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Abnormal Psychology – Major Disorders

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This course discusses the issues and controversies surrounding the meaning and categorization of psychological abnormality. We will also describe the major symptoms, hypothesized or suggested causes, and accepted treatments for major categories of mental disorder as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association, version IV-TR, always keeping in mind the criticisms of this categorization system. The goals of the course include a deeper understanding of the nature, causes of, and current treatments for, psychopathology, and – more importantly – an appreciation for the tentative and incomplete nature of our understanding of mental illness.

Required Text: Butcher et al. Abnormal Psychology 2AP3 (2nd Custom Edition for McMaster University). Pearson Canada. Recommended Text: Day, R.B. Psych 2AP3 Handbook. McMaster Custom Courseware.

Course Outline:

The table below shows the topics we will be covering, and the order in which we will be covering them. The dates when each topic will be discussed are approximate. Week of: Jan. 7 Jan. 14 Jan.. 14 Jan. 21 Jan. 28 Jan. 28 Feb. 4 * Feb. 11 Feb. 18 Feb. 25 Mar. 4 Mar. 11 * Mar. 18 Mar. 25 Mar. 25 Apr. 1 Apr. 8

Introduction to Abnormal Psychology Disorders First Diagnosed in Childhood and Adolescence: Autism; ADD/ADHD Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety; Phobias. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Break Week Somatoform & Dissociative Disorders: Conversion; Amnesia; Dissociative Identity Disorder Mood Disorders: Major Depression; Bipolar Disorders

Evaluation: There will be two in-class tests, worth 30% each, and a final exam worth 40%. Each in-class test will consist of approximately 40 multiple-choice questions. You will have the first 60 minutes of the class period to complete each test. The final exam will consist of 80 multiple-choice questions. You will have two hours for this test, which will take place during the end-of-term examination period. The tentative dates for the in-class tests are as follows (and are marked on the course outline with an asterisk next to the date). The actual dates – which depend on the availability of additional testing rooms – will be announced in class and posted on the online 2AP3 forum no less than two weeks before the actual date: In-class Test #1: Thursday, February 14th In-class Test #2: Thursday, March 21st IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET THIS INFORMATION.

Missed Work: If you miss one of the in-class tests for documented medical or compassionate reasons, you should complete a Missed Work form in the office of the Associate Dean (Studies) of your Faculty. Once your Associate Dean has accepted your reason for absence, the remaining in-class test and the final exam will be reweighted (40%, 60%, respectively) to cover the missed in-class test. Discretionary notes will generally not be accommodated. Note also that the online student absence form (MSAF) can only be used once per term, only for medical absences, and only for assignments worth less than 30%.

That means that an MSAF will not excuse you from either of the midterm tests in this course. Final Grade Calculation and Adjustment: The final mark in Psychology 2AP3 will be computed by applying the following formula to the percentage scores on Test1, Test2, and Final Exam: (Test1% x .30) – (Test2% x .30) – (Exam% x .40) = Final Course Mark Apart from excused absences from an in-class test, every student will be assessed using the weighting formula shown above – with one exception: In assigning final letter grades for the course I look at the pattern of performance over the two in-class tests and the final exam. If the overall average, as calculated by the formula above, is on the borderline of the next higher letter grade (e.g. 49%, 66%, or 84%) and if the marks on both the final exam and one in-class test are at the next higher level (e.g., D-, C+, A), then I will assign the next higher letter grade. Apart from this one final adjustment, final course grades in Psych 2AP3 are not raised unless they have been calculated incorrectly.

The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes. Academic Integrity and Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by

deception or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various kinds of a academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, specifically Appendix 3, located at


The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty: 1. Copying or using unauthorized aids on tests and examinations. 2. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained. 3. Improper collaboration in group work.

Grading in Psychology 2AP3
The Final Course Mark will be translated into a letter grade according to the following table of equivalence: % Score 90 – 100 85 – 89 80 – 84 77 – 79 73 – 76 Letter A+ A AB+ B % Score 70 – 72 67 – 69 63 – 66 60 – 62 57 – 59 Letter BC+ C CD+ % Score 53 – 56 50 – 52 0 – 49 Letter D DF

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