Psychology 3139B 001

Cognitive Science

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 

Fall/Winter 2023-2024 


Psychology 3139B Section 001 


Cognitive Science 




Cognitive Science combines psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, neuropsychology, linguistics, philosophy, and anthropology to study how people think. Students will learn about how cognitive scientists approach problems in a diverse, integrated manner to help us understand how people learn and process, for example, concepts and language. 


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. 


3 class/lecture hours; 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: Indra Bishnoi 

Office: Social Science Centre (SSC) 7440 

Office Hours: Monday 5-6 PM (held on Zoom) or by appointment 



Teaching Assistant: Gregory Brooks 

Office Hours: By appointment 



Time and Location of Classes:  

See Student Centre for TimeTable

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.  



Cognitive Science: An Introduction to the Study of Mind 4th Edition by Jay D. Friedenberg, Gordon W. Silverman, Michael J. Spivey 




The primary objective of this course is to provide students with an introduction to Cognitive Science, an exciting approach to studying how people think that combines psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, linguistics, philosophy, and robotics. This course will emphasize the following three fields: psychology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. 


Some material from the text or readings will not be covered in lectures; similarly, some material from the lectures will not be covered in the text or readings. Therefore, it is necessary that students attend the lectures and do the readings regularly for success in the course. 


Learning Outcome  

Learning Activity  


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge.  

  • Explain key concepts, theoretical approaches, empirical findings, and historical trends in cognitive science 
  • Define key concepts that characterize cognitive science as a field of scientific inquiry 



Written paper 

Class discussions 

Tests and exam 

Independent paper 

In-class participation 

Knowledge of Methodologies.  

  • Understand the strengths and limitations of well-established methodologies of cognitive science, and how these methods contribute to the current state of knowledge in this field 



Class discussions 

Tests and exam 

Independent paper 

In-class participation 

Application of Knowledge.  

  • Apply established research methods to investigate questions in cognitive science 
  • Identify relevant cognitive mechanisms and current issues and apply to real-world contexts 

Written paper 

Class discussions 

Tests and exam 

Independent paper 

In-class participation 

Communication Skills.  

  • Articulate the central questions and issues in contemporary cognitive science 
  • Communicate cognitive science material and principles to a lay and scientifically literate audience 

Written paper 

Class discussions 

Tests and exam 

Independent paper 

In-class participation 

Awareness of Limits of Knowledge. 

  • Critically analyze published research, including scientific background, methodology, results, and conclusions 



Written paper 

Class discussions 

Tests and exam 

Independent paper 

In-class participation 

Autonomy and Professional Capacity. 

  • Practice the skills required to manage one’s own learning, including the utilization of course material and asking questions to increase understanding 
  • Work collaboratively with others towards a common goal and present the understanding gained from these experiences clearly 



Written paper 

Class discussions 

Tests and exam 

Independent paper 

In-class participation 





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. 


Course performance will be evaluated based on the following sources: 

  1. Test 1 – 20% 
  1. Test 2 – 20% 
  1. Independent Paper – 20% 
  1. Cumulative Final Exam – 35% 
  1. Participation – 5% 


In-Class Tests and Cumulative Final exam: Tests will be held in-person. Final exam will be scheduled by the Office of the Registrar. Tests and the final exam will be based on lecture material and assigned readings and consist of both multiple choice and short answer questions. They will be closed book and completed independently. While the final is cumulative, there will be a greater emphasis on the content covered after Test 2. 


Independent Paper: Independent paper will be 1650 words (max). Guidelines and rubric will be posted on OWL. Submitted through OWL. 




Missed In-Class Tests: No make-up tests will be scheduled in this course. If you have received academic consideration for an absence, your final exam will be reweighted to account for the missed test(s). Without submitted documentation, a mark of 0 will be assigned. 


Independent Paper: Without submitted documentation, a late penalty of 10% of the assignment’s value per day will be applied to papers submitted after the deadline. If you have received academic consideration for the assignment, the deadline will be adjusted as recommended by Academic Counselling. 


Missed In-Class Participation: For this component, your lowest grade will be dropped from your overall grade. Therefore, if you miss a class for the term, you do not need to worry about this affecting your grade. No other make-up opportunities will be provided. 


The final exam can be rescheduled only with documented academic consideration.  


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. 




The dates of each assessment component are as follows: 

  1. Test 1 – February 1, 2024 
  1. Test 2 – March 7, 2024 
  1. Independent Paper – March 15, 2024 
  1. Cumulative Final Exam – TBA, scheduled by the Office of the Registrar 
  1. Participation – See class schedule/section 7.0 






Readings to complete prior to class (page range on OWL) 

Jan 8 

Course Introduction 

What is Cognitive Science? 

  • Disciplines Contributing to Cognitive Science 

Chapter 1 

Jan 11 

Jan 15 

The Philosophical Approach 

  • What is the Mind?  

Chapter 2 

Jan 18 

The Psychological Approach 

  • Current Approaches in Cognitive Psychology 

Chapter 3 

Jan 22 

The Neuroscience Approach 

  • Methods of Understanding the Brain and Mind 

Chapter 6 

Jan 25 

Jan 29 

Current Research in Cognitive Neuropsychology 


Feb 1 

In-Class Test 1 


Feb 5 

The Cognitive Approach 

  • Memory, Visual Imagery, Problem Solving 

Chapter 5 

Feb 8 

Feb 12 

The Emotional Approach 

  • Theories of Emotion in Cognitive Science 

Chapter 10 

Feb 15 

Feb 19 

Winter Reading Week 

Feb 22  

Feb 26  

The Social Approach 

  • Theory of Mind 

Chapter 11 

Feb 29 

Mar 4 

Current Research in Affective and Social Cognition 


Mar 7 

In-Class Test 2 


Mar 11 

The Cognitive Approach 

  • Perception, Pattern Recognition, Attention 

Chapter 4 

Mar 14 

Mar 18 

The Evolutionary Approach: Looking Back 

  • Changes to the Brain and Mind Over Time 

Chapter 8 

Mar 21 

Mar 25 

The Artificial Intelligence Approach: Looking Forward I 

  • The Computer as a Cognitive Agent 

Chapter 12 

Mar 28 

Apr 1 

The Network Approach: Looking Forward II 

  • Artificial Neural Networks 

Chapter 7 

Apr 4 


Final Exam 

  • Scheduled by the Registrar 





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. 





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.