Cognitive Psychology
Spring, 2014; 6:00-9:00 R, COE 153

Instructor:  Dr. William Langston
Office:  JH 348
Phone:  898-5489 (office)
Office Hours:  12-1 T, 3-4 W, drop in anytime, calling first is a good idea, email for appointments.
[Text] [Description] [Responsibilities] [Grading] [Policies] [Calendar]
Required Texts:
Reed, S. K.  (2010).  Cognition:  Theory and applications (8th Ed.).  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth. (somewhat optional)
Francis, G., & Neath, I. (2007). CogLab (Online with access code v2.0, 4th Ed.).  Belmont, CA: Thompson. (mandatory). Purchase your access code here; set up your account by following the CogLab instructions on the Cognitive Psychology page.
Course Description:
In this course we will discuss human cognition.  Roughly, we will begin with low-level processes (inputting information, pattern recognition) and work our way up to higher level processes (language, thinking).  We will also discuss applications of the basic research in cognitive psychology.

You will do CogLab exercises every week that will be incorporated into the lecture and discussion.
Course Responsibilities:
1.  Exams:  We will have two exams spaced evenly throughout the semester.  These exams will not necessarily be cumulative.  Each exam will consist of an in-class section, and an essay section prepared outside of class.  Exams are worth 100 pts. each.
2.  Final:  There will be a final with a comprehensive take-home portion and an in-class portion covering material since the last exam.  The final is worth 150 pts.
3.  WRRs:  You will write 5 Weekly Reaction Reports.  You will choose five articles discussed in class or your text, locate each article, and write a one-page reaction to it.  You should turn in one reaction every three weeks.  This will leave you time to write extras as needed.  No more than one per student will be accepted in any given week, none will be accepted during finals week.  I will be announcing good articles to react to as we proceed.  Extra reaction papers will replace lower grades on earlier reaction papers.  WRRs are worth 10 pts. each.  Information on writing WRRs is available on the Cognitive page.
4.  CogLab exercises.  Each exercise is worth 5 points.  I will count at least 10 towards your grade, but you should plan to do all of them.  Learn more about this on the CogLab section of the Cognitive page.
Assignments: Description: Points:
CogLab exercises
2 @ 100 ea. 
5 @ 10 ea. 
10 @ 5 ea.
Your grade will be based on the number of points earned.  Totals (in the highest category that applies):
>418 = A, >405 = A-, >392 = B+, >374 = B, >360 = B-, >346 = C+, >328 = C, >315 = C-, >302 = D+, >284 = D, >270 = D-, >0 = F.
General Policies:
1.  Attendance:  Attendance is strongly encouraged.  I will pass around a sign-up sheet every class for use by the financial aid office and to determine whether or not extra credit will apply to your total.
2.  Late policy:  Complete assignments on time.  The rule that no more than one WRR will be accepted within any week will be strictly enforced.
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 assignments turned in to me on time, for anyone with perfect attendance.
4.  Missed exams:  If you know in advance, notify me to make arrangements.  Make-ups will only be given in cases where some emergency forced you to miss the exam.
5.  Course notes are available on the web at  You are encouraged to read the notes before class and have them with you during the lecture.
6.  Drop deadlines:  The last day to drop without a grade is January 29.  The last day to drop is March 28 (you will receive some sort of grade).  If you stay in the class after this date 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.) due to a disability, or you have questions related to such accommodations, speak to me as soon as possible.  Also, the office of Disabled Student Services (898-2783) can provide information about such accommodations. Additional information is here:

10. For lottery scholarship rules, please refer to your Lottery Statement of Understanding form, review lottery requirements on the web at, or contact the Financial Aid Office at 898-2830. Implications of grades and attendance on scholarship eligibility can be found here:

Schedule of events:
Class date:  Topic: Notes: Read: 
1/16 Course introduction
Ch. 1

CogLab Attentional Blink and Muller-Lyer Illusion

Perception and pattern recognition 2
Ch. 2

CogLab Partial Report and Word Superiority

Ch. 3

CogLab Signal Detection, Change Detection, and Stroop Effect

Short term working memory
Ch. 4

CogLab Memory Span, Sternberg Search, and Operation Span

Exam 1

Imagery; Episodic long term memory (Part I)
5, 6 Chs. 7, 5

CogLab Mental Rotation and Serial Position

Episodic long term memory (Part II); Processing (Part I)
6, 7
Chs. 5, 6

CogLab Levels of Processing and Encoding Specificity

Processing (Part II); Semantic long term memory (Part I)
7, 8
Chs. 6, 9

CogLab Lexical Decision and False Memory

3/13 S P R I N G  B R E A K

Semantic long term memory (Part II); Categorization; Interesting cognitive stuff 8, 9, 10
Chs. 9, 8

CogLab Prototypes

Exam 2

Language--Structure 11
Ch. 10
Language--Meaning 12
Ch. 11
Reasoning and decision making 13
Chs. 12, 13, 14

CogLab Wason Selection, Decision Making, Monty Hall, and Typical Reasoning

Human factors
No class (study day 5/1)

5/8 Final examination Thursday, 5/8, 6:00-8:00 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.

Cognitive Psychology Syllabus
Will Langston
Back to Langston's Cognitive Psychology Page