Advanced Cognitive Psychology
Professor: Dr. George Gonzalez, Ph.D.
COURSE OVERVIEW: In this course, you will be introduced to the field of advanced cognitive psychology, as we investigate the mechanisms of human thinking. Cognitive Psychology is the scientific study of mental processes; that is, the processes by which we acquire, store, transform, and use information. The main topics in this field are pattern recognition, attention, memory, knowledge, judgment, decision making, and problem-solving. What changes occur in thinking and problem solving with the development of expertise? Important topics considered include: perception, attention, consciousness, memory, meaning - based mental representations and imagery, language, thinking and reasoning, problem solving, and the nature of expertise. Students will learn the different ways of psychologists conceptualization of the topics comprising cognitive psychology, relating cognition to behavior. Relevant are questions about the nature of emotion and consciousness, and relations between mind, brain, and behavior. We'll cover basic mental processes such as how our brains let us “see” the world, how our perceptions depend on our current state of attention, and how memories can change over time. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the contemporary field of cognitive psychology, its key questions, methods, findings, debates, and proposed models and theories. How is information represented in the different components, and how does form of representation affect inference, thinking, and problem solving? As we seek to better understand the human mind, we’ll discuss language abilities and the mental representation of concepts and schemas. How is the mind designed that allows it to function so well in the everyday world? To what extent does the mind have both modular and general purpose components? What might be the advantages and disadvantages of this form of design? We’ll look at mistakes that people make, from simple visual illusions to errors in higher-level decision-making.