For those interested, here’s a schedule of what we discuss in our class:
Week 1. Orientation to module
- Format of module
- Requirements for module participation and assessment
Week 2. Values: What are they; where are they?
- Moral value systems, political value systems, personal value systems
- Are values innate or learned? Do men and women have different values?
- How values affect psychologists
- Socio-political bias/diversity in psychology
- What constitutes a ‘social issue’?
Week 3. Why Psychologists Should Be More Ethical
- Scientists behaving badly
- Where morality comes from, and why psychologists should know better
- Why crime happens
- Ethical codes for professional psychology
- Psychologists as advocates on social issues
Weeks 4-5. Psychology, Science, and Religion
- How psychology evolved from moral philosophy
- Religion in science…and in scientists
- Scientific explanations of religiosity
- Scientific explanations of morality
- Is science a religion (or is religion a science?)
Weeks 6-7. Helpfulness, Altruism, and Other Delusions
- The limits of social relationships
- The costs of volunteerism
- The negative impact of positive thinking
- Why psychotherapy doesn’t work
Week 8. Life, Birth, and Consciousness
- What we know about being conscious, and the starting point of human life
- Is everyone else a zombie?
- Should you be allowed to select the sex of your children?
Week 9. How to Treat Children: The Evidence
- The nurture myth
- Gay and lesbian parenting
- Why homework is bad
Week 10. Bodies, Animals, and Other Objects
- Who owns our bodies? Should we be paid for organ donations?
- Use of (non-human) animals for scientific research
- The mythology of cognitive neuroscience
Week 11. Mortality, Death, and Wishful Thinking
- Yes, we’re all going to die
- The psychology of the afterlife
- Terror management
Week 12. Wrap-up
- Final Q&A