Roanoke College

INQ Course Descriptions


INQ Courses taught by Psychology Faculty


INQ 260PY-W:  Humanistic and Positive Psychology

Two perspectives of psychology have focused predominantly on what Abraham Maslow called "the farther reaches of human nature": humanistic psychology and positive psychology.  This course will examine the major concepts of humanistic psychology (e.g., self-actualization, fully-functioning persons), will examine the contributions and shortcomings of this approach, and will explore the more recent positive psychology movement with its stronger research-based emphasis on human strengths and civic virtues and human flourishing.  A thorough investigation of one construct from humanistic psychology will be undertaken (involving an inquiry into reliability and validity studies, adequacy of support for proposed applications, and critiques).  Students will then address questions concerning the quality and adequacy of assessment techniques and of empirical studies in such areas in positive psychology as love, empathy, happiness, and self-esteem; each student will select one narrower area for further inquiry and will write a literature review on the chosen research question. Instructor: Whitson.

INQ 260PY-G: Love, Lust, Limerence and Love-Sickness

The Cross-cultural study of the Etiology and Course of Romantic, Pair-bonded and Marital Relationships Perspective: Global “Love makes the world go ‘round” as lyricists proclaim. With the development of fMRI brain scans cognitive neuroscientists now have a window into minds as persons enter an altered state of consciousness called “limerence” or “being-in-love.” Love is now a scientifically describable phenomenon. Cross-culturally, romantic love is questioned as a valid basis for socially sanctioned marriage. Examined will be the biological and psychosocial variables of proceptivity that determine the definition of beauty, flirtation, attraction, falling-in-love and pair-bond establishment. Are these factors universally human or culturally and socially specific? Examined will be at least six species of love and various psychological theories on love. How can pair-bonds and marriages endure? Need marriage always be monogamous or can it be successful in alternate forms as is seen in other cultures? What is jealousy and is it helpful or destructive to relationships?  Instructor: Pranzarone.

INQ 260PY-W: How Does Technology Impact Us?

This course will use multiple methods to examine how modern technology impacts human cognition and behavior. Students will engage in a critical examination of current empirical research and will work together to investigate new questions using various research techniques. Students will be required to engage in critical thinking, scientific writing, quantitative reasoning, and oral presentation assignments. (1) Lecture: 3 hr/wk. Western Perspective. 

INQ 260PY-W: Social Cognition.

Humans are primarily social animals and the human brain evolved in the context of a social environment. Social cognition is an area of psychology that focuses on how our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions are affected by an individual’s social context. In this course, students will read original works of scientific research in order to better understand social cognition and, in turn, to learn how to think like a social cognitive researcher. In addition to reading research reports, students will complete several lab exercises that will help teach research skills and scientific writing in the form of lab reports and several short papers. Also, students will complete an oral presentation and participate in a week-long simulated society game. Instructors: C.Camac; C. Buchholz

INQ 110: The Scientific Pursuit of Happiness

[Note this course does not count toward the psychology major]

From the perspective of psychological science this course examines the nature of happiness and explores strategies that have been proposed for the pursuit of happiness.  Critical inquiry will be made into several questions, including the following:  What is happiness?  How happy are people in general?  Who is happy and why; what are the traits and characteristics of happy people?  Is it possible to become happier?  What happiness strategies or skills are supported by scientific research and which are not?  Students will examine and evaluate the contemporary scientific research on happiness and its correlates, and will evaluate strategies purported to increase happiness.  Students will also be asked to apply their knowledge of skills derived from happiness research in some dimensions of their everyday lives, and to appraise the outcomes of applying these specific happiness strategies. Instructor: Whitson.


INQ 120: The Meaning of Life
[Note this course does not count toward the psychology major]

What is the meaning of life? In order to answer this question, one must ask many others; for example, why are we here? Who am I? What is the nature of reality and the universe? How can I find happiness? What is the truth? What is my purpose? In this course, students will read multiple sources on a wide range of topics that attempt to address these “big” questions in life, in a search for meaning and purpose. The course will move from a broad perspective of historical solutions to these problems (e.g., religious, philosophical, social, economic, political) to more contemporary approaches (e.g., physics, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience) in an effort to understand “what is the meaning of life?” Ultimately, the course will focus on how the science of psychology can inform our understanding of how we come to define our own life’s purpose. While there is admittedly no one answer to this question, the goal of this course is to use reading and writing along with open debate and discussions to help students critically assess different value systems as well as to evaluate/reevaluate their own value system. Instructor: C. Buchholz