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The field of Psychology is incredibly important in ample ways. Psychology allows us to interpret and explain the behaviors of others. Whether or not you take a Psychology class, you are using psychological processes in your everyday life—and you might not even realize it. However, by taking a Psychology class, you broaden your knowledge on what humans do and why they do it, which can ultimately benefit how you interact with yourself and others. Here are ten major course concepts that you will learn in PSYC1 at UCSC:

1. Sensation and Perception

There is so much to observe and experience in this world. However, each experience and perspective varies for each person; not everybody will see, hear, or interact with something else the same way you do. In Psychology, you will learn about the different ways in which people sense and perceive the objects in the physical world.

2. Consciousness

Your consciousness holds an incredible amount of information—information that you might not even realize is there. Learning and understanding how your consciousness works and interacts with the world will benefit the way you think and act in the future.

3. Memory

You have your short-term memory and your long-term memory. Both work together in order for you to receive, store, and retrieve information for future situations. Without memory, the intrinsic and extrinsic world would hold very little meaning to you—if any—in your everyday life.

4. Intelligence

Your IQ does not determine your intelligence. Whether you have an IQ of 70 or an IQ of 130, this number does not solely define how smart you are. Intelligence is measured based on your ability to be creative, mathematical, strategic, and much more.

5. Development

In PSYC1, you will learn about the physical, cognitive, and emotional development in humans. You will understand how one grows from being an embryo, to an infant, to a toddler, and onto adulthood. The first few years of a child’s life are extremely critical and influential to how the child will perceive and interact with the world in the future.

6. Motivation

Every behavior is motivated by something—whether it’s getting food because you’re hungry or working 10 hours a day to make a living. Everything you do has a reason. In Psychology, you will learn why you are motivated to do certain actions and how they impact your life.

7. Personality

Personality is a very broad topic. People are classified as either nice, mean, empathetic, kind, caring, aggressive, etc. There are so many different types of personality traits that a person can embody. If you take PSYC1, you will understand how personality is measured and what the main ideas are that underlie the concept of personality.

8. Social Groups

In this particular topic, you will learn about the different aspects of how humans behave as social beings. You will understand why people conform and obey authority, as well as understand the different ways people are persuaded into committing actions in given circumstances.

9. Learning and Behavior Analysis

Understanding the basis of learning and how people learn best will assist you in the future when you are either studying for an exam or wish to teach somebody else a difficult concept. Everybody takes in information differently and understanding those different ways is extremely important if you wish to effectively interact with those around you.

10. Psychological Disorders

Last, but certainly not least, psychological disorders. Mental illness is quite common in people—for example, anorexia, depression, insomnia—however, it is more often than not rejected and ignored because the topic makes people uncomfortable—simply because it is unfamiliar. It is hard to internalize what having a psychological disorder is like if you, yourself, have never experienced it; therefore, it makes it difficult to relate to. Luckily, if you take PSYC1, you will not only educate yourself but have the ability to educate others on this rarely discussed topic. You will understand and express that mental illness is not something to be afraid of or neglect. Mental illness affects so many people, yet is treated very lightly. Help change this view and take this Psychology course!

Although there are only ten listed here, there are several other concepts that you will learn in PSYC1. Psychology is a part of everyday life and by learning and becoming aware of how it affects each person in a different way, you will gain the skills and knowledge to tackle both simple and complex problems in the world around you.


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Sophie Bales


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