UNDER CONSTRUCTION FOR 2018-2019
Course listings on this site are currently being updated. Check back August 1, 2018 for the catalog of 2018-2019 IntroSems.
Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Learn to Intervene, Wisely
One of the most exciting transformations in the social sciences in recent years is the finding that brief psychological exercises can improve important outcomes for months and years—such as raising school achievement and reducing inequality, improving health, and reducing intergroup conflict. These interventions help individuals flourish and help our society live up to its ideals. They address critical psychological questions people have, like “Do people like me belong in this school?”, “Can I learn math?”, “Am I bad mom?”, and “Can groups in conflict change?”. In this seminar, we will learn about “psychologically wise” interventions; how they work; how they can cause lasting benefits; their intellectual lineage; how they can be used, adapted, and scaled to address contemporary problems; and challenges and mistakes that can arise in doing so. In addition to learning from classic and contemporary research, you will design your very own wise intervention and workshop others’ efforts. Working with a community partner, you will explore a problem your partner faces, identify a specific psychological process you think contributes to this problem, and design an intervention to address this process to improve outcomes, which your partner could implement and evaluate. You will share your approach in a final report with both your seminar-mates and your community partner.
When you have completed this seminar, you will more fully understand the psychological aspect of social problems and how this can be addressed through rigorous research.