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Cognitive Psychology 2011

Tarlowski, A. & Wodniecka, Z.

Cognitive Psychology
Spring 2010/2011
Course Time and Room:
Instructors: Andrzej Tarowski, Ph.D. & Zofia Wodniecka, Ph.D.
Course website: TBA
Office hours: Andrzej Tarowski: after classes or by appointment; Zofia Wodniecka: by appointment only



Required texts
Goldstein, E. B. (2008). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience
(2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. (selected chapters; see course schedule)
Smith, E.E. & Kosslyn, S.M. (2009). Cognitive Psychology: Mind and Brain. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson Education. (selected chapters; see course schedule)

 Additional Readings
Searle, J.R. (1980) Minds, brains, and programs. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3, 417-424.
Medin, DL (1989).Concepts and conceptual structure. American Psychologist, 44, 1469-1481.
Nicholls, M., Searle, D., & Bradshaw, J. (2004). Read my lips: Asymmetries in the visual expression and
perception of speech revealed through the McGurk effect. Psychological Science, 15, 138-141.
 Course Description
This course will be a broad overview of most fundamental processes, concepts, models, research methods, and
classic studies in the field of cognitive psychology. Through lectures, demonstrations, discussions in the class,
and mostly through your own reading and thinking, you will gain an understanding of principles of human
 Course Objectives
1. To gain an overview of the major areas of study in cognitive psychology, including their research methods.
2. To think critically about psychological theories and the connection between data and theory.
3. To evaluate the real-world implications of cognitive psychology.
 Course Format
With the exception of three DISCUSSION SESSIONS and two IN-CLASS LAB SESSIONS (see course
schedule and descriptions below) the course will have a standard lecture format. However, your active
participation will be essential. Your active participation will be expressed in several ways:
1. You will be asked to prepare a CLASS SUMMARY ESSAY after each class (except the 1st one).
2. There will be three ADDITIONAL READINGS assigned. You will be expected to write an
ADDITIONAL READING ESSAY on each of the additional readings assigned (three in total) and the
discussion sessions will be fueled by your thinking on the readings.
3. We encourage you to ask questions and make comments during the course of the lecture whenever you
do not understand or have a strong opinion about something.

Cognitive Psychology 2011
Tarlowski, A. & Wodniecka, Z.
Assignments and activities
ADDITIONAL READINGS ESSAYS are aimed to introduce you to three source articles that relate to three
distinct issues within cognitive psychology. Beside the content, the papers differ from each other in the
format in which they convey ideas to a reader. The first paper (Searle, 1980) is philosophical and it
addresses the foundational question in cognitive psychology that has to do with the nature of intentionality.
The second paper (Medin, 1989) provides an overview of major theories of categorization and lays
foundations for a rich understanding of categories that is shared by many researchers today. The third paper
(Nicholls et al 2004) is an example or a recent research article and it addresses cross-modal speech
perception. Your job will be to read the papers and prepare a short essay on each of them. The
essays are due on the day preceding the class which discusses the paper (see course schedule). Each essay
needs to be approximately1000 words long. In the essay, you need to summarize the key points of the
paper and address a) a theoretical or methodological aspect of the reading that you found problematic or
hard to understand, b) an aspect that you think is important or interesting but was not covered in the
reading, or c) your thoughts about possible implications of the theses or research findings for real-world
situations. The understanding of the major issues addressed by the paper and your thoughts about the paper
will be weighted most heavily in the assessment of the essays. The essays will help to fuel class discussion.
CLASS SUMMARY ESSAYS are aimed to encourage you to reflect on each class. You will be asked to write a
class summary essay after each class except the 1st one. Each essay needs to be about 500 words long and
it needs to contain a brief description of the essential content of the class - the key concepts, theories and
empirical findings. Most importantly, the essays need to contain your own reactions to the lectures and
they could address a) an aspect of the lecture that you found problematic or hard to understand, b) an
aspect that you think is important or interesting but was not covered in the lecture, or c) your thoughts
about possible implications of the theses or research findings for real-world situations. Paying attention
during each class, asking questions, taking notes will help you to prepare class summaries with ease. You
will have 6 days to prepare the summary. You hand in your essay by posting it on a course website for
everyone else to read (the deadlines for each essay can be found in the course schedule).. We will
comment on interesting points in the summaries. That way our discussion will be extended beyond the
DISCUSSION SESSIONS and IN-CLASS LAB SESSIONS will be additional activities we will do during our
meetings. During some meetings, we will have a discussion period on the additional readings assigned for a
given class (source articles). Having written the essay on the reading will help you prepare for the
discussion and make it fun and productive. On other occasions, we will have in-class lab session during
which we will present classic cognitive phenomena using computer experiments.. Please, see the course
schedule for detailed description which class is accompanied by which activity.
Your understanding of the material presented in lectures and readings will be assessed by one final exam. It
will consist of a combination of multiple-choice and short-answer questions. Tests will be designed to assess
your understanding of the concepts, principles, theories, and empirical findings in cognitive psychology.
The class will be most fun and productive if everyone contributes. Comments and questions, are encouraged!
The material covered in this course is quite challenging, and the best way to understand it is by keeping up with
the readings and participating. We are aware that in-class participation is difficult to assess objectively. However
we reserve 1% of the grade for our subjective assessment of your class participation to encourage you to be
active during the class. We accept up to two absences, however, you will be asked to complete an individual
assignment to compensate for each absence.

Cognitive Psychology 2011
Tarlowski, A. & Wodniecka, Z.
Final exam 60 %
Class discussion essays (500 words each) 9x2% = 18%
Three reading assignment essays (1000 words each) 3x7 % = 21%
Subjective assessment of class participation 1%
Very good


81 - 90
71 - 80
50 and less

Course Schedule (subject to change following an earlier announcement)

Topic and related assignment deadlines*
G = Goldstein, 2008;
S&K = Smith & Kosslyn, 2009
Introduction to the course and Cognitive Psychology
How the brain gives rise to mind
S&K Ch 1
Class summary due on Feb27
S&K Ch 2
Discussion on Searle 195
Searle 1980
Reading essay due on Feb 27
Class summary due on Mar6
G Ch 4
In-class lab
Class summary due on Mar13
Representation and knowledge in LTM
S&K Ch 4
Discussion on Medin, 1989
Medin, 1989
Reading essay due on Mar13
Class summary due on Mar20
Emotion and cognition
S&K Ch 8
Class summary due on Mar27
G Ch.5&6
In-class lab
Class summary due on Apr3
Problem solving and reasoning
S&K Ch 10
Class summary due on Apr10
Motor Cognition and Mental Simulation
S&K Ch 11
Class summary due on Apr17
G Ch 10
Discussion on Nicholls et al 2004
Nicholls, Searle, & Bradshaw (2004)
Reading essay due on Apr 17
Class summary due on Apr24
Final exam
All assigned readings and lectures


* Pay very close attention to deadlines! Late submissions will not be counted.