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Psychology of Religion Syllabus

Professor: Raymond F. Paloutzian

Fall 1996 Semester
Westmont College
Class Meets: Four class hours per week

Course Description:
Examination of theory and research on the psychological and social psychological under standing of religious belief and behavior. Topics include conversion, intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientation, religion and social behavior, theories of religion, special groups and phenomena, religion and mental health, religious development, and religious experience.

Lectures and discussion will develop content area in a step-by-step manner, and will make reference to and complement reading material. Class material will also update reading material, as well as elaborate the research and theoretical implications and the practical implications of the content. Depending on the class size, questions, comments, and discussion will be encouraged. I would also like to use the class time to communicate the practical difficulties and challenges, as well as the excitement, of doing research in this area.

By the end of the course you will have an increased understanding of the complexity, richness and psychological basis for religious beliefs and behaviors, be better able to understand your own religious life, explore the importance of religious phenomena for the field of psychology, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a psychological approach to studying and interpreting religion, and understand the interaction of personal and social dimensions of religion.


Reference Reading: Journals:

Students should read assigned material before class, and actively and regularly contribute to class discussion. Grades will be based on exams, papers, and projects, with class contributions used as a weighing factor at the professor's discretion. All assignments and attendance are required. Make-up exams are not given. Quizzes may be given at any time. Format of exams and papers will be discussed in class.

Intellectual Property:
The process of this course requires academic integrity and respect for intellectual property. You are responsible for your own intellectual work, both in producing it and in protecting it from misuse. Evidence of unethical conduct in this regard results in being dismissed from the course with a failing course grade. Lesser consequences are at the professor's discretion. All work done for this course must be original and unique to this course.

Weekly schedule

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