Psychology 427

Cognitive Processes

Spring 2010


Class Time: 11:00 12:15, T-Th

Location: 301 Barker Hall


Lab Time: 3 - 4:50, M

306B Funkhouser

Lab TA: Will Seidelman


Professor: Lawrence R. Gottlob

Office: 207N Kastle Hall

Mailbox: 111A Kastle Hall

Phone: 257-2280


Office Hours: M 1 - 3 or by appointment.

Course website (bookmark it):

Department Phone: 257-9640


Course Description

This course will present in-depth treatments of many topics in cognitive psychology, with some attention paid to cognitive neuroscience. Cognition has been defined as the collection of processes by which sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used (Neisser, 1967). Cognitive Neuroscience has been defined as the study of the neural underpinnings of mental phenomena. In the lecture section of this course, we will start with lower-level processes (e.g., perception) and work our way up to higher-level processes (e.g., reasoning). In the laboratory section, we will explore the experimental techniques that underlie the various theories.


Course Materials

Textbook: Goldstein, E. Bruce. (2007). Cognitive Psychology (2nd ed.) Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Includes a CogLab workbook and free access to CogLab Online. You must buy the 2nd edition bundle from the bookstore!


For most weeks, there will be readings from the textbook and workbook. There will also be a few supplemental readings; these will be made available at least 1 week before the date they will be needed. It is expected that students will read the required material before the class in which the material is discussed.


For many of the reading assignments, we will spend some time in class to preview important terms and concepts. There will be about 600 pages of reading in this course, which works out to 40 or so pages per week. I encourage you to bring your book to class.


Course Organization

The lecture section will be worth 350 points, and the lab 150 points. The lab must be passed (>60%) in order to pass the course. There will be 500 points possible in the course, and final grades will be based on the 70-80-90 scale. Test grades may be curved to the advantage of the students.


There will be three exams, including a final. Each exam will count for 100 points. Exams will include material from readings and lectures. Questions will be multiple choice or short answer. Make-ups for missed exams will only be offered in the case of a university-approved excuse, properly documented (see fine print below).


In addition, there will be 6-10 brief in-class writing assignments that will total to 50 points. Each assignment will be pre-announced in class and on the website (i.e., there will be no pop quizzes), and will consist primarily of short-answer questions related to the readings. The assignments will be (leniently) graded on a 5-point scale (0-4) and will be summed and scaled to 50 points at the end of the semester. You will get to drop your lowest score. If a student misses class the day of an assignment, he/she will be allowed to make it up only in the case of a university-approved excuse.


Written attendance will be taken at the beginning of class. After 4 unexcused absences, each unexcused absence will result in a 5-point deduction from the final grade (out of the 500). Those who miss fewer than 3 classes will receive a 5-point bonus. This attendance policy will be modified in the event of an H1N1 epidemic.


The laboratory is an integral part of the course; as stated above, it will not be possible to pass the course if the lab is failed. The laboratory assignments will consist mostly of experimental verifications of principles covered in the readings. You will collect and analyze experimental data, write up lab reports, and cover other topics related to the lecture portion. For some of the labs, you will actually run experiments and collect data using computers. For other labs, data will be provided for writing up. Some lab time will be devoted to constructing APA-style write-ups of lab results, although only the core features of APA style will be emphasized. Lab time may also be allotted to working on your write-ups with the guidance of the lab instructor. Lab attendance is mandatory; it will not be possible to pass the lab with more than 2 unexcused absences. More details on the lab will be provided by the lab TA at the first meeting.


Tentative Schedule

The schedule below is subject to slight modification; I will notify the class of all changes in assignments. Most of the extra readings are listed, but an up-to-date list will always be on the website. The timing of the exams will not be changed.


Class Dates






Jan 14

Introduction to Cognitive Psychology


Jan 19, 21


Chap 1, Chap 2

Jan 26, 28



Feb 2, 4

Perception & Pattern Recognition

Chap 3

Feb 9, 11


Chap 4




Feb 16, 18

Memory I

Chap 5

Feb 23, 25

Memory II

Chap 6 (Exam 1 2/25)

Mar 2, 4

Memory III

Chap 7

Mar 9, 11


other readings


Mar 16, 18


(spring break)


Mar 23, 25


Chap 8

Mar 30, Apr 1

Visual Imagery

Chap 9

Apr 6, 8


Chap 10 (Exam 2 4/8)




Apr 13, 15

Cognitive Aging, Individual Differences


Apr 20, 22

Reasoning & Decision Making

Chaps 11, 12

Apr 27, 29

Consciousness, Emotion

Articles and workbook chapters



Final Exam 5/4, 10:30 a.m





Fine Print

Policies with regard to attendance, plagiarism, and any other matter of student conduct will refer to the standards expressed in the statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities ( A statement on plagiarism may be found here: 

Excused Absences: S.R. defines the following as acceptable reasons
for excused absences:
1) serious illness;
2) illness or death of family member;
3) University-related trips;
4) major religious holidays;
5) other circumstances you find to be "reasonable cause for nonattendance."
Students anticipating an absence for a major religious holiday are responsible for notifying the instructor in writing of anticipated absences due to their observance of such holidays no later than the last day for adding a class. Information regarding dates of major religious holidays may be obtained through the religious liaison, Mr. Jake Karnes (257-2754).
Plagiarism (S.R 6.3.1) or cheating (S.R. 6.3.2) will be cause for receiving a 0 on the assignment/test, and may result in receiving a 0 for the class.


Any request for special accommodations due to physical or learning disabilities should adhere to the standards established by the Disability Resource Center (257-2754).