Why do we feel, think and behave the way we do? Why do we forget or remember the most traumatic events? And how do we do it? What makes it possible for us to sympathize with others and why do we have this ability? What is it in people that makes them anxious, angry, aggressive, depressed? And what it is in their environments that evokes such emotions? How do we make sense and give meaning to our lives? What are the specific processes by which contents of our thinking are shaped and how history, culture and institutions become embedded in our mental lives?
Psychology is the science of our mental life and behavior. A psychologist's goal is to describe, explain, predict and control behavior in a science-based way and to enable people, whenever possible and desirable, to do that for themselves or for those near and dear or entrusted to them. In this sense psychology actually has a fifth goal: to improve. Not only do psychologists attempt to control behavior, they want to do so in a positive manner, they want to improve a person’s life, not make it worse. This is not always the case, but it should always be the intention.
The primary objective of this introductory course into psychology is to explore the subject matter of the field, to become familiar with its vocabulary and key concepts and with research findings upon which psychology’s knowledge of human mental life and behavior is based. The second objective of the course is to promote critical thinking skills and to prepare students to become cautious and young scholars who know how to say "No", to academic idolatry. The third goal of the course is that students derive personal benefits from it: at the end of the term they will have gained a better understanding of themselves and others.
- Teacher: Eri Park