My Classes

I taught at Roosevelt University full time from 1979 to 1986, usually four courses per semester, doing research and earning tenure.
I taught as half-time faculty at Norwich University from 1989 to 1993, and then as adjunct professor from 1994 to 2013 at St. Joseph College.

Learning-  Using standard learning text for half the class,  I teach behavior analysis for the other half.  Lecture,quizzes, short papers. Multiple choice- never in any class.

Behavior Analysis- This is my academic specialty. I am a Goldiamond student- looking at behavior analyss with scientific precision in the laboratory, using it radically in everyday analysis,  and using it constructionally in clinical settings.  I have worked with rats, rabbits, monkeys, pigeons, goldfish, stutters, nutrition clients, heroin and polydrug users, and autistic kids. I was an early member and presenter at the Association for Behavior Analysis

Introductory Statistics–  I do not use much statistics in my research, preferring a control strategy. However my stat teacher, Howard Wainer, was a student of John Tukey, and exploratory data analysis and core understanding of quantitative methods is emphasized over mathematical understanding and calculation. Nonparametric statistics, appropriate to psychology’s usually nonparametric data, are stressed.  Software employed.

Intermediate Statistics– Just more of Intro Statistics, with more lean toward analyzing stats in the literature, as students are more likely to consume than generate stats. Sadly.

Advanced Statistics–  Review the important stuff, with depth and detail,  and look at new stats.

Research Design-  In addition to the usual textbook, I add a large component on single organism design.

Advanced Research Design–  This is really a practicum for students working on their masters’ theses.  We tackle their topics, and similar in the literature. We read journal articles of interest, and particular explore the research design, with an eye toward seeing how it may have changed as the research advanced.

Introductory Psychology– Richard Atkinson is a fraternity brother and my mentor’s college roommate.  So I use his classic textbook, and enliven the class with my own experiences which are fairly broad, and some primary sources readings including Freud and Skinner. My enthusiasm for psychology, often related in stories, has been cited by students as infectious.

Motivation-  Emotion, reinforcers, drives, aversives. I mix the standard textbook’s biological and classic reflex approaches with Skinner’s radical behaviorism.

Lab Methods in Physiological Psychology–  Hands on experience with scalpels, tone generators, computers (back when they were new), cow’s eyes, brains. The important ideas are recognizing that our tools often drive our conceptualization,  and technical lab skill can play a huge role.  Students generate a dark adaptation curve for themselves, and experience some basic psychophysical measures like dermotomes and reflexes.

Psychopharmacology–  Neurotransmitters and how drugs affect them- in research, in the clinic, and in the living room.  Some hormones thrown in for balance.  A balance of pharmacology and practical clinical (and some parallel recreational) know-how. I was fortunate to work in some prominent psychopharmacologists’ labs and my wife is a psychiatrist.

Human Sexuality-  My biology background makes this an objective course, and my comedy acting keeps the course accessible to a wide range of students. I studied with Wardell Pomeroy, second author on both Kinsey books.  I use a lot of the films from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, and often have some interesting guests.

Human Development  I usually use a standard text, but work through it backwards because students will get several courses on child psych and adolescent psych anyway, and short shrift to development through adulthood.  Erikson  and Vaillant figure prominently, the former as comprehensive theory, and the latter for combining psychoanalytic defenses with a contingency approach to understanding case studies.

Psychology of Everyday Life– This course was sort of like an Intro to Psychology course, but the focus was on daily living, and how psychology speaks to it, rather than psychology as a field that might be applied to daily life, or abnormal behavior, or grand schemes. Objective rather than subjective psychology is emphasized, but my background in psychoanalysis gives Freud a fair shake.

Psychology of Art–  Art is both a product of behavior and mental activity,  and art often reflects on human activity with brilliant analysis. Visual arts are emphasized, with references to music, dance and other arts as student interest demands. My background in art history and my lack of talent as a studio artist informs the lectures. Texts include Gombrich’s Art and Illusion, Arnheim’s Art and Visual Perception,  Seckel’s Masters of Deception, Churchill’s Painting as Pastime, and Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity.
Psychology of Art lectures

Psychology of Fear-  Roughly half of what we do is to get the good stuff, and half is to avoid or escape the bad stuff.  So fear drives a lot of daily activity, but it can also become subclinical or require treatment.  Since this is not a traditional psychology course, my lectures form the basic textbook. Other readings include Barlow Anxiety and Its Disorders, deBecker Gift of Fear, Lorenz, On Aggression, and Douglas Purity and Danger.

Personality–   By categorizing people in terms of the traits,  both common and unusual ones, we see that our concepts drive our perceptions.  But they also provide us with the richness to explore and understand the variety of human nature.  Standard personality text, but Skinner’s classic Science and Human Behavior to see to what degree we can objectify the person.

Foundations in Liberal Studies- Beginning course in interdisciplinary study, with a wide range of readings and films to see especially how science and the humanities do not have to be separated.

Symposium in Liberal Studies- Development of a Senior Paper, or capstone project, to demonstrate that a wide interdisciplinary education can be brought to bear on a topic of the student’ s interest.  Reading and writing exercises are included.

History and Systems of Psychology-   What is our field and how does its past tell us something if its future? By looking at critical issues in psychology, and showing that their roots run back to the beginning of the field in the 19th century, this  course became student favorites instead of cursed required course. My wide experience in psychology, feeling a bit like Forrest Gump, and in the related fields of social work,  sociology, psychiatry, and anthropology allowed me to bring personal relevance to issues of brain, intelligence, nature-nurture, human-animal analogs, emergence-reductionism, scientific ethics, objectivism, humanism, behaviorism, psychoanalysis, profession,  education, gender identity, and whatever topics were current.  I tried to stimulate curiosity and engagement in their chosen major by showing its richness in tradition, variety, controversy, and place among the sciences and arts.

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