Cognitive Psychology Page
Professor Will Langston
[Syllabus]  [Notes]  [CogLab]  [Exam Essay Questions]  [Links]  [WRRs]

Messages 5/3/18
  • The class is complete
NOTE: Unit quizzes will be posted in D2L as we go along. I will note in each unit if a quiz is available.
Syllabus [Top]
Course Notes Course notes, powerpoints, and demonstrations: (NOTE:  You are encouraged to review the notes before class. To keep it fresh, and not spoil the demonstrations, maybe wait to review the demonstrations until after class.)
CogLab We will do at least one CogLab exercise most weeks.  You will need CogLab with online access code. You can buy the online only version here (recommended):
  • To set up, go to the instructions page for our class: StudentInstructions.html
  • You should print the instructions and follow the steps to set up your account.
  • Once you have an account, you can participate in experiments.
  • To participate, go to
  • Choose the experiment and follow the instructions.
CogLab experiments need to be completed before class each week.  I will use your data as part of the lecture for the week. 

Exam Essays Everyone should submit an essay question for each exam.  Here are the properties of a good question:
  • Integrate material from more than one section of the class.
  • Have a clear answer (it should take some thinking to get the answer, but at least one obviously correct answer should exist).
  • It should take around one page of typed, double-spaced essay to answer well (it can take less as long as it meets the other criteria; it should not take more).  You're not actually giving me the answer, just the question.
  • Copying notes or book material should not be a sufficient answer, it should engage you in thinking about the material.
  • Here is a sample take-home question to give you a guide.
  • Submit a question by the beginning of the class before the exam (put "cognitive psychology exam essay question" in the subject line of your email).
  • I will pick 7 (I reserve the right to edit) and post those below.
  • If none of the questions address the final unit before each exam, I will pad with questions addressing that unit; that will reduce the number of student essays picked.
  • If I pick your question, you get 5 bonus points.
  • This part is intended to be take home. You complete all 7 before the exam, 3 are on the exam. Those 3 will be turned in. You should bring completed essays with you.
  • The final will have all of the essays in the set of potential questions, and I will pick 4. At least 2 of those will be from the last unit. In other words, if you do all 7 each time, 2 of the left-overs can be used on the final.
  • The best answers (determined at my sole discretion) will get 5 bonus points. You may get bonus points for answering your own question.
These are unclickable until it's exam time.
  • Exam 1 take-home essays: pdf
    • Exam 1 study guide: pdf
  • Exam 2 take-home essays: pdf
    • Exam 2 study guide
  • Final take-home essays: pdf
    • Final study guide: pdf
Links Some visual/perceptual illusions can be found at: and
Illusion of the year contest:
Dancer: (thanks to Carolyn Hopper)

Human factors and design.  Here's a nice sentence diagramming problem for those who enjoy these sorts of things. 
Fans of spelling, etc. will enjoy this straight dope column on letter frequencies (with a "swiss cheese holes are bacteria farts" bonus). 
For the "Can you raed this?" text, here is a pretty good discussion of problems with the hypothesis.

Conditionals and biconditionals:
Suggest a link:  Email me
Reaction Papers I will only accept papers sent via email. Name your paper YourlastnameWRR#. For example, my third paper would be LangstonWRR3. (It will end in .doc or .docx) I can't return papers to non-MTSU email addresses, so please send your report from your MTSU email address.
Remember, reactions are the amount of material that will fit on a one page, double-spaced, typed document.  Part of the exercise is for you to get right to your point and justify it briefly.  Sources are open, but I'd prefer some element of empirical research.  So, if you see something in the newspaper and want to react to it, try to track down the original research.  Or, find some research that supports or refutes the information in the newspaper and discuss that.  Show me that you're thinking, include some cognitive stuff, and read some of the primary literature and I will be pleased.  You may also use CogLab as a source for ideas.
What will get me excited about a reaction paper: 
  • React based on something else you've learned in the class ("when we discussed language, you said...but this article said..." or "here's another example of..."). Bring things together in a new and interesting way.
  • React based on something you know about your area of psychology that relates to Cognitive Psychology.
  • How does this idea lead to new research questions?
  • Make me say "this person is insane, but that's a really cool idea." Explore absurd places to take the research.
What won't get me excited about a reaction paper: 
  • "This article was really easy/hard to read/understand."
  • A personal anecdote; overturning data with an anecdote
  • "There were only five participants in the study which seems like too few." I don't want a showboating critique, talk to me about ideas.
  • Two pages of summary followed by "I really liked this article."
  • A "reflection." In fact, calling it a reflection report will piss me off.
Remember:  If you choose an article that I decide to incorporate in the class notes in the future, I will give you extra points (at least two, maybe more if it's really good).

What are the evaluation criteria for a reaction report? "But, what is the comment?"

Here's a model reaction paper.


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