Honours Seminars: Expanded descriptions Fall 2018, Winter 2019, and Spring 2019

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 457 Fall 2018: Depression

PSYCH 458 Fall 2018: Psychology of Economic Decisions

PSYCH 461 Fall 2018: Virtual Reality and Cyberpsychology

PSYCH 453 Winter 2019: Being Bilingual

PSYCH 457 Winter 2019: Autism Spectrum Disorder

PSYCH 458 Winter 2019: Evolutionary Medicine

PSYCH 461 Spring 2019: Classic cases in Human Neuropsychology


PSYCH 457 (Fall 2018)
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 2018)
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 461 (Fall 2018)
Honours seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific topic: Virtual Reality and Cyberpsychology

Instructor: Colin Ellard

Enrolment limit = 25

See the PSYCH 461 course description in the undergraduate calendar.

Expanded description

The new technologies of virtual and augmented reality are beginning to show their potential to exert widespread impact on human behaviour.  The ability to generate high-fidelity simulations of “real life” not only provides us with a potent new set of tools for psychological experimentation, but may also transform the way that we understand physical reality and conduct human relationships. In this course, we will begin with a brief exploration of the technologies used to generate virtual environments (including some hands-on exploration in the laboratory). We will then explore the wider implications of this technology by examining the work of thought leaders such as Jaron Lanier and Jeremy Bailenson.  Finally we will look in detail at some case studies that show the contributions of VR and AR to the conduct of psychological science.

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 453 (Winter 2019) 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 457 (Winter 2019)
Honours Seminar in Personality and Clinical Psychology. 
Specific Topic: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Instructor: Tara McAuley 

Enrolment limit: 25

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 (Winter 2019)
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 461 (Spring 2019)
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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Last updated:  July 4, 2018