PSY 101 – General Psychology

                            Fall 2006


Instructor:  Leslie Preston

Email:  Instructor email –WebCt

                 Great Basin College

                 1500 College Parkway

                 Elko, Nevada 89801






Course Description:


This course presents a broad overview of the field of psychology and the basic principles of human behavior.  




“Exploring Psychology”, Sixth Edition, by David G. Myers. Worth Publishing Company

“Annual Editions: Psychology 05/06”,McGraw-Hill/Dushkin



Course Objectives:


Ø      Understand the history and evolution of the field of psychology.

Ø      Explain the theories of Freud, Pavlov, Skinner, etc.

Ø      Understand the different theories of learning.

Ø      Describe and explain the different structures and functions of the brain.

Ø      Define approximately 100 psychological terms.


Course Requirements:


1.  Each student is responsible for all material and assignments.  If you are having any difficulty accessing the information, contact the help desk.


2.  You are expected to participate in quizzes on the scheduled time that they are given.  Any exceptions need to be arranged with the instructor.  No extra credit will be allowed for this course.


3.  You will be responsible to check the bulletin board and private mail for messages. The schedule/ calendar could be changed and it will be your responsibility to make note of those possible changes.



Grading Policy:


Tests during the semester will be multiple choice, true and false, short answer and essay questions. For maximum points, tests must be taken during the time allotted for them.  The following point system will be used:


                                                A                     =                     100 – 90

                                                B                      =                     89 -  80

                                                C                      =                     79 – 70

                                                D                      =                     69 – 60

                                                F                      =                     59 – below

                                                I                       =                     Incomplete

                                                W                    =                     withdrawal


Explanation of terms:


Incomplete (I) grades will be assigned sparingly, when, in the judgment of the instructor, the student has completed the major portion of his/her work for the course, is passing the course, but cannot finish the course by semester’s end for a compelling reason such as injury, illness etc.  If the incomplete has not been removed by the middle of the ensuing semester (Oct 15 or Mar 15), the “I” on the student’s record will revert to a letter grade (which could be an F).


A withdrawal (W) will be given to students only when the following conditions are met:

1.  The student must notify the instructor regarding their intent to withdraw

2.  The student must notify Student Services and officially withdraw from the class.

3.  This must be done no later than the end of the 13th week of the semester; otherwise, the student will receive a letter grade for the course (which could be an F).

4.  After the end of the 13th week, official withdrawals will not generally be permitted, and the student will receive a letter grade.


Make-up Policy:


If it is absolutely unavoidable that you must miss a quiz, you must make arrangements with me. I will not remind you. 


Grade Appeals or Professional Conduct:


See Great Basin College Catalog for details.  This is the process for dealing with complaints about your grades or professional conduct.  There are deadlines in this procedure, so familiarize your self with this information.



By the end of this course, the student will be able to:


1.  Understand the history and evolution of the field of psychology assessed by class quizzes.  

2. Understand and explain the theories of Freud, Pavlov, Skinner and other major theorists assessed by discussion topic writings and class quizzes.

3.  Be able to identify the different theories of learning as demonstrated by class quizzes.

4.  Define and understand approximately 100 psychological terms as demonstrated by class quizzes.

6.  Be able to utilize critical thinking skills and respond to identified topics in the field as demonstrated by regular discussion topic postings on the discussion board.


Policy of Academic Integrity: Academic honesty is expected in this course. All student work must be original and authentic. Any acts of cheating, copying, and/or plagiarizing are violations of the UCCSN code of conduct and will be taken seriously. Students who cheat, copy another’s work or plagiarize from the Internet or other sources will fail the course regardless of their other course work.


















Plagiarism – AVOID IT!

(with thanks to the Dr. Robert Griswold, University of Oklahoma)


Each student at Great Basin College is supposed to know what plagiarism is and to be aware that to plagiarize the work of another person is a serious academic offense. This handout will give you some formal definitions of plagiarism but more important, it provides you with some concrete examples of writing which meet the definition of plagiarism so you can avoid plagiarism.


What is Plagiarism?

“Plagiarism: the representation of the words or ideas of another as one’s own, including:”

  1. Directly quoting from another work without letting the reader know that the words are not your own. In this case, the writer generally fails both to use quotation marks around the quoted passages and to mention the name of the original author of the words.
  2. Paraphrasing without attribution is another common form of plagiarism. In this case, the student paraphrases the original passage, but the student does not give credit to the original author from whose work the paraphrase derived.
  3. Plagiarism can also be committed when a student paraphrases with or without attribution and in so doing uses much of the original wording, thereby passing off the original prose as the student’s own.
  4. A more tricky case of plagiarism involves students who use entirely their own words but borrow the ideas, arguments, facts, or reasoning of another without giving attribution. Such cases do not involve general knowledge – The Civil War started in 1861- but rather material that is not part of general knowledge but rather comes from special efforts of the original author.
  5. Another form of plagiarism, which is simply fraud, is the submission of work under your name which is not yours. Such work could be by another student, friend, or family member or by a company that writes papers for hire. A number of companies on the Internet sell papers to students, and buying such a paper and submitting it as your own is a serious breach of academic honesty and a vile form of plagiarism.

In short, plagiarism consists of failure to give proper credit for ideas and writings that come from others, but some concrete examples will help clarify its meaning.


In order to avoid even unintentional plagiarism, here are two good rules to follow:

  1. Place anything you copy verbatim from another writer –whole sentences, phrases, a single distinctive word—within quotations marks and identify the source of the quotation normally in a footnote or an endnote.
  2. Always give credit for ideas that are not your own. If you are summarizing the basic idea of an article you have read, give credit to the author for those ideas in a footnote or an endnote. You should do this even if you do not use any of the author’s original words in writing your summary. If you are uncertain whether or not to cite an author, the safest course to follow is to offer a citation.


As a rule, avoid extensive use of quotations. Papers should never be long quotations strung together with a few words of your own. Use quotations only for the telling phrase, the unbeatable metaphor, the perfect description, or the controversial point of view that deserves expression in the original. Most of what you take from other sources should be paraphrased, and it is at this point that many students get into trouble. When paraphrasing, you must be certain that you express the ideas from your source in your own words. You cannot change a few conjunctions or articles, throw in or cut out a few words here and there, alter the syntax a bit and pretend that it is your writing. It is not. The structure and most of the phraseology remains that of the author, and your paraphrase is a kind of plagiarism. One basic rule might help: never take five consecutive words from a source without placing them within quotation marks. Even fewer words, of course, should be placed in quotation marks if these words are distinctively the authors.




1 Title 2 of the University and Community College System of Nevada CODE, Chapter 6, section 6., (q) states, “Acts of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating, plagiarism, falsifying research data or results, or assisting others to do the same” is prohibited activity. For these definitions and the system’s disciplinary procedures and your rights see the GBC general catalog 2000-2001, pages 130-135.




The following example will help you better understand plagiarism and thus avoid it:  below you will find a quotation, followed by an improper and proper example of paraphrasing.


The quotation: “Most of the time a child who knew no English would be placed in a “sink or swim,” total immersion class when first entering school. After six months a student who did not “sink” would graduate to a class appropriate to his or her ability to cope with English. Bilingualism was not an option, and as a result many of the children schooled under this policy recall that their experiences were intensely traumatic.”(1)


  1. Selma Berrol, “Immigrant Children at School,” in John Cary, et al., eds., The Social Fabric: American Life from the Civil War to the Present, 8th ed., vol.2(New York: Longman, 1999):111.


Proper Paraphrasing: “Immigrant children who could not speak English often found schools a hostile environment. “Bilingualism,” as Selma Berrol has observed, “was not an option,” and thus immigrants often remembered their school days as anxious, frustrating times. (1)

  1. Selma Berrol, “Immigrant Children at School,” in John Cary, et al., eds., The Social Fabric: American Life from the Civil War to the Present, 8th ed., vol.2 (New York: Longman, 1999):111


The author of the improper example of paraphrasing does cite the Berrol argument, but the writing too closely tracks the original to escape the charge of plagiarism. While many words are changed, many are not, and the structure, phrasing, and vocabulary too closely resemble the original. Such a student would be guilty of committing plagiarism. The second example is a true paraphrase. Berrol’s ideas are summarized accurately but in the writer’s own words, and Berrol is properly quoted where appropriate via the use of quotation marks. Note that the entire statement is covered in footnote 1.


P[agiarizing Ideas:

Another form of plagiarism involves using your own language but appropriating someone else’s ideas as your own. Suppose, for example, you had been asked to write a paper on the experience of immigrant children in American schools at the turn- of- the- century. If you properly paraphrased Berrol (as above in the “proper” example) but gave her no credit in a footnote or endnote, you would be pretending that this analysis was based on your research, that these were your conclusions, and that these were your own ideas about immigrants and schooling. But such is not the case. Your words are really a proper paraphrase of Selma Berrol’s ideas, conclusions she reached after extensive research on the history of immigrant children in U.S. schools.


Taking notes and avoiding plagiarism:

One of the easiest ways to fall into the trap of plagiarism—deliberate cheating aside—is to write your paper while you have library books and journals or the photocopies of such lying next to your computer. If you write directly from the original authors’ works, you may indulge, quite innocently, of improper paraphrasing, but such behavior is plagiarism nonetheless. One of the best ways to avoid plagiarism is to take careful notes, preferably on note cards or note slips. On your note card, place quotation marks around  all material you copy verbatim. Check to make sure you have copied this material accurately, and write down the page number and the source on the note card. Read carefully the material you wish to paraphrase, then close the book or journal and write down your paraphrase. By not looking at the original source while you paraphrase it, you should avoid the temptation of relying too heavily on its sentence structure and vocabulary. If an author uses a particularly memorable phrase, put that in your summary with quotation marks around it and the page number beside it.


A final word:

Plagiarism is a serious violation of academic integrity and is to be avoided at all costs. Outright cheating—ie using another student’s paper, buying a paper on the Internet, copying long passages of an article verbatim and passing this work off as your own work—is the most egregious violation of the rule against plagiarism and also the easiest to catch. But even students with no ill intent can sometimes commit plagiarism, most often by incorrectly paraphrasing another author’s ideas, sentence structure, and/or vocabulary. In general, remember that your paper should be comprised of your ideas, sentence structure, and/or interpretations, and your arguments. If should never consist of a string of long, undigested block quotations linked together with a few well- placed conjunctions. Likewise, it should not consist of a string of improperly paraphrased paragraphs or a series of unattributed ideas that originated with another author. You can refer to other sources and quote them where appropriate, but remember that plagiarism is most likely to happen when your paper emphasizes the ideas of others rather than your own. Give credit where credit is due, when in doubt provide the reader a citation, and remember that plagiarism in any of its forms is a serious breach of academic honesty.