Psychology 3138G 001 FW23

Human Memory

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.



LONDON               CANADA 

Department of Psychology 

Summer 2023 


Psychology 3138G    Section 001 

Human Memory 





A review of data and theories from cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience that bear on how people form, retain, and retrieve memory representations. Emphasis will be placed on studies that address cognitive processes, but some research on brain mechanisms will be covered as well. 


Antirequisite: Not applicable. 


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. If you take a course that is an antirequisite to a course previously taken, you will lose credit for the earlier course, regardless of the grade achieved in the most recent course. 


Prerequisite:  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, Psychology 2220A/B, Psychology 2221A/B, Neuroscience 2000. Minimum grade of 60% required in all prerequisite courses. 


Lecture Hours: 3h  

Course Weight: 0.5  


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. 





Instructor: Madeleine Brodbeck 

Office and Phone Number: SSC 7440 

Office Hours: by appointment 



Teaching Assistant: Claudia Valiente Morales 

Office: WIRB 

Office Hours: By appointment  



Time and Location of Classes:  Thursdays 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM @ UCC-59 

Delivery Method: In-Person  


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. 


2.1 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. 




Schwartz, B.L. (2021). Memory. Foundations and Applications (4th Edition). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. 


Please use the current edition of the textbook; readings are based on this edition. If you use an older edition, just know that there is the caveat that you may be missing some information from the new textbook, or reading more than you need to.  




  1. To provide a comprehensive research-oriented overview of the history, methodology, theories, and contentious issues in the study of human memory in psychology and cognitive neuroscience.
  2. To encourage reading and provide opportunity for writing about primary source material in memory research; to encourage critical thinking about memory research; to explore and appreciate the limits of current scientific knowledge in the field.
  3. To provide training for public (in-class) presentations on a specific research question and its empirical study; to encourage discussion of contentious issues in memory research.

Any course of this sort contains material that must be learned from both lectures and readings. Some material from the text will not be covered in lectures; similarly, some material from the lectures will not be covered in the readings. Therefore, it is critical that students attend the lectures, participate in class discussions, and do the readings regularly for successful completion of the course. 


Learning Outcome  

Learning Activity  


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge.  

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical frameworks and models that underpin the study of human memory, including working memory, semantic memory, and episodic memory. 
  • Explain the neural mechanisms and brain structures associated with different memory systems and their functions. 
  • Analyze the impact of memory disorders, such as amnesia, on the functioning of various memory systems. 



Participation in class discussion  

Preparing class presentations 


Writing paper 1 

Writing midterm 


Writing final exam 

Class presentations 

Paper 1 


Final exam 

Knowledge of Methodologies.  

  • Apply and evaluate experimental methodologies commonly used in the study of human memory, including behavioral experiments, neuroimaging techniques, and cognitive assessments. 
  • Critically assess the strengths and limitations of different research methods employed in the investigation of memory. 



Participation in class discussion  

Preparing class presentations 


Writing paper 2 

Writing midterm 


Writing final exam 

Class presentations 

Paper 2 


Final exam 

Application of Knowledge.  

  • Apply knowledge of memory systems and processes to real-world scenarios, including educational settings, clinical interventions, when consuming media, and everyday memory challenges 

Participation in class discussion  

Preparing class presentations 

Writing paper 1 

Writing paper 2 

Writing midterm 


Writing final exam 

Class presentations 

Paper 1 

Paper 2 


Final exam 

Communication Skills.  

  • Effectively communicate complex concepts related to human memory 
  • Interpret and communicate scientific literature on memory research emphasizing clarity and relevance. 

Preparing & giving class presentations 


Participation in class discussion 

Writing paper 1  


Writing paper 2 


Class presentations 


Paper 1  


Paper 2 

Awareness of Limits of Knowledge. 

  • Acknowledge the ongoing debates and unresolved questions within the field of memory research, demonstrating an awareness of the evolving nature of knowledge in this area. 
  • Recognize and discuss the ethical considerations and constraints in memory research, particularly in studies involving vulnerable populations or the manipulation of memory. 





Writing paper 2  

Paper 2 


Final Exam 





Midterm 15% of total grade  

Final 25% of total grade  

Paper 1 (short written assignment)   15% of total grade 

Paper 2 (long written assignment) 25% of total grade  

In-class presentation 15% of total grade  

In class participation 5% of total grade 
Midterm & Final 

The midterm will assess all lecture and textbook content from weeks 1-5. The final exam will assess lecture and textbook content from weeks 8-13. While the final exam is not cumulative, some foundational concepts covered earlier in the course will carry over to the final. The midterm and final exam will follow a similar format including short and long answer questions. 


Paper 1 

Critique of a piece of media covering human memory (1000-1200 words). Select a piece of media where human memory is discussed. The media piece can be: a news article, a book, video game, podcast, movie, television show, etc. We will be watching one example of an appropriate media piece in class together after the midterm.  


Your critique need not be completely negative if you think that the media piece has good components. You can point out that some parts are accurate, while other parts are misleading. Or you can argue that it is universally a bad piece of work. Your critique should be well-organized with an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. Make sure to fully cite the media piece you are critiquing, using APA or similar style. You should include 2-5 outside references to back up your claims.  


Paper 2 

A research proposal or literature review addressing a research question in human memory (2500-3000 words). Must follow APA 7 guidelines and include 5-10 references.  


In-class presentation 

Dates (one per student) will be determined in first two weeks of classes. The goal of presentations is to summarize an assigned research paper. The topic of the presentation will coincide with the topic of the week that they occur (i.e. the topic for presentations on Feb 1st will pertain to working memory).  


In-class participation 

Come to class and participate by asking questions of both me and your classmates during their presentations.  




There will be a penalty for late submissions (5% per day) of paper 1 and 2 without any discussion with the course instructor. An extension will be provided to students with an academic consideration or accommodation. 


Because this is an essay course, as per Senate Regulations, you must pass the essay component to pass the course. That is, the average mark for your written assignments must be at least 50%. 


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. 




In-class Presentation: Dates (one per student) will be determined in first two weeks of classes.  

Midterm: February 15th in Class (9:30 AM – 10:45 AM)  

Paper 1: due March 7th by 11:55 PM via OWL 

Paper 2: due April 5th by 11:55 PM via OWL 

Final Exam: Scheduled during final exam period (April 11th – 30th 






Assigned Readings 


Other Assessments 

January 11th  

General course introduction  




January 18th  

Historical overview 

Textbook Ch. 1 



January 25th  

Memory and the brain 

Textbook Ch. 2 



February 1st  

Working memory 

Textbook Ch. 3 



February 8th  


Textbook Ch. 4, 13 



February 15th  

Media viewing in class  
11:15 AM – 12:30 PM 




in class 
9:30 – 10:45 AM 

February 22nd 

Reading week -- no class  




February 29th 

Semantic memory 

Textbook Ch. 5 



March 7th  

Episodic memory 

Textbook Ch. 4 


PAPER 1 DUE on OWL by 11:55 PM 

March 14th  

Amnesia and related memory disorders 

Textbook Ch. 10 



March 21st  

Autobiographical memory  

Textbook Ch. 6 



March 28th  

Memory and emotion 

TBA reading provided online at OWL 



April 4th  

False memory 

Textbook Ch. 7, 12 


PAPER 2 DUE on OWL April 5th by 11:55 PM 




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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. 




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: 


As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offences. 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 ( 


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. 


In classes that involve the use of a personal response system (PRS), data collected using the PRS will only be used in a manner consistent to that described in this outline. It is the instructor’s responsibility to make every effort to ensure that data remain confidential. However, students should be aware that as with all forms of electronic communication, privacy is not guaranteed. Your PRS login credentials are for your sole use only. Students attempting to use another student’s credentials to submit data through the PRS may be subject to academic misconduct proceedings.  


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. 



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. 




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


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:  

  1. 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;  
  1. 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 must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation. 


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. 




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. 




In courses involving online interactions, the Psychology Department expects students to honour the following rules of etiquette: 

  • please “arrive” to class on time 
  • please use your computer and/or laptop if possible (as opposed to a cell phone or tablet) 
  • please ensure that you are in a private location to protect the confidentiality of discussions in the event that a class discussion deals with sensitive or personal material 
  • to minimize background noise, kindly mute your microphone for the entire class until you are invited to speak, unless directed otherwise 
  • In classes larger than 30 participants please turn off your video camera for the entire class unless you are invited to speak 
  • In classes of 30 students or fewer, where video chat procedures are being used, please be prepared to turn your video camera off at the instructor’s request if the internet connection becomes unstable 
  • Unless invited by your instructor, do not share your screen in the meeting 


The course instructor will act as moderator for the class and will deal with any questions from participants. To participate please consider the following: 

  • If you wish to speak, use the “raise hand” function and wait for the instructor to acknowledge you before beginning your comment or question. 
  • Please remember to unmute your microphone and turn on your video camera before speaking. 
  • Self-identify when speaking. 
  • Please remember to mute your mic and turn off your video camera after speaking (unless directed otherwise). 


General considerations of “netiquette”: 

  • Keep in mind the different cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students in the course. 
  • Be courteous toward the instructor, your colleagues, and authors whose work you are discussing. 
  • Be respectful of the diversity of viewpoints that you will encounter in the class and in your readings. The exchange of diverse ideas and opinions is part of the scholarly environment. “Flaming” is never appropriate. 
  • Be professional and scholarly in all online postings. Use proper grammar and spelling. Cite the ideas of others appropriately. 


Note that disruptive behaviour of any type during online classes, including inappropriate use of the chat function, is unacceptable. Students found guilty of Zoom-bombing a class or of other serious online offenses may be subject to disciplinary measures under the Code of Student Conduct. 




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 ( 


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. 


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.