Cognitive Psychology
Spring, 2018; 6:00-9:00 R, COE 141

Instructor: Dr. William Langston
Office: JH 100
Phone: 615-898-5489 (office)
Office Hours: 12-1 T, 3-4 W, drop in anytime, emailing first is a good idea, email for appointments.

[Text] [Description] [Responsibilities] [Grading] [Policies] [Calendar]
Required Texts:
Reed, S. K. (2013). Cognition: Theory and applications (9th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. (somewhat optional)
Francis, G., & Neath, I. (2015). CogLab (5th 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.
5. Quizzes: We will have daily class quizzes that cover material from previous classes (except the first day of class and the first days after exams). Quizzes are 10 points each, and your top 5 quizzes will count for 50 points of your final grade.
Assignments: Description: Points:
2 @ 100 each
WRRs 5 @ 10 each 50
CogLab exercises 10 @ 5 each 50
3 @ 10 each
Your grade will be based on the number of points earned. Totals (in the highest category that applies): >432 = A, >418 = B+, >398 = B, >384 = B-, >370 = C+, >350 = C, >336 = C-, >322 = D+, >302 = D, >288 = 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 25 (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. Youíre 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 (615-898-2783) can provide information about such accommodations. Additional information is here:
10. Do you have a lottery scholarship? To retain the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship eligibility, you must earn a cumulative TELS GPA of 2.75 after 24 and 48 attempted hours and a cumulative TELS GPA of 3.0 thereafter. A grade of C, D, F, FA, or I in this class may negatively impact TELS eligibility. If you drop this class, withdraw, or if you stop attending this class you may lose eligibility for your lottery scholarship, and you may not be able to regain eligibility at a later time. For additional Lottery rules, please refer to your Lottery Statement of Understanding form ( or contact your MT One Stop Enrollment Counselor (
11. MTSU faculty are concerned about the well-being and development of our students and are legally obligated to share reports of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking with the Universityís Title IX coordinator to help ensure studentís safety and welfare. Please refer to MTSUís Title IX site for contact information and details:

Schedule of events:
Class date:  Topic: Notes: Read: 
1/18 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

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

CogLab Prototypes


Exam 2
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

No class (study day 4/26)

5/3 Final examination Thursday, 5/3, 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