PSY 6820 The Psychology of Health

This course will focus on the cognition of health, which addresses how thinking and reasoning are related to health behavior and illness. The course reviews how various cognitive processes such as risk perception, cost/benefit analysis, judgmental heuristics, norm perceptions, cognitive dissonance, and control perceptions are related to the adoption of healthy and unhealthy behaviors and the processing of health information. The course will also cover the concurrent influence of motivational and affective influences such as defensiveness. Attention will be devoted to how people make health-related decisions (such as whether to screen for cancer), how they respond to health communications, and how they mentally represent illness (as well as the extent to which cognitions determine the course and recovery from illness). This course takes a general theoretical approach.