Dr. Irene Hanson Frieze                                                            Class Meets:  4125 Sennott Square

Professor of Psychology                                                           Tuesdays & Thursdays.  9:30-10:45am

Office:  3329 Sennott Square (624-4336)                                 E-Mail:  FRIEZE@pitt.edu                  

Office hours: Thursday 11am-noon and by appointment URL:   http://www.pitt.edu/~frieze/


Fall 2005 : PSYCHOLOGY 1112-W [21327]



Course Description.

This upper level course presents a social-psychological research orientation toward the study of human sexual behavior, with a major emphasis on the impact of underlying values and attitudes.  A second theme is the interaction of social and biological factors in determining sexual behavior.  Topics that will be addressed include sex hormones and sexual arousal, sexual orientation, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy and childbirth.  Other topics include contraception, love and attraction, sexually transmitted diseases and coercive sexual behavior.


Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

·        Be aware of the variety of beliefs people hold about sexual issues and how these beliefs affect people’s behaviors and their reactions to the behaviors of others.

·        Critically evaluate reported research findings relating to human sexual behavior and attitudes.

·        Realize that any conclusions of sexuality research depend upon knowledge of the underlying methodology and sample.

·        Write a research proposal and the results of this research project after data are collected and analyzed in professional APA style.



·        Completion of the General Writing requirement.

·        Understanding of APA style writing (generally through completing Research Methods in Psychology).

·        Understanding of basic statistics (generally through completing at least one course in Statistics).

·        Completion of at least four previous courses in Psychology before taking this course.

·        This upper level psychology course fulfills Psychology elective requirements. It is also one of the courses meeting requirements for a Certificate in Women's Studies.

·        This course meets CAS “W” requirements.  Psychology 1110 is a very similar course that does not fulfill writing requirements.


Required Textbook:

Carroll, J. L.  (2005).   Sexuality now:  Embracing diversity.  Belmont, CA:  Thompson Wadsworth.

Optional Book:

Pyrczak, F. & Bruce, R. R.  Writing empirical research reports.  (Fifth Edition).  Glendale, CA:  Pyrczak Publishing.

Optional Readings:   Optional readings are available from Dr. Frieze.  See listing on Courseweb.


CourseInfo:  To access, use http://courseweb.pitt.edu/ from a Pitt account. 


Methods of Evaluation:  [1000 possible points].

·        Exams:  Two in-class exams (250 points each = 500 points total).  Exams will be partially multiple choice and partially essay. A list of possible essay questions will be available before the exam. Previous exams are available on Course Info.  Students are encouraged to study together in learning material for the exams.

·        Class Participation: Attendance and participation in class discussion.  100 points.

·        Research Project:  A two-part paper (proposal and final paper) and research project is worth 400 total points.  [See the end of the syllabus for further information].


Other Grading Policies:

·        When judged necessary by the student (for any reason), any exam or paper can be done late. However, make-up examinations are entirely essays and will generally be more difficult than the regularly scheduled exam.  Late papers will be given one half-grade lower than they would have ordinarily received for each week they are late.  Late papers or final examinations may result in a temporary "G" grade.

·        For people who wish to improve upon their exam or paper grades, EXTRA CREDIT  projects can be done.  A list of extra credit topics will be available after the first exam.  Other topics are possible, but they must be approved in advance.



Lecture Topic/Due Dates

August 30 - September 6

Introduction and History of sexual attitudes

September 6 - 13

Surveys of United States sexual behavior and attitudes

September 13 - 20

Pornography and sexual images

September 15 – 27

Discussion of Class survey project

September 20 – 29

 Sex hormones and behavior

October 4 - 11

Pregnancy and birth

October 6

 First Paper due in class 

October 11 - 20

 Birth control and abortion

October 20

Discussion of research project and student papers. 

October 20

Review for exam

October 25

First exam

October 27 – November 3

Attraction, attractiveness, and love

November 3

Revisions of First Paper Due in Class

November 8

Completed surveys, scantron sheets, and response information due

November 3 - 10

Theories of sexual orientation and homosexuality

November 17

Discussion of class survey data and final paper

November 10 - 17

Sexually transmitted diseases

November 22 – December 1

Atypical sexual behavior

December 1 - 8

Sexual coercion and victims of sex crimes

December 6

Second paper due in class

December 8

Extra credit due

December 14

Final Exam – 8 to 9:30am.  Regular classroom.




Lecture/Discussion Topics


August 30.  Overview of the course.  Discussion of basic terms.  Interpreting psychological data.


August 30 - September 6.  Social regulation of sexual behavior.  Sexual assumptions implicit in major world religions.  History of sexual attitudes in western culture.  Influences of Freud, the Human Potential Movement, Gay Liberation and Feminism.


Reading:  Chapter 1.  (pp. 4; 7-8; 11-14; 16-24)

Chapter 2.  (pp. 29-32; 33; 34-35)



September 6 – 13.  The Sexual Revolution.  Surveys of sexual behavior in the United States.  Current sexual behavior and attitudes in the U.S.


Reading:   Chapter 2 (pp. 36-40; 43-45; 49-50)

     Chapter 8.  (pp. 220-226).

     Chapter 9.  (pp. 245-248; 258-260).


September 13 – 20.  Pornography and sexual images.


            Reading:  Chapter 18.  (pp. 560-578).


September 15 – 27.  Discussion of class survey project


Reading:  Chapter 2.  (pp. 50-57).

Optional book.



September 20 – 29.  Hormones and sexuality.  Male and female hormone cycles.


Reading:  Chapter 4.  (pp. 101-112).  Not tested on anatomy.

     Chapter 5.  (pp. 122-139; 140-141).  Not tested on anatomy.

     Chapter 8.  (pp. 216-220)


October 4 – 11.  Pregnancy and birth.  Infertility.


Reading: Chapter 12.  (pp. 350-370; 373-374; 378-380). 



October 6:  First paper due in class.




October 11 – 20.  Birth control.  Abortion.

Reading: Chapter 5.  (pp. 141).

     Chapter 8.  (pp. 227-231).

     Chapter 13.  (pp. 384-415; 418-423)


October 20.  Discussion of papers and research project. 


October 25.  First exam  [Review of Study Questions on October 20].


October 27 - November 3. Who is attractive?  Who is an ideal marriage partner?  Defining love.


Reading:  Chapter 7.  (pp. 176-183; 184-185; 187-190)


November 3. Revisions of First Paper Due in Class


November 8. Completed surveys, scantron sheets, and response  information due in class.


November 3 – 10.  Sexual orientation. Homosexuality.  Development as female or male


Reading:  Chapter 2  (pp. 32)

Chapter 3.  (pp. 65-71; 87-88).

Chapter 11.  (pp. 314-324; 336-338; 344-346)


November 10 - 17.  Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Reading:  Chapter 15 (pp. 461-491)



November 17. Discussion of class survey data and final paper.



November 22 – December 8.  Atypical and illegal sexual behavior.  Sex and violence.  Rape.  Incest.


Reading:  Chapter 16.  (pp. 499-503; 505-524)

Chapter 17.  (pp. 528-551)


December 6.  Final paper due in class.


December 8.  All extra credit due.



December 14.   Final exam.  In regular classroom from 8-9:30am





Required Writing and Research Project on Attitudes about Pornography and Sexual Images


Overview.  To provide the student with first hand experience in doing research on a topic relating to the psychological aspects of human sexuality, each member of the class will write a two part paper on some aspect of attitudes about pornography and sexual images.  The paper will be based on survey data collected by all members of the class and shared with all the class members.  [Students will NOT be designing individual surveys].


The class will work together to develop a survey of different aspects of attitudes about the assigned topic (typically the dependent variables), and a set of independent variables that might predict differences in these attitudes. Independent variables can be grouping variables (such as gender, age, religious service attendance, marital status, etc.) that define categories of people who might differ in their attitudes.


The survey will be made up of student-written items to measure attitudes, and independent variables decided on by the class.  KEEP IN MIND THAT THE CLASS MUST BE WILLING AND ABLE TO COLLECT THE RELEVANT DATA FOR EACH INDEPENDENT VARIABLE SELECTED BY CLASS MEMBERS.  Each student must develop his or her own hypothesis or prediction about the differences in attitudes expected among the independent variable groups.


This class-written survey will be administered by all class members.  Each student will administer the survey to at least 8 people.  Specific sampling procedures will be developed by the class.  Once the data is collected by all class members, results for each student will be tabulated by Dr. Frieze on the basis of all class data and provided to the whole class.


First Paper. The Research ProposalDefining a Research Hypothesis.  (125 points).  Due October 5.  Recommended length is ten to twelve typed pages (plus title page and references).  This paper is a research proposal and should define your research hypothesis and the procedures that will be used to test the hypothesis.  An independent and a dependent variable should be selected and a prediction made about their relationship.


The paper should include:

1.      Title Page.  Title page with your name, date, course number, and a title describing your hypothesis.


2.      Abstract.   This should be no more than one page and should outline your hypothesis, why it is important, and the sample that will be used for testing.  You should also include a very brief statement about why your hypothesis makes sense, based on course material.


3.      Introduction:

a.       A brief discussion of your hypothesis and why the issue addressed by your hypothesis is important.  Does it have any practical implications for society?  You should use material from the book (possibly on a topic not yet covered) to help with this.

b.      A discussion of all course material relating to your hypothesis.   Include all text and lecture material that is related that has been covered or that you can find.  Think of this as a Take-Home Test to see if you understand relevant course material.  Be sure to add appropriate citations to lecture and the book.

c.       A two paragraph (or longer) review of a published empirical  journal article relating to your independent and dependent variables.  Include a description of the sample used, data collected, and the relevant results in this article.  This will require reading the Method and Results sections of the article.  Relate this study to your hypothesis.  Be sure that this is a recent study of attitudes in the United States (1990 or later).  [If the article does not have a Method section and a Results that includes actual numerical data, it is not appropriate for this purpose]. 

d.      A summary of the rationale for your hypothesis.  Why should your prediction be true?


3.      Proposed Method

a.  Planned sample.  Who will the class data be collected from?  What type of sample (convenience, random?) are we collecting? 

b.  Planned procedures.  What procedures will be used to obtain valid data?  Will screening questions be used?  Where should the data be collected?  How are refusals handled?  What feedback will be provided?

c.  Survey.  How will the survey be constructed?  What survey item will be used to measure the dependent variable for the hypothesis being tested and how will the independent variable be measured?  What are the possible answers (response scale) for these items?

4.      References.  List of all references cited in your paper. This list must include your empirical article, the textbook, and lecture (and all three must be cited in the paper).


Data Collection.  Submission of 8 completed and correctly coded surveys.  The actual surveys and scantrons are needed.  Include data on refusal rates and any problems encountered.  Surveys and cover sheet must be turned in no later than November 4. (25 points).       


Second PaperEmpirical Test of your Hypothesis.  (250 points).  Due date is December 2.  This should be written in standard APA journal format for a research report.  Much of the material from the first paper will be included again in the Introduction.  Feedback from the first paper should be incorporated into the revision of the Introduction.  This paper will be approximately 15 typed pages.  Submit the graded version of your first paper along with this final paper.

1.      Title Page.  A cover page with a title for your paper, your name, the date, and the course the paper was done for.

2.      Abstract.  A paragraph stating your hypothesis, sample and method of data collection and results.

3.      Introduction.  A brief description of your hypothesis,  why it is important  and what published material would support your hypothesis. (A revision of your first paper should be used for this).  Add to the previous review of course material any new material that has been covered that relates to your hypothesis or to your discussion of why your topic is important.

4.      Method.  Describe the characteristics of the final sample of people used for the class project.  Information on sex, race, age, and other characteristics will be available in class.  Describe the procedures used to gather the data.  Explain why we used the procedures that we did.  Describe any problems with the class data collection, and our rejection rate.  The description of the procedures should be detailed enough so that the study could be replicated by someone else.  Discuss the actual measurement of your dependent and the independent variable used for the final survey. 

5.      Results.  Describe the data relevant to your hypothesis.  Make up a table showing the data relevant for your hypothesis.  Provide means and standard deviations or other statistics relevant to testing your hypothesis.  Explain what means and standard deviations tell the reader in terms of your hypothesis.  Explain what statistical procedures were done to test the hypothesis.  Does the data support your hypothesis?

6.      Discussion.  What do your findings tell us?  If the hypothesis was not supported, why not?  Was the hypothesis wrong?  If the hypothesis was confirmed, review the basic arguments from the Introduction supporting your hypothesis.  How do the findings relate to other research done on this topic (reviewed in the Introduction)?  Describe and discuss any statistical results that were unexpected and why. Would you choose to do the study in the same way if you could do it over again?  Why or why not? What did you learn from doing this research?

7.      References.  A list of all articles, books, lecture, or text citations used in the paper in APA format.


General Information about Papers


1.      All factual statements should be referenced with the citation of the source of the information.  Unreferenced statements are assumed to be personal opinion and generally do not belong in a research paper.  APA citation format should be used [this involves the author's name and the date of the reference in the text of the paper and the full citation in the Reference section at the end of the paper].  In addition, please add page numbers for any citations to the textbook and dates for lecture citations.


2.      For more information about APA style and how to write a research paper, see APA's Writing the Psychology Paper on permanent reserve in Langley Library.


3.      Grading Criteria:

·        **Discussion of relevant course material from the textbook and lecture.  This is an essential requirement of the paper.  It is a major aspect of the grade.

·        Organization and use of APA style.

·        Overall clarity of writing.

·        Adequate rationale offered for the hypothesis.

·        **Use of formal citations for all facts used in the papers.  Make sure material from the textbook [with the appropriate pages noted] and lecture is cited and included.



**Most important for determining grade.