Psychology and Neuroscience Psychology and Neuroscience Psychology and Neuroscience Psychology and Neuroscience Psychology and Neuroscience

College of Arts & Sciences

Psychology and Neuroscience

Questions?

Mary Jean Lynch, Department Chair
Wentz Science Center (WSC), Room 218

630-637-5363

mlynch@noctrl.edu

Are you curious about why people do the things they do?

Do you wonder how people can view the same situation and interpret it in completely different ways? Are you interested in understanding how the body and mind affect your mental health? Do you ask yourself why some things are so easy for you to learn, but other things are much harder?

The Psychology program an North Central College provides you with opportunities to examine these questions and many more. We help you build a sound background in the methods used to understand the causes and consequences of behavior. You will learn skills that will make you successful for life.

As a Psychology student you can work with our dedicated faculty on their research projects or on projects you design to explore your specific interests and gain valuable hands-on experience. You can collect data on campus in our Schwab Psychology Research Center, and find the perfect off-campus internship – or two or three – among hundreds of nearby social service agencies and businesses.

You will study the breadth of psychology with an emphasis on several key areas within it – developmental, social, biological, and cognitive/learning. Then as a capstone experience, you will explore at least one topic in depth through a senior seminar, an independent study or an internship.

The mission of the Psychology Department is to prepare students to function as competent, ethical individuals in their personal and professional lives. We expect the study of psychology to enhance our students’ ability to think critically, to communicate effectively and to appreciate the scientific approach to understanding behavior.

The Psychology Department is also the home of North Central’s Neuroscience program. For more information about Neuroscience, click here.

For information on the Neuroscience Majors and the Neuroscience Minor requirements, click here.

Psychology, B.A.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Psychology and Neuroscience.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 30 credit hours to include at least nine credit hours at the 300- or 400-level:

Core Courses

  • PSY 100 - Psychology: Science of Behavior

    PSY 100 - Psychology: Science of Behavior

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the basic concepts, processes, theories and empirical findings concerning the behavior of organisms. Consideration is given to the following topics: physiological and developmental basis of behavior, sensory and perceptual processes, states of consciousness, learning and memory and motivation and emotion, as well as personality, intellectual functioning, psychopathology and social influences on behavior.

    Core

    Social Science.
    IAI

    S6 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 250 - Statistics

    PSY 250 - Statistics

    3.00 credit hours

    A course stressing the methods, concepts and logic underlying the statistical evaluation of research data. The course stresses descriptive and inferential statistics, estimation and hypothesis testing and "why" as well as "when" to use various statistical methods. A working knowledge of basic algebraic techniques is necessary. Only one of PSY 250 and BUS 241/ECN 241 may be taken for credit.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 118 or higher.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 902

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 255 - Research Design and Experimentation

    PSY 255 - Research Design and Experimentation

    3.75 credit hours

    The activities involved in obtaining, accumulating and organizing scientific knowledge through experimentation are stressed in this course. The concepts, logic and methods which serve as a basis for designing and conducting scientific research are presented in lecture and laboratory periods, and are practiced in laboratory exercises and in individual projects. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100 and a minimum grade of C- in PSY 250.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 293 - Careers in Psychology

    PSY 293 - Careers in Psychology

    1.00 credit hours

    This course focuses on exploring various career options in psychology and related fields. The course will cover the different professional options available in psychology and how to successfully prepare for one's chosen future career. By collaborating with other students, instructors and resource people both inside and outside of the North Central Community, students will learn about a wide range of careers possible with a major in psychology.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Schedule Of Classes

Theoretical Perspectives

Social

One of the following:

  • PSY 240 - Social Psychology

    PSY 240 - Social Psychology

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the theories and research regarding human social behavior. Discussed in this area are social perception, self-perception, attitudes, social influence, attraction, altruism, aggression, group effects and environmental psychology.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Core

    Social Science.
    IAI

    S8 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 310 - Cultural Psychology

    PSY 310 - Cultural Psychology

    3.00 credit hours

    The course considers what we mean by culture, and how taking culture into account affects our knowledge of basic psychology in areas such as human development, the self-concept, gender expectations, as well as our understanding of mental illness. The course focuses on both psychological and anthropological approaches to studying culture and the pros and cons of different approaches.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100; SOA 105 or any 200-level Psychology course, excluding PSY 250; Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

Biological

One of the following:

  • NSC 200 - Behavioral Neuroscience

    NSC 200 - Behavioral Neuroscience

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the manner in which genetic, environmental, biochemical and physiological factors contribute to the neurological basis of behavior. Special attention is given to neural contributions to reproductive behavior, psychopharmacology, fear, emotion, learning, memory, communication, stress, ingestion, psychiatric and neurological disorders.

    Prerequisite(s)


    NSC 100 and PSY 100.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • NSC 280 - Drugs and Behavior

    NSC 280 - Drugs and Behavior

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of drug effects on behavior, with emphasis on topics such as the neurophysiology of drug action, drug use versus drug abuse, physical versus psychological dependence and the legal and social implications of drug use. A range of classes of psychoactive drugs is considered, including stimulants, depressants, alcohol, opiates, hallucinogens and psychotherapeutic drugs.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Schedule Of Classes

Cognitive/Learning

One of the following:

  • PSY 340 - Learning

    PSY 340 - Learning

    3.75 credit hours

    This course surveys theories of learning from an historical perspective. In addition, developments in methodology and applications of learning are discussed (e.g., behavior modification and programmed instruction). A weekly lab is included. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One 200-level course in Psychology, excluding PSY 250.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 345 - Cognitive Psychology

    PSY 345 - Cognitive Psychology

    3.75 credit hours

    An examination of how humans acquire, store, retrieve and use knowledge. The course emphasizes an information processing approach to cognition and deals with such topics as perception, selective attention, memory, imagery, problem-solving, reasoning, artificial intelligence and decision-making. A weekly laboratory is included. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 255.

    Schedule Of Classes

Developmental

One of the following:

  • PSY 210 - Child Development

    PSY 210 - Child Development

    3.00 credit hours

    Theory and research from the field of child development are studied in order to better understand the child's physical, language, cognitive, social and emotional development from birth to adolescence.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Core

    Social Science.
    IAI

    S6 903

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 220 - Psychology of Adolescence

    PSY 220 - Psychology of Adolescence

    3.00 credit hours

    This course focuses on the developmental tasks of adolescence, such as forming an identity and developing mature relations with peers, family and possible mates. Theory and research in the area of adolescent psychology are examined.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Core

    Social Science.
    IAI

    S6 904

    Schedule Of Classes

Depth

At least three credit hours from one of the following:

  • 400-level Seminar
  • 400-level Independent Study (or HON 400 - Honors Thesis, if supervised by Psychology faculty)
  • 400-level Internship

Note:

Psychology majors must also complete the Psychology outcomes assessment.

Psychology, B.S.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Psychology and Neuroscience.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 33 credit hours to include at least 12 credit hours at the 300- or 400-level:

Core Courses

  • PSY 100 - Psychology: Science of Behavior

    PSY 100 - Psychology: Science of Behavior

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the basic concepts, processes, theories and empirical findings concerning the behavior of organisms. Consideration is given to the following topics: physiological and developmental basis of behavior, sensory and perceptual processes, states of consciousness, learning and memory and motivation and emotion, as well as personality, intellectual functioning, psychopathology and social influences on behavior.

    Core

    Social Science.
    IAI

    S6 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 250 - Statistics

    PSY 250 - Statistics

    3.00 credit hours

    A course stressing the methods, concepts and logic underlying the statistical evaluation of research data. The course stresses descriptive and inferential statistics, estimation and hypothesis testing and "why" as well as "when" to use various statistical methods. A working knowledge of basic algebraic techniques is necessary. Only one of PSY 250 and BUS 241/ECN 241 may be taken for credit.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 118 or higher.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 902

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 255 - Research Design and Experimentation

    PSY 255 - Research Design and Experimentation

    3.75 credit hours

    The activities involved in obtaining, accumulating and organizing scientific knowledge through experimentation are stressed in this course. The concepts, logic and methods which serve as a basis for designing and conducting scientific research are presented in lecture and laboratory periods, and are practiced in laboratory exercises and in individual projects. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100 and a minimum grade of C- in PSY 250.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 360 - Psychological Assessment

    PSY 360 - Psychological Assessment

    3.00 credit hours

    This course examines theory, construction, evaluation and interpretation of psychological tests. Special emphasis is placed on the ethical and appropriate use of tests and the intersection between testing and contemporary society. Special topics include testing in the areas of intelligence, personality, attitudes, interests and abilities.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 250 and one additional 200-level Psychology course.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 293 - Careers in Psychology

    PSY 293 - Careers in Psychology

    1.00 credit hours

    This course focuses on exploring various career options in psychology and related fields. The course will cover the different professional options available in psychology and how to successfully prepare for one's chosen future career. By collaborating with other students, instructors and resource people both inside and outside of the North Central Community, students will learn about a wide range of careers possible with a major in psychology.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Schedule Of Classes

Theoretical Perspectives

Social

One of the following:

  • PSY 240 - Social Psychology

    PSY 240 - Social Psychology

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the theories and research regarding human social behavior. Discussed in this area are social perception, self-perception, attitudes, social influence, attraction, altruism, aggression, group effects and environmental psychology.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Core

    Social Science.
    IAI

    S8 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 310 - Cultural Psychology

    PSY 310 - Cultural Psychology

    3.00 credit hours

    The course considers what we mean by culture, and how taking culture into account affects our knowledge of basic psychology in areas such as human development, the self-concept, gender expectations, as well as our understanding of mental illness. The course focuses on both psychological and anthropological approaches to studying culture and the pros and cons of different approaches.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100; SOA 105 or any 200-level Psychology course, excluding PSY 250; Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

Biological

One of the following:

  • NSC 200 - Behavioral Neuroscience

    NSC 200 - Behavioral Neuroscience

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the manner in which genetic, environmental, biochemical and physiological factors contribute to the neurological basis of behavior. Special attention is given to neural contributions to reproductive behavior, psychopharmacology, fear, emotion, learning, memory, communication, stress, ingestion, psychiatric and neurological disorders.

    Prerequisite(s)


    NSC 100 and PSY 100.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • NSC 280 - Drugs and Behavior

    NSC 280 - Drugs and Behavior

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of drug effects on behavior, with emphasis on topics such as the neurophysiology of drug action, drug use versus drug abuse, physical versus psychological dependence and the legal and social implications of drug use. A range of classes of psychoactive drugs is considered, including stimulants, depressants, alcohol, opiates, hallucinogens and psychotherapeutic drugs.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Schedule Of Classes

Cognitive/Learning

One of the following:

  • PSY 340 - Learning

    PSY 340 - Learning

    3.75 credit hours

    This course surveys theories of learning from an historical perspective. In addition, developments in methodology and applications of learning are discussed (e.g., behavior modification and programmed instruction). A weekly lab is included. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One 200-level course in Psychology, excluding PSY 250.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 345 - Cognitive Psychology

    PSY 345 - Cognitive Psychology

    3.75 credit hours

    An examination of how humans acquire, store, retrieve and use knowledge. The course emphasizes an information processing approach to cognition and deals with such topics as perception, selective attention, memory, imagery, problem-solving, reasoning, artificial intelligence and decision-making. A weekly laboratory is included. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 255.

    Schedule Of Classes

Developmental

One of the following:

  • PSY 210 - Child Development

    PSY 210 - Child Development

    3.00 credit hours

    Theory and research from the field of child development are studied in order to better understand the child's physical, language, cognitive, social and emotional development from birth to adolescence.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Core

    Social Science.
    IAI

    S6 903

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 220 - Psychology of Adolescence

    PSY 220 - Psychology of Adolescence

    3.00 credit hours

    This course focuses on the developmental tasks of adolescence, such as forming an identity and developing mature relations with peers, family and possible mates. Theory and research in the area of adolescent psychology are examined.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PSY 100.

    Core

    Social Science.
    IAI

    S6 904

    Schedule Of Classes

Depth

At least three credit hours of:

  • 400-level Independent Study (Or HON 400 - Honors Thesis if supervised by Psychology faculty)

Note:

Psychology majors must also complete the Psychology outcomes assessment.

Additional Requirements for the B.S. Degree

  • MTH 152 - Calculus II

    MTH 152 - Calculus II

    3.00 credit hours

    Continuation of Calculus I with emphasis on integration and its applications. Required for the B.S. degree in any department.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 141 or MTH 151.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

At least six credit hours from two of the following areas:

  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics above MTH 152 
  • Life science or physical science course(s), beyond the courses used to fulfill general education requirements, and that count toward a major in a science discipline

Recommended Electives for the B.S. Degree

  • PSY 380 - History of Psychology

    PSY 380 - History of Psychology

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the major factors providing the roots for psychology, as well as the significant persons and theories which shaped its subsequent development as the scientific approach to the study of behavior and mental processes.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One HST course and one 200-level Psychology course, excluding PSY 250.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHL 370 - Philosophy of Science

    PHL 370 - Philosophy of Science

    3.00 credit hours

    An inquiry into the nature of scientific evidence, laws, explanations and theories, as well as the nature of the relationship between the natural and social sciences.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Previous course in philosophy or a natural science course.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • SOA 202 - Research Methods in Social Sciences: Qualitative

    SOA 202 - Research Methods in Social Sciences: Qualitative

    3.00 credit hours

    An overview of qualitative methods, including in-depth interviewing, oral history, focus groups and participant observation. Addresses practical issues, such as question development, negotiating access, maintaining rapport, sampling strategies, note taking and analysis. Delves more deeply into ethical issues and the "back stages" of the research process.

    Schedule Of Classes

Psychology Minor

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Psychology and Neuroscience.

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 21 credit hours to include:

  • PSY 100 - Psychology: Science of Behavior

    PSY 100 - Psychology: Science of Behavior

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the basic concepts, processes, theories and empirical findings concerning the behavior of organisms. Consideration is given to the following topics: physiological and developmental basis of behavior, sensory and perceptual processes, states of consciousness, learning and memory and motivation and emotion, as well as personality, intellectual functioning, psychopathology and social influences on behavior.

    Core

    Social Science.
    IAI

    S6 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSY 250 - Statistics

    PSY 250 - Statistics

    3.00 credit hours

    A course stressing the methods, concepts and logic underlying the statistical evaluation of research data. The course stresses descriptive and inferential statistics, estimation and hypothesis testing and "why" as well as "when" to use various statistical methods. A working knowledge of basic algebraic techniques is necessary. Only one of PSY 250 and BUS 241/ECN 241 may be taken for credit.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 118 or higher.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 902

    Schedule Of Classes

    • At least three credit hours in Psychology at or above the 300-level
Leila Azarbad

Associate Professor of Psychology; Ruge Fellow
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5379
Alexis Chambers

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5330
Margaret Gill

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5463
Mary Jean Lynch

Professor of Psychology; Chairperson, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5363
Heather Mangelsdorf

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology
Psychology and Neuroscience
Paul Mullen

Half-Time Associate Professor of Psychology
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5328
Nicole Rivera

Associate Professor of Psychology
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5921
Patricia Schacht

Associate Professor of Psychology
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5331
Michael Stefanik

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5325
Daniel VanHorn

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5327
Glen Wurglitz
Glen Wurglitz

Half-time Associate Professor of Psychology
Psychology and Neuroscience
+1 630 637 5325

As a psychology or neuroscience student, you will have many opportunities to enhance your academic experience, apply your knowledge, and engage with your faculty and fellow students.

Research - create new knowledge

  • Enroll in a research practicum to assist a faculty member with his or her own research projects.
  • Work with a faculty member to design and execute your own independent study.
  • Present your original research at regional and national psychology conferences.
  • Apply for a Richter Grant to finance travel anywhere in the world your studies take you.

Internships - apply knowledge outside the classroom

  • Explore one or more different career paths in psychology before committing to a particular direction.
  • Examine a possible career path in more depth by applying theories and concepts to broader social issues and systems.
  • Engage in a pre-professional learning experience and link it to important issues and trends in the field.
  • For more information, contact Dr. Nicole Rivera.

Special Course Offerings - enhance your academic experience

  • Learn about the many career paths for psychology and neuroscience majors in our Careers in Psychology course.
  • Determine if graduate school is for you, begin the process of identifying possible degrees and programs, and start working on your graduate school applications in our Professional Psychology seminar.
  • Enroll in a senior seminar to explore topics such as eating disorders, bullying, illusions, memory disorders, psychology and the law, and military psychology.

Student Organizations - engage with your psychology peers to make a difference

  • Psychology Club - open to all majors and minors in psychology. Psychology club provides an environment for students interested to gain exposure to the field outside of the classroom and establish a network among students with various degrees of interest in psychology. Psychology club holds events such as the Psych Panel with Professors from the Psychology department to discuss opportunities in Psychology and interests. The club will have meetings every other week to discuss topics of psychology such as clinical, abnormal, health, counseling, and child psychology. Faculty Advisor: Nicole Rivera.

  • Psi Chi - the international honor society in psychology. Psi Chi hopes to help to prepare and inform students for graduate school and future careers through internship opportunities, alumni connections, and informational meetings. Additionally, we expand students overall knowledge of the field of psychology and the many possibilities of careers after graduation. Faculty Advisor: Alexis Chambers.

  • PHAME - dedicated to reducing the stigma of mental illness. We empower students to speak openly and encourage help-seeking by raising awereness and reducing stigma surrounding mental health issues through events, programming, and advocacy training for North Central College. Advisor: Nicole Musni.
  • Neuroscience Club - provides enriching experiences outside of the classroom for those interested in the sciences and neuroscience at North Central College. Members are provided with support and connections. Faculty Advisor: Margaret Gill.

  • Neuroscience Honor Society (Nu Rho Psi) - Faculty Advisor: Margaret Gill.

Study Abroad -- expand your horizons. Learn more.
Dr. Nicole Rivera and her students conduct research at the DuPage Children's Museum.

Fall updates are coming soon, but for now...

It’s still summer!  A time for rest, relaxation, and … research!

Many of the faculty in Psychology and Neuroscience are busy this summer wrapping up projects from last year and planning new ones for next year.  Here is a sample of what is happening in labs, breakout spaces, and offices in the Wentz Science Center and in the Naperville community.

Professors Azarbad and Keeney are planning a full research agenda that utilizes our new treadmill equipment.  The TREAD (Treadmill Research on Exercise, Athletics and Disordered Eating) RESEARCH TEAM is designing two different studies to be carried out this coming academic year.

  • Project COCOA will compare the effectiveness of a variety of interventions for reducing chocolate cravings.
  • Project BODY IMAGE will explore the effects of physical activity on body image.

The student researchers of the TREAD research team are Maggie Bailey, Jenna Bell, Lisette Herrera, Anya Jones, Anthony Mackar, Kelly McGovern, Ashley Papp, and Mikayla Strasser.

Dr. Chambers is getting her new sleep lab ready to begin collecting data in the fall about how sleep affects the consolidation of emotional memories. Her students will also examine how sleep habits impact physical performance.  The researchers on her team are Isabella Kwiecinski, Ashley Fagerson, and Aaron Spivey.

Dr. Gill is spending the summer preparing the new animal suite and neuroscience research lab for neuroscience classes and her research about the effects of early environment on drug addiction.

Dr. Kelley continues his work on organizational justice.  He and student researchers Maureen Jones, Sonja Altmayer, and Megan Renteria are examining how emotions affect evaluations of an employee or manager following a negative event.  Specifically, they are interested in examining how the emotion/event integration will affect perceptions of hope and trust.

Dr. Lynch and members of her research team are working on two research questions.

  • Do introverts prefer socializing with only a few people because they overestimate numbers of stimuli when the stimuli have social features (faces vs. emojis vs. circles)?  Laura DePasquale, Elainie Kothera, and Mary Johnson are organizing and scoring data collected during spring term.
  • Are introverts more sensitive to threatening social stimuli than extraverts?  A new study is being designed to see if introverts process other information more slowly when they perceive threat.  Mikayla Strasser is the lead designer for this “emotional Stroop task” with Laura, Elainie, and Mary assisting.

Dr. Rivera is working with two student researchers this summer – Julianna Grandinetti and Ovier Campbell on two museum projects.  They completed data collection for a survey of parents’/caregivers' beliefs about play and learning at the DuPage Children's Museum.  They are now piloting an interview protocol at the museum to ask children what they believe about play and learning.  As part of their summer work, they also visited the Discovery Science Center in Rockford.

Dr. Schacht and student researcher Abena Owusu are collaborating with KidsMatter, INC and Naperville 203/204 schools to identify keys stressors impacting middle school, high school, and college-aged students.  They are analyzing student stress and the use of drugs (specifically prescription medications) as a method of reducing stress. They plan to present their findings at the Society for Research in Adolescence and will also be holding an open forum in November with the City of Naperville to discuss their results.

Dr. VanHorn is continuing work on two projects.

  • Exploring Mechanisms of Time Perception examines whether we are all hard-wired with a survival mode that, when activated, affects our perception of time.  Student researcher Sydney Paquin has contributed to this project.
  • Mood, Memory, and Metacognition manipulates mood and measures how well people can predict what they will remember in the future.  Student researchers Marissa Post, Alexis Vosnos, and Fayana Simms have worked with Dr. VanHorn on this project.