Psychology 2016-2017: The Will To Be Free

Psychology Instructor: Nozomi Hayase, Ph.D.

Trimester 2, 2016-17

“But where was I to start? The world is so vast, I shall start with the country I know best, my own. But my country is so very large. I had better start with my town. But my town, too, is large. I had best start with my street. No: my home. No: my family. Never mind, I shall start with myself” – Elie Wiesel, Souls on Fire1


A. Course Description

In this course, we will explore the ideas of influential thinkers in psychology that have shaped current narratives of who we are as humans. We will not only ask, how do these psychologists view our humanity, but also engage in dialogue and expand those views with our own. A major emphasis of class discussions will center on the forces that guide us internally. What drives us? Is our destiny solely predetermined by biology, nationality, family or the culture that we are born into? Is there such a thing as freedom?

The Film “The Matrix” is used to understand the question of freedom in contemporary culture. At the end of the course, the students will be asked to come to their own understanding of our human nature and the role each individual can play in shaping the future of humanity.

B. Course Objectives – The students will be able to:

  • Gain a grasp of the history of modern psychology and dominant theories that influence narratives of our culture.

  • Define and discuss core ideas of Behaviorism, Psychoanalysis, Humanistic Psychology, Analytical Psychology, Social Psychology, Gestalt Psychology, Cognitive Psychology and Psychopathology.

  • Develop awareness of internal forces that guide our actions and cultivate a conscious relationship with them.

C. Course Curriculum – Themes we will explore:

Click the heading to go to each page.

A brief overview and history of psychology (psychology’s roots in philosophy and its transformation into a science –the study of behavior and mental processes). Explore the friction within psychology between on the one side, maintaining a continuity of species (between animals and humans), and on the other reaching toward an understanding of the higher mental life.

Key concepts and figures – behavioral science (Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner) and psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud)

Explore internal impulses that guide our actions (from instinctual and physiologically based needs to social and psychological ones and also higher aspirations). Comparisons are made between guiding principles of behaviorism and humanistic psychology (notion of determinism vs. free will and value-free objectivity vs. subjective choice).

Key concepts and figures – Humanistic psychology; Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and theory of self-actualization and Carl Rogers’ emphasis on individuality and client-centered therapy

We will work on two essays; chapters from “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” by B. F. Skinner and “On Becoming a Person” by Carl Rogers

Explore the ways that internal drives are regulated and guided.

Key concepts and figures – Freud’s personality model (id, ego and superego, pleasure principle and reality principle) and Carl Jung’s analytical psychology (structure of psyche, individuation process and persona)

Explore the laws that process sensory information and create perceptions as well as primary emotions that are commonly shared as species. We will also look at the role culture plays in influencing these universal principles.

Key concepts and figures – Gestalt psychology and cultural theory of cognition/primal emotions and cultural theory of emotions

Explore a relationship between consciousness and unconscious and the function of the unconscious to maintain one’s self identity

Key concepts and figures – Analytical psychology and Jung

Explore the effect of authority upon our decision making; what is legitimate authority and when does it become a force of control? We will also examine the use of deception and manipulation to create transfer of authority and the particular psychological configuration understood as psychopathy that works within the logic of domination and control.

Key concepts and figures – Social psychology (The Milgram Experiment, autonomous self and agentic state) and psychopathology (Hervey M. Cleckley and Robert D. Hare)

Look at the concept of psychopathy from the point of ‘zero degrees of empathy’ and examine how this absence of empathy teaches us about the capacity for empathy.

Key concepts and figures – The science of evil (Simon Baron-Cohen), Grandiose structure of self (J. Reid Meloy) and Friedrich Nietzsche’s idea of Übermensch (or Superman)

Look at empathy as part of innate capacity and how encounters with those who have the condition of zero empathy engages us with the question of freedom.

Key concepts–Psychopathy

Explore the trend toward transhumanism (the idea of melding man with machines) and critically examine its effect on the future of humanity so to actively participate in envisioning who we are and what we want to become.

Key concepts and figures – Singularity (takeover of Artificial Intelligence), cybergenetics, nanotechnology, Kaku Michio and Nick Bostrom

Some changes may occur based on instructor’s discretion and student needs.

D. Course Expectations:

  1. Prior to class, please review the required readings to be ready for discussion.
  2. Participation in class discussion. This will be assessed in terms of attentiveness and/or engagement with key questions.
  3. You are expected to keep a journal to reflect on some aspects of the discussions and thoughts that emerge. (see Journal Guideline)

E. Grades: Your grade will be based on the following.

Class participation (exercise, discussion and presentation) 50 %
Homework 25 %
Journal 25 %

If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to contact me to make up what you missed to earn participation for that day. All work needs to be handed in on each class and late work will lose 5% for each week late.

F. Journal Guideline

Throughout this course, you are expected to keep a journal. Write at least one full paragraph in length after each class.

Enter the date and the title for the course provided. Ex. Journal 1, December 2, 2016 with the title Introduction to Psychology.

Your journal entry should reflect your internal process engaging with the key questions raised in each class; what you learned, confused or became clear and gain new insights about yourself and others.

Journal entry will be due at the beginning of the class each week. Late work will lose 5 % for each week late, unless extension is arranged in advance or there is a valid reason.

Your journal will be collected at the end of the course.

G. Required Reading

Selected chapters will be given out and a film will be shown in the class.

Hunt, M. (1993). The story of psychology. New York, NY. DOUBLEDAY.
Rogers, R. C. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Skinner, B. F. (1971). Beyond freedom and dignity. New York: Knopf.
Wachowski, A. (Writer/Director), & Wachowski, L. (Writer/Director). (1999). The Matrix. [Motion Picture]. United States: Warner Brothers.

H. Suggested Reading

1). Introduction to Psychology

Skinner, B. F. (1948). Walden two. New York: Macmillan.
Watson, J.B. (1913). “Psychology As the Behaviorist Views It.” Psychol. Rev., 20:158-177.

2). What Drives Us?

Bugental, J. (1965). The search for authenticity. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Freud, S. (1920). Beyond the pleasure principle. London: International Psycho-Analytical Press.
Freud, S. (1961). Civilization and its discontents. (J. Strachey, Trans.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being. New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.
Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row.

3). Construction of Personality

Hopcke, R. H. (1995). Persona: Where sacred meets profane. MA: Shambhala.
Jacobi, J. (1967). The psychology of C. G. Jung: An introduction with illustrations. (R. Manheim, Trans.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. (Original work published 1942)
Jung, C. G. (1989). Memories, dreams, reflections. (A. Jaffe, Ed.) (R. Winston, C. Winston, Trans.) (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: Vintage Books. (Original work published 1961).

4). Cognition and Emotion

Evans, D. (2001). Emotion: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jones, J. (1995). Affects as process: An inquiry into the centrality of affect in psychological life. M. NJ: The Analytic Press.
Kitayama, S., &. Markus, H. R. (Eds.). (1994). Emotions and culture: Empirical studies of mutual influence. Washington. DC: American Psychological Association.
Nisbett, R. E. (2003). The geography of thought: How Asians and Westerners think differently … and why. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

5). Shadow and Projection

Storr, A. (1983). The essential Jung. New York, NY: MJF Books.
von Franz, M. (1980). Projection and re-collection in Jungian psychology: Reflections of the soul. (W. H. Kennedy, Trans.). Illinois: Open Court. (Original work published 1978)

6). The Role of Authority

Kelman H.C., &. Hamilton, V.E. (1989). Crimes of obedience: Toward a social psychology of authority and responsibility. New York: Yale University.
Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

7). Empathy Erosion

Babiak, P., & Hare, R. D. (2006). Snakes in suit: When psychopaths go to work. New York, NY: Collins Business.
Baron-Cohen, S. (2011). The science of evil: On empathy and the origins of cruelty. New York: Basic Books.
Becker, S. (2015). The inner world of the psychopath: A definitive primer on the psychopathic personality. CA: Steve Becker LCSW.
Cleckley, H. M. (1941). The mask of sanity: An attempt to reinterpret the so-called psychopathic personality. St. Louis: The C. V. Mosby Company.
Hare, R. D. (1993). Without conscience: The disturbing world of the psychopaths among us. New York: The Guilford Press.

8). The Question of Freedom

Loye, D. (2000). Darwin’s lost theory of love: Healing vision for the new century. Lincoln, NE: toExcel.
Meloy, J. R. (Ed.). (2001). The mark of Cain: Psychoanalytic insight and the psychopath. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.
Olson, G. (2013). Empathy imperiled: Capitalism, culture and the brain. New York: Springer.

9). Conclusion: Who Are We?

Fromm, E. (1956). The art of loving. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
Fukuyama, F. (2002). Our posthuman future: Consequences of the biotechnology revolution. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Kurzweil, R. (1999). The age of spiritual machines: When computers exceed human intelligence. New York, NY: Viking.
Nietzsche, F, W. (1920). The antichrist. (H. L. Mencken, Trans.). New York, NY: Alfred, A. Knopf.

1. Wiesel, E. (1973). Souls on fire: Potraits and legends of hasidic masters. New York: Random House.