Psychopaths, Sociopaths, and Serial Killers: Engaging Undergraduate Students in Innovative Psychology Programming


Three programs were developed to increase undergraduate enrollment in psychology. In Program 1, one-credit-hour, media-intensive Weekend Seminars (WS) were offered without prerequisites. Modeled after professional congresses, these seminars included, “Psychopaths, Sociopaths, and Serial Killers,” “Sex, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll,” “How To Take Over The World In One Easy Lesson,” and “Behavioral Addictions: Psychopathology or Moral Depravity?” Theoretical frameworks, symptoms, interventions, and practical information, e.g., “how to avoid being targeted by a serial killer” and “protecting children from pedophiles,” were presented. Group “problem-solving” tasks were included. Similar to professional congress experiences, students were provided coffee and snacks breaks, lunches, and other amenities. Student motivation for these courses included, “curiosity,” “need” for credit hours, and “interest” in psychology. In Program 2, the International Psychology Congress Program (IPCP) was developed enabling advanced psychology majors to earn three-credit-hours attending conferences. Cultural immersion opportunities were provided. Post-congress, students developed research proposals to operationalize in a follow-on course. Forty-five percent of students enrolled in the IPCP have attended graduate school in psychology or a related field; a majority of the remaining students took employment in the field. In Program 3, a “psychology and social justice” course was developed with students intervening to help refugee youth in Lebanon and Poland. This presentation assisted attendees in identifying topics of interest for students, create these courses, and assess their impact on student satisfaction and interest in psychology and the neurosciences. Programs are also identified as a platform for future research.

Author Information
Hugh J. Van Auken, Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2024
Stream: Psychology and Education

This paper is part of the ACP2024 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Auken H. (2024) Psychopaths, Sociopaths, and Serial Killers: Engaging Undergraduate Students in Innovative Psychology Programming ISSN: 2187-4743 – The Asian Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences 2024 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon