Psychology 3130B 001 FW23

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.


Western   University  

London             Canada 

Department of Psychology 

2023 – 2024 

Psychology 3130B 001 
The Psychology of Thinking 

  1. Calendar Description 

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

  1. Antirequisites 

There are no antirequisites for this course. 

  1. Prerequisites 
  • Psychology 2820E or both Psychology 2800E and Psychology 2810 
  • One of Psychology 2115A/B, Psychology 2134A/B, or Psychology 2135A/B. 

REQUISITES: Prerequisite(s): Both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or the former Psychology 2820E, or both the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810, and one of Psychology 2115A/B, Psychology 2134A/B, 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 in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites. 

  1. Course Information 

Instructor: Dr. John Paul Minda: 

Office Hours: TBA 

Teaching Assistant: TBA 

TA Office & Hours: TBA 

Time & Location of Lectures: Available on Student Center


Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Health and Wellness at 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. 

  1. Course Operation  

Lectures are Tuesdays from 9:30am – 12:20pm in 3M-3250. The three-hour lecture will include a short break. Slides and lecture material will be available on OWL prior to class. Lectures will be live streamed on Zoom and the videos will be uploaded to OWL and YouTube. In class participation is expected, but if you are sick or cannot attend class, I encourage you to watch the remote lecture. Zoom link and passcode available on OWL.

  1. 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 
  1. Office Hours and Email 

I hold weekly meeting hours Tuesday from 1:30-3:00. You can meet with me in my office (WIRB 5158) or on Zoom. Zoom link and passcode available on OWL.

These meetings are for one-on-one meetings, and I’ll meet with people first come first serve. 

For questions regarding course content, scheduling, quizzes, and exams, please contact a teaching assistant at the email above. For other concerns, contact me at I generally reply to emails within 48 hours. 

  1. Reading and Notes 
  1. Textbook 

There is one required textbook for this course.  

  • Minda, J. P. (2020). The Psychology of Thinking: Reasoning, Decision-Making and Problem-Solving, Second Edition. SAGE, London: UK.  

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

  1. Course Notes 

Notes and slides from each class will be available on the course website (OWL). A copy of the slides will be available prior to class for review and for note taking. Students may share their own notes on the OWL site or other note sharing sites. Your notes are your intellectual property, you can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable. 

  1. 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 online lecture and online discussion. 


  1. Student Learning Outcomes 

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to: 


Learning Outcome  

Learning Activity  


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge  

  • Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes relevant to the psychology of thinking. 
  • Articulate the concepts and current states of knowledge in both the natural science and social science aspects of the psychology of thinking. 


Lecture, reading, and discussion 

Assessed though quizzes and examinations. 

Knowledge of Methodologies 

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


Lecture, reading, and discussion 

Assessed though quizzes and examinations. 

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. 

Lecture, reading, and discussion 

Assessed though quizzes and examinations. 

  1. 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. 

  1. Quizzes 

There are four online quizzes on the schedule below, along with one optional make-up quiz at the end of the term. The four quizzes make up 20% of the final grade. Each quiz will be available on OWL right after class from 12:30pm – 10:30pm (for 10 hours) on the day on which it is scheduled. The quizzes are timed but not proctored. You can take the quiz any time during the posted time. Once you begin you will have 15 minutes to complete the quiz.  

An optional make-up quiz is available at the end of the term that will include from the entire course. If you miss a quiz during the term, you can take this make-up quiz without needing to seek additional permission. You can also take this make-up quiz to replace a lower scoring quiz from the term. There will be no additional make up quizzes scheduled. 

If you require or receive accommodation for extra time on course work, please connect with Accessible Education as soon as possible and let me know so that I can make accommodations. If you are accommodated with extra time, it will be added automatically to the online quiz.  

  1. Exams 

There are two written exams in the course. Exam 1 is scheduled for Tuesday February 13 at the same time and location as the lecture (9:30am-12:30pm, 3M-3250) and covers Topics 1-5. The midterm is worth 40% of the final grade. Exam 2 will be scheduled by the registrar for the final exam period and covers Topics 6-11. The final exam is worth 40% of the final grade. 

Each exam includes short answer questions, short essay questions, problems, and multiple-choice questions. 

If you require or receive accommodation for extra time on course work, please connect with Accessible Education as soon as possible and let me know so that I can make accommodations.  

  1. 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 Section 10 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. Once I receive the verification of your eligibility for a makeup exam a make-up exam will be scheduled approximately one week after the exam and will be the same format, but with different questions. 

  1. Final Grade 

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



Quizzes (4) 

20% of final grade 

Exams (2) 

80% of final grade 

  1. 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 is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages: 




1000–level and 2099–level courses 


2100–2990 level courses 


3000–level courses 


4000–level courses 

The Psychology Department follows Western’s grading guidelines (see the policy here.) 







One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level 



Superior work that is clearly above average 



Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory 



Competent work, meeting requirements 



Fair work, minimally acceptable 


below 50 


Note that if 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. 

  1. 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 assessment within the course. 

  1. Exam Review 

Grades will be released on OWL. Exams and quizzes may be reviewed by making an appointment with the TA during their exam review office hours. Neither the TA nor the instructor will re-grade questions or award points after the grades have been released. 

  1. Assessment / Evaluation Schedule 






Quiz 1  

Jan 23 


Class 1—2  


Quiz 2 

Feb 6 





Feb 13 


Class 1—5  


Quiz 3 

Nov 13 


Class 6—7 


Quiz 4 

Dec 4 


Class 8—10 


Make up Quiz 

Dec 6 


Class 1—11 

5% (optional) 




Class 6—11 



  1. Schedule 





Unit 1 

Jan 9 


Minda Ch. 1 

Unit 2 

Jan 16 


Minda Ch. 2 

Quiz 1 

Jan 23 

Units 1–2 (online) 

Minda Ch 1–2 

Unit 3 

Jan 23 

Knowledge and Memory 

Minda Ch. 3 

Unit 4 

Jan 30 

Concepts and Categories 

Minda Ch. 4 

Unit 5 

Feb 6 


Minda Ch 5 

Quiz 2 

Feb 6 

Quiz, Units 3–5 (online) 

Minda Ch 3–5 

Exam 1 

Feb 13 

Unit 1–5 (3M-3250) 

Minda Ch 1–5 


Feb 20 

Reading Week 


Unit 6 

Feb 27 

Inference and Induction 

Minda Ch. 6 

Unit 7 

Mar 5 

Deductive Reasoning 

Minda Ch. 7 

Quiz 3 

Mar 5 

Units 6–7 (online) 

Minda Ch. 6–7 

Unit 8 

Mar 12 

Context, Motivation, and Mood 

Minda Ch. 8 

Unit 9 

Mar 19 

Decision Making 

Minda Ch. 9 

Unit 10 

Mar 26 

Problem Solving & Creativity 

Minda Ch. 10 

Quiz 4 

Mar 26 

Units 8–10 (online) 

Minda Ch 8–10 

Unit 11 

Apr 2 

Expertise and Expert Thinking 

Minda Ch. 11 

Make up Quiz 

Apr 2 

Units 1–11 (online) 

Minda Ch 1–11 

Exam 2 


Units 6–11 (TBA) 

Minda Ch 6–11 

  1. Land Acknowledgment 

We acknowledge that Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. 

With this, we respect the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have to this land, as they are the original caretakers. We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g. First Nations, Métis and Inuit) endure in Canada, and we accept responsibility as a public institution to contribute toward revealing and correcting miseducation, as well as renewing respectful relationships with Indigenous communities through our teaching, research and community service. 

  1. Statement on Academic Offences 

Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offences. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offences because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offence are described at the following link. 

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. 

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. 

  1. Policy on the Use of Exam Proctoring Software 

Tests and examinations for online courses will be conducted using a remote proctoring service. By taking this course, you are consenting to the use of this software and acknowledge that you will be required to provide personal information (including some biometric data) and the session will be recorded.  Completion of this course will require you to have a reliable internet connection and a device that meets the technical requirements for this service. More information about this remote proctoring service, including technical requirements, is available on Western’s Remote Proctoring website at: 

In the event that in-person exams are unexpectedly canceled, you may only be given notice of the use of a proctoring service a short time in advance. 

  1. Policy on Accommodation for Illness or Other Absences 

Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found HERE 

If you experience an extenuating circumstance (e.g., illness, injury) sufficiently significant to temporarily make you unable to meet academic requirements, you may request accommodation through the following routes:  

  • For medical absences, submitting a Student Medical Certificate (SMC) signed by a licensed medical or mental health practitioner in order to be eligible for Academic Consideration;  
  • For non-medical absences, submitting appropriate documentation (e.g., obituary, police report, accident report, court order, etc.) to Academic Counselling in their Faculty of registration in order to be eligible for academic consideration. Students are encouraged to contact their Academic Counselling unit to clarify what documentation is appropriate. 

Students seeking academic consideration: 

  • are advised to consider carefully the implications of postponing tests or midterm exams or delaying handing in work;   
  • 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. 

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. 

  1. Contingency Plan for Return to Lockdown: In-Person & Blended classes 

In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence or any other event that necessitates the course delivery moving away from face-to-face interaction, all remaining course content will be delivered entirely online, either synchronously (i.e., at the times indicated in the timetable) or asynchronously (e.g., posted on OWL for students to view at their convenience). The grading scheme will not change. Any remaining assessments will also be conducted online, as determined by the course instructor. 

  1. Other Information 

Office of the Registrar:   

Student Development Services:  

Psychology Undergraduate Program: 


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 to the Undergraduate Chair in Psychology ( 

  1. 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. 

  1. Policy on the Recording of Synchronous Sessions  

Some or all of the remote learning sessions for this course (if scheduled) may be recorded. The data captured during these recordings may include your image, voice recordings, chat logs and personal identifiers (name displayed on the screen). The recordings will be used for educational purposes related to this course, including evaluations. The recordings may be disclosed to other individuals participating in the course for their private or group study purposes. Please contact the instructor if you have any concerns related to session recordings. Participants in this course are not permitted to privately record the sessions, except where recording is an approved accommodation, or the student has the prior written permission of the instructor.