Professor Paul Bloom welcomes students and presents the course as a comprehensive introduction to the study of the human mind. Course readings and requirements are discussed. The five main branches of psychology are presented: neuroscience, which is a study of the mind by looking at the brain; developmental, which focuses on how people grow and learn; cognitive, which refers to the computational approach to studying the mind; social, which studies how people interact; and clinical, which examines mental health and mental illnesses.
What do your dreams mean? Do men and women differ in the nature
of their sexual desires
? Can apes learn sign language
? Why can't we tickle ourselves
? This course
tries to answer these questions and many others, providing a comprehensive overview
of the scientific study of thought and behavior.
Nolen-Hoeksema describes how modern clinical psychology both identifies and treats various mental disorders
. Particular focus is placed upon mood disorders such as bipolar
disorder and depression, including current diagnostic criteria and current practices for treatment.
One of the most uniquely human abilities
is the capacity for creating and understanding language
. This lecture introduces students to the major topics within the study of language: phonology, morphology
, syntax and recursion
. This lecture also describes theories of language acquisition, arguments for the specialization of language, and the commonalities observed in different
languages across cultures.
Why are people different
from one another? This lecture addresses this question by reviewing the latest theories and research
in psychology on two traits in particular: personality
and intelligence. Students will hear about how these traits are measured, why they may differ across individuals and groups, and whether they are influenced at all by one's genes, parents or environment.
This lecture finishes the discussion of language
by briefly reviewing two additional topics: communication systems in non-human primates and other animals
, and the relationship between language and thought. The majority of this lecture is then spent on introducing students to major theories and discoveries in the fields of perception, attention and memory
include why we see certain visual illusions, why we don't always see everything we think we see, and the relationship between different
types of memory.
The last lecture in the course
wraps up the discussion of clinical psychology with a discussion of treatment efficacy. Does therapy
actually work? Professor Bloom
summarizes the different
types of influences that clinical interventions might have on people who receive therapy.
This lecture reviews what evolutionary
theories and recent
studies in psychology can tell us about sex
and gender differences. Students will hear how psychology can help explain many of the differences that exist in whom we find attractive, what we desire in a mate, and sexual orientation.