Abnormal Psychology Syllabus


Summer, 2014

Professor: Dr. Travis Langley langlet@hsu.edu

Office: McBrien Hall Room 301-F

Required textbook: DSM-5, by the American Psychiatric Association.


This course is designed to provide an overview of how the science of behavior looks at abnormal behavior. The course will emphasize the etiology and diagnosis of mental disorders, according to DSM classification and empirical study.


UNIT 1 EXAM: July 8

Disorder categories: anxiety, OCD & related, trauma & stressor-related, sleep-wake

Other topics: history, research, neuroscience, behaviorism.

UNIT 2 EXAM: July 14
Disorder categories: dissociative, depressive, bipolar, schizophrenia spectrum
Other topics: Freud, defense mechanisms.

UNIT 3 EXAM: July 21
Disorder categories: somatic, personality, sexual dysfunctions, paraphilic

Disorder categories: disruptive behavior/conduct, neurodevelopmental, substance/addictive, feeding/eating, elimination, neurocognitive

FINAL EXAM: July 31.

Refer to official schedule for last day to drop with grade of W. After that date, the professor will NOT assign you a grade of WP if you are failing.

INTERNET WEEK (July 22-29)

For roughly one week, class will be held over the Internet. Each weekday you will be given Internet-based study assignments to be completed with specific deadlines, for which you will receive a grade. If computer difficulties keep you from getting it done on time, well, that means you should have done it earlier. Do not tell me why you failed to do an assignment; you just didn’t get it done and can’t make it up.

Your total points for these Internet assignments will be weighed at the end of the semester to make them equal in value to one test. Assignments MUST be received by their stated deadlines or you will get negative credit. That negative credit will hurt more than most students realize, so do them. They’re easy assignments.


Each unit will conclude with a 40‑item multiple choice exam covering lecture notes, assigned readings, and class discussion. Bring number 2 pencils and Scantron answer sheets for every test. If you have trouble making complete erasures, simply ask the professor for a clean answer sheet. Any answer marked wrong due to an incomplete erasure is simply wrong. Carefully follow all instructions when taking the test and when turning it in.

The final will NOT be entirely multiple choice. In addition to multiple choice questions, you will read descriptions of 5 people with mental problems, diagnose each of them, and explain why you chose that diagnosis as opposed to other disorders that might have been suggested by some of their symptoms. (Please note: This and anything else herein is subject to change, correction, or other revision.)

There will be NO makeup tests, so don’t even ask unless you’ve missed two tests and can prove you had great reasons for both excused absences. As long as you do not miss any tests, your lowest test will be dropped, unless it is the final exam. If you do miss a regular test but have an excused absence, the missing test will be the one that gets dropped. Don’t miss the final; you can’t drop it. The final will weigh the same as two tests in figuring your grade, which means it’s one third of your overall grade.


Test questions range in difficulty to get an accurate idea of exactly how much you know and understand about the course material. They provide a very accurate indication of how much each person does and does not know compared to everybody else in the class. I do not feel it is right to establish a curve based on the highest grade in the class, in which case only one score would determine everyone’s grade. The scale on the 40‑point tests (although bonus credit makes them worth more than 40) is simply this:

F <‑‑ 20.0 D 20.1 ‑ 25.0 C 25.1 ‑ 30.0 B 30.1 ‑ 35.0 A 35.1 ‑‑>

The professor also reserves the right to subtract any number of points from the grade of someone who disrupts class (which includes monopolizing discussion or talking over the professor), or to assign a course grade of F to someone caught cheating. Anyone caught cheating will also be referred for University disciplinary measures.

Keep track of your own grades (numerical values, not just the letter grades). If you are not in class on the day when a test is returned graded, you can learn the score on that test when the next test is returned graded.

Writing Across the Curriculum: The last question on every test except the final will be “What else did you learn from the current course material that was not otherwise covered by this test?” For that question, you will need to explain concepts in complete sentences, making certain that you are not simply copying the wording as it appears in the book. Convince me you understand.

There can be other essay questions to assess your understanding of material. The next to last question on each test other than the final will be a diagnostic question like those you will see on the final. Because I want to make sure you’re prepared for the final when the time comes, YOU MUST ANSWER EACH TEST’S DIAGNOSTIC QUESTION or you’ll get negative credit for it (-3, not just a zero).


The #1 correlate with poor grades in any class is absenteeism. Poor attendance, therefore, punishes itself. Anyone who does not attend class at all during the first week will be dropped (because apparently they’re not really taking the class). The professor reserves the right to drop anyone for profound absenteeism. If you aren’t here when roll is taken, the reason does not matter. Do not tell me that you’re going to miss class or why you missed after the fact. If you miss class, you are responsible for getting copies of the notes from fellow students.

Class participation, however, will be more likely to help your grade than signing a roll sheet.

Because doing Internet assignments counts as Internet day attendance, missing an assignment counts as missing class. People who miss three assignments could be dropped from the class without notice.


If your phone rings or vibrates loudly enough for your professor to hear it during class, every ring is a classroom disruption and can cost you points. If it rings once, make sure it does not ring a second time.

Do not text during class because that is distracting to others. If you need to be on your phone that badly, then you need to be somewhere else.

Your phone and other electronic devices must be OFF and OUT OF SIGHT during tests. You are responsible for making sure you cannot even see your phone during the test. If your phone, iPod, or anything else that could contain notes is visible, that will be treated as cheating because too many students use their phones to cheat. I do not have to confirm what was on your phone or related item.

Don’t use computers to take classroom notes. Sorry, but too many professors have run into problems with people distracting other students by sitting there surfing the Internet.


The best way to contact your professor is via email at langlet@hsu.edu.

If you do not normally use your reddies.hsu.edu email address, you MUST set it up to forward messages to you because if I have to email a message to the class, that’s where the system will send it. You are responsible for making certain you are set up to receive messages from your professor.

Students with disabilities: Individuals who may need academic accommodation based on the impact of a documentable disability (e.g.: sensory, learning, psychological, medical, mobility) should contact the Disability Resource Center for assistance (870-230-5475). For more information, visit the DRC website at www.hsu.edu/disability.

The schedule and other details in this syllabus may be subject to revision.

Henderson State University, The School with a Heart ,” offers quality undergraduate and graduate education to a diverse student body. As Arkansas’s public liberal arts university, we empower each student to excel in a complex and changing world.

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