Psyx 233 – Fundamentals of the Psychology of Aging Fall 2015 Course Information

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PSYX 233 – Fundamentals of the Psychology of Aging

Fall 2015

Course Information

Tuesday and Thursday 2:10 – 3:30

Social Sciences room 352

Instructor Information

Instructor: Anahata Neuman, B.A.

Phone: 831-334-2653


Office hours: Tuesday 11:00 – 12; Thursday 1:00 – 2:00, and by appointment

Office: Skaggs 209
“Like a morning dream, life becomes more and more bright the longer we live, and the reason of everything appears more clear. What has puzzled us before seems less mysterious and the crooked paths look straighter as we approach the end. "

- Jean Paul Richter 1763 - 1825 

Course Overview

This course is an introduction to adult development and aging. The course surveys fundamental issues of growth and decline relevant to the human lifespan. The course material is interdisciplinary: it examines biological, medical, psychological, social, cultural, and political aspects aging. Students are expected to think critically about the issues and actively participate in class discussion. The format of this course will rely upon both lecture and discussion in small groups.

Course Objectives

It is hoped that each student will:

  • gain a critical awareness of important theories about human development and the link between research and practice,

  • learn all the major physical, sensory, relational, personality and memory changes

  • learn basic elements of dementia, wisdom, death and dying

  • understand strengths and weaknesses of multi-directionality (growth and decline),

  • learn basic principles and processes in the later stages of human development, and

  • gain a critical awareness of historical and current social issues and the context in which developmental behavior occurs

Recommended Text

Cavanaugh, J.C., Blanchard-Fields (2006/2011/2015), Adult Development and Aging, 6th or 7th Edition,

ISBN-13: 978-04-95601746, Cengage Publishers.

The text is available at The Bookstore at the University of Montana. There will be copies of the text on reserve in the Mansfield Library.

Viewing material

Documentary films for essay/discussion will be shown in class.

Other materials

Lecture outlines, handouts, assignments, readings, and other materials are available on Moodle. Study guides and materials will also be available on the Moodle web site.

Required activities and assignments

There is engaging work to be done in this class. The class requires memorization, factual review, and analysis of ideas. Students are expected to attend lectures, read the text, read and review personal narratives (posted on Moodle or handed out in class), view instructional films (and write essays on them), and complete quizzes/exams. Students are strongly encouraged to form study groups.
Evaluations of student progress will be based on the following required activities:



Point value



Short reading responses (written)




In-class responses (written)




Film essay (Young at Heart)








Final Exam



Total possible points:


Essay questions for the films

The primary purpose of the short film essay is to confirm that you watched the film, and that you did some thoughtful analysis of the film. Your essay should be roughly 700 words (800 words maximum). Write efficiently: the film essay is to contain a film summary (stating an event at the beginning, middle, and end), a summary of a relevant research article, and a critical analysis.

Extra credit

Extra credit can be earned by completing an extra film essay (which can be turned in at any time but no later than Thursday of week 14), and in class attendance points. There is a limit to extra credit: no more than 30 extra credit points will be awarded.
Submissions on Moodle: Film and writing responses must be submitted in .pdf, .doc, or .docx format

(no odt files, please) on Moodle, with file names to be described in each assignment.

Evaluations and grades

All grading is criterion-based, which means that students are evaluated on objective criteria rather than on a curve; this means there is no need for competition and all students have the opportunity to get an A. The grading scale for this course is based on a 10-point system using plus/minus grades (94-100% is an A, 90-93% is an A-, 87-89% is a B+, etc.).

Opportunities will be given to make up low scores by retaking and resubmitting assignments and quizzes.

There will also be opportunities for extra credit points. Helpful class participation can be a tiebreaker in grading.

Course Guidelines

Academic Misconduct

You are expected to adhere to the University’s Student Conduct Code with regard to academic integrity. Academic misconduct in this course will result in an academic penalty commensurate with the offense as well as possible disciplinary action by the University.


Departmental and university policies regarding incompletes do not allow changing “incomplete” grades after one year has passed since the “I” was granted.

Pass/No Pass

For students taking this course P/NP, a P is a grade of A, B, or C. A NP is a grade of C-, D, or F.


You are welcome and honored here. If you need any assistance, please talk to Anahata.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Montana assures equal access to instruction through collaboration between students with disabilities, instructors, and Disability Services for Students. If you think you may have a disability adversely affecting your academic performance, and you have not already registered with Disability Services, please contact Disability Services in Lommasson Center 154 or call 406.243.2243. I will work with you and Disability Services to provide an appropriate modification.

This class is located in an academic honor zone

This class is a community of learners. You are asked to honor, respect, and facilitate the learning of all students. You should come to class prepared with the assigned readings completed. Please help class routines and procedures run smoothly. I expect that you will engage in activities that help others learn. This includes using constructive discussion and inquiry, sharing learning materials, assisting in research, cooperating and collaborating with others.
You are expected to do nothing to harm the educational experience of other students in the class. This expectation applies to appropriate behavior during class: arriving on time for class, avoiding unnecessary disruptions, etc. You should facilitate instruction, help other students voice their knowledge, help in the expression of ideas, and avoid the use of irrelevant or tangential questions. Do not come to class to sleep (you will be awakened and asked to leave). Do not come to class to text, email, nor to listen to your iPod or MP3 player. If you will be taking notes using your laptop, please only use the laptop for class notes and activities; we will periodically check the content of your screens. Collaborative and group learning is encouraged in this course. However, all work submitted in this course must be your own and produced exclusively for this course. Anahata assumes all students are familiar with the University of Montana’s policy on academic honesty and integrity .
This is a policy the class will strictly adhere to. Cheating on exams will result in failure and dismissal from the class. As in all University of Montana classes, plagiarism is prohibited. The ideas and writings of others are shared contributions to our knowledge; the use of others' work (ideas, quotations, paraphrases) must be properly cited and documented. If you have any questions about academic honesty issues as they pertain to this course, you should consult with Anahata before completing any course requirements.
Save and back up your work in this class! As with all University of Montana courses, you are responsible for archiving your papers, exams, and other materials in this course. It is expected that you will copy or back up all work. If material is misplaced, you must be able to reproduce it if requested. Disk crashes and/or lost materials do not excuse you from producing required work.
Anahata reserves the right to change the syllabus if necessary.

Tentative Course Schedule

Final EXAM Thursday December 17, 3:20 p.m. to 5:20 p.m
Thursday Dec. 3: last day to turn in extra credit film essay and rewrites*

*(note that these can be turned in at any prior time during the quarter)





Sept. 1

Course Overview

Sept. 3

Chapter 1

Intro and Research Methods

Sept. 8

In-class film (for essay)

Young At Heart

Sept. 10

Chapter 2


Sept. 15-17

Chapter 3

Physical Changes

Film Essay DUE

Sept. 22

Chapter 4

Lifespan and Functioning

Sept. 24

Chapters 1-4


Sept. 29- Oct 1

Chapter 5

Environment Interactions

Oct. 6-8

Chapter 6

Attention and Memory

Oct. 13-15

Chapter 7


Oct. 20-22

Chapter 8

Social Cognition

Oct. 27-29

Chapter 9


Nov. 3-5

Chapter 10


Nov. 10

Chapter 11


Nov. 12

Chapters 5-11



Nov. 17-19

Chapter 12

Work, leisure and retirement

Nov. 24

Chapter 13

Dying and Bereavement

Nov. 26



Dec. 1-3

Chapter 14

Successful (?) Aging

Dec. 8-10

Exam review/Catch-up

Dec. 17

Cumulative FINAL

3:20 p.m -5:20 p.m.


We have a great set of films for PSY 233 this semester. Some of the films can be rented from Netflix and/or watched online on PBS or HBO.

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