Western psychology, like Western culture in general, has an obsession with youth. Most of the theory and research in developmental psychology has been focused on ages 0 - 18. This focus on youth is understandable from a physical perspective: infancy and childhood are marked by rapid physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. But do humans really reach their peak in their twenties only to be followed by a slow, inevitable decline? There is a smaller base of theory and research on the continued growth and development past early adulthood into full maturity. While there is an inevitable physical decline, the capacity for wisdom generation, for compassion, for the ability to learn new things continues throughout life. This class will focus on these positive changes.
Human beings strive to connect with others. Sometimes this is an easy and natural process and other times connecting can seem almost impossible. What are the processes of connection? How can we reconnect when we have disconnected from others? We will explore concepts from biological and social sciences such as empathy, compassion, sympathy, and dominance. Equal parts science and self-exploration, we will use discussion, experiments, meditations, and journaling to objectively understand how to connect with others.
Numerous studies have identified "lack of communication" as one of the main reasons relationships fail. Experts say that engaged listening and effective expression are the best ways to interact with others, but most of us have no idea how to do this. In this class we will learn powerful techniques for both listening and communicating that can be used even in the most challenging situations. We will explore ways to control our own stress and reactivity when communicating with others. We will learn to bridge even the most difficult and long-standing divides between friends, families, and colleagues. As a result, we will develop better connections with others, generate new trust and respect, initiate effective problem solving, and increase our overall social and emotional health.
In this lecture, we will explore what is knowable from psychology, and what is beyond the realm of science as we struggle to grasp the concept of love in its many forms. We will explore the biological, social, and existential/spiritual motivations for love, as well as the components of love—passion, intimacy, and commitment.
This course will bring together the Arts and Psychology—an exuberantly illuminating and catalyzing pair—in order to create a portal into understanding the conundrums of human behavior. Each class will combine current psychological and neurological theory with the visual and literary arts. Ultimately, group discussions and experiential opportunities will open a space for better understanding the dynamics of our relationships with others and with ourselves. Ultimately, Psych-Arts is designed to provide safe passage—sometimes quiet, sometimes boisterous—to better understand the complexities of our lives, individually and collectively, through combinations that compliment and oppose; distill and topple; shore up and expand.
How much do genes affect our development? How does gender identity and sexual orientation develop? How does children’s thinking evolve through childhood, and why are adolescents so out of sorts? What are the stages of adult development, and how do we adjust to new stages in our lives? Studies of the human brain are teaching us more than ever about how we develop over the course of a lifetime, addressing questions like these and much more. In this class we will explore issues in the psychology of lifespan development— considering what science is discovering and presenting current theories— including viewing some fascinating videos that really make this topic come alive.