Honours Seminars: Expanded descriptions Fall 2017, Winter 2018, and Spring 2018

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 363 Spring 2018: Evolutionary Perspectives on Mental Heath and Illness

PSYCH 453 Fall 2017: Being Bilingual

PSYCH 453 Winter 2018: Language and Social Disadvantage

PSYCH 457 Fall 2017: Depression

PSYCH 458 Fall 2017: Psychology of Economic Decision Making

PSYCH 458 Winter 2018: Evolutionary Medicine

PSYCH 459 Fall 2017: Close Relationships

PSYCH 461 Fall 2017: Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory

PSYCH 461 Spring 2018: A novel approach to the brain bases of consciousness


PSYCH 363 (Spring 2018) Special Subjects
Specific topic: Evolutionary Perspectives on Mental Heath and Illness *not Honours Seminar*

Instructor: Paul Wehr

Enrolment limit: 70

*Held with PSYCH 470*

Expanded course description

Although still underutilized, evolutionary approaches are increasingly gaining favour in the social sciences because they offer a unique and useful perspective on human cognition, emotion, and behaviour. When evolutionary theory is applied to mental and physical illness, however, an interesting question arises: Given that pathologies are heritable (there is a nontrivial underlying genetic component) and that they have a significant negative impact on fitness (decrease survival and reproduction) why do pathologies persist in the population? In other words, why has natural selection failed to remove genes that contribute to physical and mental disease?

Requirements for enrolment

PSYCH 453 (Fall 2017) 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; Psych average of 74% or higher.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

PSYCH 453 (Winter 2018)
Honours seminar in developmental psychology
Specific topic: Language and social disadvantage

Instructor: Daniela O'Neill

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 420 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 individually or in small groups over the term and portions of class time will be devoted to work sessions guided by advice and feedback to students 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, Psych average of 74% or higher.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

PSYCH 457 (Fall 2017)
Honours Seminar in Clinical Psychology. 
Specific Topic: Depression

Instructor: Pamela Seeds

Enrolment limit: 25

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 458 (Fall 2017)
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, Psych average of 74% or higher
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

PSYCH 458 (Winter 2018)
Honours Seminar in Cognition
Topic: Evolutionary Medicine

Instructor: Jennifer Stolz

Enrolment limit: 25

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 behavior 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 459 (Fall 2017)
Honours Seminar in Close Relationships

Instructor: John Rempel

Enrolment limit: 25

See the PSYCH 459 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded course description

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

Requisites for enrolment

  • Prerequisites: PSYCH 354/354R or (PSYCH 253/253R and SMF 306), 291, 292; enrolment in Honours Psychology or Make-up Psychology, Psych average at least 74%
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391
  • Antireq: PSYCH 448R; PSYCH 450R taken W'10 or W'13; PSYCH 455 taken F'11 (sec 001), F'13 (sec 001), W'15.

PSYCH 461 (Fall 2017)
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;  Psych average of 74% or higher.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

See priority enrolment for honours seminars.

PSYCH 461 (Spring 2018)
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; Psych average of 74% or higher.
  • Corequisite: PSYCH 391

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Last updated:  April 4, 2018