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PreCollege Summer Immersion Program


Why do people think and act in the ways that they do? The Psychology of Human Motivation, Learning, and Development

This course attempts to answer the existential questions: Why do people think and act in the ways that they do? To answer that, we will explore the psychology of human motivation, learning, and development. As we do so, we will encounter important issues in evolutionary psychology, human motivation, identity, morality, health, critical thinking, scientific/mathematical thinking, and problem solving. This in turn will lead us into an exploration of important psychological/philosophical questions that we must answer in our own lives: What is the meaning of life? How can we find happiness? Why do we do what we do (even somethimes when we know we shouldn't)? How do we best learn new things?

In exploring these issues and questions we will study the works of important researchers such as Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, John Dewey, Howard Gardner, Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, B.F. Skinner, Mary Ainsworth, Charles Darwin, Maria Montessori, James Marcia, Lawrence Kohlber, Abraham Maslow, Urie Bronfenbrenner, and George Poyla. Their ideas present us with great starting points for understanding the human mind and human behavior.

In addition to reading and discussing these thinkers and their work, participants in this track will also conduct several observation-based studies of human behavior. The purpose of this course is to change the way students view themselves, and provide different lenses for viewing the world around them.