• Syllabus 


    Course: AP Psychology 

    Instructor: Ms. Love

    Classroom Location: Room 17

    Instructor E-mail: hlove@lexcs.org

    Welcome to this class!  Together, we can make this class a great learning experience.  Should you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to let me know.  I am here to help you succeed.  


    Course Description 

    Psychology is the study of how humans think, feel, behave, and interact with one another. This course is designed to give you a broad overview of psychology. The purpose of AP® Psychology is to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. 


    Course Objectives 

    1. 1. Students will prepare to do acceptable work on the AP Psychology Examination. 
    2. 2. Students will study the major core concepts and theories of psychology. They will be able to describe practical applications of the various theoretical concepts in this field. 
    3. 3. Students will learn the basic skills of psychological research and understand key ethical considerations and guidelines.
    4. 4. Students will develop critical thinking skills. 



    1. Myers, David G. Psychology  For AP 2nd  edition.  
    2. It is highly suggested that you purchase:  AP Psychology study guide (Barron’s ).
    3. We will also read articles from contemporary psychological journals. 


    Course Materials

    1. Textbook for class daily (unless otherwise specified) 
    2. 3 ring binder and dividers (one for each unit)  
    3. Pencil and Pens (blue or black ink ONLY)
    4. Notebook for Psychology only
    5. College ruled loose leaf paper 
    6. Index Cards 

    ** If you are unable to acquire any of these materials please let me know so I can provide them for you. 



    1. We will follow our district’s grading scale: 

    A100-90 B89-80 C79-70 D69-60 F59 and below


    1. Final grades will be determined based on the following:

    -50% Tests (Including note cards)

    -15% Notebook (notes) and Reviews

    -20% Classwork and Homework 

    -15% Semester Project


    1. Tests- Each unit will end with a unit test. The tests will consist of multiple choice questions and essays, the same format as the AP Exam. For each unit you will be assigned around 20-30 vocabulary terms to make flashcards out of. These will be due the day of the unit test before you take the test. The cards will count for 10 test points, these are not extra credit points. If you do not turn the cards in before the test the highest grade you can receive is a 90.


    1. Notebook- Most days you will be assigned a section of the textbook to read and take notes on. Your notes should be taken on half of your notebook paper vertically. On the other half you will add more notes during the class lectures. Thus format will be demonstrated for you in class. I will check that you have completed these notes at the beginning of class on the day they are due. On the day of every unit test I will collect your notebooks for a cumulative check of all notes (book and lecture) as well as any other assignments and papers given throughout the unit. Yes, you must keep everything. 

    1. Classwork and Homework-You will very rarely have a home work assignment outside of your notes, note-cards, and semester projects. Most of this grade will come from inside the classroom work including but not limited to: participation, discussions, presentations, and various application activities. 


    1. Semester Projects- Each semester you will have a research project to complete that will count as 15 percent of your grade.  These projects will be explained in depth at the time of their assignment. You will be given ample time to complete these projects and they should be fun! (Disclaimer: As fun as school work can be.) 


    Make-Up Work and Late Work Policy:

    • You will have the same number of days to make up your work as the number of excused days absent, plus two days. 
    • Late work will be permitted on CERTAIN assignments until the weeks end but not for full credit. On most assignments ten points a day will be deducted. 
      • We will discuss this further throughout the course.  
    • If a student has been absent, he/she must check the “Daily Absent Bins” when entering the classroom, for handouts. The student must then check with other students in the class for additional instructions.  After a student has checked with other students, they then see the instructor for additional explanations, or materials.

    Classroom Rules and Procedures 

    1. Be respectful of yourself, others, and the classroom
    2. You must be prepared for each instructional period which includes being on time to class, having your materials, and having your outside reading and ½ page vertical notes completed. 
    1. Electronic Devices are not permitted in the classroom unless expressly 

           stated by instructor. 

    1. No sleeping in class – unless hypnotized!!
    2. No food or drink in the classroom (water will be allowed).
    1. Be sure to clean up your workspace, the floor, and return any materials you may have used in their proper place. 


    **Subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances**


    Unit 1: History, Approaches and Research Methods (10-14%)      5 Days 

    Myers  pg. 1-74



    1. • Define psychology and trace its historical development. 
    2. • Compare and contrast the psychological perspectives. 
    3. • Identify basic and applied research subfields of psychology. 
    4. • Identify basic elements of an experiment (variables, groups, sampling, population, etc.). 
    5. • Compare and contrast research methods (case, survey, naturalistic observation). 
    6. • Explain correlational studies. 
    7. • Describe the three measures of central tendency and measures of variation. 
    8. • Discuss the ethics of animal and human research. 


    Unit 2: Biological Basis of Behavior (8-10%)                              8 Days 

    Myers   pg.  75-149



    1. • Describe the structure of a neuron and explain neural impulses. 
    2. • Describe neuron communication and discuss the impact of neurotransmitters. 
    3. • Classify and explain major divisions of the nervous system. 
    4. • Describe the functions of the brain structures (thalamus, cerebellum, limbic system, etc.). 
    5. • Identify the four lobes of the cerebral cortex and their functions. 
    6. • Discuss the association areas. 
    7. • Explain the split-brain studies. 
    8. • Describe the nature of the endocrine system and its interaction with the nervous system. 


    Unit 3: Developmental Psychology (7-9%)                       6 Days 

    Myers  pg. 461-553



    1. • Discuss the course of prenatal development. 
    2. • Illustrate development changes in physical, social, and cognitive areas. 
    3. • Discuss the effect of body contact, familiarity, and responsive parenting on attachments. 
    4. • Describe the benefits of a secure attachment and the impact of parental neglect and separation as well as day care on childhood development. 
    5. • Describe the theories of Piaget, Erikson, and Kohlberg. 
    6. • Describe the early development of a self-concept. 
    7. • Distinguish between longitudinal and cross-sectional studies.  


    Unit 4: Sensation & Perception (6-8% )                                6 Days

    Myers  pg. 151-216



    1. • Contrast the processes of sensation and perception. 
    2. • Distinguish between absolute and difference thresholds. 
    3. • Label a diagram of the parts of the eye and ear. 
    4. • Describe the operation of the sensory systems (five senses). 
    5. • Explain the Young-Helmholtz and opponent-process theories of color vision. 
    6. • Explain the place and frequency theories of pitch perception. 
    7. • Discuss Gestalt psychology’s contribution to our understanding of perception. 
    8. • Discuss research on depth perception and cues. 

    Unit 5:  States of Consciousness (2-4%)                           5 Days

    Myers  pg. 217-261



    1. • Describe the cyclical nature and possible functions of sleep. 
    2. • Identify the major sleep disorders. 
    3. • Discuss the content and possible functions of dreams. 
    4. • Discuss hypnosis, noting the behavior of hypnotized people and claims regarding its uses. 
    5. • Discuss the nature of drug dependence. 
    6. • Chart names and effects of depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogenic drugs. 
    7. • Compare differences between NREM and REM. 
    8. • Describe the physiological and psychological effects of depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. 

    Unit 6: Learning and Memory (7-9%)                                                    6 Days

    Myers  pg. 262-360 



    1. • Describe the process of classical conditioning (Pavlov’s experiments). 
    2. • Explain the processes of acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization, and discrimination. 
    3. • Describe the process of operant conditioning, including the procedure of shaping, as demonstrated by Skinner’s experiments. 
    4. • Identify the different types of reinforcers and describe the schedules of reinforcement. 
    5. • Discuss the effects of punishment on behavior. 
    6. • Describe the process of observational learning (Bandura’s experiments). 

    7     • Describe memory in terms of information processing, and distinguish among sensory memory,  

              short-term memory, and long-term memory. 

    1.   • Distinguish between automatic and effortful processing. 
    2.     • Explain the encoding process (including imagery, organization, etc.). 
    3.   • Describe the capacity and duration of long-term memory. 

    11    • Distinguish between implicit and explicit memory. 

    12    • Describe the importance of retrieval cues. 


    Unit 7: Thinking, Language , and Testing and Individual Difference (6-8%)   6 Days 

    Myers  pg. 356-388,     Myers  pg. 607-648



    1. • Describe the nature of concepts and the role of prototypes in concept formation. 
    2. • Discuss how we use trial and error, algorithms, heuristics, and insight to solve problems. 
    3. • Explain how the representativeness and availability heuristics influence our judgments. 
    4. • Describe the structure of language (phonemes, morphemes, grammar). 
    5. • Identify language developmental stages (babbling, one word, etc.). 
    6. • Explain how the nature-nurture debate is illustrated in the theories of language development. 



    1. • Trace the origins of intelligence testing. 
    2. • Describe the nature of intelligence. 
    3. • Identify the factors associated with creativity. 
    4. • Distinguish between aptitude and achievement tests. 
    5. • Describe test standardization. 
    6. • Distinguish between the reliability and validity of intelligence tests. 
    7. • Describe the two extremes of the normal distribution of intelligence. 
    8. • Discuss evidence for both genetic and environmental influences on intelligence. 
    9. • Discuss whether intelligence tests are culturally biased. 


    Unit 8: Motivation and Emotion (and Stress) (6-8%)                                       5 Days 

    Myers   pg.389-459



    1. • Define motivation and identify motivational theories. 
    2. • Describe the physiological determinants of hunger. 
    3. • Discuss psychological and cultural influences on hunger. 
    4. • Define achievement motivation, including intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. 
    5. • Identify the three theories of emotion (James-Lange, Cannon-Bard, Schachter-Singer). 
    6. • Describe the physiological changes that occur during emotional/sexual arousal. 
    7. • Discuss the catharsis hypothesis. 
    8. • Describe the biological response to stress. 
    9. Describe the General Adaptation Syndrome.
    10. Compare and contrast various forms of stress.
    11. Describe the negative impact of stress on one’s psychological and physical well-being. 

    Unit 9: Personality (5-7%)                                                                     5 Days

    Myers  pg. 554-605


    1. • Describe personality structure in terms of the interactions of the id, ego, and superego. 
    2. • Explain how defense mechanisms protect the individual from anxiety. 
    3. • Describe the contributions of the neo-Freudians. 
    4. • Explain how personality inventories are used to assess traits. 
    5. • Describe the humanistic perspective on personality in terms of Maslow’s focus on self-actualization and Rogers’ emphasis on people’s potential for growth. 
    6. • Describe the impact of individualism and collectivism on self-identity. 
    7. • Describe the social-cognitive perspective on personality. 
    8. • Discuss the consequences of personal control, learned helplessness, and optimism. 


    Unit 10: Abnormal Psychology and Therapies  ( 12-16%)                        10 Days 

    Myers  pg. 649-7523



    1. • Identify the criteria for judging whether behavior is psychologically disordered. 
    2. • Describe the medical model of psychological disorders. 
    3. • Describe the aims of DSM-IV, and discuss the potential dangers of diagnostic labels. 
    4. • Describe the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. 
    5. • Describe and explain the development of somatoform and mood disorders. 
    6. • Describe the various symptoms and types of schizophrenia. 
    7. • Describe the nature of organic and personality disorders. 
    8. • Describe the characteristics and possible causes of dissociative disorders. 



    1. • Discuss the aims and methods of psychoanalysis. 
    2. • Identify the basic characteristics of the humanistic therapies. 
    3. • Identify the basic assumptions of behavior therapy. 
    4. • Describe the assumptions and goals of the cognitive therapies. 
    5. • Discuss the benefits of group therapy and family therapy. 
    6. • Discuss the findings regarding the effectiveness of the psychotherapies. 
    7. • Discuss the role of values and cultural differences in the therapeutic process. 
    8. • Identify the common forms of drug therapy and the use of electroconvulsive therapy. 

    Unit 11: Social Psychology (8-10%)                             5 Days 

    Myers  pg. 753-820 



    1. • Describe the importance of attribution in social behavior. 
    2. • Explain the effect of role-playing on attitudes in terms of cognitive dissonance theory. 
    3. • Discuss the results of Asch’s experiment on conformity. 
    4. • Describe Milgram’s controversial experiments on obedience. 
    5. • Discuss how group interaction can facilitate group polarization and groupthink. 
    6. • Describe the social, emotional, and cognitive factors that contribute to the persistence of cultural, ethnic, and gender prejudice and discrimination. 
    7. • Discuss the issues related to aggression and attraction. 
    8. • Explain altruistic behavior in terms of social exchange theory and social norms.