Stranger than Fiction: Debunking Popular Myths in Psychology

« Return to Course Catalog

This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

“We only use 10% of our brains.” “Virtually all people who confess to a crime are guilty.” “Always stick with your first instinct when answering multiple choice questions.” This course will encourage you to consider some of the hottest debates in psychology and shatter the biggest misconceptions in the field.

Myths in popular psychology are important to explore because they can mislead us about the nature of human behavior and can cue us to make ill-advised decisions in our daily lives. For example, if we believe that human memory works like a video recording, we may be too trusting of our perceptions of reality. This course will take a novel approach to presenting a broad range of topics in psychology, including memory, intelligence, motivation, interpersonal behavior, psychology and the law, mental health, emotions, and personality by debunking widespread misconceptions about human thoughts and behavior.

You will learn to critically evaluate how psychological research and theory are distorted by popular culture. Through debunking these myths, you will become familiar with a broad array of topics, such as: memory, intelligence, motivation, interpersonal behavior, psychology and the law, mental health, emotions, and personality. At each class meeting, you will be introduced to a new myth and draw on essential critical thinking skills, and develop content knowledge required to challenge its validity. This is a novel way to learn the fundamental topic and questions of psychology. You will complete in-class group activities, reflective writing assignments, readings, and quizzes. You will be provided with a comprehensive overview of the scientific study of thought and behavior. The importance of scientific methods, critical thinking, and interpretation of psychological theory and research is presented in a way that will enrich your understanding of individuals as thinking, feeling, and social beings. We cannot understand ourselves or the individuals around us without examining how we develop, how we behave around others, or the physiological components of our behavior. For all students, even those who plan to pursue careers outside of psychology, this class will make you a more thoughtful and critical consumer of research in human behavior.

By the end of this course, students will understand psychology as an empirical science that can inform reasoning about claims surrounding human behavior and areas of scientific inquiry (e.g., developmental, social, clinical). They will recognize ways of pursuing questions in psychology via discussion of theory and empirical research. Students will be able to make connections between knowledge gained in psychology and everyday life.

Prerequisites: None required. This course is an introduction to psychology.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPY0963
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

[email protected]

Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

Visit Program Page Information Sessions Learn How to Apply
Back to Top