Parish, Thomas S

What is “General Psychology?” Is it just one course that could be an elective, part of a minor, or part of a student’s major? Or could “General Psychology” literally be the “corner stone” or “foundation block” upon which all the other psychology courses, taken afterwards, add to like bricks upon a “foundation block?” This paper will seek to present the notion that the course, “General Psychology,” truly is, and can provide, a strong basis for other courses taken after it. The fact that this course should basically survey so many important concepts that are important in so many ways, and that these concepts need to be taught early in the sequence of psychology courses so that they might provide a solid foundation for students’ later study, are just two of the reasons why this course is a foundation block in the study of psychology.

General Psychology, which is generally considered to be a survey course at the undergraduate level, is often audited by masters and doctoral candidates so that they can be better prepared for their prelims. It is also often considered to be a great introauction to life, since it covers so many essential topics that are encapsulated in our everyday living. To demonstrate that the course, “General Psychology,” seems to be vital in so many ways, the following topical guide is offered:

G is for GENETICS, or the biological foundations of our thoughts and actions.

E is for ENVIRONMENT, or how we can be nurtured into becoming a doctor, lawyer, beggar, or a thief.

N is for NERVOUS SYSTEM, with its top-down and bottom-up circuitry.

E is for ENLIGHTENMENT, since the theories and research we will consider should provide important insight to every student.

R is for REALITY, for this course should help each student interact with the real world better that ever before.

A is for AFFECT, since almost everything carries with it a positive or negative valence, and we must understand how they affect us and others too.

L is for LIFE, for gen. psych, is really about all aspects of life .

P is for PSYCHOPATHOLOGIES- and the PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC approaches used to ameliorate them.

S is for SUCCESS, for the more students understand themselves and others, the more successful they will be.

Y is for YOUTH, who have often been studied, but rarely understood.

C is for CHILDREN, which is the age group where most psychological problems are thought to begin (e.g., see Freud).

H is for HAPPY, for when we better understand our own and others’ wants and needs, true HAPPINESS will more likely to be achieved.

O is for OLD AGE, which is often thought to be a time for reflection regarding our past successes and failures.

L is for LOVE, and all that it implies. For example, are women really from Venus and men from Mars?

O is for OPTIMISM, which is derived from students’ understanding that each is an army of one, for anything they put their minds to, can almost always be done.

G_ is for GOODNESS, which really should abound, but will it do so more in the future, given the governmental policies that we currently have around.

Y is for YOU, for it all begins and ends with YOU, and whatever you choose to do.

In conclusion, it is noticeable that the class, “General Psychology,” is not just a survey course. It is a basis for living life, for it helps preview the future. It explains all of life’s little phenomena that are brought forth through living it. “General Psychology” focuses upon the differences and similarities that people may possess between individuals. “General Psychology” also answers that life-long question of “Why?” And the answer is: the hard scienees may insist on rigidities and laws, but psychology deals in more maybes and maybe-nots. Nevertheless, it is still worth studying, because we’re always learning about ourselves. That’s why!


Upper Iowa University

Copyright Project Innovation Summer 2007

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