Of Psychology

Courses Taught by Dr. Pittman  – Course Descriptions below the chart.

Core Psychology Courses Elective Psychology Courses Neuroscience Courses Interim Term Courses
Biological Psychology
Typically a Fall Course
Behavioral Neuroscience
Typically a Spring Course,
alternating years with PSY333
Neuroscience Seminar

Fall Course
Research in the Sciences
Next Offering TBA
Sensation & Perception
Typically a Spring Course
Clinical Neuroscience
Typically a Spring Course,
alternating years with PSY330
Neuroscience Seminar

Spring Course
Thinking Like an Island:
Sustainability Lessons
from Hawaii for Spartanburg

Next Offering TBA
Senior Research Thesis

Typically a Fall Course

Typically a Spring or Summer
Course – taught infrequently
Human Neuroscience

Typically a Spring Course
The Science and Art
of Craft Brewing

January 2019

PSY230 – Biological Psychology (4 credits) Spring Semester

  • This lecture / laboratory course is required of all psychological majors.  It is a systems-based survey course covering neuroanatomy, neural signaling, an introduction to the sensory systems, homeostatic regulatory systems (thermoregulation, circadian rhythms, glucose homeostasis, fluid balance), physiological basis of learning and memory, and the physiological basis of psychological disorders (addiction, anxiety, ADD, autism, depression, neurodegenerative diseases, schizophrenia).  The goal of this course is for students to understand how the brain controls behavior ranging from automatic behaviors such as body temperature and thirst to complex behaviors such as learning & memory or neurological disorders.
  • The accompanying laboratory section includes detailed sheep brain neuroanatomy and empirical experiments using electromyogram, electrooculogram, polygraph (galvanic skin response, heart rate, and respiration), and electroencephalogram physiological recordings.
  • Average teaching evaluation score: 3.7 / 4.0
PSY315 – Sensation & Perception (4 credits) Fall Semester
  • This lecture / laboratory course is required of all psychology majors.  It is an in-depth exploration of the neurology underlying the senses (vision, audition, vestibular, gustation, olfaction, and somatosensory) and the relationship between neural sensations and cognitive perceptions. The goal of this course is for students to understand how the brain processes information and creates knowledge using the sensory systems as a model.
  • The accompanying laboratory section includes an electroretinogram recording of dark adaptation in the cricket eye and  empirical experiments using a variety of psychophysical methodology in order to characterize the human detection and discrimination thresholds for trichromatic dark adaptation, trichromatic color discrimination, spectral auditory threshold, discrimination of interaural time differences, the relationship between PROP taste sensitivity and taste bud morphology,  the role of olfaction in flavor perception, and thermal detection thresholds.
  • Average teaching evaluation score: 3.5 / 4.0
PSY330 – Behavioral Neuroscience (4 credits) Spring Semester
  • This lecture / laboratory course is an approved elective for psychology majors and a require course for the Program in Neuroscience.  It is an in-depth systems-based analysis of neurological and psychological disorders.  In addition to lectures, there are weekly discussions of current, relevant primary literature. The goal of this course is for students to gain an advanced knowledge of the molecular and physiological systems that underlie human behavior using neurological disorders as a model.
  • The accompanying laboratory section requires that students design and conduct two empirical experiments with human physiological measurements as the dependent variables.  While encouraging student creativity, each experiment has specific requirements of a research proposal, panel research proposal review, statistical data analysis, and formal written report.  In addition to conducting two human experiments, students also manufacture suction electrodes and conduct neural recordings in a crawfish animal model.
  • Average teaching evaluation score: 3.7 / 4.0
PSY451 – Senior Research Thesis (4 credits) Fall Semester
  • Each psychology major is required to complete the senior research thesis consisting of two parts.  First, each student must write a comprehensive literature review.  Second, the students in groups of 2-5 work as a research team to conduct an experiment including design, data collection, data analysis, and submission of a formal research publication and oral presentation of the results. The goal of this course is for students to gain the analytical reading, writing, and laboratory skills necessary to be successful in a graduate-level program.
  • Average teaching evaluation score: 3.9 / 4.0
NEUS321/332 – Neuroscience Seminar (1 credit) Each Semester
  • An interdisciplinary seminar meeting 1-hour per week for student-led discussions of current topics in neuroscience through the examination of primary literature at the molecular neurobiology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and behavioral levels.
  • Average teaching evaluation score: 3.9 / 4.0
  • This lecture / laboratory course fulfills the general education science requirement for BA or BS degree recipients.  This course uses an exploration of human consciousness with specific regard to how our mind perceives the world around us in order to teach the following skills:  basic writing skills (introductory paragraphs, thesis statements, topic sentences, transitions between paragraphs and topics); judging the validity of websites and internet content; employing the scientific method to answer testable hypotheses; and  learning how to read and evaluate scientific reports.
  • Average teaching evaluation score: 3.5 / 4.0
PSY351 – Psychopharmacology (3 credits) Summer Term
  • This lecture course introduces the mechanisms and actions of drug use in the nervous system. Based on current psychological and pharmacological research; the reception mechanism, effect on the nervous system & other physiological systems, behavioral effects, short & long term physiological effects of use, and toxicity is discussed among other relevant topics for the following drug categories: Alcohol, Inhalants, Nicotine, Caffeine, Herbal Drugs, Sedatives, Stimulants, Opiates, Cannabis, Hallucinogens, Entactogens, and Prescription Drugs. Additional course topics will include: basics of the brain and neural activity, basics of drug pharmacology, physiological and psychological basis of addiction, and substance abuse treatments and therapies.
  • Average teaching evaluation score: 3.6 / 4.0
NEUS448 – Neuroscience Research Capstone (4 credits) Offered As Needed
  • This laboratory-based research course permits students to learn a research technique and obtain training in the use of scientific methodology in the field of neuroscience. Specific course objectives include: hands-on experience in a neuroscience research technique, learning appropriate date collection and analysis techniques, and learning how conclusions based on empirical data are formed and disseminated as research articles.
Interim Courses During the month of January, professors at Wofford College offer a 4hr credit non-traditional course that examines a topic of interest at both academic and experiential levels.
  • This Interim is designed to provide a common structure for independent student research projects and to create a shared community of learning among those involved.  Projects may be conducted on-campus or off-campus. Many variations of research projects may be included under the umbrella of this course. These may include projects that are designed to prepare students to conduct research in future semesters or submit grants to fund summer research through composition of a critical literature review and proposed research design or projects may involve more traditional research designs such as hypothesis testing, data collection, and production of results.
  • Inspired by the best-selling novel, “A Salty Piece of Land” written by Jimmy Buffett, this Interim course explores the history of lighthouses specifically those along the Carolinas shoreline. Students read and discuss Jimmy Buffett’s novel as well as a historical texts on the lighthouses of the World.  Students give five presentations of specific lighthouses in addition to writing and presenting a research paper on a specific North Carolina or South Carolina lighthouse. This Interim course includes two field trips to tour lighthouses in North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • Jamaica has become a successful independent Caribbean nation, in part due to the success of its tourist industry. The journey from a colonial state to the present day was not without political, economic, and cultural struggles. In this course, students examine the political and economic developments from the independence of Jamaica in 1962 to the present day. This course includes a two-week in-country exploration of modern Jamaica. In Montego Bay, students learn about post-colonial plantations, the sugar and rum industry, and the Maroon villages. Students visit the Black River wetlands, Ye Falls, and the cockpit country in appreciation of the culture and ecology found in the Western portion of the island. In Kingston, students examine the impact of Bob Marley on the politics and culture of Jamaica. In addition, students tour the Jamaica National Gallery and explore coffee plantations in the Blue Mountains. Finally from Ocho Rios, students examine the interaction of tourism and ecology through trips to Dunn River Falls, the Rio Grande gorge, the Blue Lagoon, and the birthplace and mausoleum of Bob Marley. Throughout the course, students are collecting research on a specific aspect of post-colonial Jamaica to be included in a written and oral presentation at the conclusion of the course.
  • In this course, students learn how principles from personality and cognitive psychology can be harnessed in the creative process of songwriting.  Students keep a daily song journal, participate in experimental writing techniques, analyze lyrics from several genres of music, analyze the techniques of famous songwriters, and ultimately composed a collection of their own unique lyrics.  As part of the course, nationally-recognized independent songwriters are brought in as guest lecturers to share their experiences and interact with the students.