PSYC 4145 Advanced Cognitive Psychology

Instructor Contact

Shaw Ketels

About the Course

Advanced course in human cognitive processes. Covers key aspects of cognition, such as perception, attention, learning, memory, language and thinking. Discusses major theories and ideas in terms of the research they have inspired. One lab per week and a research project is required. Topics include biological and hereditary influences on behavior; human perception, attention, learning, and memory, social cognition & intelligence. The content of this course is foundational for building an understanding of human perception, cognition, and emotion, and the reality constructed for us, through their synergistic interplay. It is thus foundational to all other areas of human endeavor.

As a capstone course for psychology majors, the primary purpose of the course is to help organize, expand, and solidify the knowledge that you’ve gained over the course of your undergraduate career. The structure of this course protects a significant amount of time for thinking and generating. It’s important that you utilize this time for this purpose, or notify me or your TA if you’re having trouble doing so. Course materials involve a review of experimental methods in psychology and an in-depth exploration of theory in the context of relatively recent and/or influential research in cognitive psychology and cognitive science. Lab will primarily involve collecting and analyzing data from real cognitive psychology experiments, thinking about the implications of your findings, and synthesizing research findings from cognitive psychology.

Although only a few of you may pursue research careers, all of you are consumers of research from psychology and other scientific disciplines. As such, a major goal of this course is to develop your capacity for critically evaluating scientific evidence reported in journals, magazines, newspapers, and news programs. Mastery of the material covered should enable students to evaluate the quality of research findings reported by others, design research studies of their own, collect and analyze data, and write up APA-style research reports. Every student should have the opportunity to leave this course a more confident, competent, and sophisticated consumer of information in the real world. The cognitive and technical skills that you practice in this course can prove useful in a number of domains of human endeavor.

Students will have the opportunity to further explore how research is planned, executed, communicated, and critiqued. This course will focus on developing general research skills that can be applied within any area of psychology, although we will focus primarily on cognitive psychology research. These skills include knowledge of experimental design, statistics, report writing, various software, and ethical standards of research.

Equivalent – Duplicate Degree Credit Not Granted: PSYC 5145

Requisites: Requires prerequisite courses of PSYC 1001 and PSYC 2145 and PSYC 2111 and PSYC 3111 (all minimum grade C-).

Additional Information: Arts & Sci Gen Ed: Distribution-Natural Sciences

Course Goals

  1. …to analyze and apply concepts from cognitive psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience.
  2. …to help you develop your critical thinking, especially with respect to psychological questions, theories, and experiments.
  3. …to introduce the ways that cognitive psychologists (and other scientists interested in human cognition) systematically test their hypotheses about the world.

Course Overview

In this course, for each of the 10 course modules you’ll be assigned 1) 10 multiple choice questions based on readings, 2) a discussion board post, and 3) a set of questions that appear as you watch curated video assignments. You’ll also complete two timed sets of 50 questions. Finally, you’ll create 3 short (2-3 minute) videos. Short descriptions of each type of assignment are included here, with more detailed instructions on each specific assignment in Canvas.

For lab, you’ll use the statistical knowledge you gained in PSYC 2111 and PSYC 3111 to analyze and interpret patterns in various datasets. These include data from your own participation in classic cognitive psychology experiments and data you’ll collect in original research that you’ll design and implement with two other classmates. As you did in PSYC 3111, you’ll write up your original research in an APA-formatted paper. You’ll also create a video presentation of your research (Video 2). Finally, again in collaboration with two other classmates, you’ll write an APA-style review paper, synthesizing various cognitive psychology concepts, and real-world applications.

You’ll be responsible for engaging with course content, including reading, watching, and listening to all assigned materials. Office hours will be held online, and I will be otherwise responsive via email. After familiarizing yourself with the syllabus and course structure, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns, at any point during the course – I’m here to help!

Course Objectives

  1. Recall important terms from cognitive psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience.
  2. Describe differences in methodology and topical focus among the various subdisciplines that make up the modern fields of cognitive psychology and cognitive science.
  3. Apply understanding of evolution and natural selection to discuss human cognition.
  4. Apply understanding of homeostasis to discuss human cognition.
  5. Analyze human cognition at multiple levels of analysis.
  6. Analyze human cognition with dual-process theory.
  7. Evaluate controversial issues in cognitive science.
  8. Synthesize information presented in the course to create original educational content.
  9. Use multiple online technology platforms to complete course requirements.
  10. Conduct original research.
  11. Collect, analyze, and interpret data.

Required Materials

All materials for the course are available for free online. Certain of these materials are Open Educational Resources (OER), which means they were created to be free educational materials. All required materials are linked from the Course Outline/Schedule below, and from each individual assignment. The primary course texts are a collection of original research and review articles from scientific journals, and book chapters.

Grading Criteria

Class Points

Video Creation: 300 pts (3 * 100 pts)

Discussion Board Posts: 100 pts (10 * 10 pts)

Video Questions: 100 pts (10 * 10 pts)

Untimed Reading and Podcast Questions: 100 pts (10 * 10 pts)

Timed Questions: 100 pts (2 * 50 pts)

Lab Points

Synthesis Paper: 100 pts (1 * 100 pts)

Lab Assignments: 200 pts (8 * 25 pts)

Total: 1000 pts




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University of Colorado Boulder
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Boulder, Colorado