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Introduction To Psychology

Presented by Bo Bennett, PhD

Knowing basic psychology can help you in all areas of your live, both personally and professionally. The ability to understand how and why others think, behave, and even feel is clearly useful, but the the ability to understand ourselves is even more useful. Although the human mind does not come with a manual, this course may be the next best thing!

Take a Major Step In Understanding Human Behavior By Taking This Course

Learn about the field of neuroscience and what it can tell us about ourselves
Learn about perception and how the world is very different from what we think it is
Learn how to learn
Learn about thinking and understand intelligence
Understand how humans develop in all stages of life
Understand personality
Learn what is abnormal when it comes to psychology
Learn the basics of social psychology
Get a crash course on cognitive biases
Understand stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination
Debunk 50 psychology myths

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Psychology!

This course comprises the topics found to be most important based on a survey of 761 introductory psychology teachers at 490 schools (Miller & Gentile, 1998). These topics include introduction/methods, neuroscience, sensation/perception, learning, memory, thinking/intelligence, developmental psychology, personality, social psychology, and abnormal psychology. In addition, I have worked in sections on cognitive biases, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, along with the debunking of popular psychology myths that just don't seem to die.

By the end of this course, you should have a strong understanding of psychology and be able to put this knowledge to work in your life.


This course was designed for adult learners with a high school diploma.

Personalized Feedback

Unlike most online courses unaffiliated with a university, each lesson in this course includes assignments that are manually evaluated by the instructor with detailed feedback provided (instructor evaluated course option only).

Learning Resources

For this course, text, audio, and video resources are used. All of the resources are compatible with virtually all modern web-browsers and mobile devices.

Instructor Availability

The instructor is available for students to discuss course-specific content via e-mail, online chat, Skype, and telephone for the first six months of the course (instructor-evaluated option only).


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Required Resources

Griggs, R. (2014). Psychology: A Concise Introduction (Fourth Edition). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Get on Amazon for $30-$40 (ebook or paperback is fine): http://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Introduction-Richard-A-Griggs/dp/1429298901

Lilienfeld, S. (2009). 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior (1st edition). Chichester, West Sussex : Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Get on Amazon for $18-$20 (ebook or paperback is fine): http://www.amazon.com/Great-Myths-Popular-Psychology-Misconceptions/dp/140513111X

Optional Resources

The Psych Files Podcast: http://www.thepsychfiles.com
( Ideally, you will subscribe to this podcast and download the episodes we use in the course, otherwise, you can access each episode on the website.)

Course Organization

This course begins with an introduction lesson, then the other lessons presented are in no particular order. You are free to skip around to the lessons that interest you most at the time and complete the lessons in any order.


This course is graded on a pass/redo scale. When lessons are reviewed, the student will either get a "pass" or a "redo". Students can redo assignments as many times as they like. All of the lessons are evaluated by both manual review of lesson-specific assignments and automatic grading of quizzes.

Student Evaluation

This course contains instructor-reviewed assignments, self-evaluated assignments, and multiple choice quizzes. There are no due dates or time limits on any of the assignments or quizzes.

Student Expectations

As a self-paced course, there are no time expectations. However, student support is limited to 6 months from the start of the course date. Students are expected to communicate with instructors and other students in a professional and respectful manner.

This Syllabus May Be Updated

The contents of this syllabus may change from time to time. All students will be notified by e-mail of any significant changes.

Lessons in this Course

Click on any lesson below to see the lesson details. If you are a student and logged in, or if the lesson is a sample lesson, you will be able to go to the lesson.

Lesson #1: Introduction (sample lesson)

Lesson #1: Introduction

In this lesson, we will go over an introduction to the course. I will give an introduction to psychology, and a summary of the content.

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Lesson #2: The Science of Psychology

Lesson #2: The Science of Psychology

Rather than focusing on what we traditionally think of as psychology, therapy, this text seeks to highlight psychology as a science and begins by exploring the four major research perspectives: biological and cognitive, which focus on internal factors, and behavioral and sociocultural, which focus on external factors. We then move onto descriptive, correlational, and experimental research methods, all used by psychologists to study human behavior and mental processing. Finally we look at how to understand the results of this research.
Lesson #3: Neuroscience

Lesson #3: Neuroscience

In this chapter we look at just how the brain and nervous system are able to control nearly everything we do by starting with the smallest piece, a nerve cell or neuron, and then looking at the structure of the entire nervous system and its subsystems, the central and peripheral nervous systems. Along with the nervous system we will consider the endocrine glandular system, the body’s other major communication system. We will also look in-depth at the brain and its major parts, focusing especially on the cerebral cortex, and then considering consciousness and brain activity during sleep.
Lesson #4: Sensation and Perception

Lesson #4: Sensation and Perception

To understand and live in the world around us we must first gather (sense) and then interpret (perceive) the information presented to us. We begin our study of sensation and perception by looking at the three psychophysical questions: the questions of detection, difference, and the scaling. Then we look at just how our sense organs, especially the eyes and ears, do their work. Lastly, we look at how we process visual information by detailing how the brain organizes incoming visual stimuli.
Lesson #5: Learning (sample lesson)

Lesson #5: Learning

In this chapter we look at how psychologists have studied learning and what we know about how humans learn looking at how both biological and cognitive psychologists have studied learning. We look in detail at classical conditioning, in which we learn that one stimulus signals the arrival of another connecting events in our environment, and at operant conditioning, which focuses on connections between our behaviors and their consequences. The chapter also focuses on both the biological and cognitive aspects of learning, looking at biological predispositions and then latent and observational learning.

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Lesson #6: Memory (sample lesson)

Lesson #6: Memory

Memory is essential for life as we currently experience it, allowing us to use what we know to interpret the world. This study of memory will help you to understand how your own memory works, beginning with a discussion of the three-stage model of memory, which involves sensory, short term (or working), and long-term memory. The focus then moves to encoding, or the process by which information is transferred into memory. In the last section we look at retrieval or bringing information from long-term back into short-term memory, discussing not only how retrieval works, but also failure of retrieval, or forgetting. This chapter also discusses how and why our memories are not always perfect reconstructions of the events we experience.

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Lesson #7: Cognitive Biases

Lesson #7: Cognitive Biases

Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from a "standard of rationality" or good judgment. Understanding how your brain misrepresents reality is the first step to clear thinking and compensating for such misrepresentations.
Lesson #8: Thinking and Intelligence

Lesson #8: Thinking and Intelligence

Building on sensation and perception, learning, and memory, this chapter discusses how we think, that is how we process information to solve problems and make judgments and decisions. In this chapter we discuss how our brains work through problems, use probability, and test hypotheses, all important aspects of intelligent thinking. There is also discussion of intelligence testing and how these tests are conducted and used. There are many theories on human intelligence and this chapter looks at the similarities and differences in these, from Spearman’s general intelligence (the g factor) to Gardner and Sternberg’s different theories of multiple intelligences.
Lesson #9: Developmental Psychology

Lesson #9: Developmental Psychology

The scientific study of biological, cognitive, social, and personality development throughout the life span is known as developmental psychology. Developmental psychologists usually divide the life span into different stages, beginning with the prenatal stage and ending with late adulthood. This chapter looks at different types of development through these life stages by discussing major theorists’ views such as Piaget, Vygotsky, Kohlberg, and Erikson, and touching on the main developmental theories.
Lesson #10: Personality Theories and Assessment

Lesson #10: Personality Theories and Assessment

While psychologists cannot entirely agree on one definition of personality, this text uses the definition most people think of when the word personality is used – a person’s internally based, characteristic ways of acting and thinking. In addition to the definition there has been much speculation about and study of personality throughout history, leading to divergent ideas on the subject within psychological science. In this chapter we explore the major theoretical approaches to the study of personality: the psychoanalytic approach originated by Freud, the humanistic approach focusing on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and Rogers’ self theory and the social-cognitive approach.
Lesson #11: Social Psychology (sample lesson)

Lesson #11: Social Psychology

Social psychology is the study of humans as social animals, that is the way that we influence one anothers’ behavior and thinking. We begin our discussion of this subject by looking at how others’ influence our behavior by examining three types of social influence: conformity, compliance, and obedience. We then look at how we think about behavior, both our own and that of others. All of this is put into a real life context by looking at two historical events, the murder of Kitty Genovese and the Jonestown massacre.

This is a two-week lesson - twice as much content as the other weeks.

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Lesson #12: Abnormal Psychology

Lesson #12: Abnormal Psychology

How do psychologists classify thinking and behavior as “abnormal”? In this chapter we discuss just that by looking at the criteria used by psychologists to determine whether or not a person may have a mental disorder. We examine the three major categories of mental illness: anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenic disorders. There is also discussion of the various treatments used for these disorders, both biomedical therapies, including drug therapies, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychosurgery, as well as the major types of psychotherapy.
Lesson #13: Course Summary and Final Assignment

Lesson #13: Course Summary and Final Assignment

In this lesson, we review some of the important points of this course. Additional resources are provided for learning more about psychology, and the final paper is discussed.

About Your Instructor

Bo Bennett, PhD. Bo Bennett's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime." Much of his work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think. His projects include his books, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies, and Year To Success, a full year course in success. Bo has a podcast/blog called "The Dr. Bo Show" at http://www.TheDrBoShow.com where he takes a critical thinking-, reason-, and science-based approach to issues that matter with the goal of educating and entertaining.

Bo holds a PhD in social psychology, with a master's degree in general psychology and bachelor's degree in marketing. His complete bio along with current projects can be found at BoBennett.com.

Course Rating

(1 ratings)

Course Information

Self-Evaluated Course Option:

  • 13 lessons
  • 59 videos
  • 462 narrated slides
  • 133 discussion questions
  • 468 terms and definitions
  • 17 self-evaluated assignments
  • 115 multiple-choice quiz questions
  • upon successful completion of this course, students will receive an authenticated certificate of completion

A total of approximately 46 hours of student learning.

Limited Time Offer: $19.00

Instructor-Evaluated Course Option:

Everything in the self-evaluated course option, PLUS...

  • 21 instructor-evaluated assignments
  • direct access to the instructor for one-on-one, personalized learning
  • upon successful completion of this course, students will also receive a more personalized letter of achievement that can be added to any resume or CV.

A total of approximately 76 hours of student learning.

Why Take the Instructor-Evaluated Course?
Let me be your college professor for this course. I will give you assignments that really help you to learn the material, then I will evaluate your assignments and give you feedback.

- Bo Bennett, PhD, Instructor

Limited Time Offer: $299.00

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Refund Policy: All course purchases can be refunded within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

Group Discounts: We offer enrollment discounts for 10 or more students. Contact us for details.

Books Used In This Course

Required Reading: Get the book, Psychology: A Concise Introduction (Fourth Edition) by Richard A. Griggs by selecting one of the following options:

Get It!

Required Reading: Get the book, 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, Barry L. Beyerstein by selecting one of the following options:

Get It!
Student Testimonials

This is a very easy-to-understand course and I have been listening to it for one year and have benefited a lot from it.

Self-Evaluated Option
Student since Oct 12 2016

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