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Special Topics in Cognitive Psychology

Course Code: PSYC 3904
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Psychology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 Weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course examines a special topic or emerging questions in the fields of cognitive psychology. Readings and topical content will include theory, research, critical debate, and applications relevant to the specific topic.

Course Content

The general framework of an upper-level special topics course in psychology can be represented as below:

  1. Historical Context
  2. Theories
  3. Mechanisms and Processes
  4. Critical Analysis and Remaining Questions

A specific example of topics for a course on Critical thinking in Psychology:

  1. Characteristics and history of science vs. pseudoscience
  2. Sources of knowledge (media, parents, doctors, etc.), cognitive and perceptual limitations,
  3. Magic and other scams, alternative medicine, myths around psychopathology, homeopathy, self help, talk shows
  4. Quality of knowledge and social issues such as legalization of drugs, going green, etc.

A specific example of topics for a course on Consciousness:

  1. The problem of consciousness
  2. Where and how to focus
  3. Illusion and selves; selves and free will
  4. The brain and evolution
  5. Machines and consciousness
  6. What is real
  7. Altered states of consciousness
  8. How to approach consciousness

A specific example of topics for a course on Human Factors:

  1. Aviation (flight issues and traffic control)
  2. Driving (in car dials and lighting, highway signage, signals)
  3. Medicine (labels on bottles, vision and memory, x-rays, medical errors)
  4. Human/computer interaction
  5. Known flaws and best practices

Methods of Instruction

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

  • Lecture
  • Audio-visual materials
  • Small group discussion
  • Problem-based learning

Means of Assessment

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:

  • Small group assignments 10%
  • Term project paper 20%
  • Term project presentation 10%
  • Midterm exams 40%
  • Final exam 20%

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify and describe relevant theoretical influences on current scholarship relating to the specific topic of the course.
  2. Define and apply key terms and concepts relating to the specific topic of the course.
  3. Analyze, synthesize, and critically evaluate scholarly research relating to the specific topic of the course.

course prerequisites

Courses listed here must be completed prior to this course:

  • PSYC 1100

  • PSYC 1200

  • PSYC 2360


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.