Psychology 3130A 650 SU24

The 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.




Department of Psychology

Summer 2024


Psychology 3130A

Section 650

The Psychology of Thinking





Theoretical and empirical studies on problem solving, reasoning, concept formation, thinking and cross-cultural variations in thinking processes. Extra Information: 3 lecture/discussion hours, Course Weight: 0.50


Antirequisite: Not Applicable


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. There are no antirequisites for this course.



  • Psychology 2820E or both Psychology 2800E and Psychology 2810, or both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811 A/B
  • and One of Psychology 2115A/B, Psychology 2134A/B, or Psychology 2135A/B.


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 if you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.




Instructor: Bailey Brashears                                                   

Office Hours: Zoom (by appointment)



Time and Location of Classes: Asynchronous

              Delivery Method: Virtual


Course Operation:     

This is an asynchronous online course. The lectures are viewable on BRIGHTSPACE and you can watch them at your own pace. I will maintain an active presence on BRIGHTSPACE with weekly Zoom office hours to answer questions and engage with students. I also post regular YouTube updates about the course.


The course runs on a weekly basis. Each week, there will be one lesson/topic assigned that corresponds to a chapter in the textbook. The topic will be unlocked and available at 12:00 am on the Monday of the week that it is assigned according to the schedule in Section 6. The topic will remain unlocked until the end of the term. You can find the topics on the left menu bar on BRIGHTSPACE. Click on a topic, open the topic page and you will find:


  • The assigned readings in the text
  • Learning outcomes for the topic
  • Two or three video lectures that are 20-30 min each
  • PowerPoint slides without the audio
  • Links to additional readings and resources


There are also four quizzes and two exams that will be completed online. These will be released according to the schedule and will be timed, open book, open note. You should not work with others on the quizzes or the exams.



Office Hours and email:

I hold one-on-one student meetings on Zoom. Email me to arrange a meeting time. You must be logged into Western’s Zoom account to participate. The link is available on BRIGHTSPACE. You can join the waiting room and I’ll meet with people first come first serve.


Wellness and Accessibility:

Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness @Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.


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 contact Accessible Education at  or 519-661-2147.


Online Learning Notice:

Please note: For courses delivered in an online format, include an online component, or are required to pivot online, students must have a reliable internet connection and computer that are compatible with online learning system requirements. Some courses may also require the use of a remote proctoring platform to ensure assessments are taken fairly in accordance with Western’s policy on Scholastic Discipline for Undergraduate Students and Scholastic Discipline for Graduate Students. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information.





     Minda, J. P. (2020). The Psychology of Thinking: Reasoning, Decision-Making and Problem-Solving, 2nd Ed. SAGE, London: UK.


The text is available as softcover or e-book at the university bookstore, Amazon, and elsewhere.



There are some additional readings that accompany the lectures. These include scientific journal articles, blog posts, and popular articles. These additional readings are available on the course website for the topic in which they are relevant. Content from these readings will be on the quizzes and exams.


Course Notes:

Notes and slides from each class will be available on the course website. These notes will be identical to the ones in the short videos but will be PowerPoint slides without the audio. These are included if you need your own slides for review or for taking. Students may share their own notes on the BRIGHTSPACE site or other note sharing sites. Your notes are your intellectual property, you can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable.




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 online lecture and online discussion.


Student Learning Outcomes:


Learning Outcome

Learning Activity


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge.

·         Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes relevant to the psychology of thinking

Readings & Lectures

 Quizzes & Exams

Knowledge of Methodologies.

·         Articulate the concepts and current states of knowledge in both the natural science and social science aspects of the psychology of thinking.

 Readings & Lectures


 Quizzes & Exams


Application of Knowledge.

·         Critically evaluate the presentation of scientific ideas and research in the popular media

·         Apply psychological principles to the understanding of everyday problems

Readings & Lectures


Quizzes & Exams


Communication Skills.

·         Engage in a critical scholarly discussion on a psychological topic using evidence to support claims

Readings & Lectures


Quizzes & Exams






5.0       EVALUATION

The evaluation and testing formats for this course were created to assess the learning objectives as listed in section 4.0 and are considered necessary for meeting these learning objectives.



There are four online quizzes that will be released according to the schedule in Section 6 and will be timed, open book, open note, and not proctored. Each quiz will be available for 12 hours from 9:00am – 9:00 pm on the day it is scheduled. You can take the quiz any time during that period but once you begin, you will have 15 minutes to complete the quiz. Questions will be randomized and once you answer a question and advance you will not be able to go back to change your answer (linear format). If you require or receive accommodations for extra time on course work please connect with Services for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible and let me know so that I can make accommodations. Each quiz is worth 5% if the final grade and the four quizzes make up 20% of the final grade.


There are two exams according to the schedule in Section 6. Each exam includes short answer questions, short essay questions, problems, and multiple-choice questions. Each exam will be available for 3 hours from 9:00am–12:00 pm on the day it is scheduled. Each exam will be timed, open book, and open note. If you require or receive accommodation for extra time on course work please connect with Services for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible and let me know so that I can make accommodations. Each exam is worth 40% of the final grade, the exams together are worth 80% of the final grade.


Exam Review:

Grades will be released on BRIGHTSPACE. If you wish to review an exam, you must make an appointment with me during my office hours. I do not re-grade questions or award points after the grades have been released.

Final Grade:

The final grade will be calculated according to the four components shown in the breakdown. No grades will be rounded.



Quizzes (4)

20% of final grade

Exam 1

40% of final grade

Exam 2

40% of final grade





Quiz Make Up Policy:

If you miss a quiz you may have an opportunity to make up the quiz during the final week of the course, on Thursday July 25, 2024. Make up quizzes will be online multiple-choice format. See the section on Accommodations for information on seeking accommodations. Any quiz not taken or made up will be scored as “0".

Exam Make Up Policy:

If you are unable to take an exam as scheduled, you must obtain permission from your academic dean via your counsellor order to make up the exam. See the section on Accommodations for information on seeking accommodations. Please note the Western policy that instructors are not permitted to receive documentation directly from a student, whether in support of an application for medical grounds, or for other reasons. All documentation required for absences that are not covered by the absence reporting policy must be submitted to the Academic Counselling Office of a student’s home faculty. The current policy on student absences is available here. Information on accommodation appeals and medical certificates is available here.

Once I receive the verification of your eligibility for a makeup exam (Exam 1 or Exam 2), a make-up exam will be scheduled two weeks after the after the final exam. Any exam not taken or made up will be scored as “0".

Senate Policy:

This course is exempt from the Senate requirement that students receive assessment of their work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade at least three full days before the date of the deadline for withdrawal from a course without academic penalty.



The expectation for course grades within the Psychology Department is that they will be distributed around the following averages:


70%     1000-level to 2099-level courses

72%     2100-2999-level courses

75%     3000-level courses

80%     4000-level courses


The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines, which are as follows (see:


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


Note that in the event that course grades are significantly higher or lower than these averages, instructors may be required to make adjustments to course grades. Such adjustment might include the normalization of one or more course components and/or the re-weighting of various course components.


Policy on Grade Rounding:

Please note that although course grades within the Psychology Department are rounded to the nearest whole number, no further grade rounding will be done. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade; nor will requests to change a grade because it is needed for a future program be considered. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every assessment within the course.









May 6


Minda Ch. 1


May 13


Minda Ch. 2


May 16

Quiz 1 (Unit 1–2)

Minda Chs.1–2


May 20

Knowledge and Memory

Minda Ch. 3


May 27

Concepts and Categories

Minda Ch. 4


May 30

Quiz 2 (Units 3–4)

Minda Ch.3–4


June 3

Language and Thought

Minda Ch. 5


June 14

Exam 1 (Units 1–5)

Minda Ch. 1–5


June 17

Inference and Induction

Minda Ch. 6


June 24

Deductive Reasoning

Minda Ch. 7


June 27

Quiz 3 (Units 6–7)

Minda Ch. 6–7


July 2

Context, Motivation, and Mood

Minda Ch. 8


July 8

Decision Making

Minda Ch. 9


July 11

Quiz 4 (Units 8–9)

Minda Ch 8–9


July 15

Problem Solving and Creativity

Minda Ch. 10


July 22

Expertise and Expert Thinking

Minda Ch. 11


July 25

Make Up Quiz Day




Exam 2 (Units 6–11)

Minda Ch. 6–11



Make Up Exams





8.0          Academic Integrity


Scholastic offences are taken seriously, and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site:


Possible penalties for a scholastic offence include failure of the assignment/exam, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.




Multiple Choice Exams


Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams will be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating.


9.0 Academic Accommodations and Accessible Education


View Western’s policy on academic accommodations for student with disabilities at this link.


Accessible Education provides supports and services to students with disabilities at Western.

If you think you may qualify for ongoing accommodation that will be recognized in all your courses, visit Accessible Education for more information.  Email:  Phone: 519 661-2147


10.0 Absence & Academic Consideration


View Western’s policy on academic consideration for medical illnesses this link


Find your academic counsellor here:


Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain academic considerations. Students must communicate with their instructors no later than 24 hours after the end of the period covered SMC, or immediately upon their return following a documented absence.


Medical Absences


Submit a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner to Academic Counselling in your Faculty of registration to be eligible for Academic Consideration.


Nonmedical Absences


Submit appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in your Faculty of registration to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate.


Religious Consideration


Students seeking accommodation for religious purposes are advised to contact Academic Counselling at least three weeks prior to the religious event and as soon as possible after the start of the term.


11.0        Other Information



Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness@Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.

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.


If you wish to appeal a grade, please read the policy documentation at: Please first contact the course instructor. If your issue is not resolved, you may make your appeal in writing to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology (


Copyright Statement


Lectures and course materials, including power point presentations, outlines, videos and similar materials, are protected by copyright. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own educational use. You may not record lectures, reproduce (or allow others to reproduce), post or distribute any course materials publicly and/or for commercial purposes without the instructor’s written consent.


12.0        Land Acknowledgement


We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak, and Chonnonton. Nations, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. This land continues to be home to diverse Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) whom we recognize as contemporary stewards of the land and vital contributors of our society.