In Spring 2020, I took Introduction to Psychology with Dr. Riggs-Gutierrez.
This course was an overview of the principles of psychology, mental processes, behavior, psychological research methods, theories, and more. We applied the scientific method to a psychological context and were able to relate the findings of major psychological breakthroughs to the contemporary world. Also, the course explored the role psychology plays in society, culture, and ethics.
Unfortunately, my experience in this course was not typical due to COVID-19. However, my favorite unit was Psychological Disorders. Personally, I enjoy murder mystery and crime TV shows. Typically, the murderers have some sort of disorder or mental issue caused by traumas in their lives. I always found their motives fascinating, but I had never taken a psychology course to completely understand the science behind their conditions. In the chapter, there was a broad overview on the spectrum of these disorders, from anxiety to schizophrenia. It gave me more insight on what causes these disorders than what I knew previously. Also, it clarified misconceptions that sometimes come across in TV shows. Overall, this course kept me curious. Because I had never formally studied psychology, I was intrigued by each chapter’s subject. Since I typically take courses in the natural sciences, it was refreshing to get an introduction to a social science that I had always had a curiosity for. It was a really engaging course.
Each student had to write a research paper on a topic in psychology, which included annotated references and a rough draft. I chose to research the psychology behind climate change denial. As an Integrated Environmental Science major, this topic is compelling because I see climate change mostly from a scientific perspective in my major. In writing this paper, I was able to identify key psychological phenomena that causes climate change denial. Climate change denial is not always due to ignorance, but deeply rooted psychological responses. This assignment made me realize that climate change denial is not simple, and it broadened my perspective on this environmental issue.