Origins of Mental Illness explores the root causes of both common and esoteric mental disorders. Students use karyotypes to diagnose disorders such as Fragile-X Syndrome and Klinefelter's Syndrome which results from missing or visibly "broken" chromosomes.
Students will create pedigree charts to unravel whether newly identified disorders are heritable as well as track the spread of eating disorders in emerging countries in the wake of pop culture and television.
Students will also review popular films for accuracy in portraying the etiology of mental disorders and evaluate research on whether there is a link between vaccines and Autism. Other topics include the role of gender, socialization, "biological clocks," and socioeconomic status in the onset of mental disorders.