Psychology of Thinking
If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.
1.0 CALENDAR DESCRIPTION
Theoretical and empirical studies on problem solving, reasoning, concept formation, thinking, and variations in thinking processes.
Prerequisites: Psychology 2820E or both Psychology 2800E and 2810, and one of Psychology 2115A/B, 2134A/B or 2135A/B
3 lecture/discussion hours, 0.5 course
Unless you have either the prerequisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites
2.0 COURSE INFORMATION
Instructor: Dr. John Paul Minda, email@example.com
Office and Phone: SSC 7326, x84689
Office Hours: By appointment
TA: Ana Ruiz Pardo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: By appointment
If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you. Please visit: http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for more information on these resources and on mental health.
Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.
Minda, J. P. (2015). The Psychology of Thinking: Reasoning, Decision-Making, and Problem-Solving. London, UK: SAGE Publications, Ltd.
The text is available at the Western bookstore and at Amazon.ca. Some additional readings will be assigned and are available on the course website.
4.0 COURSE OBJECTIVES
This course covers thought and knowledge. We will study how people think and how psychologists study thinking and reasoning. The course will be taught as a combination of lecture and online class discussion.
4.1 STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes relevant to the psychology of thinking. This outcome will be assessed though discussion questions, short papers, and the final exam.
Articulate the concepts and current states of knowledge in both the natural science and social science aspects of the psychology of thinking. This outcome will be assessed though discussion questions, short papers, and the final exam.
Engage in a critical scholarly discussion on a psychological topic using evidence to support claims. This outcome will be assessed though discussion questions and short papers.
Critically evaluate the presentation of scientific ideas and research in the popular media. This outcome will be assessed though discussion questions and short papers.
Apply psychological principles to the understanding of everyday problems. This outcome will be assessed though discussion questions and short papers.
Your evaluation in this class consists of three components: online discussion questions, short papers, and a final exam.
5.1 Online Discussion Questions. Each topic in the course will have an accompanying discussion question. The intention of these questions is to foster debate and discussion online. There are 10 topics and each discussion question will be worth 2% of the final grade. Each discussion question is worth 2 points. In order to earn the full 2 points for each question, you must post at least two thoughtful comments on the topic, or post replies to other comments. If you post at least 2 thoughtful comments, you will receive 2 points. If you post only one thoughtful comment, you will receive 1 point. If you do not post any thoughtful comments, you will receive no points. The definition of a thoughtful comment is subjective, but a good comment is one that relates to the topic or relates to another post. An example of a comment that is not thoughtful, would be something like “yeah, me too”. Overall, your performance on the discussions will make up 20% of the final grade in the course. The discussion topic will be available at 6:00am Monday of each week, and will close the following Sunday at about 11:55pm
5.2 Short Papers. There will four short papers assigned during the term. The topic for the papers will be announced one week before the assignment is due. Each paper should be 1-2 pages in length and will be uploaded to turnitin.com, which is the plagiarism detection service used by The University of Western Ontario. Each short paper will be graded on a scale of 0 to 10. Each short paper will be worth 10% of the final grade, meaning that the papers collectively account for 40% of the final grade. The topic for each paper will be available at 6:00am on the Monday of the week when it is assigned and is due the following Sunday at 11:55pm, unless otherwise noted in the schedule.
5.3 Final Exam. There is also a written final exam in this class. The day and time of the final will be scheduled by Distance Studies and we will announce it on the OWL site. The final exam will be a mix of multiple choice, short answer, and some longer essay questions. The exam duration is three hours. The final is worth 40% of the final mark.5.4 Final Grade. Your final grade in this class will be a combination of your performance on the ten discussion questions (20%), the four short papers (40%), and the one final exam (40%).
Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:
5.5 Exam Review. We do not re-grade questions or award points after the grades have been released unless there has been a clerical error
70% 1000-level and 2000-level courses
72% 2190-2990 level courses
75% 3000-level courses
80% 4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows Western University's grading guidelines, which are as follows (see http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/general/grades_undergrad.pdf ):
A+ 90-100 One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A 80-89 Superior work that is clearly above average
B 70-79 Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C 60-69 Competent work, meeting requirements
D 50-59 Fair work, minimally acceptable
F below 50 Fail
6.0 TEST AND EXAMINATION SCHEDULE
7.0 CLASS SCHEDULE
The primary delivery of course content will be through the assigned readings and the accompanying online audio lectures. The lectures will be slides accompanied by my audio commentary that go into depth on the topic. The intention is that students enrolled in the distance version will have an experience that is comparable (though not exactly) to a traditional lecture. In addition, pdf copies of the lecture slides will be available for download. Each lecture will be available at 6:00am on the Monday of the week listed and will remain available for the duration of the class.
Week 1: Sept. 11 – Introduction. There will be one lecture (available on line) covering an overview of the course. Please respond to the discussion question for the introductory class. Note: There will be no grade for the first discussion, it is just a chance to make sure everyone can access the forum. Please read Chapter 1 in The Psychology of Thinking.
Week 2: Sept. 18 – Similarity. This unit is on the topic of similarity, a psychological construct that underlies many of the other topics in this course. Please read Chapter 2 in The Psychology of Thinking and please respond to the discussion question on similarity.
Week 3: Sept 25 – Knowledge, Memory, Concepts, and Categories. This class covers theories of short and long term memory, knowledge and conceptual organization, and category learning. Please read Chapters 3 and 4 in The Psychology of Thinking and please respond to the discussion question. Also, the first short paper will be assigned and is due in one week.
Week 4: Oct. 3 – Language and Thought. This class covers the relationship between thought and language and the linguistic determinism theory. Please read Chapter 5 in The Psychology of Thinking and respond to the discussion question.
Week 5: Oct. 9 – Thanksgiving/fall break. No class this week.
Week 6: Oct. 16 – Inference and Induction. We will discuss inductive reasoning, categorical induction, and drawing conclusions from evidence. Please read Chapter 6 in The Psychology of Thinking and respond to the discussion question.
Week 7: Oct. 23 – Deductive Reasoning. This unit covers deductive reasoning, logic, and card selection tasks. Please read Chapter 7 in The Psychology of Thinking and respond to the discussion question. The second short paper will be assigned and is due in one week.
Week 8: Oct. 30 – Causal Reasoning. This unit is on the psychology of causality. Please read Chapter 7 in the Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning. This reading is posted on the course site. Please respond to the discussion question.
Week 9: Nov. 6 – Decision Making. We cover how decisions are made, probability, and common decision-making errors and biases. Please read Chapter 9 in The Psychology of Thinking and respond to the discussion question
Week 10: Nov. 13 – Problem Solving. We will discuss the psychology of problem solving, heuristics, and insight. Please read Chapter 10 in The Psychology of Thinking and respond to the discussion question. The third short paper will be assigned and is due in one week.
Week 11: Nov. 20 – Creativity. This unit covers creativity and insight. Please read the section in Chapter 10 in The Psychology of Thinking on creativity and respond to the discussion question.
Week 12: Nov. 27 – Expertise and Expert Thinking. We will discuss the psychology of expertise. Please read Chapter 11 in The Psychology of Thinking and respond to the discussion question. The topic for the fourth short paper will be assigned and is due in one week. A final study guide will be available this week.
Week 13: Dec 10-21 – Finals. The final exam will be scheduled by the Registrar. It will take place during finals week, and will cover the material from Weeks 1–12
8.0 STATEMENT ON ACADEMIC OFFENCES
Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf
As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and Turnitin.com http://www.turnitin.com
Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.
9.0 POLICY ON ACCOMMODATION FOR MEDICAL ILLNESS
Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at:
Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:
10.0 OTHER INFORMATION
Office of the Registrar web site: http://registrar.uwo.ca
Student Development Services web site: http://www.sdc.uwo.ca
Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:
- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References
No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.