Semester One 2013
This is an introductory course in cognitive psychology: the science of how the mind and brain are organised to produce intelligent human thought processes. Topics include visual cognition, attention, memory, problem solving and expertise, reasoning and decision making, and language comprehension.
• What is reported to have more computing power than a billion PCs, is readily portable, and weighs less than 1.5kgs?
• How does this magnificent machine comprehend language and make inferences, such as for example that the previous sentence refers to the human brain?
• How do we so speedily and accurately recognise objects and faces, in poor light, and even when they are partly obscured?
• What is known about how the brain stores information from scenes and our environs, our past experiences, and general world knowledge so that the right information is conveniently available just when you need it, except in a test or exam?
• What is attention and why does it appear to be so selective?
• Do we ever process information unconsciously?
In our everyday thinking does the brain lead us to follow logical rules and rational procedures or has evolution provided us with other modes of thought more suited to the uncertainties of our social and physical worlds? Clever experiments coupled with newly emerging methods for tracking activity in the brain are rapidly enhancing knowledge of human cognition and its underlying processes.
You should find this course fundamental preparation for your later studies in almost any area of psychology and particularly in social, industrial & organisational, abnormal, clinical, forensic, and developmental psychology. Every student considering postgraduate study in psychology should include the study of human cognition in his or her undergraduate programme.
On successfully passing this course, students will have:
• Gained an understanding of key concepts and theories within the major domains in Cognitive Psychology, including attention, representation of knowledge, memory, problem solving, expertise, reasoning, and language.
• Developed an appreciation of the complex neuronal underpinnings of mental processes.
• Through laboratory classes and exercises, gained an appreciation of the experimental methods that are used to accumulate scientific knowledge in Cognitive Psychology.
• Obtained skills that enable critical evaluation of the design, data analysis, and the validity of conclusions drawn from empirical investigations in Cognitive Psychology.
• Acquired skills to write clearly about research hypotheses, procedures, and data in a research report.
• Learned to appreciate the need to tolerate ambiguity and realize that psychological explanations can be complex and sometimes tentative.
PSYC104, or PSYC105 and PSYC106, or with the approval of the Head of Department, a pass in a professional year of Engineering, or in approved courses in Computer Science, Linguistics, or Philosophy
Course Coordinator / Lecturer
Laboratory exercises due weekly
28 Mar 2013
26 Apr 2013
Examination and Formal Tests
14 Jun 2013
Cognitive Psychology and its Implications;
O'Shea, R., & McKenzie, W;
Writing for Psychology;
For further information see
All PSYC208 Occurrences
Semester One 2013