Psychology 1002A 200 FW23

Psychology as a Natural Science

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.





LONDON               CANADA

Department of Psychology


Psychology 1002A    Section 200

Psychology as a Natural Science


An introductory survey of the methods and findings within modern scientific psychology. This course focuses on the biological aspects of human behaviour. The following topics will be covered: history and methodology, biological psychology, behavioural genetics, sensation and perception, learning, cognitive processes, amd memory.

Antirequisites : Psychology 1000, Psychology 1000W/X, Psychology 1010A/B, Psychology 1100E.

Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. If you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course.

2 lecture hours; 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Prerequisites: n/a

Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.



 Dr. Mike Atkinson: 6316 SSC,

Office hours: Wednesdays 10:00-11:30 am via Zoom


 Dr. Ingrid Johnsrude: 7412 SSC,

Office hours: by appointment


 Dr. Krista Macpherson: 7430 SSC,

Office hours: by appointment


Lecture : 

Online Asynchronous


Learning Lab :       In Person


This course uses a blended instruction model in which students must review and learn the main course material asynchronously, as well as to participate in synchronous discussion/lab activities In-Person.

Teaching Assistants:  see OWL site

In addition to Dr. Atkinson, there are a number of Graduate Teaching Assistants assigned to Psych 1002a. The graduate students have been part of the Department of Psychology from 1 to 6 years. Teaching assistants will run the Learning Labs. Please feel free to address any questions about the lectures, the program, or psychology in general to them as well as to Dr. Atkinson.   Any questions about the Learning Labs should be directed to the Teaching Assistants and/or Dr. Johnsrude.

Psych 1002 Web Site

The course website is located at:

Here you will find class information, study suggestions, links to other resources, etc. Please check it often.


Asking questions during lab or about the online content is an extremely important part of learning. I strongly encourage you to ask a question whenever you require clarification on an issue, or have an observation to make yourself. If you wish to ask a question directly to Dr. Mike please post your question to the “Questions and Office Hours” discussion in the Forums. You can also talk with Dr. Mike. during Office Hours.  Note : Routine questions such as ―When is the exam? What chapters are covered for the exam?, etc., may already be addressed on the FAQ portion of the course website.  All questions about the Learning Labs should be directed to Dr. Johnsrude.

Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147.

2.1 Online Learning Notice:
Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information.



Required Text :        Passer, M.W., Smith, R.E., Atkinson, M.L., & Mitchell, J.B., (2023).

                                     Psychology: Frontiers and ApplicationsEighth Canadian Edition. Toronto:   

                                     McGraw Hill Ryerson.

Note: this text comes shrink-wrapped with a passkey for the CONNECT website.

                      This text is also available as an e-book

Also, it is important to purchase the 8th edition—it has content that is not available in earlier editions and you will need the CONNECT code.

Recommended Text: Ellis, Toft & Dawson (2012). Becoming a Master Student . Nelson.  This material will not be covered on exams, but may be useful to you for time management, note taking, etc.



This course is an introductory level survey of the methods and findings related to the biological and methodological elements of modern scientific psychology. The goal is to provide students with an overview of various topic domains within this realm of psychology. As such, students will be exposed to diverse theoretical viewpoints and various methods and procedures for the scientific investigation of psychological issues. Note : Modern psychology is scientific in nature. Consequently, we will spend a lot of time discussing science-related topics such as research design, neural functioning, sensory mechanisms, brain structure, etc.

Each chapter in the text covers a major interest area in psychology. By the end of this course, the successful student will be able to:

Learning Outcome

Learning Activity


Knowledge Acquisition

Identify major concepts, theories, and topics in Psychology

Reading &watching lectures, + CONNECT & Learning Labs

Multiple choice exam & participation

Critical Thinking

Distinguish between and identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of various theories in Psychology

Reading & watching lectures, + CONNECT & Learning Labs

Multiple choice exam & participation, quality of lab discussion posts

Problem Solving; Inquiry and Analysis)

Apply concepts and theories from Psychology to everyday problems

Reading & watching lectures, + CONNECT,  & Learning Labs

Multiple choice exam, participation, quality of lab discussion posts


Ask questions about topics in Psychology

Online discussions & Learning Labs

Quality of posted/answered questions & lab discussion

Critical Thinking; Problem Solving

Interpret statistical information presented in tables or graphs

Reading & watching lectures, + CONNECT & Learning Labs

Multiple choice exam, participation

Knowledge Acquisition; Inquiry and Analysis

Identify common research designs used in Psychology

Reading & watching lectures, + CONNECT & Learning Labs

Multiple choice exam, participation



There will TWO exams during the course, CONNECT work (the quizzes), learning lab participation and research credit participation. The midterm exam  (worth 40%) is scheduled for Saturday Oct. 28 at 9am and the final exam (worth 40%) will be scheduled during the final exam period (Dec. 10 – 22, 2023).

    The midterm exam covers chapters 1 – 4, plus the Appendix and will consist of 75 multiple choice questions from both the text and lecture material.  The final exam covers chapters 5 – 8, and consist of 75 multiple choice questions from both the text and lecture material.

Exams will be written in the following manner: During the exam periods, you will be directed to log into OWL. Once, you are in OWL, you will receive a randomized test from the test bank. Each student will receive a different exam. Each exam will be the same level of difficulty and covers the same chapters. Questions will be answered in a strict linear fashion. Once you move from question 1 to question 2, you cannot go back to question 1. So you should answer each question as it appears.   NOTE:  ProctorTrack will be used for the exams

In addition to the exams you must complete a series of quizzes on the CONNECT site (one quiz per chapter). The total value for the quizzes is 2%.

Weekly Learning Labs count for 15% of your grade.

In addition, you must attend at least 8 of these to pass the course.  (Your weekly lab time is called ‘tutorial’ in your timetable). 


There are 11 labs total, including an introductory lab the week of Sept 11-15. 


From the week of Sept 18 onwards, all labs will require some preparatory work, in-person attendance in your scheduled lab, and in-lab group work. 

You are responsible for:

1) completing the preparatory work to the best of your ability, and submitting it at least 12 hours before your lab section.

2) signing the attendance register every time you attend lab, and participating actively in the lab. Note that you are expected to be ON TIME. If you are more than 5 minutes late, you may not be able to complete the lab and you will be marked absent for that lab. 

3) posting your in-lab group work within 72 hours of the end of the lab. This will usually be a camera screen shot of your group white board. Everyone in your group will probably post the same thing, since it was a group project, but each of you needs to post this individually. 


At the end of term you will need to have participated in EIGHT of the ten marked labs to pass the course. That includes marks for prep work, attendance and final, in-lab group work, submission for all  8 labs. The attendance mark is particularly important — if you only have attendance marks for 7 labs and not 8 you will not pass the course, even if your final grade is a passing one. 


Your final mark in the Learning labs out of 15% will be based on 8 labs.  If you attend all 10 (and please do if you can - you will learn more and that is what this is all about, after all) we will drop your two lowest marks, and you will be marked on 8. 


The marking rubric for each marked lab is as follows. 



Finally, there is a research participation requirement (see details on the Owl site).  You will be asked to participate in 3 research hours during the term. Minimum of 1 hour must be an in person study.  Each hour is worth 1% of your grade.

    The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning  

    objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning   




If you miss an exam for a legitimate reason (legitimate reasons are those approved by academic counselling in your home faculty), you will be allowed to write a makeup. The time for midterm makeup exam will be Saturday, Nov 11 at 1pm.  By Senate regulation, the make up for the final exam will be on the first Thursday following the start of second term classes (this year that will be Jan. 11, 2024).  NOTE:  in order to receive credit for this course, you must write the final exam.

    Learning Labs:  There will be one unmarked Intro Lab and then 10 marked learning Labs over the term.  You must participate in 8 out of 10 in order to pass the course. There are no makeups for missed Labs.

For CONNECT there is ample time to complete the quizzes. However, missing a chapter for a legitimate reason will result in prorating across the other quizzes for the term.

Research credits MUST be completed by noon on Dec. 8, 2023  The participation pool will be closed on that date and NO late submissions will be accepted.  As with CONNECT, there is ample time to complete the credit requirement.


 5.1a. Policy on Appealing Learning Lab Grades

 Learning Labs are graded in real time each week.  Your grade is determined by the Learning Lab Facilitator, based on your participation and answers to questions.  If you believe that a grade assigned for any given lab is not justified, you must address this with the facilitator within one week of the grade posting.  It is not feasible for us to assess your lab performance after the course has ended.

The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level to 2099-level courses

72%     2100-2999-level courses

75%     3000-level courses

80%     4000-level courses

The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines, which are as follows (see:

A+        90-100              One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level

A          80-89               Superior work that is clearly above average

B          70-79               Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory

C          60-69               Competent work, meeting requirements

D          50-59               Fair work, minimally acceptable

F          below 50           Fail

Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components.

Policy on Grade Rounding: Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course.



     Midterm Exam               40%.                 Saturday, Oct. 28

 Final exam:


Final Exam Period (Dec. 10 - 22, 2023)

CONNECT Quizzes:


Chapter 1 – 4 due by Oct. 28, 2023



Chapter 5 – 8 due by Dec. 6, 2023

Learning Labs:

Research Studies




Graded weekly

Due by Dec 8, 2022





Topics will be covered in the following order during the year. Approximate lecture dates are given so that you can keep up with the readings and video lectures.  Learning Labs are  synched  to  the Lecture topics.  We will post a link on OWL to the appropriate Learning Lab each week. Lectures are intended to highlight certain areas of each topic -- there is not enough time available to us to cover all the material. However, you are responsible for all the material in the text.

Please note that there is a fairly heavy reading load in this course -- we cover approximately one chapter every week and half. Thus, it is important for you to keep up with the readings.  Classes start on Sept. 7, so you can start reading Chapter 1.  Learning Labs start the week of Sept. 18.

WEEK OF                            CHAPTER                TOPIC                                                                                      LEARNING LAB

Monday Sept. 11                   1                           Introduction/History of Psychology.                                        Introduction

Monday Sept. 18                 2/Appendix           Methodology/Data Analysis/Statistics                                     Making Constructs Measurable

Monday Sept. 25                   3                           Brain & Nervous System                                                           Design a Study or Experiment

Monday Oct.  02                    3                           Brain & Nervous System                                                           Build a Brain

Monday Oct.  9                      4                           Genetics                                                                                     Thanksgiving Week…No Labs

Monday Oct. 16                     5                           Sensation/Perception.                                                               The Great Debate

Monday Oct. 23                     5                           Sensation/Perception                                                                Measuring Sensation

    Monday Oct. 30                                                    NO CLASS (FALL READING WEEK)                                      No Labs

Monday Nov. 06                    6                           Consciousness                                                                           Don’t Spill Your Drink

    Monday Nov. 13                   7                            Learning                                                                                       Theory of Mind

Monday Nov. 20                   7                            Learning                                                                                       Learning

Monday Nov. 27                   8                            Memory                                                                                         Discovering Memory in the Lab

Monday Dec 4                      8                            Memory                                                                                         Discovering Memory in the Real World

DECEMBER EXAM (TBD: Dec. 10 - 21)



8.0  Land Acknowledgement


We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum.


With this, we respect the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have to this land, as they are the original caretakers. We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) endure in Canada, and we accept responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation, as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research and community service.





Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offences. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offences because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offence are described at the following link:


As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and (


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating.


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system (PRS), data collected using the PRS will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed. Your PRS login credentials are for your sole use only. Students attempting to use another student’s credentials to submit data through the PRS may be subject to academic misconduct proceedings.


Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.



Tests and examinations for online courses will be conducted using a remote proctoring service. By taking this course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at:

In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance.





Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at:


If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:

  1. For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;
  2. For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate.


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation.


Students seeking academic consideration:

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;  
  • must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hoursafter the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term.


12.0      Contingency Plan for Return to Lockdown: IN-Person & Blended classes


In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor.




In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette:

  • please “arrive” to class on time
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet)
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following:

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question.
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking.
  • Self-identify when speaking.
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise).


General considerations of “netiquette”:

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course.
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing.
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate.
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately.


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct.




Office of the Registrar: 


Student Development Services:


Psychology Undergraduate Program:


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at:

Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology (


Copyright Statement: Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent.


Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions: Some or all of the remote learning sessions for this course (if scheduled) may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers (name displayed on the screen). The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor.





You will be expected to know the assigned chapters VERY WELL!

Many of the multiple-choice questions in this course are based on material from the chapters that is not explicitly covered in lecture. To be able to answer these questions correctly you will need to know and understand each of the concepts and processes described in the assigned chapters.

This a major learning task and many students run into difficulties because they do not know how to handle this learning task efficiently.

Just reading the assigned chapters is NOT enough!

For most people the process of reading something, or even re-reading it, does not mean that they remember it. This is especially true for "heavy" course content such as that found in the

psychology text. If you wish to learn the material from the text efficiently, you will need to approach it in a different manner.

Learn the text chapters using ACTIVE reading/ learning strategies.

Strategies recommended for efficient learning of text material can be divided into three types: pre- reading, reading for comprehension, and post-reading.

  1. Pre-reading . Learn the headings and subheadings.

Instead of diving immediately into reading the chapter, spend a few minutes learning the headings and subheadings. The headings and subheadings tell you the important ideas that will be covered in the chapter. In the text they are laid out for you on the first few pages of the book in the table of contents. Look at these headings and subheadings, think how they have been ordered, try reciting them from memory, and then write them out on a separate sheet of paper.

  1. Reading for comprehension . Read a few pages and THEN summarize.

Don't try to read most of the chapter in one sitting. It is much easier to learn the material in small chunks. Read a few pages carefully and THEN make a summary of the important points. Continue doing this until you have summarized about 10 pages - then take a break. You can summarize by highlighting sparingly AND making marginal notes, or by making separate written notes.

Note that much of the information in psychology comes in the form of arguments. Here are some the important kinds of information that are crucial to knowing and understanding an argument: i) definitions of new terms, ii) essential explanations of the specific argument, iii) examples, iv) results of studies.

If you make separate summary notes, try using point form and keywords. This has 2 advantages: the notes are made more quickly and they are easier to read. As you record key terms and definitions ALWAYS relate them to the arguments of which they are a part.

  1. Post- reading . Test yourself.

After actively reading 10 or more pages in the manner described above, try reciting (i.e., recalling from memory) all the important points under each heading and subheading that you have studied. This will reinforce the ideas you know and identify those that you need to review. Doing the study guide questions and relevant old exam questions after you have finished the entire chapter can also be very helpful.