PSYC 309B (6 cr): Cognitive Processes

PSYC-309

Course Description

Contribution of cognitive processes to perception, attention, and memory; cognitive development, language, thinking, and creativity.

Prerequisites

Either (a) PSYC 100 or (b) all off of PSYC 101, PSYC 102. Or (c) 6 credits of 200-level Psychology (but not 205 or 263).

Intended Audience

Psychology 309B is an upper-level course that carries degree credit within the Faculty of Arts. The course is designed to explore the ways that cognitive psychology can help us understand practical, real-world problems. This design should appeal to Psychology majors, as well as students from other faculties, including commerce, education, nursing and science.

Course Overview and Objectives

PSYC 309B will expose students to a broad range of methods and approaches within cognitive psychology and more importantly will teach them about the way that cognitive psychologists explore the mental realm. Cognitive psychologists seek to understand processes that we cannot directly observe. To do this we require careful consideration of methodologies and an insight into the interplay between phenomena and theory. Most lessons will begin with consideration of a clinical syndrome or real-world phenomenon that has inspired cognitive psychologists to question the underlying mechanisms. Rather than simply describing research findings to students, students make the discovery for themselves by participating in online demonstrations of classic experiments.

Course Content

Lesson 1 – Foundations of Cognitive Psychology
This lesson introduces students to cognitive psychology in its historical context as well as outlines basic neuroanatomy and investigative techniques employed in cognitive neuroscience.

Lesson 2: Learning About the World Around Us
This lesson introduces students to the oftentimes under-appreciated problem of selecting and processing relevant information from the world around us.

Lesson 3: Remembering
This lesson introduces students to an array of aspects about memory. They range from historical and current concepts on memory structures, to debate about what is stored and for how long.

Lesson 4: Knowing
This lesson introduces students to the problems of understanding how our vast knowledge is organized. It explores the question of whether visual knowledge is truly visual and reveals how neuroscience has weighed in on the debate.

Lesson 5: Thinking
This lesson introduces research about language acquisition and children’s preparedness for language, and explores the higher cognitive functions or processes such as problem solving, reasoning, and decision making, and the situations that limit these processes.

Lesson 6: Differences in Cognition
This lesson explores the changes in cognition we see across the life-span and different cultures.

Course Work and Grades

You will regularly have activities like short videos, hands-on demonstrations, and on-line experiments called CogLabs. Completing the assigned CogLabs and submitting CogLab Summary reports each contribute 5 marks toward your final grade. Your weekly participation in discussion forms will contribute 10 marks toward your final grade.

Communicating with your colleagues about the CogLabs should help you clarify the basics for Summary reports. You will have the opportunity to discuss the specifics of the CogLabs and Assigned Articles with a small group of fellow students in the Discussion Forums. Other discussions will be geared toward the class as a whole where you will be invited to comment on a video, demonstration, website or reading.

The Final Exam will entail multiple choice questions similar to those posed in the quizzes or assessments you will take throughout the term but it will also include both fill-in-the-blank and essay questions. The latter will require you to understand the basic concepts in the CogLabs as well as to integrate newer findings, models, and applications found in the Assigned Articles. Your participation in the discussion forum, then, may be beneficial to you for the exam given that the essays are all posed on topics from the CogLabs and the Assigned Articles.

Textbooks

Cognitive Psychology in and out of the Laboratory. Pkg. with CogLab Online with Print Access Code Version 2.0. Galotti, Kathleen M., 4th ed. ISBN: 9780495440307.

PSYC309B Textbook Order Form