Cognition (305:02, Prof. Feldman, Spring 2017)

Course: Cognition (Psychology 305:02, Index number 14788)                                                                 

Professor: Jacob Feldman, A125, Busch Psychology Annex (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., website) and possibly guest lecturers.

Class time and place: Mondays and Thursdays, 10:20am—11:40am, SEC 118

Readings: There is no textbook for this course. Readings are posted below, with links to Sakai. Additional readings may be assigned over the course of the semester and posted on Sakai. 

Sakai page:  link

      Additional readings will be posted in Resources on the Sakai site, and linked below. 

Professor's office hours: Mondays 2-3pm, Room A125, Room Psychology (Busch) Addition. Best to email me if you plan to visit.

Teaching Assistant: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Office hours: Tuesdays 9-10am, Psych A134.

Exams and grading

  1. (25% of grade) On-line quizzes: Sakai quizzes will be given weekly.
    Quizzes are 45 minutes long, and will be available on-line Fridays 7am - 8pm. (See rules below.)
  2. (25% of grade) Midterm: Thursday, March 2, in class
  3. (10% of grade) Written assignments: Two brief essays (5% each) will be assigned over the course of the term. 
  4. (35% of grade) Final exam: Monday, May 8, 8-11am, SEC 118. The final exam is cumulative. All material from the entire class is fair game, although the exam will emphasize the material after the midterm. Students arriving after 8:45am will not be allowed to take the exam. 



Slides will be posted after each class, but not before, and are often incomprehensible if you weren't at class. Regular attendance is essential to doing well in this course!

“Graduation insurance.” If this is your last semester and you need to pass this course in order to graduate on time, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you don’t ask before the midterm, “graduation insurance” will not be offered. 

Final grades are final. Once grades are assigned after the final exam, grade changes will not be considered. Don’t even ask. If you are having trouble with the material before that, email me or come to office hours. 

Academic integrity. Cheating and other violations of academic integrity will not be tolerated in this course. The university’s policy on academic integrity can be found here.

Weather alerts. If there is bad weather (e.g., snow or threat of snow), class may be canceled, even if the university remains open. If so, I will send an email to the entire class. So if you suspect bad weather please check your email before coming to class. 


Schedule of topics (dates approximate)






Jan. 19   Welcome    
Jan. 23, 26   The mind as a machine   Whitman, Ch. 1
Jan. 30, Feb. 2   Roots of cognitive psychology   Turing (1950); Pinker, The Blank Slate, Ch. 1
Feb. 6, 9   Neuroscience   Friedenberg & Silverman, ch. 6; Quiroga et al. article
Feb. 13, 16, 20   Perception   Goldstein, ch. 5
Feb. 23, 27   Attention   Revlin, ch. 2
Mar. 2   MIDTERM    
Mar. 6, 9   Memory   Kellogg, ch. 4; Henry Molaison
Mar. 13, 16    - Spring break -     
Mar. 20, 23   Knowledge   Kellogg, ch. 5
Mar. 27, 30   Concepts and Categories   Smith: Categorization
Apr. 3, 6   Language   Reed, ch. 10; Wynne: Aping Language
Apr. 10, 13   Language (cont.)   -  
Apr. 17, 20   Reasoning & Decision Making   Sternberg & Sternberg, ch. 12
Apr. 24, 27   Reasoning & Decision Making (cont.)   -
May 1   Review Session    

Final: Final exam: Monday, May 8, 8-11am, SEC 118 (35% of grade)


Rules for on-line quizzes

1. Quizzes are open-book. You may consult your class notes, textbook, or other non-class sources. 

2. However, your answers must be your own. You must not communicate in any way, shape or form with other humans during the period the quiz is open. No other students may be in the room with you when you work on the quiz. 

3. You may not share the questions with anyone else after seeing them. That includes any method of communication: verbal, text, phone, semaphore, smoke signals, etc. Once you know the questions, keep them to yourself. 

4. Once you open the quiz, you have 45 minutes to finish.

5. Makeups are available for documented medical problems or work conflicts only. You must let me know about the problem before the quiz closes


Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Which is more important, the lectures or the readings?

A: The lectures are my best attempt to explain the material I think is important. The readings supplements the lectures. They are both fair game for exams, but the lectures are better guide to what will be on the exams. But be advised that if you do not do the reading you wilil not do well in this class.


Q. Do you post the slides?

A. Yes. I post the lecture slides after class, but not before. However the slides are sometimes very sketchy, and you will not really be able to understand them if you haven’t attended class. 


Q: Do I have to come to class?

A. You are an adult; make your own choices. But if you don’t come to class, you have little chance of getting better than a D. You can’t realistically do well in this class without attending regularly. I take attendance once in a while so I have a sense of who’s showing up.


Q. Do I have to do the reading?

A. You an adult; make your own choices. But if you don’t do the reading, you will not do very well in this class.


Q: Will [insert topic, fact, phenomenon] be on the exam?

A. Maybe. I try to test ideas I think are important. Most questions on exams are about “big ideas.” But naturally the questions range in importance from broad concepts to narrower facts and terms. Everything taught in the course is fair game. But the more important it is, the more likely it is to be on the exams. The lectures are my best attempt to explain what I think is important.


Q. Any other rules I should know about?

A. No cell phones visible in class. Really. Computers and tablets are ok for note-taking only. Facebooking, texting, instagramming, watching Netflix, etc are distracting and disrespectful to the other students. 


Q: Is the final exam cumulative?

A. Yes. The midterm will cover everything from the beginning of the course until the midterm. The final exam will cover everything from the beginning of the course until the end of the course, drawing heavily from material from the second half of the course. .