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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Psychology (PSYCH)

PSYCH 256 (GS) Introduction to Cognitive Psychology (3) Introduction to study of such higher mental processes as thinking and reasoning, imagery, concept formation, problem solving, and skilled performance.

PSYCH 256 Introduction to Cognitive Psychology (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

This course is an introduction to cognition, an area of psychology that investigates the ways in which we acquire, store, create and use knowledge. Cognition includes a wide range of mental processes that are used every day in almost all human activities. These include attention, perception, memory, imagery, language, problem solving, creativity, and reasoning.

Cognition refers to a theoretical approach in psychology that emphasizes the role of people's knowledge, reasoning, and expectations and this approach has had a broad influence on all areas of psychology. It also involves developing sophisticated methodologies to study processes that are not always observable. Cognitive research can be applied in order to improve mental functioning, e.g., developing programs for improving memory or cognitive rehabilitation for brain injury. It can also be used to address serious societal issues and problems such as understanding how people develop and use stereotypes. Cognitive psychology has applications to many fields including medicine, the legal system, education, and understanding mental disorders. In addition, cognitive psychology is part of the active interdisciplinary field of cognitive science that also includes disciplines such as philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

This course provides an overview of the field of cognitive psychology, including its research, theory, and application. Content is presented through a combination of lectures, readings, activities, and demonstrations. A major goal of the course is to show how the major questions in cognition are addressed through empirical research. It also promotes critical thinking and encourages students to apply this knowledge to enhance their lives.

This course is a basic 200-level course for the psychology majors (PSYBA, PSHBA, PSHBS, APSCC, APSYC) at several campuses. It fulfills category c. cognitive/learning and psycholinguistics at University Park and category 3. cognitive/experimental at Penn State Erie, Category b. developmental, cognitive, learning at Berks Lehigh Valley college and the Commonwealth College. It may be used to satisfy the Social Behavioral Sciences requirements. In large sections evaluation will be primarily based on objective, multiple-choice examinations. Individual instructors may supplement such examinations with other forms of evaluation as appropriate to section size and setting. In smaller sections the course evaluation may be supplemented with essay exams, laboratory projects and student presentations. This course will be offered twice a year with 100 to 125 seats per offering at University Park and once a year with smaller sections at other locations.


General Education: GS
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Spring 2007
Prerequisite: PSYCH 100

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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