Lab Courses

Prerequisites, Course Requirements

The Department considers lab instruction essential to the undergraduate experience in psychology. These courses provide you with the skills to:

  1. Understand how research contributes to the understanding of human behavior and be able to evaluate and utilize research methods and findings to investigate topics of interest,
  2. Formulate relevant hypotheses about social effects on behavior and know how to use appropriate techniques to collect data and analyze it in order to test these hypotheses, and
  3. Read, comprehend and critically evaluate articles about human behavior contained in specialized sources of psychological information.

In addition, the lab courses provide you with a solid background in the science of psychology, which is attractive to graduate programs in both clinical and experimental psychology. PSY 250/270 are prerequisites for all Lab courses. The Department offers the following lab courses, all of which must be taken with their corresponding lecture courses:

310L. Learning and Conditioning Laboratory is offered in the Summer only, odd years, contingent upon enrollment. Shaping, schedules of reinforcement, discrimination learning, extinction, and other learning and conditioning phenomena are demonstrated in a series of structured exercises using laboratory animals as subjects.

312L. Sensation and Perception Laboratory is offered on demand. Techniques and methods, including scaling, threshold measurement, and signal detection, are demonstrated in a series of laboratory exercises. Students also have the opportunity to engage in original research projects.

313L. Physiological Psychology Laboratory is offered every Fall. The techniques and methods used in this study of biological influences on behavior are introduced with emphasis upon neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neuropharmacology.

317L. Biopsychology Laboratory is offered in the Spring only, odd years. Techniques and methods, especially naturalistic observation and other techniques commonly used in the field of Ethology, are reviewed in a series of laboratory exercises.

318L. Experimental Social Psychology Laboratory is offered each Fall semester. A review of social psychological research methods including experimental and quasi-experimental designs, unobtrusive measures, field studies, the avoidance of bias, and ethical issues in research. Students are expected to conduct an empirical research project.

407L. Psychopathology Laboratory is offered each Spring semester. The methodology used in the study of common psychopathological patterns is reviewed and applied in original group projects. Ethical considerations in this research area are emphasized.

430L. Memory and Cognition Laboratory is offered every Spring. Techniques and methods which assess cognitive functioning and which are used in the study of cognitive processes are reviewed in a series of laboratory exercises. Students also have the opportunity to engage in original research projects.

450L. Psychometrics Laboratory is offered Spring only, even years. Practical experience in test construction is emphasized, including the application of concepts such as norms, standardization, reliability and validity.

453L. Developmental Psychology Laboratory is offered only in the Fall of even years. Methods of studying children and adolescents are investigated, including infant assessment, observational techniques, and experimentation. Students also have the opportunity to engage in original research projects. 

477L. Psychology and Law Laboratory is offered on demand. Methods of studying psychology and law are investigated, including jury selection, false confession and polygraph use. Students also have the opportunity to engage in original research projects.

Either of the following courses may be substituted for one lab course if an empirical research project is a part of the experience, but Department permission is required.

408F. Field Experience in Clinical Psychology is offered every Fall. Junior standing and the instructor's permission are required. Students will visit a clinical facility for two hours/week and process their learning experiences in a one-hour weekly lab. Opportunities to interact with patients and staff are included.

475. Practicum in Psychology is offered every semester. You must have completed 24 hours of psychology coursework and have the permission of the department chairman to enroll. This course gives the student the opportunity to gain experience in the application of psychological principles in various social agencies.