Year

2021

Credit points

10

Prerequisites

PSYC206 Research Design and Statistics II AND EITHER PSYC213 Individual Differences OR PSYC214 Learning and Behaviour

Teaching organisation

3 contact hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit description and aim

Central to an undergraduate degree in psychology is the ability to understand and critically analyse core knowledge areas in psychology, to understand and demonstrate practical skills in research methods, to apply the values and ethics of the discipline and to communicate effectively in various formats. As such, this unit will concentrate on the core area of Cognitive Psychology. This unit provides an overview of traditional models and approaches to cognition, as well as a contemporary perspective on the main areas of cognition including perception, attention, memory, knowledge, imagery and higher order processes like problem solving, reasoning, and decision making. Further, it examines current approaches to research including methods from neuroscience, examples of applied research and the application of knowledge to the real-world, and cross cultural issues. The aim of this unit is to provide you with an in-depth understanding of the models, approaches and research methods in the area of cognitive psychology.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - define key research methods and paradigms relevant to each topic area covered in the unit (GA5);

LO2 - evaluate links between classical and contemporary research findings and the theoretical knowledge base in each topic area (GA4, GA5, GA8);

LO3 - synthesise competing theoretical explanations and inconsistent research findings (GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9);

LO4 - evaluate the validity of theoretical arguments based on acquired knowledge of the basic concepts and theories in each topic area (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9);

LO5 - interpret and evaluate classical and contemporary research findings within each topic area (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9);

LO6 - develop arguments and testable hypotheses based on theory and research evidence in the main topic areas of cognitive psychology (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

Content

Topics will include: 

  • Overview of the history of cognitive psychology and the key research methods and paradigms in cognitive psychology.
  • Perception – bottom-up, top-down and Gestalt approaches to perception; face, word and object recognition; relationship between visual imagery and perception; and perceptual disturbances. 
  • Attention – selective attention, automatic versus controlled processing, divided attention.
  • Short term/working memory - traditional model, Baddeley’s working memory model.
  • Long term memory – traditional view, episodic and semantic memory, encoding specificity, implicit memory, metamemory, levels of processing model.
  • Applied memory – eyewitness memory, autobiographical memory, recovered versus false memories, mnemonics and improving memory, memory dysfunction.
  • Language processing- language perception and representation.
  • Knowledge representation – mental representation, manipulation and organisation of knowledge; including categorisation, semantic networks, connectionist approaches and visual imagery.
  • Thought - decision-making, logic and reasoning, problem solving.
  • The neuropsychological findings related to the above topics are addressed.
  • The practical/everyday applications to the above topics are addressed.
  • Cross-cultural cognition – explore how basic cognitive processing, such as memory, perceptions, categorisation and reasoning, can vary cross culturally.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit is delivered in face-to-face mode with 3 contact hours per week: each week there will be a 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial. This mode of delivery is designed to enhance discussion and engagement in the content covered in the unit. The lectures are to aid students with the acquisition and understanding of knowledge while the tutorials are designed to enhance application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of that knowledge. The unit is also supplemented with online activities to support your understanding and application of the research methodologies used in cognitive psychology. Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered over 12 weeks. This range of strategies will provide you with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content. These strategies will allow you to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: online quizzes which are designed to scaffold your understanding and application of the content of the unit; an APA style Lab report to demonstrate your ability to evaluate and synthesis the research literature to develop arguments and testable hypotheses and to interpret and evaluate contemporary research findings; and an exam which provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding, consolidation and application of the content covered in the unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Online quizzes

The quizzes are designed to scaffold your understanding and application of the content of the unit

12%

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5

Laboratory report 

The lab report is designed to allow you to demonstrate your ability to discuss, evaluate and synthesis the research literature to develop arguments and testable hypotheses and to interpret and evaluate contemporary research findings

43%

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Final exam 

The exam provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding, consolidation and application of the content covered in the unit

45%

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4,  LO5

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Goldstein, E B. (2015). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience. (4th ed). Belmont CA: Wadsworth.

Reisberg, D. (2016). Cognition: Exploring the science of the mind (6th ed). London: W.W Norton & Co.

Sternberg, R.J. & Sternberg, K. (2017). Cognitive psychology (7th ed). Bonston MA: Cengage.

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