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 requisites 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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office and Phone: WIRB 5158, x84689
Office Hours: Tuesday, 1:30-3:00
Teaching Assistant: Kathleen Lyons, email@example.com
TA Office & Hours: TBA
Teaching Assistant: Brendon Samuels, firstname.lastname@example.org
TA Office & Hours: TBA
Time and Location of Lectures: Tues, 9:30 – 12:30, AHB 2B104
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. Other readings are listed in the syllabus and will be posted on OWL
4.0 COURSE OBJECTIVESThis 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 class discussion. Please be advised that you must read the assigned readings before class. I will be asking questions about the material during the class time, and I expect you to be familiar with the main ideas in the readings.
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 four short quizzes and two examinations.
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 four short quizzes and two examinations.
Engage in a critical scholarly discussion on a psychological topic using evidence to support claims. This outcome will be assessed though four short quizzes and two examinations.
Critically evaluate the presentation of scientific ideas and research in the popular media. This outcome will be assessed though four short quizzes and two examinations.
Apply psychological principles to the understanding of everyday problems. This outcome will be assessed though four short quizzes and two examinations.
5.1 Quizzes. There are 4 short quizzes that will be given at the beginning of a class as noted in the schedule. The quiz will cover content from the previous weeks. Each quiz is worth 5% of the final grade, and together the quizzes will account for 20% of the final grade. The quiz will be given during the first 10-15 minutes of class. If you are late, you may not be able to take the quiz. If you miss a quiz for any reason, you will not be able to make it up later. But if you have an approved absence from class (see section 9.0), I may add 5% to future quiz. If you miss the final quiz, I may add 5% to your final exam mark.
5.2 Midterm Exam. The midterm exam will take place on Feb. 13 from 9:30-12:30 in AHB 2B104 or an alternative room and will cover material this exam covers material from Weeks 1–5/Chapters 1–5. The exam will consist of short answer questions and multiple-choice questions. No electronic devices, including cell phones, will be allowed during exams. This exam will be worth 40% of the final grade.
5.3 Final Exam. The final exam will be scheduled by the registrar. It will take place during finals week and will cover material this exam covers material from Weeks 8–13/Chapters 6–11. The exam will consist entirely of short answer questions and multiple-choice questions. No electronic devices, including cell phones, will be allowed during exams. The final is worth 40% of the final grade and the date will be announced sometime during the term.
5.4 Final Grade. The final grade in this class will be a combination of your grade on the quizzes (20%), the midterm exam (40%), and the 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:
70% 1000-level and 2000-level courses
72% 2190-2990 level courses
75% 3000-level courses
80% 4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows the Western'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
5.5 Exam Review. Grades will be released on WebCT. Exams may be reviewed by making an appointment with the TA. Neither the TA nor the instructor will re-grade questions or award points after the grades have been released.
6.0 TEST AND EXAMINATION SCHEDULE
Quiz 1: Jan. 23 – Covers material from Weeks 1 – 2.
Quiz 2: Feb. 6 – Covers material from Weeks 3 – 4.
Mid Term Exam: Feb 13 – Given in class, this exam covers material from Weeks 1 – 5.
Quiz 3: Mar. 13 – Covers material from Weeks 9 – 10.
Quiz 4: April 3 – Covers material from Weeks 11 – 12.Final Exam: April 14–30. The final exam will be scheduled by the Registrar. It will take place during finals week, and will cover the material from Weeks 8 – 13
7.0 CLASS SCHEDULE
Week 1: Jan. 9 – Introduction. We will go over the course, the course outline, and expectations, as well as an introduction to the topic. Please read Chapter 1 in The Psychology of Thinking.
Week 2: Jan. 16 – Similarity. This unit is on the topic of similarity, which is a psychological construct that underlies many of the other topics in this course. Please read Chapter 2 in The Psychology of Thinking.
Week 3: Jan. 23 – Knowledge and Memory. This class covers theories of short and long term memory, as well as theories of knowledge organization. Please read Chapter 3 in The Psychology of Thinking. Quiz 1 will be given in class and will cover material from weeks 1–2.
Week 4: Jan. 30 – Concepts and Categories. This class covers theories of conceptual organization and category learning. Please read Chapter 4 in The Psychology of Thinking.
Week 5: Feb 6. –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. Quiz 2 will be given in class and will cover material from weeks 3–4.
Week 6: Feb. 13 – Mid Term Exam 9:30-12:30. This exam will be given in the lecture classroom and will cover material from weeks 1–5.
Week 7: Feb. 20 – SLACK WEEK No class this week
Week 8: Feb. 27 – Inference and Induction. We will discuss inductive reasoning, categorical induction, and drawing conclusions from evidence. Please read Chapter 6 in The Psychology of Thinking.
Week 9: Mar. 6 – Deductive Reasoning. This class covers deductive reasoning, logic, and card selection tasks. Please read Chapter 7 in The Psychology of Thinking
Week 10: Mar. 13 – Casual Reasoning. This class covers reasoning and thinking about causes and causality. There is a reading posted on the OWL site from the Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning.
Week 11: Mar. 20 – Context, Motivation, and Mood. We will cover the effects of context and mood on thinking, reasoning, and decision making. We will also discuss the Dual-Process theory of thinking. Please read Chapter 8 in The Psychology of Thinking. Quiz 3 will be given in class and will cover material from weeks 8–9.
Week 12: Mar. 27 – 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.
Week 13: Apr. 3 – Problem Solving. We will discuss the psychology of problem solving, heuristics, and insight. We will also discuss the psychology of creativity. Please read Chapter 10 in The Psychology of Thinking
Week 14: Apr. 10 – Expertise and Expert Thinking. We will discuss the psychology of problem solving, heuristics, and insight. Please read Chapter 11 in The Psychology of Thinking. Quiz 4 will be given in class and will cover material from weeks 10–12.
Final Week: Apr. 14 - 30 – Final Exam. The final exam will be scheduled by the Registrar. It will take place during finals week, and will cover the material from weeks 8–14
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.