Departmental Program Approaches for Educating Psychologically Literate Citizens
This chapter provides a comprehensive model for assessing levels of psychological literacy. Psychological literacy can be conceptualized as a multi-layered developmental model that is dependent upon the intent of the coursework. Yet a psychologically literate citizen, one with only one course in the discipline, should be able to apply basic scientific principles to everyday life. The second level of sophistication (i.e., minor in psychology) requires that students apply the principles of psychology to more complex problems. Additional coursework, or a major in psychology, may lead to significantly different outcomes (e.g., employment or graduate school). Students graduating with a baccalaureate degree in psychology can be classified into two categories—those seeking employment and those who will pursue graduate studies. Students seeking employment should have the capacity to use their psychological training to address psychological problems with sufficient depth. Similarly, the student pursuing a graduate degree is likely to express literacy with a higher degree of skepticism. Throughout the chapter highlights how levels of psychological literacy can be used to guide department planning.
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