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
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About Brian Hughes

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