Fall 2009

Psychobiography: The Study of Lives

Listed in: Psychology, as PSYC-38


Amy P. Demorest (Section 01)


Psychobiography aims to apply psychological theory to understand the lives of significant figures. We begin this course with a consideration of what constitutes good and bad psychobiography. We then examine psychological theories that can be fruitfully applied to the study of individual lives, from traditional psychodynamic theories of the whole person (e.g., those of Freud, and Horney) to models focusing on important organizing variables (e.g., scripts and interpersonal styles). Next, we evaluate existing psychobiographies of important figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Emily Dickinson, and Joseph Stalin. Finally, each student prepares a psychobiographical term paper on a figure of his or her choice.

Requisite: Psychology 11. Limited to 15 students.  Fall semester. Professor Demorest.

If Overenrolled: Priority given to students who have pre-registered, with preference for Amherst psychology majors or potential majors.


2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2022