PSYC 73800 – Cognitive Psychology

Fall 2021, Fridays 10:30am - 12:30pm (ONLINE, zoom links will be provided by module leaders in advance of each meeting)

The Graduate Center

Course Organizer: Matthew Crump,

General Course Description and Objectives

The course will cover foundational and current theoretical issues, paradigms, and methods, and empirical findings across a broad section of topics in cognitive psychology. Students will acquire an understanding of the fundamental concepts and methods in cognitive psychology and the present-day questions and issues that are related to those fundamental concepts and methods. An important goal of the course is to help students think like researchers in cognitive psychology and, where relevant, to consider the applied implications of basic research findings.

6 course objectives: in this course you will:

Course Structure

The course is team-taught by 6 faculty: 6 module leaders, including the organizer.

Topic areas cover a broad range of issues in cognition and highlight current research interests of the faculty teaching the modules.

Topic areas are covered in two week modules. Generally, within a module, week one will cover foundational papers and week two will cover current issues in a domain. Week one will typically have a combined lecture-seminar format, with students actively participating in a discussion of the readings. Although readings are also important in week two, week two may take a variety of forms, depending on the module leader: seminar format; short student presentations focused on a topic; discussion between faculty members working in that field, and so on. The design of each module is structured by the module, and given we are online this semester, we are open to trying different formats.

There is no textbook. All readings are available in electronic format, and will be posted on the schedule on blackboard.

Faculty may substitute, add, or subtract readings; make sure you have the most recent information for each module.

Assignments and Grading

The course will have a total of 100 points, split into 60 points for module assignments, and 40 points for the semester long project which culminates in a final paper.

Details about the each assignment will be posted on Blackboard for each module, and for the semester long project.

Module assignments

Students will be expected to attend each class, read the assigned articles, and participate in discussion. To ensure that students read the articles with a purpose, and to ensure that the entire course grade does not depend on the final assignment, students will produce a short assignment for each module. Each module leader will assign and grade their own assignment for each module.

The default short assignment is about 2 pages in length. Depending on the instructor it could be a (critical) commentary on one of the readings; a description of an experiment to test a hypothesis presented in one of the readings; a comparison of two readings; a thought piece on why a particular problem is intractable or cannot be answered as posed; a summary of a controversy in the literature. Each of those assignments will be worth 10 points. Students will be graded primarily on the thought and effort they put into the assignments. Some assignments may have peer assessment. It is possible that module leaders will break up the assignment into two pieces, and have a 5 point assignment for each week. However, usually there is one assignment that discussed in the first week, and due at the end of the second week.

Semester Long Project

The semester long project involves a blog (5), a final paper bibliogaphy (5) and proposal (5), and a final paper (25) due at the end of the semester. The semester long project is structured to support critical writing as an active thought process that occurs throughout the semester. Instructions for these assignments will be posted on blackboard.

To provide a brief overview, students will be shown how to produce a blog using R Markdown and RStudio and host it on a Github website. Various assignments across the course will call for students to contribute content to the blog, for example some module assignments could involve posting the assignment to the blog.

The final exam is a written paper (25 points) that can have a somewhat open format, as long as it is approved by the course organizer Matt Crump. Some possibilities include: an integrative paper that combines issues discussed across two modules, a proposal-type paper that links the student’s current research interests with foundational issues discussed in one of the modules, an expansion of any of the module commentaries, or any other agreed-upon format. Final papers are expected to be in APA style, a minimum of 10-15 pages (double-spaced), and a minimum of 20 references.

To support the process of honing in on a final paper topic or idea, the midterm will involve submitting a bibliography or reference list that identifies existing literature that would be included in the final paper, as well as a one to two page (double-spaced) proposal outlining the direction for the final paper.

Grading breakdown

Assignment Points
Module 1 10
Module 2 10
Module 3 10
Module 4 10
Module 5 10
Module 6 10
Semester Project: Blog 5
Semester Project: Bibliography 5
Semester Project: Proposal 5
Semester Project: Final Paper 25
Total 100

Points to letter grade

Percentage grades are converted to letter grades according to the following rubric.

Letter grade Range
F 0-69.99
C- 70-72.99
C 73-76.66
C+ 76.67-79.99
B- 80-83.32
B 83.33-86.66
B+ 86.67-89.99
A- 90-93.32
A 93.33-96.66
A+ 96.67-100

Policy on Academic Integrity

CUNY regards acts of academic dishonesty (e.g. plagiarism, cheating on examinations, obtaining unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents) as serious offenses against the values of intellectual honesty. It is committed to enforcing the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity and will pursue cases of academic dishonesty according to its Academic Integrity Procedures. For the full CUNY policy, please consult:
For full guidelines on avoiding and detecting academic honesty, please read the online publication provided by the CUNY Provost’s office (especially SECTION I: FOR THE STUDENT, pp 3-17). Go to:,-Policies,-Procedures/Detail?id=4827 and click on Plagiarism Avoiding and Detecting.

Be sure you understand what academic dishonesty is so that you do not accidentally commit it. Remember that it is better to over-cite than under-cite. Whether you intend to be dishonest or not, any dishonesty will be considered a serious breach of academic values. You will be teaching undergraduate students about academic honesty, so it is especially important that you understand why honesty is important and how to avoid dishonesty.

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