Muhlenberg College - Department of Psychology


Psychological Statistics (PSY-103)


Course Syllabus (Spring , 2011)








Learning Assistant:



Mark J. Sciutto, Ph.D.




Section 01: Danielle Wagner (


Section 02: Samantha Busa (



Class Meetings:

Section 01:  T - R  9:30 - 10:45 a.m., Moyer 309




Section 02:  T - R  1:30 - 2:45 p.m., Moyer 309



Office Hours

T 3:00-4:00, Th 11:00 – 12:00, WF 1:00-2:00, or by appointment.
Room 217 Moyer (Phone: Ext. 3649) 




Required Texts:





Jaccard, J., & Becker, M. A. (2010).  Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (5th edition).  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.




Textbook Companion Website: Go to  and type in the author name or the ISBN. Follow the links for the student companion site (Free but requires registration)



Recommended Texts:

American Psychological Association (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.).  Washington, DC: Author. 


(2 copies are available in the Library)


Strongly recommended for students pursuing graduate study in psychology.



Course News, Documents etc.





Moodle  ( )                            




Course Objectives:






Grading Policy


The final course grade will be determined as follows:


Exam 1


Exam 2


Final Exam/Portfolio




Problem Sets


Putting it Together Assignments



Description of Course Requirements


In-Class Examinations: (30%)  Two in-class examinations will be administered. The exam format will include multiple choice, true/false, short answer and application problems. If you have a conflict with any exam, you must notify me at least 24 hours in advance. If an exam is missed, and I am not notified ahead of time, you will receive a zero for that exam. Make-up exams will only be given for the following reasons, (1) sickness—you must bring me documentation verifying your illness, (2) a family emergency/crisis/death—must be verified by the Dean of Students. If an exam is missed for reasons other than those listed above and I am not notified ahead of time, you will receive a zero for that exam.  You must take the final exam during the designated final period.  If you have to miss the final, you will receive an “Incomplete” for the class.  You are then subjected to College procedures regarding an incomplete grade (see student handbook).

Final Exam/Portfolio(30%): Throughout the course, you will be compiling a portfolio that reflects your personalized approach to understanding the major topics of this class. This portfolio will ideally be a concise reference source for your future experiences in psychology and research. The final examination will be cumulative and you will be able to use only your portfolio to complete the exam. The grade for this component of the class will be a weighted average of your score on the final exam (90%) and scores on various "checks" on your portfolio during the semester (10%). Click here for specific guidelines for the construction of the portfolio. The portfolio should be brought to every class.  It is also extremely important that you back up your portfolio frequently and in multiple places.  Computer glitches (and there will be some for sure) are not a valid excuse for failing to complete the portfolio.


Quizzes (10%): At the end of each class period, several short study questions pertaining to the topics just covered will be posted on the course website. At the beginning of the subsequent class, a brief quiz on those topics may be given. The content of these quizzes will correspond closely to the study questions from the previous class. Whether or not a quiz will be given on any given class will be determined randomly at the beginning of each class.


Problem Sets (20%): Near the beginning of the semester, we will collect data as a class on a common topic. We will use the data gathered from this study for 2 of the 3 problem set assignments. In these assignments, you will need to apply specific concepts from class to the analysis of meaningful research questions. Specifically, for each problem set, you will choose appropriate statistical analyses, use SPSS to conduct those analyses, and write up (in APA format) the results of those analyses. Guidelines for these assignments will be distributed in the first few weeks of the semester. It is important for you to note that these assignments are individual – not group- assignments. This means that you are to work on the problem set by yourself – not with your friends or roommate. More specifically, you SHOULD NOT use another person’s data set, printout or paper. And you SHOULD NOT work on any part of the SPSS analyses or final paper with another person.  Any violation of this restriction will be considered a violation of the Academic Behavior Code and will result in an automatic failure for the assignment.


If you have problems with your computer program, you should immediately seek help from me or the learning assistant (Samantha Busa or Danielle Wagner) during the weekly workshops. If you have trouble writing the paper, please see me or a tutor in the writing center.  NOTE: If you have a tutor for this class, he or she is NOT supposed to help you with the problem sets.


Putting It Together Assignments (10%): One of the classic pitfalls of learning statistics is that students often think they understand a topic when presented in class and in the text, but struggle when they see the same problems in a new context (e.g., when given a specific hypothesis to test in another class).  To complicate this, practice problems in textbooks tend to provide practice only for the topic in each chapter with little connection to previous chapters. To address this issue, throughout the semester, there will be a series of brief practice assignments designed to help you pull together the various topics we cover throughout the semester. Ideally, these assignments will help you transfer what you have learned to new contexts (and better prepare you for the final exam!).


Attendance: Although attendance is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged. Attendance records will be used in determining borderline courses grades (e.g., Johnny has a 92.95 average and has only missed one class--he gets an A; Jimmy also has a 92.95 average and he has missed 10 classes--he gets an A-).  A word of caution: In the past, students who have missed multiple classes have not done very well. Your presence and active participation are essential to learning in this course.


Late Assignments: Late assignments will be penalized 5% per day late (including weekend days).


Research in Psychology: *  Research is the foundation of the information you learn in class and being an active participant in this arena allows you to better understand the field of psychology. Therefore, the Psychology Department has adopted a policy for its courses that requires students to interact with psychological research inside and outside of the classroom.  You may satisfy the research requirement for this course in one of two ways:




(a)   Participate in Research Studies: Give back to the research community through participation in studies being conducted by psychology peers and faculty members. Students must participate in three studies to satisfy the requirement for this class. You can find studies that qualify for this requirement by looking on the Research Board just outside the Psychology Department Office (Moyer 227).




(b)  Analyze Statistics in the Popular Press: Students who do not wish to participate in studies or are unable to find studies with sign-up times that match their schedules, may complete an alternative research assignment (see me for details).




*Failure to fulfill this requirement will result in up to a 3-point deduction from your final course grade.




Academic Integrity:  You are expected to conduct yourself in accordance with the Academic Behavior Code of Muhlenberg College ( ).  Honesty is an essential aspect of academic integrity. Individual students are responsible for doing their own work and for not taking credit for the effort and ideas of others. This includes plagiarism, cheating and not contributing to group projects. This obligation is based on mutual trust and is essential to meeting the goals of this course.  Academic dishonesty of any type on exams, quizzes or other graded work will not be tolerated. 


Some important points about academic integrity:

  1. Unless collaboration is explicitly permitted, you should assume that every course assignment or assessment (i.e., exams) is to be completed individually. This means that you are to work on course assignments by yourself – not with your friend, roommate or anyone else. Any violation of this restriction will be considered a violation of the Academic Behavior Code and will result in an automatic failure for the assignment. If you are struggling with an assignment, you should consult with me during office hours or make an appointment.



  1. You are responsible for keeping drafts, references/sources, disk copies, and backup copies of all of your written assignments, to turn in upon my request until final grades are completed.



  1. You should begin your work early.  An unforeseen event arising the night before a paper is due is not a legitimate reason for a paper extension. When submitting assignments electronically, you should request confirmation that your assignment has been received or you should save some form of confirmation that your e-mail was sent (each e-mail program differs in how to do this).



  1. You are responsible for taking precautions that your work (especially written work that paraphrases another written source). If I determine that you have copied all or part of an exam or paper from another source (including another student, a web page, a textbook, or other published source), you will receive a failing grade in this course.   If your written work includes material that is paraphrased unacceptably from the original source, I will ask you to re-submit the written work and I will lower the assignment grade by 10%.



  1. On all work submitted for a grade, you must write and sign the following pledge: “I pledge that I have complied with the Academic Behavior Code in this work.”




Students with Disabilities:  Students with disabilities requesting classroom or course accommodations must complete a multi-faceted application/approval process through the Office of Disability Services prior to the development and implementation of an Accommodation Plan. Each Plan is individually and collaboratively developed with the directors or other staff of the following Departments, as appropriate: Academic Resource Center, Counseling Services, Student Health Services, and the Office of Disability Services. If you have not already done so, please contact the appropriate Department to begin a dialogue regarding your academic needs and recommended accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services.  Students with disabilities who may need disability-related accommodations are encouraged to make an appointment to see me during the first two weeks of class.  


Important Note about Information Technology:
In this course, you will be required to make extensive use of the information technology available at Muhlenberg. You will be using a software program called Moodle © to exchange documents electronically, communicate outside of class, and stay updated on class events.  Students who are less comfortable with information technology should schedule an appointment with me so that I can help orient you to the various tools we will be using.

Being Successful in this Course
If you are like most students, you will find this to be a very challenging course. The material can be difficult and the workload is typically more than in other classes you have taken. However, success in this course is very much within your control. My advice to you is to put forth a consistent and appropriate effort and never hesitate to ask questions. Perhaps it is better to let you hear this from your predecessors. Click here to read advice from previous classes.


Class Schedule






1/18 (Tu)

Class Introduction; the research process in psychology



1/20 (Th)

Statistical Preliminaries and Measurement

(Random Sampling Applet)


(Random Sampling Applet #2)

 J & B, Chpt. 1

1/25 (Tu)

Measurement: Reliability and Validity


J & B, Chpt. 1 (cont.) 

1/27 (Th)

Introduction to SPSS; Portfolio; Problem Set



2/1 (Tu)

Descriptive Analyses: Frequency Distributions and Graphing

(Choosing Axis Scales for Histograms) 

  J & B, Chpt. 2

2/3 (Th)

Descriptive Analyses (cont.); Measures of Central Tendency

(Estimating Central Tendency from Histograms)
(Mean, Median and Skewness)
(Comparing Distributions

  J & B, Chpt. 3

2/8 (Tu)



Descriptive Analyses: Measures of Variability



Variability Demo

  J & B, Chpt. 3 (cont.)

2/10 (Th)



Percentiles, Percentile Ranks, Standard Scores and the Normal Distribution



(Normal Distribution Demo)


(Standard Normal Curve)

  J & B, Chpt. 4

2/15 (Tu)



Standard Scores and the Normal Distribution (cont.);  





2/17 (Th)

Correlation and Regression: Descriptive Uses

(Plotting Points)

Scatterplot Practice Exercise)


(Correlation Applet)

  J & B, Chpt. 5

2/22 (Tu)

Correlation and Regression: Descriptive Uses (cont.)

(Range Restriction Applet)

(Bivariate Regression Applet)

(Regression by eye)


(Regression Outlier Applet)

J & B, Chpt. 5 (cont.)  

2/24 (Th)

Exam #1



3/1 (Tu)

Introduction to Statistical Inference & Hypothesis Testing

(Central Limit Theorem Demonstration)

(Central Limit Theorem Demo #2)

(Sampling Distribution Applet #1)

(Sampling Distribution Applet #2)

  J & B, Chpt. 7

3/3 (Th)



Statistical Inference & Hypothesis Testing (cont.)


(Problem Set # 1 due)


  J & B, Chpt. 8

3/4 – 3/13

Spring Break



3/15 (Tu)



Hypothesis testing about a single mean; Issues in Hypothesis Testing: Errors, Power, Effect Size, Statistical vs. Practical Significance, Directional Tests

(Effect Size applet)


(TypeI/II Errors)

 J & B, Chpt. 8 (cont.) 







3/17 (Th)



Analysis of Bivariate Relationships: Research Design Issues



(Random Assignment Applet)


(Randomizer Applets) 

  J & B, Chpt. 9

3/22 (Tu)



Hypothesis Testing and Designs Comparing 2


Independent Means



(t-test calculation applet) 


(t-distribution applet)

  J & B, Chpt. 10

3/24 (Th)



Hypothesis Testing and Designs Comparing 2 Dependent Means




  J & B, Chpt. 11

3/29 (Tu)

Exam #2



3/31 (Th)


(One-Way ANOVA Applet

  J & B, Chpt. 12

4/5 (Tu)

One-Way ANOVA (Problem Set # 2 due)


  J & B, Chpt. 12 (cont.)

4/7 (Th)



One-Way ANOVA; Overview of Repeated Measures ANOVA

(Bonferroni Correction)

   J & B, Chpt. 12 (cont.)


J & B, Chpt. 13


(pp. 404 – 415; 424 - 428)

4/12 (Tu)

Factorial ANOVA

 (Factorial ANOVA applet)

   J & B, Chpt. 17

4/14 (Th)

Factorial ANOVA


   J & B, Chpt. 17 (cont.)

4/19 (Tu)

Factorial ANOVA

(Power Analysis for ANOVA Designs)  

   J & B, Chpt. 17 (cont.)

4/21 (Th)

Correlation and Regression : Inferential Uses

(Multiple Regression applet

J & B, Chpt. 14

4/26 (Tu)

Correlation and Regression : Inferential Uses

(Classifying Statistical Problems)

      J & B, Chpt. 14 (cont.)

4/28 (Th)

Non-Parametric Statistics: Chi-Square  (Problem Set #3 due)


 J & B, Chpt. 15

5/3 (Tu)

Non-Parametric Statistics: Chi-Square  (cont.)



5/9 – 5/13

Final Exam TBD








* Class schedule is tentative. Please check Moodle for updates.