P335 Cognitive Psychology, Prof. John K. Kruschke
Fall 2000, Section 3789, Tu & Th 11:15-12:30, PY 109


This schedule will be frequently updated as the course progresses, so check back often for new information. In the lists of readings, "Action" refers to the textbook Cognition in Action by Smyth et al., and "Disorders" refers to the textbook Cognitive Psychology: Processes and Disorders by Groome et al.

The course schedule is divided into four parts:
Part I: Perception Part II: Memory Part III: Language Part IV: Reasoning

Part I: Perception and Attention.
TextbookChap. Topic
Disorders 1 Introduction
Action 1 Face recognition
Action 3 Categorization
Action 5 Attention and automaticity
Disorders 2 Perception and attention
Disorders 3 Disorders of perception
and attention
Homework 1: Models of Categorization,
due Thursday 14 September.
EXAM 1: Thursday 21 September.

Week 1, Tu: Syllabus. Definition of cognitive psychology. The computer metaphor and levels of explanation. Inferring hidden mental states (the black box problem).

Week 1, Th: All well-specified theories of cognitive phenomena posit representations and processes. Perception is an inference, a construction, from ambiguous sensory information (even perception of cinnamon rolls). Constancies and context effects.

Week 2, Tu: Templates, features and structures in representations and in celebrity face recognition. Marr's theory of vision as an example of what a thorough theory of vision should entail.

Week 2, Th: Context effects: Bottom up and top down. Context effect in face perception. Natural categories. Introduction to Homework 1 (models of categorization).

Week 3, Tu: Concept and category learning. Analogy of concept learning with scientific method. Models of categorization (rules, prototypes or exemplars). Continued discussion of Homework 1 (models of categorization).

Week 3, Th: Homework 1 due. Attention and feature integration. A card trick. Visual search experiments. Failure of feature integration from brain damage.

Week 4, Tu: Discussion of exam format. More about brain damage and implications of double dissociation. Attention and automaticity. Conclusion to Part I: Perception is an active, constructive process of inference based on ambiguous stimuli.

Week 4, Th: EXAM 1.

Part II: Memory.
TextbookChap. Topic
Action 6 Short term memory
Action 9 Long term memory
Action 10Autobiographical memory
Action 11Spatial memory
Disorders 4 Memory
Disorders 5 Disorders of memory
Homework 2: Blocking of associative learning,
due Thursday 12 October.
EXAM 2: Thursday 19 October.

Some very memorable web sites:

Week 5, Tu: Short term memory: Duration (without rehearsal); scanning (serial exhaustive search?); capacity ("chunks"). Expertise might be only (10,000 hours of) practice.

Week 5, Th: Working memory: phonological loop and visuo-spatial sketchpad. Serial position curves: primacy and recency effects. Phonological loop and the recency effect. Interference in the visuo-spatial sketchpad. Depth of processing and elaboration. Encoding specificity, state dependency,

Week 6, Tu: Depth of processing vs. elaborative encoding. From encoding to retrieval: Transfer appropriate processing. The cognitive interview. Between encoding and retrieval: Storage. Eye witness testimony with video demo.

Week 6, Th: Introduction to Homework 2. We remember what we attend to (and we don't attend equally to everything). False memories.

Week 7, Tu: Discussion of Homework 2. Direct and indirect tests of memory.

Week 7, Th: Homework 2 due. Explicit and implicit memory. Schematization of memory. Imagery and memory, including interactive imagery in advertising.

Week 8, Tu: Mental imagery, mental maps. The London Underground. Imagistic vs. symbolic representation in a maze-running demo. Three themes of memory: selectively encoded; bound with context; inferentially reconstructed.

Week 8, Th: Exam 2.

Part III: Language.
TextbookChap. Topic
Action 2 Word recognition
Action 7 Speech
Action 8 Comprehension
Disorders 8 Language
Disorders 9 Disorders of language
Homework 3: Template model of pattern
, due Thursday 2 November.
EXAM 3: Tuesday 14 November.

Week 9, Tu: Language as a hallmark of intelligence: The Turing test and ELIZA. Examples of ambiguity in newspaper headlines. Language is active inference about ambiguous stimuli, at every level: Phonemic, orthographic, lexemic, syntactic, semanatic, narrative, etc.

Week 9, Th: Introduction to Homework 3. Reading: Eye movements, reading speed, direct and indirect routes from text to meaning.

Week 10, Tu: Speech perception: The acoustics of speech. Speech production: Systematic pauses and systematic errors (such as Spoonerisms) imply underlying structure in speech production.

Week 10, Th: Homework 3 due. Language comprehension. Finding the words in a continuous speech stream. Finding the underlying syntax. Using background knowledge and making inferences. The language of implication in advertising. An example of ambiguity in language: Roger and Elaine.

Week 11, Tu: Language and the brain. National Aphasia Association. The brain-localization approach: Broca's and Wernicke's areas. The functional approach: Multiple boxes and arrows. Dissociations of sounds, words, meaning, and syntax.

Week 11, Th: A connectionist model of reading aloud. Deficits in understanding theme. Integration of cues in language comprehension: The McGurk effect (this linked demo shows the gist, but doesn't work very well, unfortunately). Integrating expression and words in the president's speech. Conclusion: Language is inference from ambiguous information.

Week 12, Tu: Exam 3.


Part IV: Reasoning.
TextbookChap. Topic
Action 12Reasoning
Action 13Decision making
Disorders 6 Thinking
Disorders 7 Disorders of thinking
Homework 4: Model of information
, due Tuesday 5 December.
EXAM 4 (Final):
Tuesday 12 December, 8:00-10:00 am.

Some notes and web links for Part IV (to be expanded - check back frequently):

Week 12, Th: (Cancelled.)

Week 13, Tu: Problem solving. Some real-world examples. Some amazing anagrams. General framework for problem solving. The importance of representation in problem solving. Processes in human problem solving: Hill climbing and means-ends analysis.

Week 13, Th: (Thanksgiving recess.)

Week 14, Tu: Intro to Homework 4. Representational desiderata. Some other desiderata for solving life's problems. Algorithm and heuristics for getting through a maze. (A maze in which hill-climbing fails but working backwards succeeds.) Problem solving heuristics: Means-end analysis, hill-climbing, analogy. Mental "set".

Week 14, Th: Disorders of thinking and problem solving. Links regarding Phineas Gage.

Week 15, Tu: Homework 4 due. Reasoning and decision making. Expected value. Examples in which human preferences violate expected value. Prospect theory. Regret. Heuristics for probability estimation: Availability, Representativeness, Anchoring and adjustment. Role of feelings in decisions, including the sad case of Phineas Gage.

Week 15, Th: Video: The Thinking Machine. (The latest about CYC.) Concluding comments.