Advanced Cognitive Psychology 6190/7190
Fall 2016; M 6:00-9:00 PM; JH 234

Instructor: Dr. William Langston
Office: JH 348
Phone: 898-5489 (office)
Office Hours: 12-1 T, 2:30-3:30 W, drop in anytime, calling first is a good idea, email for appointments.
[Texts] [Course Description] [Responsibilities] [Grading] [Policies] [Calendar] [Reading List]
Any cognitive psychology text (I may have some to lend). You may be able to get by with the readings if you've already had cognitive.

Readings are available via doi (digital object identifier) (see reading list below).

Course Description:
In this course we will explore what goes on in the “black box” between stimulus and response. Loosely speaking, we will start with getting information into your mind, and we will follow its progress from there. We will spend a fair amount of time discussing the problems associated with trying to observe unobservable mental functions.

The plan (for each meeting):
1. Discuss the previous week's readings (related to the previous week's lecture topic). This part will commence with week 2. You will get to lead these discussions.

2. I discuss the current topic (a general overview) to prepare for the readings (discussed in the following week).

1. What is cognitive psychology (an overview of the areas and concerns)? What are the ways in which the information processing paradigm accurately describes what we do, and in what ways is it limiting?

2. How does science work (obviously, applied to psychology)? We'll look at a variety of articles and responses to see how data turn into ideas about cognition.

3. How does cognitive psychology fit into the discipline of psychology? We will focus primarily on social psychology due to its close connection (the social context surrounding cognition has been elevated to a unit on its own). Overall, I have made an effort to bridge the different units within cognitive psychology (by picking articles that can't easily be classified as one or the other). I've also chosen articles that connect to areas outside of cognitive when possible. The idea is to make sure we evaluate cognitive functioning in the context of the entire person.

4. How is cognitive psychology applied? What are the implications of research into attention, thinking, working memory, etc. for life? In addition to the connection to areas highlighted by social psychology, we will also look at educational implications.

5. Recent trends/latest data. Emphasis on the word recent, not "will be important" or "will stand the test of time," just what people are talking about right now. As you progress in your career, some of these ideas will fizzle out and some will show up as prominent. Hopefully, by looking at them now you will eventually be able to discern what is a trend (or even pathological science) as opposed to what will actually matter. (Note that development of this skill will take life experience.)
1. Exams: Exams in this class are an opportunity for you to have some fun and interact with the material. I will ask you to apply the core readings to problems or I will ask you to build bridges and make connections. We will have two exams spaced evenly throughout the semester. These will be take-home exams. Exams are worth 100 points each.
2. Optional final: You will have the option of completing a final exam. This exam has the same format as the other exams, but it will incorporate material from your presentations. The final will also be take-home. The final is worth 100 points.
3. Weekly Reaction Reports (WRRs): During the semester you will write at least 5 reports on topics that we are covering. These may be based on the assigned readings. Note that these are reaction reports, meaning that you are expected to critically evaluate the material being discussed, not write a book report. These reports give you an opportunity to talk back to the material, and to take some time to think about issues that come up in a more formal context. These reports are meant to assist you in making the transition from a consumer of information to a producer of it. It is in your best interest to turn in reaction papers as we go along, so you should plan on turning in only one per week (the paper doesn't have to "go with" the material being covered in a given week). Also, you should plan to complete your WRRs before the end of the semester so that we have a chance to discuss your ideas. WRRs may not exceed one typed, double-spaced page in length. WRRs are worth 10 points each. If you write more than 5, additional scores may be counted as extra credit. A brief presentation on a topic may be substituted for a WRR. Information on WRRs is available on the Advanced Cognitive Psychology page.

If you are enrolled in 7190, you owe me 10 WRRs, and at least two of those must be presentations.
4. Presentation: You will have the opportunity to present a research design to the class at the end of the semester. The presentation is worth 50 points. Ideally, this will be the description of a study you've designed (inspired by the course), and it could translate into a thesis or an actual research project. Again, as you make the transition from a consumer of information to a producer of information, you need opportunities to practice research design and opportunities to present those ideas to interested colleagues for feedback and discussion.

If you are in 7190, you owe me a formal write up of your presentation as a research proposal (intro and method sections).

5. Participation: This class is a seminar. Our conversations about the material are the class. So, it is important that you take advantage of the opportunity to participate. The activities that go into this portion include reading the assigned material, leading discussions, making contributions, and asking questions of other presenters. This component is worth 50 points.
Assignments: Description: Points:
2 @ 100 each

5 @ 10 each
50 (100 7190)


450 (500 7190)
Grading scale: >405 = A; >392 = B+; >374 = B; >360 = B-; >346 = C+; >328 = C; >315 = C-; >302 = D+; >284 = D; >270 = D-; >0 = F (choose the highest for which you qualify).

If you choose to make the final optional, take your total out of 350 (400 7190) points.
1. Attendance: In order to derive the maximum benefit from this course, you need to attend the class meetings. At times, you may have a problem making it to a class. In that case, please let me know that you will miss and we can make arrangements at that time. I will pass around a sign-up sheet every week. You may skype in or attend electronically occasionally if you need to, but you're on your own with the technology aspects of that.
2. Late policy: Please complete assignments on time. I have scheduled due dates in my courses to be staggered so that I can return grades in a timely manner. Please help me to keep the promise in number 3 below by turning in your assignments when they are due.
3. Grading guarantee (my late policy): Exams will be returned within one week of the exam date. Bonus points will be awarded at the rate of five points per incomplete exam per day until they are graded. Bonus points will be divided equally amongst all students with perfect attendance.
4. Missed exams: If you know in advance, please notify me to make arrangements. I will work with you to reschedule if you are forced to miss.
5. Course notes are available on the web at These notes explain my rationale for choosing each article and what I am hoping to get out of it. For background, check the notes for the regular cognitive course at The powerpoints in that course are the most up-to-date notes.
6. Drop deadlines: The last day to drop without a grade is September 4. The last day to drop is October 26 (you will receive some sort of grade). If you stay in the class after October 26, you will not be able to drop unless you experience a major tragedy or emergency. I am not the person who makes that determination. Incompletes will only be given if you have successfully completed the majority of the coursework and were prevented from finishing by a major tragedy or emergency.
7. Any student engaging in any form of academic misconduct will lose credit for the relevant assignment and will be subjected to the appropriate university proceedings.
8. If you experience problems in the course, see me. You’re welcome in my office anytime.
9. Reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities: If you require assistance or accommodation (e.g., testing, note-taking, etc.), or you have questions related to such accommodations, speak to me as soon as possible. Also, the Disability and Access Center (898-2783) can provide information about such accommodations. Additional information is here:
Meeting:  Topic: Notes:
Background/What is the cognitive psychology paradigm?
Discuss readings 1
Introduce pattern recognition/Perception/Imagery
9/5 H O L I D A Y Monday, 9/5
Discuss readings 2
Introduce attention
Discuss readings 3
Introduce working memory
Discuss readings 4
Introduce long term memory
Exam 1 (due 10/3)
Discuss readings 5
Introduce memory applications
F A L L  B R E A K Monday, 10/10

Discuss readings 6
Introduce cognition
Discuss readings 7
Introduce language
Discuss readings 8
Introduce the social context
Discuss readings 9
Introduce reasoning and problem solving
Exam 2 (due 11/14)
Discuss readings 10

Your presentations

Your presentations

12/5 Final exam -- Monday, 12/5, due by 9:00 PM
Please note: Some due dates and topics may shift to later dates. In no event will due dates be moved to an earlier date. We may not stick entirely to this schedule if interesting diversions come up along the way.
Reading List:
How to get the readings:

1. Most of the articles below are paired with a doi (digital object identifier). Clicking on the doi will link you to the article and allow you to download its pdf. Many of these articles will require payment to download unless you access them from MTSU. All of the articles with doi's below are free on campus through MTSU's subscriptions. Theoretically, the links on the doi's will take you to the article directly without any copying and pasting.

2. If you click a doi and are asked to pay for a pdf, go to the library's website and look up the article in the PsycInfo database. The full text feature there will link you to the pdf for free.

3. Some articles might be on eReserve at the library. For those, go to the course reserves and search this class.

4. Some articles are available from direct links.

5. I haven't thoroughly read most of these. So, there might be a dud in the mix. If we get a bad one, we can pivot.

If you have problems accessing any articles, please let me know ASAP.

Unit 1: Background/What is the cognitive psychoogy paradigm?/Methodology

  1. Piantadosi, S. T., & Jacobs, R. A. (2016). Four problems solved by the probabilistic language of thought. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25, 54-59.
  2. Busemeyer, J. R., & Wang, Z. (2015). What is quantum cognition, and how is it applied to psychology? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 163-169.
  3. Willingham, D. T., Hughes, E. M., & Dobolyi, D. G. (2015). The scientific status of learning styles theories. Teaching of Psychology, 42, 266-271.
  4. Simmons, J. P., Nelson, L. D., & Simonsohn, U. (2011). False-positive psychology: Undisclosed flexibility in data collection and analysis allows presenting anything as significant. Psychological Science, 22, 1359-1366.
  5. Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J. C., & Yap, A. J. (2015). Review and summary of research on the embodied effects of expansive (vs. contractive) nonverbal displays. Psychological Science, 26, 657-663.
  6. Simonsohn, U. (2015). Small telescopes: Detectability and the evaluation of replication results. Psychological Science, 26, 559-569.
  7. Patil, P., Peng, R. D., & Leek, J. T. (2016). What should researchers expect when they replicate studies? A statistical view of replicability in psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 539-544.

Unit 2: Pattern recognition/Perception/Imagery

  1. Hoffman, D. D. (2016). The interface theory of perception. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25, 157-161.
  2. Dunning, D., & Balcetis, E. (2013). Wishful seeing: How preferences shape visual perception. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22, 33-37.
  3. Harvie, D. S., Broecker, M., Smith, R. T., Meulders, A., Madden, V. J., & Moseley, G. L. (2015). Bogus visual feedback alters onset of movement evoked pain in people with neck pain. Psychological Science, 26, 385-392.
  4. Zhao, M., & Warren, W. H. (2015). How you get there from here: Interaction of visual landmarks and path integration in human navigation. Psychological Science, 26, 915-924.
  5. Cunningham, C. A. & Egeth, H. E. (2016). Taming the white bear: Initial costs and eventual benefits of distractor inhibition. Psychological Science, 27, 476-485.
Unit 3: Attention
  1. Kunar, M. A., Carter, R., Cohen, M., & Horowitz, T. S. (2008). Telephone conversation impairs sustained visual attention via a central bottleneck. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 1135-1140.
  2. Sanbonmatsu, D. M., Strayer, D. L., Biondi, F., Behrends, A. A., & Moore, S. M. (2016). Cell-phone use diminishes self-awareness of impaired driving. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23, 617-623.
  3. Chen, H., & Wyble, B. (2015). Amnesia for object attributes: Failure to report attended information that had just reached conscious awareness. Psychological Science, 26, 203-210.
  4. Castelhano, M. S., & Witherspoon, R. L. (2016). How you use it matters: Object function guides attention during visual search in scenes. Psychological Science, 27, 606-621.
  5. Augustinova, M., & Ferrand, L. (2014). Automaticity of word reading: Evidence from the semantic stroop paradigm. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 343-348.
  6. Besner, D., Risko, E. F., Stolz, J. A., White, D., Reynolds, M., O'Malley, S., & Robidouz, S. (2016). Varieties of attention: Their roles in visual word identification. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25, 162-168.
Unit 4: Working memory
  1. Vandierendonck, A. (2016). A working memory system with distributed executive control. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 74-100.
  2. Melby-Lervag, M., Redick, T. S., & Hulme, C. (2016). Working memory training does not improve performance on measures of intelligence or other measures of "far transfer": Evidence from a meta-analytic review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 512-534.
  3. Unsworth, N., Redick, T. S., McMillan, B. D., Hambrick, D. Z., Kane, M. J., & Engle, R. W. (2015). Is playing video games related to cognitive abilities? Psychological Science, 26, 759-774.
  4. Ashcraft, M. H., & Krause, J. A. (2007). Working memory, math performance, and math anxiety. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14, 243-248.
  5. Wu, Y. C., & Coulson, S. (2015). Iconic gestures facilitate discourse comprehension in individuals with superior immediate memory for body configurations. Psychological Science, 26, 1717-1727.

Unit 5: Long term memory

  1. Cepeda, N. J., Vul, E., Rohrer, D., Wixted, J. T., & Pashler, H. (2008). Spacing effects in learning: A temporal ridgeline of optimal retention. Psychological Science, 19, 1095-1102.
  2. Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger, H. L. (2008). The critical importance of retrieval for learning. Science, 319, 966-968.
  3. Soderstrom, N. C., Kerr, T. K., & Bjork, R. A. (2016). The critical importance of retrieval--and spacing--for learning. Psychological Science, 27, 223-230.
  4. Norby, S. (2015). Why forget? On the adaptive value of memory loss. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, 551-578.
  5. Jonker, T. R., Seli, P., & MacLeod, C. M. (2015). Retrieval-induced forgetting and context. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 273-278.
  6. Koppel, J., & Rubin, D. C. (2016). Recent advances in understanding the reminiscence bump: The importance of cues in guiding recall from autobiographical memory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25, 135-140.
  7. Nairne, J. S., & Pandeirada, J. N. S. (2016). Adaptive memory: The evolutionary significance of survival processing. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 496-511.

Unit 6: Memory applications

  1. Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students' learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14, 4-58.
  2. Roediger, H. L., III, & Pyc, M. A. (2012). Inexpensive techniques to improve education: Applying cognitive psychology to enhance educational practice. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1, 242-248.
  3. Mayer, R. E. (2012). Advances in applying the science of learning to education: An historical perspective. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1, 249-250.
  4. Daniel, D. B. (2012). Promising principles: Translating the science of learning to educational practice. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1, 251-253.
  5. Dunlosky, J., & Rawson, K. A. (2012). Despite their promise, there's still a lot to learn about techniques that support durable learning. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1, 254-256.
  6. Kornell, N., Rabelo, V. C., & Klein, P. J. (2012). Tests enhance learning--Compared to what? Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1, 257-259.
  7. Pellegrino, J. W. (2012). From cognitive principles to instructional practices: The devil is often in the details. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1, 260-262.
  8. Roediger, H. L., III, & Pyc, M. A. (2012). Applying cognitive psychology to education: Complexities and prospects. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1, 263-265.

Unit 7: Cognition

  1. Leopold, C., & Leutner, D. (2015). Improving students’ science text comprehension through metacognitive self-regulation when applying learning strategies. Metacognition Learning, 10, 313-346.
  2. Uttal, D. H., Miller, D. I., & Newcombe, N. S. (2013). Exploring and enhancing spatial thinking: Links to achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22, 367-373.
  3. Stieff, M., Ryu, M., Dixon, B., & Hegarty, M. (2012). The role of spatial ability and strategy preference for spatial problem solving in organic chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education, 89, 854-859.
  4. Matthews, P. G., Lewis, M. R., & Hubbard, E. M. (2016). Individual differences in nonsymbolic ratio processing predict symbolic math performance. Psychological Science, 27, 191-202.
  5. Biggs, A. T., Cain, M. S., & Mitroff, S. R. (2015). Cognitive training can reduce civilian casualties in a simulated shooting environment. Psychological Science, 26, 1164-1176.
  6. Woolley, A. W., Aggarwal, I., & Malone, T. W. (2015). Collective intelligence and group performance. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 420-424.
  7. Pennycook, G., Fugelsang, J. A., & Koehler, D. J. (2015). Everyday consequences of analytical thinking. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 425-432.
Unit 8: Language
  1. Ziegler, J. C. et al. (2010). Orthographic depth and its impact on universal predictors of reading: A cross-language investigation. Psychological Science, 21, 551-559.
  2. Montag, J. L., Jones, M. N., & Smith, L. B. (2015). The words children hear: Picture books and the statistics for language learning. Psychological Science, 26, 1489-1496.
  3. Rapp, B., Fischer-Baum, S., & Miozzo, M. (2015). Modality and morphology: What we write may not be what we say. Psychological Science, 26, 892-902.
  4. Snefjella, B., & Kuperman, V. (2015). Concreteness and psychological distance in natural language use. Psychological Science, 26, 1449-1460.
  5. Lupyan, G., & Clark, A. (2015). Words and the world: Predictive coding and the language-perception-cognition interface. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 279-284.
Unit 9: The social context
  1. Maloney, E. A., Ramirez, G., Gunderson, E. A., Levine, S. C., & Beilock, S. L. (2015). Intergenerational effects of parents' math anxiety on children's math achievement and anxiety. Psychological Science, 26, 1480-1488.
  2. Halkjelsvik, T., & Rise, J. (2015). Persistence motives in irrational decisions to complete a boring task. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 90-102.
  3. FeldmanHall, O., Raio, C. M., Kubota, J. T., Seiler, M. G., & Phelps, E. A. (2015). The effects of social context and acute stress on decision making under uncertainty. Psychological Science, 26, 1918-1926.
  4. Coman, A., & Berry, J. N. (2015). Infectious cognition: Risk perception affects socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting of medical information. Psychological Science, 26, 1965-1971.
Unit 10: Reasoning and problem solving
  1. Rattan, A., Savani, K., Chugh, D., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). Leveraging mindsets to promote academic achievement: Policy recommendations. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, 721-726.
  2. Alibali, M. W., Spencer, R. C., Knox, L., & Kita, S. (2011). Spontaneous gestures influence strategy choices in problem solving. Psychological Science, 22, 1138-1144.
  3. Dieguez, S., Wagner-Egger, P., & Gauvrit, N. (2015). Nothing happens by accident, or does it? A low prior for randomness does not explain belief in conspiracy theories. Psychological Science, 26, 1762-1770.
  4. Hertwig, R., & Engel, C. (2016). Homo ignorans: Deliberately choosing not to know. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 359-372.

Advanced Cognitive Psychology Syllabus
Will Langston
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