Hampshire's cross-disciplinary approach to psychology offers a range of viewpoints from which to consider human behavior, emotion, and thinking.
Courses span clinical, cognitive, critical, cultural, developmental, political, and psychoanalytic psychology; cognitive and affective neuroscience; and the psychology of language, music, and perception. Students are encouraged to explore psychology from multiple perspectives, since integrating a range of approaches will lead to richer investigations and the construction of new questions.
Courses in psychology employ a variety of methods. Some use ethnographic and other interpretive/participatory research methods to explore psychology in relation to society, culture, and subjective constructions of human experience. Others focus on observational and experimental research approaches, introducing students to a range of methodologies for exploring attention, language, memory, neuroscience, emotion, social cognition, and music perception while providing opportunities for students to become involved in the research process. Students are encouraged to formulate critical questions about the field of psychology itself and to evaluate how we come to understand psychological processes.
Students at Hampshire are encouraged to extend their knowledge of psychology to other disciplines. While some students go on to pursue graduate study in clinical, developmental, or cognitive psychology; psychoanalysis; neuropsychology; or social work, others use psychological perspectives to inform their work in literature, the arts, and other fields.
Culture, Brain, and Development: Developmental Psychopathology
Why is autism, a disorder with known biological correlates, suddenly so prevalent? Is it something in our culture? Our environment? Our genetics? This course examines developmental psychopathologies such as ADHD, conduct disorder, Tourette's syndrome, and others from multiple perspectives. We examine the role of culture, experience, and the brain in the development of these disorders using psychological and neuroscientific perspectives. Students do not need to have any specific background but should be willing to read scientific articles and be open to understanding not only the role of culture and society in development but the biological underpinnings as well. Students are expected to read primary research, write several short papers, as well as complete a course-long project that is presented to the class.
Psychology concentrators at Hampshire have the opportunity to participate in several interdisciplinary programs that greatly expand upon the traditional confines of the discipline by framing psychology in the context of a broader study.
Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) Program
For students interested in the intersections between cognitive and cultural understandings of psychological development, the Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) Program provides a great resource. Funded by a grant from the Foundation for Psychocultural Research, CBD is designed to sharpen our understanding of human behavior and human development by moving away from the traditional debate about nature versus nurture and re-conceptualizing biology and culture in a radical way.
Psychology and Children
Students interested in the psychology of children may be drawn to Hampshire's Critical Studies in Childhood, Youth, and Learning (CYL) Program. CYL works with the Hampshire College Early Learning Center and schools and organizations in the surrounding community to provide opportunities for critical thinking and observation about child development and education in a broader real-world context. The Child Development Research Laboratory in Adele Simmons Hall can be used for a variety of studies designed to examine children's behavior and social interactions.
Event-Related Potential (ERP) Lab
Hampshire's own Event-Related Potential (ERP) Lab allows psychology, neuropsychology, and CBD students to design and run their own unique experiments, often with substantial funding.