Psychology and the Self
Who are you? Why are you who you are? Why do people do and say the things that they do? How do we understand and explain human behavior? What is the role and purpose of education in regard to these questions? What does it mean to be human?
These questions can be approached from a variety of interesting and insightful perspectives in the Liberal Arts. Psychology provides one such perspective allowing people to gain insight into themselves, others, and their relationships with those around them and the world more generally. However, there are also philosophical and theological perspectives that also provide insight in these questions. The focus of these 2 weeks will be to expose students to the social psychological and philosophical tools that will enable them to examine the questions and issues mentioned above. Particular focus will be given to gaining insight understanding in the areas of self and identity, relationships, aggression and prejudice.
Class time will consist of a mix of lectures, discussion sessions, documentary and other relevant movie presentations – all of which are designed to focus attention on the underlying processes that allow us to understand these human issues of interest. The process of gaining insight into oneself and the nature of our social world is at the same time engaging, enjoyable, challenging, sometimes discomforting and always demanding – requiring a rigorous reading of material and a critical evaluation and integration of the understanding gained to the world around us. This program is not a simple overview or introduction to the field of psychology.
Readings will include scholarly articles and chapters from writers and thinkers spanning the field of psychology, philosophy, and literature such as Aldous Huxley, Walker Percy, Herman Hesse, and Ryszard Kapuscinski among others. Students will be expected to actively engage in the class room activities and will have the opportunity to lead class discussions on various topics.
Dr. Anré Venter received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Notre Dame and is currently the director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology at Notre Dame. He teaches the introductory psychology course for first year students, statistics, a mid-level Social Psychology course and upper-level seminars focusing on the Philosophy of the Self. His primary research interest examines issues of self ranging from the effects of self-complexity as a buffer against stress as well as the relationship between culture and self.
Prior to entering Notre Dame, Dr. Venter received an M.A.. in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University and a B.A. in psychology and social anthropology from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.