Psych 250 syllabus - PSYC 250(Spring 2011 Cognitive...

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PSYC 250 (Spring 2011) Cognitive Psychology PSYC 250 (002), Spring 2011 Course Syllabus Meeting: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday: 1:40 - 2:30; Room 125 - Dumbach Hall Instructor: Timothy K. Miura, Ph.D. Office: Coffey Hall 236 Office Hours: 10:30 – 11:30 Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, or by appointment E-mail: [email protected] Prerequisite PSYC 101 (General Psychology). Required Text Ashcraft, M. A. & Radvansky, G. A. (2009). Cognition (5th ed.). NJ: Pearson. Course Description and Goals Welcome to Cognitive Psychology! In the most general of terms, cognitive psychology concerns the scientific study of the mind . Consider all the mental activities we engage in everyday: We can read and understand a newspaper article, we can plan and navigate to work safely, we can ignore potential distractions when we have to study, we can remember experiences that happened years ago, and so on. What mental processes allow us to do all of these things?! Everyone might have personal ideas about how the mind works in certain situations, such as how we recognize familiar faces or how we solve problems. In fact, people have speculated quite thoroughly on how the mind works for centuries. However, cognitive psychology differs from other approaches to understanding the mind, such as philosophy, by strictly adhering to the principles of scientific inquiry. Cognitive psychologists conduct controlled experiments using a variety of methodological and analytical techniques to better specify and understand the inner workings of the mind. Although the scientific study of cognition and memory is really in its infancy, the experimental evidence that has accumulated over recent years has revealed a great deal about mental information processing, at both the functional and neurological levels. Because cognitive psychology ultimately deals with understanding how and why people behave the way they do, it is no wonder why the scientific study of the mind has made a tremendous impact on other fields outside of psychology, such as in business, education, anthropology, and the neurosciences. The main goal of this course is to introduce you to basic research in the central areas of cognitive psychology. Understanding the course material will involve more than simply memorizing a number of terms and research findings. While it is crucial to understand the results of a given study, it is also imperative to understand why the study was conducted, how it was conducted, and what the results mean in the context of other research findings and theories that aim to explain them.
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