Course Syllabus – Spring 2011
Mondays & Wednesdays from 2-3:20 PM in Ambler Learning Center room 303
For majors, PSYCH 1071 “Psychology as a Natural Science,” for non-majors, PSYCH 1061
“Psychology as a Social Science,” or permission of the instructor
Dr. Peter James
Office location: Weiss 618
Phone number: (215) 204-2714
Tuesdays 8-9 AM; 11-12 PM,
Thursdays 8-9 AM; 3-4 PM; note that Dr. James is not on main campus on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Ashcraft, M., & Radvansky, G.
Cognitive psychology is the study of the mind; how we perceive the world, remember, reason, think, and learn.
This course will present an overview of cognitive psychology; its findings, theories, and approach.
psychologists ask questions like:
How do we see a 3-D world even though our eyes provide only a 2-D image?
When can we divide our attention between tasks (e.g. driving and talking on a cell phone)?
What factors determine how quickly we learn and how well we recall new information?
What is language? Could animals ever learn human language?
How does thought emerge from the brain? How is thought affected by damage to the brain?
The quest for answers to questions like these uses methods as diverse as laboratory experiments, building
computer models, imaging the working brain, and studying the effects of brain damage on cognition. We will
discuss all of these approaches during the course, while on the way learning about key theories and research
findings that have emerged from the field of Cognitive Psychology.
After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:
1. Relate key research findings to cognitive theories
2. Understand research methods in cognitive psychology, their strengths and weaknesses
3. Describe current issues in cognitive psychology research
4. Explain some of the broader implications of findings from cognitive psychology
More generally, I hope that the course will help you to develop your ability to understand and critique scientific
ideas, apply these critical faculties to the ideas and information you encounter in your daily life, and explain
your own ideas in a clear and concise style.
PowerPoint slides & lecture:
The PowerPoint slides from the lectures are posted onto Blackboard by the evening before each class. The
purpose of this is to allow students to print them out and make extra notes on them during class. The slides are
not the definitive guide to the lecture content – there are often many extra details that will be covered in class
not spelled out on the PowerPoint outlines.