COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY 0317-SYLLABUS
Lowell Groninger, Ph.D.
Office hours–varies according to teaching schedule
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Text: “Cognition” by Stephen Reed– 6th edition
What is cognitive psychology?
Cognitive psychology involves the study of mental processes usually within humans. Basically we will study how information gets into our cognitive system, how it is represented within this system, and how this information gets utilized within complex cognitive processing such as the use of language and problem solving. Cognitive psychology is a bridge between basic physiological processes involving brain mechanisms and all of the complex behavior that humans emit. It involves areas such as perception, attention, learning, memory, forgetting, consciousness, amnesia, motivation, psychoses and many other topics. Our focus will be on the fundamental processes of information acquisition and utilization.
Quizzes–30 percent (the worst quiz will be omitted from your average)
Exams–60 percent–there will be 3 exams over inclusive material for that part of the course.
Oral reports and Journal abstract–10 percent–there will be 2 oral reports for each student, one involving a Journal article and another involving a report over an individual with interesting and unusual cognitive function. Typical examples come from individuals with types of learning disabilities, schizophrenia, amnesia, partial brain dysfunction from stroke, injury, or surgery. Many reports come from Oliver Sachs “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” book. The abstract is a 300-400 word summary of the Journal article on which you give your oral report.
You many write a “term paper” over an approved topic. You must have your topic approved by me and later submit an outline to discuss with me before writing the paper. Depending on the quality of the paper this can increase your grade by a letter grade for an “a” paper and half a letter grade for a “b” paper. A “c” paper will help only in borderline situations.
The text illustrates principles through the presentation of experiments and models representing processes based on these experiments. You need to know the why, how, interpretation, and implication of major experiments. You also need to know the components of the models and theories. Some of the material is abstract but for much of it, particularly involving attention, memory, problem solving and decision making, you will be able to personally get a “feel” for the issues. Study cards involving important experiments, theories, and models as well as definitions with examples should be of considerable help. The material is definitely not “memorize and regurgitate” but study effort will pay off in your grade and personal value to you. Please see me if I can be of assistance with your understanding of material, or developing proper study techniques.
Academic integrity–you are expected to maintain high standards of honesty on exams and papers. Failure to do so will result in appropriate umbc disciplinary procedures.