Syllabus and Learning Objectives

May 29, 2018

High school graduation is just around the corner. There’s one more class they need and it is not too late.

Your child is probably going to take a psychology class in college. Most do, these days.

You can let a professor at State U. introduce them to psychology. But that might be a problem.

Get ahead of the problem and introduce your high school student to psychology — from a Christian worldview perspective.

Year after year students rate Dr. Rice’s psychology class as one of their favorites. In the past, students could only take the class live, but now they can watch the lectures and supplemental videos, take tests, and complete assignments on their schedule.

Students will complete a CLEP-level introductory psychology class from a distinctly Christian perspective.

Register at

You can also register for my class with my friends at MyFunScience.

Learning Objectives
• Define and explain what the word “psychology” means.
• Discuss the importance of worldviews in defining psychology and describe how psychology’s definition has changed.
• Describe the controversy among Christians about psychology.
• Describe psychology’s influence in academia, the culture, and the Christian Church.
• Describe a Christian approach to the study of psychology.
• Describe psychology’s goals.
• Describe psychology’s subfields and careers.
• Describe modern psychology’s major approaches or schools of thought.
• Identify possible career alternatives in psychology.
• Describe areas of potential psychological research on topics of interest to Christians.
• Define “worldview.”
• Explain their worldview and explain how it intersects with modern psychology along the five worldview issues.
• Describe a Christian view of God and the nature of Mankind.
• Define and describe epistemology from a Christian perspective.
• Describe a Christian view of moral absolutes.
• Describe a Christian perspective of the causes for mental pain and suffering.
• Describe the history and influence of naturalism on psychology and other sciences.
• Describe the limitations of naturalistic descriptions of Mankind.
• Describe the history and influence of Darwinian evolution on psychology.
• Name several of the fathers of modern psychology who were atheists.
• Define Biblical anthropology.
• Define epistemology. Describe a Christian view of knowledge.
• Describe the “faith/Science dichotomy” and discuss a Christian view of science.
• Describe the phrase “All Truth is God’s Truth” as it relates to a Christian worldview.
• Describe general and natural rev. in relation to knowledge about the nature of Man.
• Describe empiricism and its limits.
• Describe the effect of sin on the study of psychology.
• Describe the role of sin in a Christian understanding of mental pain and suffering.
• Compare a Christian view of sin with moral relativism and humanism.
• Describe Cartesian Dualism.
• Describe the emergence of experimental psychology.
• Describe the study of psych pre-dating the establishment of modern scientific psych.
• Describe examples of ancient psychological research and theories.
• Describe the development of psychology as an empirical science.
• Describe phrenology.
• Trace the history of psychology through each of its five major schools-of-thought.
• Describe S. Freud’s worldview on the nature of Man and contrast his it with a Christian view.
• Describe Freudian/psychodynamic psychology.
• Describe behaviorism and radical behaviorism’s claims about the nature of Mankind and contrast behaviorism with a Christian view.
• Describe the structuralists.
• Explain the contribution of Dr. Charles Bell, Franz Gall, Gustave Fechner, Wilhelm Wundt, Edward
• Titchener to the development of modern psychology.
• Describe reductionism and its implications on the nature of Mankind.
• Describe the functionalists.
• Describe the influence of Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin, and William James on modern psychology.
• Summarize the theory of evolution as applied to human psychology.
• Describe behaviorism and contrast behaviorism and Freudian psychology at the level of the nature of Mankind.
• Describe humanism and contrast humanism’s beliefs about the nature of Man with a Christian view.
• Define self-esteem. Evaluate “selfism” in comparison to Biblical anthropology.
• Describe cognitive psychology.
• Describe neuro-biology
• Describe explanations for mental illness in terms of underlying worldview beliefs.
• Describe the structure and function of the neuron
• Recognize that specific functions are centered in specific lobes of the cerebral cortex
• Describe the organization of the nervous system
• Describe the CNS, PNS, and the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems
• Describe techniques for studying the brain
• Describe the function of the endocrine system and how the endocrine glands are linked to the nervous system
• Classify the major divisions and subdivisions of the nervous system
• Differentiate the functions of the various subdivisions of the nervous system
• Identify the structure and function of the major regions of the brain
• Describe lateralization of brain functions
• Describe the divisions of the brain
• Indentify and describe the cerebrum, cerebellum, and medula
• Describe how brain injury contributed to our understanding of brain function
• Describe how brain stimulation studies contribute to understanding of brain function
• Describe how imaging contributes to our understanding of brain function
• Describe lobotomy
• Define and contrast sensation and perception
• Define sensory threshold, just noticeable difference, and Weber’s Law
• Explain the concepts of sensory adaptation
• Describe the visual system
• Describe the auditory system
• Describe the olfactory system
• Describe the gustatory system
• Describe the cutaneous system
• Describe the kinesthetic system
• List forms of energy for which we have sensory receptors
• Explain Gestalt concepts such as figure-ground, continuity, similarity, and closure.
• Describe binocular and monocular depth cues
• Describe the influence of motivation, experience, and expectations on perception
• Explain what is meant by “attention”
• Explain extrasensory perception and paranormal psychology

• Describe a biblically-based understanding of the role of emotions in the lives of Christians
• Explain motivation, intrinsic motivation, and extrinsic motivation
• Explain human motivation from a evolutionary perspective
• Describe motivation in terms of needs, drives, and homeostasis
• Describe motivation in terms of arousal
• Explain Maslow’s hierarch of motivation
• Contrast Maslow’s concept of self-actualization with a Christian perspective of the self
• Describe lie detector tests
• Describe the experience of emotions
• Describe Sternberg triangle model of love
• Describe the James-Lange theory of emotions
• Describe the Cannon-Bard theory of emotions
• Explain cognitive theories of emotions
• Describe four situations in which motivations occur
• Describe the type A and hardy personalities
• Describe signs of stress
• Explain the general adaptation syndrome
• Define Learning
• Describe Classical Conditioning
• Describe Ivan Pavlov’s experiments
• Name and define the key components of classical conditioning
• Describe Operant Conditioning
• Describe Thorndike’s Law of Effect
• Describe B.F. Skinner’s experiments
• Define key terms from operant conditioning
• Describe reinforcement schedules
• Describe Cognitive theories of learning
• Describe latent learning
• Describe Social Learning theories
• Describe the three box model of human memory
• Describe factors that influence forming, storing, and retrieving memories
• Describe and use mnemonic techniques
• Describe the characteristics of the various developmental theories.
• Describe development theories in terms of the philosophies of Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Hall.
• Describe recapitulation theory.
• Define cognition and cognitive styles.
• Describe Piaget’s stages of cognitive development.
• Describe criticisms of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.
• Describe cross-section and longitudinal developments research.
• Describe Freudian psycho-sexual development.
• Discuss various definitions of human consciousness.
• Describe a Christian perspective of human consciousness.
• Describe various states of consciousness.
• States of Consciousness
• Describe sleep, REM sleep, stages of sleep, sleep deprivation, and disorders of sleep.
• Describe dreams and discuss the meaning of dreams from various worldview perspectives, including a
• Christian worldview.
• Describe hypnosis, its history, and worldview issues related to hypnosis.
• Discuss meditation from various worldview perspectives.
• Define psychoactive drugs and describe how they generally work.
• Describe tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal.
• Describe the four major categories of psychoactive drugs.
• Describe the effects of alcohol.
• Describe the effects of sedative-hypnotics.
• Describe the effects of stimulants.
• Describe the effects of opiates.
• Describe the effects of hallucinogens.
• Describe the effects of marijuana.
• Define cognition
• Define concepts including conjunctive concepts, disjunctive concepts, and relational concepts
• Describe cognitive maps
• Define schemas and cognitive scripts
• Identify personal cognitive style
• Identify effective decision-making and problem-solving techniques
• Identify barriers to problem-solving and decision-making
• Define language
• Describe the stages of language development
• Describe language development from the behavioral perspective
• Describe Noam Chomsky’s Nativist theory of language development
• Describe the interactionist theory of language development
• Describe the difficulties defining intelligence
• Describe mental age, chronological age, and intelligence quotient
• Describe Sternberg’s, Thurstone’s, and Gardner’s theories of intelligence
• In their own words, define personality.
• Describe the Holy Spirit’s supernatural influence on a believer’s personality.
• Describe personality traits.
• Describe Hippocrates’ four humors.
• Describe Sigmund Freud’s personality theory.
• Describe Sigmund Freud’s concept of defense mechanism and provide examples.
• Explain using worldviews why Freud’s personality theory is offensive to a Christian worldview.
• Describe Carl Jung’s worldview of religions.
• Describe Jung’s concept of archetypes and provide examples.
• Describe Alfred Adler’s concept of individual psychology.
• Describe Hans Eysenk’s conception of human temperaments.
• Describe the Big Five personality traits.
• Explain how personality psychologist use twin studies.
• Explain why humanistic psychology was known as psychology’s “third force.”
• Describe projective personality assessments.
• Describe “abnormal.” Describe difficulties differentiating normal from abnormal.
• Describe mental illness and explain worldview perspectives of the causes of mental illness.
• Describe historical perspectives of the causes of mental illness.
• Describe the DSM-IV classification system.
• Describe the classes of mental illness and key characteristics of major disorders.
• Describe some of the historical approaches to treating mental illness, including the worldview
• assumptions underlying the approach.
• Describe treatments for mental illness from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance.
• Describe treatments for mental illness in colonial America and the 17th and 18th century.
• Describe how attitudes toward the mentally ill changed in the 19th century.
• Describe the history of lobotomy and electroconvulsive therapy.
• Describe the discovery of thorazine and the pharmacological revolution.
• Describe the classification of psychiatric medications.
• Explain the phrase “chemical imbalance of the brain.
• Describe worldview issues underlying psychopharmacology.
• Describe the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill.
• Describe the unintended consequences of deinstitutionalization.
• Define therapy.
• Describe Freudian psychotherapy.
• Describe behavior therapy.
• Describe cognitive therapies.
• Describe humanistic therapy.
• Describe family therapy.
• Describe “spiritual” treatments.
• Describe Christian anti-psychology.
• Describe “integration.”
• Describe Biblical counseling.
• Describe popular psychology.
• Describe interpersonal communication.
• Describe the Shannon-Weaver model of communication.
• Describe feedback, non-verbal communication, and proxemics.
• Describe the characteristics of good listeners.
• Describe social influence, social comparison, and social norms.
• Describe attitudes, attitude formation, and attitude change.
• Describe interpersonal attraction.
• Describe group dynamics, group roles, and group norms, and group decision-making.
• Describe groupthink.
• Describe the Stanford Prison experiment.
• Describe the Asch conformity study.
• Describe Milgram’s obedience study.
• Describe Sherif’s Robbers Cave study.
• Describe conformity and obedience.
• Discuss stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.
• Describe the research strategies used by psychologists to explore human affect, behavior, and cognition.
• Describe the term scientific method.
• Describe and explain the elements of an experiment.
• Explain the importance of sampling and random assignment in psychological research.
• Explain and describe measures of central tendency and variability.
• Describe the concept of correlation and explain how it is used in psychology.
• Explain the purpose and basic concepts of descriptive and inferential statistics.
• Describe ethical issues in research with human and other animals that are important to psychologists.
• Describe and compare quantitative and qualitative research strategies.
• Think critically about research conclusions.

Psychol0gy Syllabus

Required text: Psychology: A Christian Perspective OR Homeschool Psych 2nd Ed. Christian Book Distributors, ROCK Solid, Rainbow Resource and other retailers carry the books or you can order a copy from at my website

Prerequisites: None, but the class is recommended for older students.

Course Description:

Students will accomplish two objectives.

Students will complete a CLEP Test level introductory psychology course. They will gain a basic knowledge of psychology’s subject matter and an appreciation for the wonder that is the human mind.

Second, students will recognize and understand how worldviews matter to psychology. They will be able to describe the worldview assumptions underlying modern psychology’s major theories and schools of thought and will be able to contrast those assumptions with your Christian worldview. Students will decide for themselves which worldview seems best when it comes to understanding human psychology.

Lectures and discussion emphasize worldviews, interesting experiments, and ways that psychology is applicable to your life. I do not lecture from the textbook (halleluiah!). Students are responsible to read learn all the material in the text, even if not covered in the lecture.

Attendance Policy: Students are strongly encouraged to attend live classes. Strongly.

Participation: Students should be active participants in the class discussion.

Class Conduct: The instructor reserves the right to amend this syllabus and to add a “Class Conduct” policy if students’ conduct makes it necessary for him to do so.


Study Guide: Students will complete 15 sets of study guide/review questions. Students should complete the study guide as they read the corresponding chapter(s) from the textbook. Each study guide is worth 10 points, for a total of 150 possible points. Study guides make up 10% of your total grade.

Chapter Quizzes: Students will take 15 question multiple choice quizzes. The quizzes are “open study guide,” meaning that students may use their completed study guide to help take the quizzes. Students may not use the textbook during the quiz. Each quiz is worth 100 points for a total of 1500 possible points. The quizzes make up 25% of your total grade

Discussion Board Posts: Students will participate in 10 discussion board discussion topics. For each of the 10 discussion topics, students will make at least one post and reply to at least one classmate’s post. Each discussion topic is worth 50 points for a total of 500 possible points. The discussion board posts make up 20% of your total grade.

  1. Describe reasons that psychology is controversial among Christians today. (Week 2)
  2. Think like an evolutionary psychologist. Pick a mental power or capacity. Something like bullying, religious belief, fear of snakes/heights/speaking in public, music, language or any human universal. What survival and reproductive advantage might it have provided? (Week 3)
  3. What do you think about extrasensory perception (ESP) and paranormal psychology? (Wk 5)
  4. Is it important for Christians to have high self esteem? Is it wrong from Christians to have high self-esteem? Week 6)
  5. Why do many Christian students walk away from their faith after the first year of college? (Week 7)
  6. What does it mean to love with all your heart, soul, and mind? (Week 9)
  7. How do you think that your thinking will change in 5, 10, and 20 years? (Week 10)
  8. Describe your personality on each of the “Big Five” factors of personality. (Week 11)
  9. How do worldviews impact thoughts about the causes of mental pain and suffering? (Wk 12)
  10. Which worldview provides the best framework for understanding human psychology? Why? (Week 14)

Final exam: Students will complete a 50 question final exam worth 100 points. Like the quizzes, the final exam is closed book but open study guide.The final exam accounts for 20% of your grade.

Academic Essays: Students will learn and demonstrate the ability to write academic/social science essays in the American Psychological Association (APA) style.

Students will write four essays. Each essay is worth 30 points. Essays make up 25% of your total grade. After getting instructor feedback, students may submit a 2nd drafts of their essay to make revisions to improve their score.

Each essay will be no less than 750 words and no more than 1,500 words (excluding references and title page).

Academic essays (also known as social science essays) persuade or explain by evidence. Academic essays do not value creativity or opinions. This type of writing is all about evidence. The way you provide evidence is by citing the writings of academics who came before you.

These essays are a chance for you to showcase that you can you read something accurately, understand it, and apply it to support a position.

Because you are supporting a position with evidence, essays should be carefully organized. Think middle school writing class. The best academic essays are organized very simply.

The introduction states your thesis, the position you’ve taken and then previews the main points supporting the position. The body of the paper is comprised of paragraphs that correspond perfectly with what you promise in the intro.

In the conclusion, you summarize, offer opinions, draw conclusions, etc.

Academic/social science essays are a specific genre with a set of norms, rules, and conventions. They follow the American Psychological Association (APA) style.

APA style suggests essays be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) with 1″ margins on all around. You should use a clear font that is highly readable. APA recommends using 12 pt. Times New Roman font.

To learn APA style, visit the Online Writing Lab at Perdue University (Perdue OWL) at

For each topic, students should select a position.

#1 It is ok for Christians to study psychology. OR It is not ok for Christians to study.

#2 Spanking works. OR Spanking doesn’t work.

#3 Gender dysphoria is a mental disorder. OR Gender dysphoria is not a mental disorder,

#4 Video games turn young people into mindless zombies with no attention spans. OR Video games are beneficial and do not turn young people into mindless zombies with no attention spans.

#5 Social media is psychologically neutral (or beneficial). OR Social media is psychologically detrimental.

#6 Christians should have high self-esteem. OR Christian should not have high self-esteem.

#7 Biblical Counseling is the only appropriate kind of counseling for Christians. OR Biblical Counseling is not the only appropriate kind of counseling for Christians.

#8 Christians are anti-science. OR Christian are not anti-science

#9 Personality is largely determined by genetics. You’re born that way. OR Personality is largely determined by the environment. You’re made that way.

#10 Homeschooled kids aren’t socialized. OR Homeschooled kids are socialized just fine, thank you.

#11 Students, with instructor permission, may select a topic for independent study.


During one of the early lectures, Dr. Rice takes the position that plagiarism can take two forms – intentional and unintentional. Intentional plagiarism is a form of lying, cheating, and stealing. Unintentional plagiarism bad too, but it is subtler. It occurs when students fail to thoroughly cite sources for each piece of an argument. Students commit unintentional plagiarism when they are rushed, careless, or perform incomplete research. Students will learn to properly cite sources to avoid unintended plagiarism.

Grading Scale

Grading Scale Total points / percent of total grade
Study Guide (10pts each) 10%
Quizzes (100pts ea.) 25%
Essays (4 @ 30 pts ea.) 25%
Discussion Board (10 @ 10pts ea.) 20%
Final Exam 20%
A (90 -100%)
B (80 – 89%)
C (70 – 79%)
D (60 – 69%)
F (59% or below)

Class Schedule

Week Topic
1 Introduction and overview.

What is psychology? Why is it important that we study psychology from a Christian perspective?

Essays and APA style

· Read Introduction and Chapters 1 from textbook.

· Read Christ, The Lord of Psychology (Eric Johnson) (posted in assignments)

· Read: The End of Christian Psychology ‎(‎Bobgan and Bobgan‎)‎ (posted in assignments)

· Reading: Students Abandoning the Faith, Why It Happens and What We Can Do by John Stonestreet and Chuck Edwards at

· Complete Study Guide #1

· Take Quiz #1

2 A Christian Worldview.

History of Psychology from Worldview Perspective

· Read Chapter 2

· Complete Study Guide Chapter 2

· Take Quiz #2

· Discussion Board Post #1 Why is psychology controversial among Christians today?

3 History of Psychology from Worldview Perspective (continued) · Read Chapter 3

· Complete Study Guide Chapter 3

· Quiz #3

· Discussion Board Post #2 Think Like an Evolutionist Must Think

4 The Brain and Nervous System · Read Chapter 4

· Read: The Human Nervous System: Evidence of Intelligent Design [Part I] by Brad Harrub, Ph.D at Apologetics Press

· Read Read: The Human Nervous System: Evidence of Intelligent Design [Part II] by Brad Harrub, Ph.D at Apologetics Press

· Read: The Split Brain Experiments at

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 4

· Quiz #4

· Essay #1 Due Next Friday.

5 Sensation and Perception · Read Chapter 5

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 5

· Quiz #5

· Discussion Board Post #3 ESP and Parapsychology

· Essay #1 Due This Friday.

6 Motivation and Emotion · Read Chapter 6

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 6.

· Quiz #6

· Discussion Board Post #4 Self-esteem?

7 Learning and Memory · Read Chapter 7

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 7

· Quiz #7

· Essay #2 Due Next Friday

8 Human Development · Read Chapter 8

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 8

· Quiz #8

· Essay #2 Due This Friday

9 Consciousness · Read Chapter 9

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 9

· Quiz #9

· Discussion Board Post #6 Heart, Soul, and Mind

10 Thinking, Language, and Intelligence · Read Chapter 10

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 10

· Quiz #10

· Discussion Board Post #7 Change of Thinking

· Essay #3 Due Next Friday

11 Personality · Read Chapter 11

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 11

· Quiz #11

· Discussion Board Post #8 Lots of Personality

· Essay #3 Due This Friday

12 Abnormal Psychology · Read Chapter 12

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 12

· Quiz #12

· Discussion Board Post #9 Mental Pain and Suffering

13 Treatment · Read Chapter 13

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 13

· Quiz #13

· Essay #4 Due Next Friday

14 Social Psychology · Read Chapter 14

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 14

· Quiz # 14

· Discussion Board Post #10 Which Worldview Best Fits?

· Essay #4 Due This Friday

15 Research Methods

Wrap up, conclusion, miscellaneous stuff

· Read Chapter 15

· Complete Study Guide questions for Chapter 15

· Quiz #15

· Final exam

· Final revisions of all essay due by the last day of the semester.

Categories: Psychology