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Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology Course Outline

AP Psychology

Course Outline

Module 1: Overview of Psychology

  • History and Approaches
  • Social Psychology
  • Attraction, Love, and Perspectives
  • Behavior
  • Brain Structure and Function
  • The Nervous System
  • The Endocrine System and Influence on Behavior 

Module 2: Nature vs. Nurture

  • Nature and Nurture
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Infancy/Childhood: Social Development
  • Drugs and Consciousness

Module 3: Senses 

  • Sensation and Perception
  • Vision
  • Perception
  • Senses
  • Sleep

Module 4: Gender & Adolescence

  • Gender
  • Influences on gender and development
  • Adolescence: Physical Development Puberty—early and late developers Eating disorders
  • Adolescence: Cognitive Development Piaget’s formal operational stage
  • Adolescence: Social Development Erikson’s identity formation Conformity: peers vs. parents

Module 5: Adulthood & Traits

  • Adulthood: Social Development
  • Adulthood: Cognitive Development Crystallized vs. fluid intelligence Maintaining a healthy brain Alzheimer’s disease
  • Big 5 Theory of Personality 

Module 6: Psychoanalytic & Social-Cognitive Perspectives

  • Psychoanalytic perspective
  • Highlights major developments in Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Levels of unconsciousness
  • Psychosexual Stages
  • Defense mechanisms
  • Social-Cognitive Perspective Bandura: reciprocal determinism Locus of control
  • Seligman: learned helplessness 

Module 7:  Learning & Cognition


  • Classical Conditioning
  • Acquisition, discrimination, generalization, extinction, spontaneous recovery
  • Operant Conditioning: Process
  • Reinforcement and punishment
  • Schedules of Reinforcement Schedules
  • Social/Observational Learning


  • Memory Systems
  • Sensory, short, long-term memory
  • Storage of Memories
  • Deep vs. shallow processing

Retrieval Cues

  • Retrieval Cues
  • Theories of Forgetting

Language Structure and Acquisition

  • Components of language
  • Early exposure vs. late exposure

Testing and Individual Differences

Module 8: Intelligence


  • The range of intelligence
  • Sociocultural factors affecting intelligence

Module 9: Motivation and Emotion

Introducing Motivation

  • Hunger as a Motive
  • Sexuality as a Motive
  • Belonging as a Motive


  • Basic Emotions
  • Emotion Theories

Module 10: Stress and Illness


  • Effects on the immune system
  • From colds to cancer
  • Type A and heart disease

Module 11: Methods in Studying Psychology


  • Psychological Research
  • Nonexperimental Methods

Correlational Studies

  • What is a correlation?—uses and limitations
  • Types of correlations
  • Research Design and Sampling
  • Planning the research project

Module 12:  Abnormal Psychology

What Is Abnormal Behavior?

  • Criteria of abnormal behavior
  • The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual

Mood Disorders

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Symptoms and causes Seasonal affective disorder Postpartum Depression
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Amnesia, fugue, dissociative identity disorder

Treatment of Psychological Disorders

  • History of Therapies Early treatments Pictures of contraptions
  • Psychoanalysis


Summary Info

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Courses: AP Psychology

Credits: 10

Subject Area: Electives