Honors | Quick and Dirty Mental Operations (HON)
H241 | 29013 | Leah Savion
Our survival (and the good life) depends on effective gathering of
huge amounts of information, adequate processing, fast learning, and
controlling the environment to secure predictability and adjustment.
Our brain selects what to attend to, categorize and integrate
perceptual input, makes inferences, establishes emotional and
physical reactions to environmental cues, and activating all other
systems (affective, behavioral, and physiological) with staggering
speed and efficiency. These cognitive feats are executed extremely
quickly and accurately with the help of mental short-cuts
The concept of cognitive heuristics has caught on fire recently,
infiltrating areas such as economics, music, ethics, social
behavior, perception, problem solving, legal reasoning,
categorization, rationality, mental health, attention and
learning,and even some self-help literature. This course presents
students with an opportunity to investigate this relatively new and
highly useful theoretical construct, from its conceptual analysis to
theoretical and pragmatic applications of its models to self-
awareness as a cognitive agent.
The reading materials for the honors version of this course consist
of the course packet, written by the instructor and original papers
by philosophers, cognitive scientists, and social scientists, that
will be available on “Oncourse."
(i) A guided research material assembled by students for their team
projects, on topics in cognitive science,sociology, philosophy,
animal cognition, legal reasoning, economics,or linguistic.
(ii) Selected focused material for each student for final thesis
(iii) Educational videos on belief perseverance, scientific
frameworks,development, fallibility of eyewitness testimony, and
cognitive gender differences.
(iv) Experiments and interviews to illuminate and analyze
misconceptions,biases, and the sources of belief perseverance.
(v) International folk dancing, Gumboot dancing, outdoor tennis,
racket-ball, and kickboxing.