• Advanced Placement Psychology

    Syllabus and Course Description

    Mr. Stu Katz



    Overview and Course Description of AP Psychology


    Course Purpose

                    The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals.  Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with the major sub-fields within psychology.  Students will also learn about the methods psychologists use in their science and practice.


    Course Materials  (Texts)

                    Myers’ Psychology for AP by David G. Myers             


    Course Objectives

                    1. Students will prepare to do acceptable work on the AP    Psychology Exam offered by the College Board

                    2. Students will study the major core concepts and theories of psychology.  Students will be able to define key terms and use these terms in their everyday vocabulary.

                    3. Students will learn the basic skills of psychological research. Students will devise simple research projects--basic, applied, and clinical, interpret and generalize from results, and evaluate the validity of research projects.

                    4. Students will be able to apply psychological concepts to their own lives. Students will be able to recognize psychological principles when they encounter them in everyday situations.

                    5. Students will develop critical thinking skills.  Students will become aware of the dangers of blindly accepting or rejecting any psychological theory without careful, objective evaluation. 

                    6. Students will build their reading, writing, and discussion skills.

                    7. Students will learn about psychology as a profession and become aware of the educational requirements that must be met to pursue such careers. Students will learn about the ethical standards governing the work of psychologists.



    AP Course Demands/Grading

                    Student grades will be determined by performance on tests, quizzes, study guides, and other assignments.  Because this is an AP class, students will find it more difficult to earn top grades in this class compared to other courses.   Students should expect a workload similar to what they would have if they were to complete this course at the college level.  This includes extensive reading, active involvement in class discussions, taking notes, and doing research.  Setting a high standard has several tangible benefits:  students will learn a great deal of psychology, better prepared for college and ready to excel on the AP Psychology exam on May 1, 2017.



    Course Content

    • Chapter Study Guides

    Students will complete a study guide for each chapter according to the directions received in class. 

    • Audiovisuals

    Recommended videotapes and other AV materials will be frequently presented.  The material presented in the AV's are important parts of the course content.

    • Cooperative Learning Groups

    Students will be organized in cooperative learning groups to ensure that each group member masters the information presented in class:  many activities will be based on group performance. 

    • Chapter Tests

    Tests will usually be given for every one or two chapters.  The format will be part multiple choice and part free response, following the format of the AP Psychology Exam.

    • Cumulative Exams

    In preparation for the AP College Board Exam, major course exams will be given.  The exams will be cumulative in nature and will incorporate multiple-choice and free-response questions

    • Essays on Enduring Themes in Psychology

    To strengthen preparation for the two free-response questions on the AP Exam, students will be asked to prepare extended essays on several enduring themes in psychology.  These themes may relate to potential AP Exam questions.

    • Class Demonstrations and Exercises

    Demonstrations and exercises will be carried out both in and outside class.

    • Supplementary Reading

    Materials to supplement our textbooks and assigned readings will often be distributed to the class.  The content of such materials forms an important part of the course.

    • Note Taking

    Students must take notes every day, including demonstrations, experiments, videos, etc.

    • Assignments

    All assignments are due on the date specified, unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor.

    • Makeup Tests

    If you miss an exam due to absence, you must make up the test the day you return to class.  Please note that although makeup tests cover the same material as the test given on test day, they are not the same questions or format as the original test.


    Classroom Issues

                    Cheating/Plagiarism:  plagiarism is defined as turning someone else’s work in as if it were your own.  I broaden this definition to include:  cheating, copying work or providing answers, and any other offense that violates the ideals of honor and honesty.  Academic integrity is an integral part of learning, and the process of obtaining an education.  Cheating in any fashion seriously violates the principles of a positive and ethical learning environment.  Anyone cheating, plagiarizing, or providing answers will be given a “0” on the work and will be referred to administration.  There is no possibility of making up the work        



                    As your instructor, I will do everything possible to make this class both interesting and challenging for you.  I will give my best effort, and I only ask the same from you.   Please plan to come to class prepared and ready to learn.

                    I will try to get to know each of you personally and to be available for any problems or concerns that arise during the year.  My email address is katzs@gcsnc.com.  I will try to respond to emails the same day if I receive yours by 9 p.m.



    Course Outline and the Nine-Week Time Sequence


                    I. Methods, Approaches, and History (Frameworks: 1.01-1.06)


                                    A. Logic, Philosophy, and the History of Psychological Science

                                    B. Approaches

                                                    1. Biological

                                                    2. Behavioral

                                                    3. Cognitive

                                                    4. Humanistic

                                                    5. Psychodynamic

                                    C. Experimental, Correlational, and Clinical Research

                                    D. Statistics

                                                    1. Descriptive

                                                    2. Inferential

                                    E. Ethics in Research

                    II. Biological Foundations of Behavior


                                    A. Physiological Techniques

                                    B. Neuroanatomy

                                    C. Functional Organization of the Nervous System

                                    D. Neural Transmission

                                    E. Endocrine System

                                    F. Genetics

                    II. Developmental Psychology


                                    A. Life Span Approach

                                    B. Research Methods

                                                    1. Longitudinal

                                                    2. Cross-Sectional

                                    C. Heredity-Environment Issues

                                    D. Developmental Theories

                                    E. Dimensions of Development

                                                    1. Physical

                                                    2. Cognitive

                                                    3. Social

                                                    4. Moral

                    IV. Sensation and Perception


                                    A. Thresholds

                                    B. Sensory Mechanisms

                                    C. Receptor Processes

                                    D. Sensory Adaptation

                                    E. Attention

                                    F. Perceptual Process

                    V.  States of Consciousness


                                    A. Sleep and Dreams

                                    B. Hypnosis

                                    C. Psychoactive Drug Affects

                    VI.  Learning


                                    A. Biological Factors

                                    B. Classical Conditioning

                                    C. Operant Conditioning

                                    D. Cognitive Processes in Learning

                    VII.  Cognition


                                    A. Memory

                                    B. Language

                                    C. Thinking

                                    D. Problem Solving

                                    E. Creativity

                                    F. Testing and Individual Differences

    1. Intelligence and Types of Tests
    2. Heredity/Environment and Intelligence

                    VIII. Motivation and Emotion


                                    A. Biological Bases

                                    B. Theories of Motivation

                                    C. Hunger, Thirst, Sex, and Pain

                                    D. Social Motives

                                    E. Theories of Emotion


                    IX.  Personality


                                    A. Personality Theories and Approaches

                                    B. Research Methods

                                    C. Assessment Techniques

                                    D. Self-Concept, Self-Esteem

                                    E. Growth and Adjustment

                                    F. Conflict 

                                    G. Stress 

                    X. Abnormal Psychology


                                    A. Definitions of Abnormality

                                    B. Theories of Psychopathology

                                    C. Diagnosis of Psychopathology

                                    D. Anxiety Disorders

                                    E. Somatoform Disorders

                                    F. Mood Disorders

                                    G. Schizophrenic Disorder

                                    H. Organic Disorders

                                    I.  Personality Disorders

                    XI. Treatment of Psychological Disorders


                                A. Treatment Approaches

                                                    1. Insight Therapies

                                                    2. Behavioral Approaches

                                                    3. Cognitive Approaches

                                                    4. Biological Therapies

                                    B. Modes of Therapy

                                    C. Community and Preventative Approaches

                    XII. Social Psychology


                                    A. Group Dynamics

                                    B. Attribution Processes

                                    C. Interpersonal Perception

                                    D. Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience

                                    E. Attitudes and Attitude Change

                                    F. Organizational Behavior

                                    G. Aggression/Antisocial Behavior