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PSY105: General Psychology Lab — Fall 2012

This course examines and applies the methods and techniques of scientific inquiry used in psychology, including computer-simulated demonstrations, small group discussion, and written assignments. You will gain hands-on experience with a sample of the phenomena studied in PSY101 (General Psychology) and other psychology courses.

Course objectives

  1. Students will acquire an understanding of the requirements of empirical investigation including the need for objectivity and the establishment of appropriate controls.
  2. Students will acquire basic skills in data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
  3. Students will develop question answering and discussion skills through participation in recitation sessions.
  4. Students will develop writing skills through the completion and review of written assignments.
  5. Students will acquire a rudimentary understanding of the use of computers in psychological research and practice.

classroom: Beaumont Hall 105.
instructor: Dr. J. Stephen Mansfield

email: steve.mansfield@plattsburgh.edu
phone: 564-3384
office: 206a Beaumont Hall
office hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday 2–3pm, or email me to arrange an appointment.

class time: Class meets once a week — the day and time depends on your section as follows:

SectionClass timeTeaching assistant
ATue 1pmPei Ning Lee
BTue 1pmJordan Wendling
CTue 2pmSiena Wamsganz
DTue 2pmLondon Woodfolk
ETue 3:30pmPei Ning Lee
FTue 3:30pmJordan Wendling
GThu 1pmSiena Wamsganz
HThu 1pmLondon Woodfolk
IThu 2pmSiena Wamsganz
JThu 2pmLondon Woodfolk
KThu 3:30pmPei Ning Lee
LThu 3:30pmJordan Wendling


Mansfield, J. S. (Fall 2012). General Psychology Laboratory Manual
The manual is available from the course web page. You should download and print a copy of the manual. Keep your manual in a 3-ring binder, and bring it to lab each week.

How this course works

After the introductory week (and the Psychology pretest which is held in second week of class) this course consists of 12 labs. The procedure for each lab is the same: Each class will start with a short quiz about the introductory material (in the lab manual) for that day's lab. You will then complete the lab activity, after which your TA will lead you in a group discussion. Each lab also has a homework assignment which is due by the start of your lab in the following week.

Your grade

Each lab is graded out of 10 points as described below.

At any time during the semester you can log in to the class web site to view your quiz, discussion, and homework grades, and to review my comments and feedback on your homework assignments.

Lab notes quiz (1pt)

Before each class, you are expected to read the introductory material in the Laboratory Manual and to review the instructions for that week's lab. There will be a short quiz on the introductory material at the start of each lab session.

Lab discussion (3pts)

After each lab activity is completed, there will be a group discussion based on the questions presented in the lab manual. It is important that you participate in this discussion. At the end of the discussion you will rate your own contribution to the discussion (on a 0–3pt scale). The TA will also grade your contribution.

Homework (6pts)

A short homework assignment is due for each lab. The assignments can be accessed from your personal PSY105 web page. The assignments are also printed at the end of your lab manual so that you do not need to be at a computer to see the questions and to start working on your answers.
Submitting homework
Homework must be submitted via the link on your personal PSY105 web page. When you submit your homework, you will see a web page indicating the time and date you sent the assignment, along with a record of the work you sent. You must save this page (either save it on your computer or print it out) as proof that you completed the assignment, in case a discrepancy arises.
Spelling and grammar
Points will be deducted for poor spelling and grammar: 0.1 pts will be deducted for every error in excess of two (i.e., I will ignore your first two errors).
Some spelling and grammar errors are so egregious that they supersede the above rules. The following errors are each worth 0.2 pts, and the deduction is immediate.
Confusing then and than
Confusing there and their
Using the word of instead of have
Any misspelling of the word psychology
Using lowercase i instead of uppercase I
Using texting abbreviations
Work with 20 or more errors will receive zero credit.
Homework deadlines
Each homework assignment must be submitted by the beginning of class one week after the lab is completed. For example, if you conduct Lab 1 on Tuesday at 1:00pm, you must submit the homework for Lab 1 no later than the following Tuesday at 1:00pm.
Late work
Work submitted after the deadline will earn zero credit unless you have a valid and documented reason that prevented you from submitting your work for the entire week prior to the deadline.
Submission problems
If you have an internet problem which, despite your best efforts, prevents you from submitting your homework through the web page, you can print out a complete copy of your assignment and hand it to your TA at the beginning of your lab (this will be sufficient to document that you completed your work on time). However, in order to receive a grade, you will still be required to submit your homework via the online form once your internet problem is fixed.

Final exam (optional)

An optional final exam will be held during the final exam week. This exam will consist of 40 multiple-choice questions about the lab activities. It will focus on the key concepts, basic research methods, data interpretation and analysis, and the communication of research findings.

Each question is worth 0.25 points (i.e., the 40 questions total 10 points). Your grade on the final exam can be used to replace your lowest lab grade.

Overall grade computation

When I calculate your overall grade at the end of the semester I will drop your lowest scoring lab. I will then replace your next lowest scoring lab with your score from the final exam (if your final exam score is greater.) This will give you a score out of 110. This total will be converted in a percentage as follows: percent = 100 × score ÷ 110.


Your letter grade will be determined according to the following table.

≥ 93A
≥ 90 and < 93A−
≥ 87 and < 90B+
≥ 84 and < 87B
≥ 81 and < 84B−
≥ 78 and < 81C+
≥ 75 and < 78C
≥ 72 and < 75C−
≥ 69 and < 72D+
≥ 63 and < 66D
< 63 E

The final application of these guidelines is subject to the discretion of the instructor.

Note: Except for the extra-credit opportunities stated in this syllabus, students will not be allowed to do any additional "extra work" to make up for poor performance in class.

Extra credit

Extra credit can be earned in the following ways:

Personal Reactions (0.25% each. Maximum 6)
Write a 1-page report (approximately 300 words) that describes how the material presented in a specific class was personally relevant to you. For example: What did you learn from a class? Did the material conform to your understanding of the world, or did it challenge your beliefs or opinions ... etc.?
To submit a personal reaction for extra credit follow the 'personal reaction' link once you have logged into the course web site. Your reaction must be sent within one week of the day the class was given, and you must have been present in class on that day.
Error spotting (0.1% each.)
I hold you all to a high standard for accurate spelling and correct grammar. It is only fair that I should be held to the same standard. So, if you find a spelling error or a grammar error in any class materials that I distribute to you, or post on class web pages, or in a course textbook, and you are one of the first students to report it to me, I will reward you with extra credit.
To report an error for extra credit follow the 'error report' link once you have logged into the course web site. Your error report must be sent within one week of the day the material was distributed (or referred to) in class, and you must have been present in class on that day. Additionally, your error report must itself be free of errors in order to receive extra credit.

Note: I place a cap on the maximum extra credit you can earn. At most, extra credit can only raise your grade by one grade boundary (e.g., from a D to a D+, from a C+ to a B-, ..., etc.).


You are required to attend your lab section every week. You may not attend another lab section. Attendance will be taken at each lab.

Missing class results in you earning zero for that week's lab. Homework may only be submitted for labs you have attended.

You must arrive on time for each lab. If you arrive after the lab-notes quiz has started you will not be allowed to take the quiz. If you arrive after the lab activity has started you will not be permitted to do the lab, and you will score zero for that lab.

Note that class will be held whenever classes are in session, including days surrounding holiday breaks. Please plan your travels accordingly. Missing class or lab because your ride is leaving early or getting back late is not an acceptable excuse.

Make-ups for missing labs

Missed labs can be made up if you have a valid and documented excuse. You should submit a make-up request via the form on the course web site. Note that you are required to have documentation that supports your excuse. When I receive your make-up request I will reply (to your campus email address) with the arrangements for completing the lab.


Course web site

I make extensive use of my class web site for this course.

You can login in to the class website using the "student login" on my homepage: http://faculty.plattsburgh.edu/steve.mansfield. Enter your last name in the "last name" box, and your password into the "password" box. Your password will be initially set to your Banner ID number (you should change your password once you have logged in.)

You will need to use the class web site to access all the course materials, to submit homework, to send in extra credit assignments, and to review your grades.

You must check your grade page at least once a week.

If you are unable to access the class web site you should contact me.

Academic honesty

It is expected that all students enrolled in this class support the letter and the spirit of the Academic Honesty Policy as stated in the college catalog.

All cases of suspected academic dishonesty will be reported to the college judicial board in accordance with the college's procedures for addressing suspected academic dishonesty.

Penalties for dishonest conduct will be determined on a case-by-case basis.


WEEKDatesLab Activity
1Aug 28 & Aug 30Course overview
2Sep 4 & Sep 6Psychology pretest
3Sep 11 & Sep 13Lab 1. Introduction to psychology
4Sep 18 & Sep 20Lab 2. Personality
5Sep 25 & Sep 27Lab 3. Extrasensory perception
6Oct 2 & Oct 4Lab 4. Operant conditioning
7Oct 11Lab 5. The blind spot (only sections G, H, I, J, K, & L)
8Oct 16 & Oct 18Lab 6. Lateral transfer of learning
9Oct 23 & Oct 25Lab 7. Perceptual processes
10Oct 30 & Nov 1Lab 8. The Stroop effect
11Nov 6 & Nov 8Lab 9. Reading
12Nov 13 & Nov 15Lab 10. Implicit attitudes
13Nov 20Lab 5. The blind spot (only sections A, B, C, D, E, F)
14Nov 27 & Nov 29Lab 11. Artificial intelligence
15Dec 4 & Dec 6Lab 12. Data analysis
16Dec 13
Final exam (12:20 in Yokum 208)