Psychology & Life 

Psychology and Life 

Lecturer:Prof. GAO Jun (Ph.D Fudan University)

Credits:3 Fudan University credits, 5 ECTS equivalent

Psychology and Life: A cross-cultural perspective, is a course offered to undergraduate students who are interested in the science of psychology. The course embraces the vision of American Psychological Association (APA), “to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives” ( Therefore, students are encouraged to apply what they have learned in the classroom, in an active and critical way, to enhance the quality of their lives as well as the lives of others around them. Moreover, as the name of the course suggested, it is hoped that by the emphasis of a cross-cultural perspective in teaching, students may develop the sensitivity as well as the appreciation for diversity in human nature and embrace a more open and tolerant attitude towards both themselves and others, both in-groups and out-groups. 

The aim of the course is to provide a general introduction to major fields of psychology, i.e. the methodology and the basis of psychological reasoning, the classical concepts and theories as well as the latest research findings and new progresses made in psychology to promote the understanding and changes in individuals, families and societies. Particularly, the course highlights the cultural perspective among the major approaches in modern psychology. The curriculum design of the course strives to adhere to the five learning goals proposed by APA guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major-version 2.0 (APA, 2013) on the foundation level (for those students who only take lower level courses, such as this course, to have a general understanding as well as application of psychology, but do not necessarily intend to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology). The five goals are: knowledge base in psychology, scientific inquiry and critical thinking, ethical and social responsibility in a diverse world, communication and professional development. The detailed descriptions of these goals relevant to this course will be listed in the section of Learning Objectives in this syllabus. 

As an introductory course with an emphasis on the cultural perspective, different topics will be given to cover the whole scope of psychology, including: the biological and evolutionary basis of human behaviors, human cognition, learning and intelligence, human development, motivation and emotion, stress and health psychology, social psychology, abnormal psychology and psychological counseling & psychotherapy. Besides lecturing, the course uses small & big group discussions, group work, extracurricular readings, and the participation of psychological researches to facilitate the learning process. 


Week 1 An Introduction to the Course

Week 2 Research methods in Psychology

Week 3 The Biological and Evolutionary Basis of Behaviors 

Week 4 Sensation & Perception

Week 5 Consciousness

Week 6 Memory

Week 7 Learning

Week 8 Topics in Developmental Psychology

Week 9 Motivation

Week 10 Emotion

Week 11 Stress and Other Topics in Health Psychology

Week 12 Topics in Social Psychology

Week 13 Psychological Disorders

Week 14 Psychological Counseling and Psychotherapy