PSYC 101 (3 cr): Introduction to Biological and Cognitive Psychology

Course Description and Prerequisites

Introduction to Methods and Statistics, Biopsychology, Learning, Perception, Memory, and Cognition.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of PSYC 100 and PSYC 101.

Prerequisite(s): None.

Course Objectives

This psychology course will introduce you to some of the major research areas within the field of psychology: the scientific study of behaviour.  The course begins with an overview of psychology and its research methods, and then covers several fundamental topics in psychology (for example, biological psychology, learning and memory, consciousness, and language).

By the end of this course, students should be able to

  1. Explain what psychology is and isn’t.
  2. Describe the history and evolution of the field of psychology.
  3. Describe the different types of psychologists and explain the sorts of work that each type of psychologist is engaged in.
  4. Understand the nature of scientific inquiry.
  5. Define modern psychology and identify the major perspectives within it.
  6. Recognize, recall, connect, and evaluate psychological concepts and theories from specific subfields (e.g., biological and cognitive psychology).
  7. Understand and explain basic research methods currently employed by psychologists.
  8. Explain the concept of an ‘experiment’; its strengths and its weaknesses.
  9. Use effective evidence-based study strategies based on current psychological research.
  10. Use and interpret basic descriptive statistics.
  11. Understand the purposes of inferential statistics, and be able to interpret some basic inferential statistics.
  12. Identify and avoid plagiarism when writing a psychology assignment.

Course Content

There are thirteen weeks of content in the course:

  • Week 1: What is Psychology? (Psychology’s History: Functionalism vs. Structuralism, Behaviorism, Psychophysics, Modern Approaches; Types of Psychologists)
  • Week 2: Research Methods Pt. 1 (Nature of Scientific Inquiry, Research Methods of Psychology and Statistics)
  • Week 3: Research Methods Pt. 2 (Nature of Scientific Inquiry, Research Methods of Psychology and Statistics)
  • Week 4: Neuroanatomy, Neural Transmission and the Endocrine System Pt. 1
  • Week 5: Neuroanatomy, Neural Transmission and the Endocrine System Pt. 2
  • Week 6: Genetics, Evolutionary Psychology, and Behavior
  • Week 7: Visual System
  • Week 8: Other Sensory Systems, Perception and Attention
  • Week 9: States of Consciousness
  • Week 10: Learning: Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning, and Social Learning.
  • Week 11: Cognition: Memory
  • Week 12: Cognition: Thinking and Reasoning
  • Week 13: Cognition: Language

Course Format

These distance education sections of PSYC 101 use an open-source text that is supplemented by many video-based lectures and online resources. In addition, the course contains interviews with some leading research psychologists and some demonstrations of psychological phenomena.

Each week in the course follows a similar structure:

  1. Completion of the assigned readings from the free-to-use online text.
  2. Self-check questions related to the assigned readings.
  3. Viewing of the online course videos and completion of the associated self-check questions.
  4. Online discussion(s) and video-based multi-person office hour with Steven Barnes
  5. Completion of the weekly quiz.


Midterm 1 22%
Midterm 2 22%
Final Exam 35%
Readings-Review Questions 3%
Quizzes 10%
Discussion Questions 6%
Online Office-Hours Participation 2%

*The Midterms and Final exam use a system that is built into called ‘Proctorio.’ Proctorio is an online invigilation tool that monitors your activities while writing an online exam.


Required: OpenStax College. Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Jun 25, 2018. Version 8.1;  This text was selected for this course because it is of high quality, it is free and open to use, and is at an appropriate reading level for an introductory psychology course.

Optional: Gilbert, D., Schacter, D., Wegner, D., Johnsrude, I., and Nock, M. K. (2014). Psychology: Third Canadian Edition. Worth, ISBN-13:978-1429237215.  This optional text was selected for this course because it is of high quality, and is at an appropriate reading level for a first-year student.

Technical Requirements for  Courses

This is an online course. Click here for more information about Canvas.


The course outline is subject to change. The official outline for this course can be found within the course site.