Honors | Quick and Dirty Mental Operations (HON)
H205 | 14450 | Leah Savion

MW 8:00-9:15am

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
called ˇ§heuristicsˇ¨.

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 four sources:
i. The course packet, written by the instructor (see table of
contents attached)
ii. Eight original papers by philosophers, cognitive scientists, and
social scientists, will be made available on ˇ§Oncourseˇ¨
iii. Guided research material assembled by students for their team
iv. Selected focused material for each studentˇ¦s treasure-hunt and
final thesis

Micro-thematic team presentation: in-depth analysis of some
aspect of the material covered in the course packet or in the
original papers.

Treasure Hunt and final research paper: individual
presentation of issues not (sufficiently) covered in class; paper
with an original thesis or synthesis is due in the last week of

Team project/presentation of researched topic in cognitive
science, sociology, philosophy, animal cognition, legal reasoning,
economics, or linguistic. Team papers are due a week after class

Educational videos on belief perseverance, scientific
frameworks, development, fallibility of eyewitness testimony, and
cognitive gender differences.

Experiments and interviews to illuminate and analyze
misconceptions, biases, and the sources of belief perseverance.

International folk dancing, outdoor tennis, racket-ball, and

FINAL GRADE is calculated roughly as follows:
20% Contribution to class discussions
10% Individual and group assignments
20% Four micro-thematic presentation
20% Team project and team paper
10% Treasure hunt presentation
20% Final paper

Grade Scale: A:93-100; A-:90-92; B+:87-89; B:83-86; B-:80-82; C+:77-
79; C:73-76; C-:70-72; D+:67-69; D:63-66; D-:60-62; F: <60.
Plagiarism is treated according to university guideline: