PSYC 3461: Psychology of Adulthood and Aging

Students are provided an accurate overview of the psychological changes that people experience as they grow older. This includes identifying specific types of psychological changes and examining the dynamic forces that underlie and produce change. Topics include research techniques, theoretical approaches, memory, intelligence, personality, social forces and psychopathology. The course surveys the adult lifespan: young and middle adulthood and old age.

Learning outcomes

The overall aim of this course is to introduce you to the psychology of adulthood and aging. By the end of the course, you will have learned about the adult development of such important human abilities as memory, learning, and intelligence; how to relate these developments to societal conditions and expectations; and how to begin to appreciate the differences between normal and pathological change during mature life.

After successfully completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the major models of human development.
  • Evaluate the experimental techniques commonly used to study age-associated changes in human function.
  • Discuss the adequacy of theories of biological aging and evaluate the relationship between biological and psychological theories by connecting the course material to the real life experience of growing old.
  • Describe the types of changes that occur during adulthood in the human cognitive system, including memory, intelligence, and learning skills.
  • Discuss the major life events and social processes that contribute to age-associated changes in psychological function.
  • Explain possible personality changes in the older adult.
  • Discuss the meaning of death and dying from several perspectives, including those of the individual, the family, and the health professional.
  • Discuss ageism in society, namely, the stereotype that growing old is primarily a time of decline.
  • Obtain and evaluate original research material in the area of adulthood and aging.

Course topics

Module 1: Foundations of Change

Module 2: The Aging Adult and the Environment

Module 3: Individual Differences: Personality, Stress, and Health

Module 4: Meaning, Death, and Successful Aging

Required text and materials

Students require the following e-textbook, which can be purchased directly from the TRU bookstore site at: https://thebookstore.tru.ca/site_digital.asp

  1. Bjorklund, B., (2020). Revel for Journey of Adulthood -- Access Card. (9th ed.). Pearson: Hoboken, NJ.
    Type: E-Textbook. ISBN-13: 9780134792897

Assessments

Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1: Foundations of Change in Adults 10%
Assignment 2: Adults and the Environment 10%
Assignment 3: Personality, Stress, & Health 10%
Assignment 4: Meaning, Death, & Successful Aging 12%
Reflection Questions 8%
Final Exam (Mandatory) 50%

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty member is available to assist students. Primary communication is by phone if taking the print version of the course and through the Learning Environment’s “Mail” tool if taking the web version. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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