Controversy in the Psychology Classroom: Using Hot Topics to Foster Critical Thinking

Pages: 272
Item #: 4311017
ISBN: 978-1-4338-1238-5
List Price: $29.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $29.95
Copyright: 2013
Format: Softcover
Availability: In Stock
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One of the hallmarks of a quality liberal arts education is providing undergraduates the opportunity to wrestle with controversial issues. Yet many teachers feel ill-equipped when it comes to broaching disagreeable topics, managing the resulting heated debates, or helping students to separate their personal feelings from scientific evidence.

This book provides frameworks for teaching controversial topics and skills for handling disruptions, so teachers can help students evaluate evidence and develop testable questions.

Specific teaching topics covered include

  • evolutionary psychology
  • childrearing
  • sexual orientation
  • animal experimentation
  • evil
  • diversity and social justice
  • gender and ethnicity
  • religion
  • disability
  • healthcare policy
Table of Contents


Foreword: Deciding Where to Stand
Jane S. Halonen


Teaching About Controversial Issues: An Introduction
Dana S. Dunn, Regan A. R. Gurung, Karen Z. Naufel, and Janie H. Wilson

I. Guiding Frameworks for Teaching About Controversial Issues

  1. Frames of Reference: Social Psychological Perspectives for Teaching About Controversial Matters
    Dana S. Dunn, Regan A. R. Gurung, and Karen Z. Naufel
  2. Preventing and Handling Classroom Disruptions
    Kristin M. Vespia and Tonya E. Filz
  3. Treating Students as Early-Career Professionals: The Ethics of Teaching
    Maureen A. McCarthy and R. Eric Landrum

II. Helping Students Arrive at an Empirically Based Conclusion

  1. Seven Tools for Teaching Evolutionary Psychology
    David M. Buss
  2. Hitting Close to Home: Teaching About Spanking
    Elizabeth T. Gershoff
  3. Sexual Orientation, Marriage, and Students of Faith
    David G. Myers
  4. Addressing the Role of Animal Research in Psychology
    Suzanne C. Baker and Sherry L. Serdikoff

III. Opening Consideration of Multiple Views

  1. Overcoming Discomfort When Teaching About Evil and Immorality
    Karen Z. Naufel
  2. Anticipating and Working With Controversy in Diversity and Social Justice Topics
    Cheryl B. Warner, Rosemary E. Phelps, Delishia M. Pittman, and Carla S. Moore
  3. Gender Matters: Engaging Students in Controversial Issues
    Elizabeth Yost Hammer and Eugenia M. Valentine
  4. Teaching About Race and Ethnicity
    Mary E. Kite
  5. Spirituality and Religion: How Contexts, Developmental Processes, and Personal Experiences Influence Behavior
    Dean D. VonDras
  6. Disability as Diversity Rather Than (In)Difference: Understanding Others' Experiences Through One's Own
    Dana S. Dunn, David J. Fisher, and Brittany M. Beard
  7. Health Psychology and Policy: When Politics Infiltrates Science
    Regan A. R. Gurung and Daniel Bruns

IV. Concluding Thoughts and Going Forward

  1. Using Controversies to Teach Scientific Thinking in Psychology: Topics and Issues
    Jeffrey D. Holmes


About the Editors

Editor Bios

Dana S. Dunn, PhD, is assistant dean for special projects and professor of psychology at Moravian College. He is the author or editor of 14 books and over 120 journal articles, chapters, and book reviews, his scholarship examines teaching, learning, and liberal education, as well as the social psychology of disability. Dr. Dunn served as president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2) in 2010.

Regan A. R. Gurung, PhD, is the Ben J. & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Human Development and Psychology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He is the author or editor of 11 books and has a research program focused on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. Gurung served as president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2) in 2011.

Karen Z. Naufel, Phd, is currently teaching at Georgia Southern University. Her research interests include ethics in science, motivation, and stigma. She is the 2010 winner of the Society of Teaching Psychology's Jane S. Halonen teaching award.

Janie H. Wilson, PhD, has been teaching at Georgia Southern University since 1994. Her research interests include rapport in teaching, social buffering, and ego depletion. Dr. Wilson currently serves as the program director for the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2); she becomes vice president for programming in 2012.