing classic and current research using these methods, and their findings, students will develop an understanding of how cognitive neuroscience informs current theories of memory function.

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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PSYCH 461 (Winter 2016)
Honours seminar in cognitive neuroscience
Specific topic: Classic cases in Human Neuropsychology

Instructor: James Danckert

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 461 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

Understanding how the brain controls behaviour has relied on detailed examination of rare and unusual cases of brain damage. In this course we will explore some of the classic cases that have propelled our understanding of the brain forward. From patient H.M., who can no longer form new memories, to the rare and bizarre cases of foreign accent syndrome – patients who present with a foreign accent for a language they do not speak after suffering a stroke! From these cases we developed some of the most important and long-lasting models of human behaviour. We will ask in this course, how far have we come since?

Quote from a student who took this course/topic previously:

"This class gave me the opportunity to go beyond the information found in textbooks and explore the research that makes cognitive neuroscience so important to psychology. This is a great class for anyone interested in the brain and its interaction with cognition."
Alex Filipowicz

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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PSYCH 463 (Fall 2015) - CANCELLED
Honours seminar in special topics
Specific topic: Child and adolescent psychopathology

PSYCH 463 Fall 2015 was cancelled and replaced by PSYCH 451 Fall 2015.

PSYCH 485 (available Fall 2015/Winter 2016/Spring 2016)
Directed studies: Honours seminar

Psych 485 description and application form for enrolment

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Last updated:  July 30, 2015