Psychological Fitness (PSYC 408)
Spring 2020, Section DL1 online

Professor: Jerome L. Short, Ph.D.
Office: David King Hall 2019
Phone: 703-993-1368
Office Hours: 1:00 - 3:00 Tuesdays

Course Description. Welcome! This course will introduce you to the theory, research methods, and development of psychological fitness. You will have the opportunity to practice multiple psychological exercises to enhance your psychological fitness. You will complete 10 quizzes, 3 discussion boards, a fitness study, and a creative project.

Required Textbook. There is no required textbook for this course. There are required readings in Blackboard.

Course Learning Outcomes:

You will develop the following skills.
1. Learn and use adaptive thinking skills, emotion regulation, behavioral self-control, and social relationship skills to enhance your psychological fitness.
2. Collect and analyze data on your own behavior, implement psychological exercises, and summarize the results in a scientific report.
3. Learn creative ways to share your knowledge from the course with others.

Course Assignments.
Ten Quizzes. Your 10 quizzes are worth 10 points each (100 points total). You need a LockDown browser and webcam for the quizzes and you must complete each quiz in 15 minutes once you open them. You will do quizzes with no notes, no book, and no help. Your webcam will record you during the quizzes.

Missed Quizzes. You can make-up a missed quiz if you have a note from a physician that explains why you could not do the quiz. The professor will consider other reasons for missing a quiz and will decide whether or not to allow the student to make-up the quiz. Make-up quizzes may have a different format from the original quiz.

Three Discussion Board Posts and Comments. Your 3 Blackboard discussion board posts are worth up to 6 points each (18 points total). Limit your posts to a maximum of 10 sentences. Late posts will lose at least 1 point.

Two Psychological Fitness Surveys. You will complete measures of well-being, health behaviors, and self-perceptions twice to assess your psychological fitness. In between, you will implement and log daily at least five psychological exercises for two weeks to help improve your psychological fitness. These completed surveys are worth 3 points each (6 points total).

14 Days of Documenting Five Psychological Exercises. You will document your use of 5 psychological exercises daily for 14 consecutive days to improve your psychological fitness. This documentation is worth 20 points.

Psychological Fitness Study Paper. This study is worth 34 points and you will write an APA-style report. I will provide a sample report that explains how to write each section. The report will include Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion sections with a minimum of five references from psychology journals beyond the references I have for the measures. Late submissions lose 1 point per day. Missed Quizzes. You can make-up a missed quiz if you have a note from a physician that you could not do the quiz. The professor will consider other reasons for missing a quiz.

Extra Credit. Describe how you could design a psychological fitness project and share it with a group of people that could benefit, such as a workshop, an instructional video, a website, or other projects. You should describe the characteristics of the people you want to help and why they could benefit, the concepts that you want to explain to them, and the specific ways that people would learn the information that is up to three typed pages (2 points per page).

Grading. Your final grade is your percentage of 180 points (10 quizzes = 100 points; 2 Surveys = 6 points; 3 Discussion Boards = 18 points; 14 Days of documenting 5 psychological exercises = 20 points; Fitness Paper = 36 points).

A+ = 97% or more;  A = 93 – 96%;  A- = 90 - 92%;  B+ = 87 - 89%;  B = 83 - 86%;   B- = 80 - 82%;

C+ = 77 - 79%;  C = 73 - 76%; C- = 70 - 72%; D = 60 - 69%;  F = below 60%

Course Modules, Readings, and Assignment Dates:

Weeks 1-3 Jan. 22 – Feb. 10 Defining Psychological Fitness

Ryff, C. D. (2014). Psychological well-being revisited: Advances in the science and practice of eudaimonia. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 83, 10-28.

Short, J. L. (2012). Psychological fitness for older adults: A pilot intervention. Seniors Housing & Care Journal, 20(1), 71-84.

Seligman, M.E.P. (2019). Positive psychology: A personal history. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 15. (23 pages)

Fritz, M. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2018). Whither happiness? When, how, and why might positive activities undermine well-being. In Forgas, J.P., and Baumeister, R.F., (eds) The Social Psychology of Living Well, 96-108. New York, NY: Routledge.

The Quantified Self video

Quiz 1 due Monday 2.3 on first 3 articles

Quiz 2 due Monday 2.10 on last article and video

Module 2 Feb. 11–24 Healthy Thinking

Cary, B. (2015). How we learn: The surprising truth about when, where, and why it happens. New York: Random House. Chapter 1 (pp. 3-20) and Appendix (pp. 223-228).

Carver, C. S. & Scheier, M. F. (2014). Dispositional optimism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(6), 293-299.

Layous, K., Sweeny, K., Armenta, C., Na, S., Choi, I., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2017). The proximal experience of gratitude. PLoS ONE, 12(7).

Crum, A. J., Salovey, P., & Achor, S. (2013). Rethinking stress: The role of mindsets in determining the stress response. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), 716-733.

Intelligence Mindset video - Carol Dweck.

Mindfulness videos by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Ellen Langer.

Discussion Board 1 due Wednesday 2.12

Quiz 3 due Monday 2.17 on first 3 articles, Mindset video, and learning, memory, outlook PowerPoint.

Complete Time 1 Fitness Survey on Tuesday 2.18 and submit to Blackboard

Begin recording 14-day logs of 5 Psychological Exercises by Wednesday, 2.19

Quiz 4 due Monday 2.24

Module 3 Feb. 25 – March 10 Healthy Identity

Fu, A. S., Plaut, V. C., Treadway, J. R., & Markus, H. R. (2014). Places, products, and people “make each other up”: Culture cycles of self and well-being. In P. J. Rentfrow (Ed.) Geographical psychology: Exploring the interaction of environment and behavior (pp. 275-300). Washington, DC, US: American Psych. Assoc.

Meevissen, Y.M.C., Peters, M.L., & Alberts, H.J.E.M. (2011). Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 42, 371-378,

Power Poser video by Amy Cuddy

Quiz 5 due Monday 3.2

Submit 5 Exercise Logs by Tuesday 3.3

Complete Time 2 Fitness Survey on Wednesday 3.4 and submit to Blackboard

Module 3 continued Moral Health

Myers, D.G. (2018). Religious engagement and living well. In Forgas, J.P., and Baumeister, R.F., (eds) The Social Psychology of Living Well, 127-149. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hall-Simmonds, A., & McGrath, R.E.(2017). Character strengths and clinical presentation. The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Moral Roots video by Jonathan Haidt

Quiz 6 due Monday 3.16

Spring Break is March 9 – 15

Module 4 Mar. 18 – April 14 Healthy Behaviors

Discussion Board 2 Responses due Tuesday 3.24

Prakash, R.S., Voss, M.W., Erickson, K.I., & Kramer, A.F. (2015). Physical activity and cognitive vitality. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 769-797.

DiNoia, J. (2014). Defining powerhouse fruits and vegetables. Preventing Chronic Disease, 11:130390.

Wilckens, K.A., Ferrarelli, F., Walker, M.P., & Buysse, D.J. (2018). Decreases in self-reported sleep duration among U.S. adolescents 2009-2015 and association with new media screen time. Trends in Neurosciences, 41(7), 470-482.

Sleep video – Matthew Walker

Discussion Board 2 Responses due Tuesday 3.24

Quiz 7 due Monday 3.30 on Healthy Behaviors

Module 4 continued Emotional Health

Fritz, M. M. Walsh, Lyubomirsky, S. (2017). Staying happier. In Robinson, M., Eid, M. (eds.) The Happy Mind: Cognitive contributions to well-being. Springer International.

Marroquin, B., Tennen, H., Stanton, A.L. (2017). Coping, emotion regulation, and well-being: Intrapersonal and interpersonal processes. In Robinson, M., Eid, M. (eds.) The Happy Mind: Cognitive contributions to well-being. Springer International.

Happiness video - Daniel Gilbert

Quiz 8 due Monday 4.6

Fitness Study due Monday, 4.13.

Module 5 Apr. 15 - May 4 Healthy Relationships

Johnson, M. (2015). Making marriage and other relationships work. In S. J. Lynn, W. T. O’Donohue, & S. O. Lilienfeld (Eds.) Health, happiness, and well-being (pp. 318-340). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Allen, K. D., Shriver, M. D., & Nadler, C. (2015). Raising our kids well: Guidelines for positive parenting. In S. J. Lynn, W. T. O’Donohue, & S. O. Lilienfeld (Eds.) Health, happiness, and well-being (pp. 369-404). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Discussion Board 3 due Sunday 4.21

Quiz 9 due Monday 4.27

Module 5 continued Sexual Health

Fite, R. A. (2015). The joys of loving. In S. J. Lynn, W. T. O’Donohue, & S. O. Lilienfeld (Eds.) Health, happiness, and well-being (pp. 341-368). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

De Jong, D.C., Adams, K.N., & Reis, H.T. (2018). Predicting women's emotional responses to hooking up: Do motives matter? Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(4), 532-556.

Quiz 10 due Monday 5.4

Extra Credit due Monday, May 4

No final exam

University Policies and Resources

a. Student Responsibilities About Communication: Mason uses electronic mail to provide official information to students. Examples include communication from course instructors, notices from the library, notices about academic standing, financial aid information, class materials, assignments, questions, and instructor feedback. Students are responsible for the content of university communication sent to their Mason e-mail account and are required to activate that account and check it regularly. All communication from the university, college, school, and program will be sent to students solely through their Mason email account.

b. Honor Code and Academic Honesty: You need to know and abide by George Mason University’s Honor Code. The Code requires all members of this community to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity. Cheating, plagiarism, lying, and stealing are all prohibited. You should contact me if you have questions about these policies. All violations of the Honor Code will be reported to the Honor Committee.

c. Students must follow the university policy for Responsible Use of Computing and registration in Administrative information.

d. Student services: The University provides range of services to help you succeed academically and you should make use of these if you think they could benefit you. I also invite you to speak to me (the earlier the better).

e. The George Mason University Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff consists of professional counseling and clinical psychologists, social workers, and counselors who offer a wide range of services (e.g., individual and group counseling, workshops and outreach programs) to enhance students’ personal experience and academic performance. Counseling Center: Student Union I, Room 364, 703-993-2380.

f. Accommodations: Students with disabilities who seek accommodations in a course must be registered with the George Mason University Office of Disability Services (ODS) and inform their instructor, in writing, at the beginning of the semester.

g. The George Mason University Writing Center staff provides a variety of resources and services (e.g., tutoring, workshops, writing guides, handbooks) intended to support students as they work to construct and share knowledge through writing. University Writing

Center: Robinson Hall Room A114, 703-993-1200. The writing center includes assistance for students for whom English is a second language.

h. Library: Most University Libraries resources are available to you from home. They have a variety of online services.

i. Students must follow the university policy stating that all sound emitting devices shall be turned off during class unless otherwise authorized by the instructor.

j. Diversity: George Mason University promotes a living and learning environment for outstanding growth and productivity among its students, faculty and staff. Through its curriculum, programs, policies, procedures, services and resources, Mason strives to maintain a quality environment for work, study and personal growth.

k. Religious Holidays: It is the obligation of students, within the first two weeks of the semester, to provide professors with the dates of major religious holidays on which they will be absent or unable to turn in work due to religious observances.

l. Student Privacy: All students at Mason control access to their educational records and must give consent before that information is disclosed to any third party, including parents.

m. Class Cancellation Policy: If class is cancelled, I will notify you by email/blackboard and describe how we will make up the time.

Technology Requirements

Blackboard Login Instructions: Access to MyMason and GMU email are required to participate successfully in this course. Please make sure to update your computer. Check the IT Support Center website. Navigate to the Student Support page for help and information about Blackboard. In the menu bar to the left you will find all the tools you need to become familiar with for this course. Become familiar with the attributes of Blackboard and online learning.

Respondus LockDown Browser: Use of the Respondus LockDown Browser and a functional webcam are required for quizzes in this course. Please follow these instructions to download and install the Respondus LockDown Browser. Once you have completed these steps, find the Respondus LockDown Browser application on your computer and open it.

1. Visit this URL to access the Respondus LockDown Browser download.

2. Setup is easy and only requires you to: 1. Select your operating system. 2. Choose "Your Own Computer" from the list of provided options. 3. Click a download link and follow the installation directions as provided. When you have completed these steps, launch the Respondus LockDown Browser by double-clicking its shortcut icon (pictured below). By default, this icon will be created on your desktop.