Psychology 309 Special Topics:

CyberPsychology: Psychology in the Age of Computers

Spring 1999, TuTh 2:00pm- 3:15pm, CSS 1410


In this course we will explore psychological processes and issues as they are changing and emerging in the brave new world of computers and the Internet.

For years futurists have talked about the radical changes that would occur in the age of computers. They said that we would think and behave differently; our educational systems would be revolutionized; our jobs would be computerized; and our social networks and institutions would be electronic.

Indeed today we are experiencing rapid changes in technology and the retooling of schools, offices, factories, and homes to include or center around personal and not-so-personal computers. Projections in industry are that this is only the beginning.

In this class we will look at the full range of topics normally covered in an introductory course in psychology--but which need to be rewritten in the age of computers. What are the new problems in sensory and perception as they relate to computer screens and virtual environments? How have demands on human learning and memory changed and how can we use the computer to help? What is the impact of email and on-line communities on social processes? How is the human mind coping with new sources of stress in the automated environment? Is CyberTherapy possible?

The course will include lectures, class discussion, and short field trips. Class sessions will be held in the aITs Teaching Theater, a state-of-the-art electronic classroom. All assignments, readings, and exams will be on the Web.

Grades will be based on a midterm (25%), a final exam (25%), individual projects, participation, and homework (25%) and a collaborative class project (25%).