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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michael D Beecher
PSYCH 448
Seattle Campus

Seminar in Psychology

Selected research topics of contemporary interest. Quarterly listings of specific offerings are available at departmental advising office.

Class description

How similar are animal minds to ours? Can we ever really know animal minds? Do animals have conscious experience and feelings like we do? How smart are animals? These kinds of questions have fascinated and bedeviled scientists back at least to Aristotle. Throughout the history of psychology and related fields, the questions have resurfaced repeatedly, and we are now in the midst of the latest revival of hopes that we may actually be able to find answers to them.

The course will encourage a critical, skeptical examination of research and theory in study of animal thinking. For background, a prior course in animal behavior (e.g., 200 or 300) is recommended but not required

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

About half of the classes will be lecture/discussion format (hopefully mostly discussion). The other half will be "seminar" format in which the student selects a topic that interests him or her, selects a reading for that topic (which will be posted on the class website) and leads a discussion of the topic in class.

Recommended preparation

For background, a prior course in animal behavior (e.g., 200, 300 or 409) is recommended but not required.

Class assignments and grading

A midterm, final and an optional paper. Exams will include material from the student-led seminars.

Equal weight will be given to (1) midterm, (2) final, and (3)class participation (including the student-led seminar).

There will be a paper option for those needing a 'W' course.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Michael D Beecher
Date: 03/14/2010