PSYCH206: Cognitive Psychology

Course Syllabus for "PSYCH206: Cognitive Psychology"

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This course will introduce you to cognitive psychology, or the study of the ways in which we come to know about the world around us and about one another.  While you may understand “cognition” as “thinking” or “thoughts,” we will here use the term to refer to almost any process that takes place within the human mind. Though cognitive psychology as a formal branch of study has only been around since the late 1960s, it has been studied for decades as an area of interest in psychological inquiry and has its roots in philosophy.  In the late 1880s, for example, Ebbinghaus conducted some of the very first scientifically based studies of cognition when he attempted to explain the mechanism of memory.  Memory, along with attention, perception, language, and decision making, are amongst the most prominent issues within the broad and diverse field of cognitive psychology.  While we could spend an entire semester exploring just one of these issues, this course will instead provide you with an overview of all of them and the related concepts which help explain these issues in greater depth. In addition to these subjects, we will examine the research on social cognition, motivation, and emotions.  Although these topics were not historically under the auspices of cognitive psychology, these multidisciplinary areas of inquiry highlight the influence of cognitive neuroscience within the field of cognitive psychology.  By examining the various theories and empirical research associated with these areas of inquiry, we will learn more about the prominent role experimentation has taken in cognitive psychology.  We will also read examples of the more applied line of research, which helps to further our understanding of how these principles might apply to real-life situations. **** We will begin this course by taking at look at the history of cognitive psychology and then move to various areas of inquiry, which characterize the foundations of cognitive psychology.  As we progress through the course, we will gather information about the methodologies, findings, and theories associated with cognitive psychology—a diverse and unique field of inquiry with a rich history and forward thinking approach to empirical research.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify underlying theoretical considerations in the field of cognitive psychology.
  • Describe the historical context in which cognitive psychology emerged as a field.
  • Define cognitive psychology as it was historically defined and is now defined.
  • Identify the main academic fields and other subdisciplines of psychology to which cognitive psychology is tied.
  • Describe the main findings in the primary areas of scientific research within cognitive psychology.
  • Compare and contrast the theories associated within the primary areas of scientific research in cognitive psychology (e.g., models of memory, attention, etc.).

Course Requirements

In order to take this course you must:

√    Have access to a computer

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash)

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.)

√    Be competent in the English language


Course Information

Welcome to PSYCH206.  Below, please find some general information on the course and its requirements.

Course Designer: Helena (Mimi) Martin

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

  • PubMed Central (provides open access to a variety of journals in the area of science/psychology)
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Lerner’s TV’s version of University of Houston: Dr. Richard Kasschau’s Lecture Series Introduction to Cognitive Psychology 
  • Wikibook’s Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Zain Books’s version of Virtual University of Pakistan’s Cognitive Psychology:
  • Oakland University: Professor Cindy Sifonis’s Cognitive Psychology Lecture Series

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  You will also need to complete a final exam.

In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 86 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These should help you plan your time accordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take you 11 hours.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to progress through/complete subunits 1.1  and 1.2 (a total of 6 hours) on Monday/Tuesday night; subunit 1.3 (a total of 5 hours) on Wednesday/Thursday night; etc.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.