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Course Information

Instructor Info:Joanna Morris
Office Extension x5462
TA Info:Ethan Ludwin-Peery
Term: 2012F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
12:30 PM - 01:50 PM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221
12:30 PM - 01:50 PM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221

The goal of experimental psychology is to try to understand why people think and act as they do. How do we interpret and use the information gathered by our senses? Why do we pay attention to some things and not others? How do we learn things? How do we remember things, and why are some things forgotten? What is the source of our beliefs? What is the process by which we make decisions? This course will focus on the ways in which psychologists have attempted to answer these questions over the past century and a half using scientific methods. Readings will consist of a comprehensive text and selected journal articles.

Course Objectives:

To become familiar with the scientific method. To understand the ways in which use of the scientific method can advance our understanding of the human mind and human behavior. To become aware of the major problems investigated by experimental psychologists. To learn of the history of the study of experimental psychology and the major contributors to the field. To become conversant in the unique language of the field of experimental psychology. To become familiar with the primary literature in the field of experimental psychology.

Evaluation Criteria:

Students are required to attend class, participate in discussions, take notes when necessary, do assigned readings, and complete all assignments. The required assignments must be submitted in order to receive an evaluation in this course. Any student who does not complete all assignments in a timely fashion, will not receive an evaluation for the course. All work should be submitted via the course website (instructions will be provided). Except in exceptional circumstances, I will not accept e-mailed work.


You will have 9 reading comprehension assignments due throughout the semester. These assignments are designed to allow me to evaluate your comprehension of the material. You will also be required to write an original research proposal on a topic of your choice as long as it is related to the subject matter of the course. The proposal will be written in stages with drafts due at different times throughout the semester. The proposal will have two main sections, a literature review, and a methods section. In the literature review, you will be expected to summarize what is and is not known about the topic, identify areas of controversy in the literature and formulate questions that need further research. A draft of this review will be submitted by mid-semester. You will then choose a question that you have identified as needing further research and design a study to examine that particular question. You will be expected to formulate a specific hypothesis, and discuss how the data you might collect would support or disprove your hypothesis. In this section you will be expected to demonstrate that you have a clear grasp of the fundamentals of experimental design and of how quantitative methods can be used to answer behavioural questions. In addition, you will also be required to complete a peer review of another student's research proposal. The review will follow a specific format which will be posted online.

Additional Info:

Gleitman, H., Gross, J., and Reisberg, D. (2010). Psychology, Eighth Edition. Norton: New York, NY.