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Cognitive Psychology

Course Code: PSYC 2360
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course provides an introduction to the psychology of cognition and is concerned with the methods and theories relevant to thinking and related processes. Concept formation, problem solving, reasoning, decision making, and the relation of language to thought will be covered. The influence of individual differences, social factors, artificial intelligence, and biology will be included as well as the practical applications of research in cognition.

Course Content

  1.  Historical Context
    • The rationalistic tradition.
    • Scientific decision making.
    • The behaviourist tradition.
    • The cognitive revolution.
  2. Biological Processes
    • Neural networks
    • Rhythms and cycles
  3. Perceptual Processes
    • Sensory memories.
    • Pattern recognition in humans and machines.
    • Attention.
  4. Memory Processes
    • Models of memory.
    • Short term memory.
    • Arousal and memory.
    • Practical implications
  5. Imagery
    • Characteristics of images.
    • Imagery and memory.
    • Cognitive maps.
    • Graphical computer interfaces.
  6. Language
    • Understanding language.
    • Computers and language representation.
    • Producing language.
    • Remembering language.
    • Reading.
    • Language translation.
  7. Concepts and Categories
    • Methods of researching.
    • Factors affecting concept formation.
    • Testing hypotheses.
    • Natural categories.
    • Statistical methods of categorization.
  8. Problem Solving
    • Problem representation.
    • Strategies and heuristic.
    • Ill-defined problems.
    • Creativity.
    • Computational explorations of creative processors.
  9. Reasoning
    • Linear series problems.
    • Propositional reasoning.
    • Syllogisms.
    • Analogies.
    • First order predicate logic.
  10. Decision Making
    • Representativeness.
    • Availability.
    • Social judgement and bias.
    • Mathematical modeling judges policy.
  11. Individual Differences
    • In memory processes.
    • In language usage.
    • In concept formation and problem solving.
    • In cognitive styles.
    • Thinking as measurable ability.
  12. Artificial Intelligence
    • Expert systems.
    • Decision support systems.
  13. Social Cognition
    • Group problem solving.
    • Consensual social reality.
    • Game playing and simulation.

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:          

  • lectures
  • audio-visual materials
  • small group discussion
  • research projects
  • computer based cognitive simulation exercises
  • mediated electronic forums/discussion groups
  • internet-based individual and small group assignments

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be in accordance with Douglas College and Psychology Department policies. Evaluations will be based on the course objectives. The specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:


10 quizzes  25%
5 homework assignments  10%
Small group assignments          10%
Class discussion quality  10%
Term project paper  20%
Midterm exam  10%
Final exam  15%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. List the major historical figures in the history of cognitive psychology and describe their contribution.
  2. Define cognition and describe the various types of cognition included in the definition.
  3. Describe the major contemporary theoretical approaches in cognitive psychology.
  4. Describe concept formation and attainment and the role of perceptual and memory processes.
  5. Explain the similarities and differences between individual and group problem solving.
  6. Describe the similarities and differences between human reasoning and artificial intelligence reasoning.
  7. Describe the dynamics of decision making processes and boundaries of "rational decision making".
  8. Describe the role of language and imagery in cognition.
  9. Describe the role of individual differences in cognitive style and cognitive ability.
  10. Run simple simulations of cognitive processes on a microcomputer using packaged software.
  11. Locate and use internet resources in cognitive psychology.

course prerequisites

PSYC 1100 AND PSYC 1200


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.