Psychology 3185G 001 FW23

Research in Cognitive Psychology

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




Department of Psychology 



Psychology 3185G Section 001 

Research in Cognitive Psychology 




Cognitive theorists face a unique problem: the understanding of mental structures and processes that are not directly observable. A variety of methods used to address this problem will be surveyed in this course, and research questions of enduring interest will be discussed. Students will be expected to use the techniques learned. Cognitive domains to be examined include attention, memory, problem-solving, and thinking. Extra Information:2 lecture hours, 2 laboratory hours.  


Both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or both the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810, and one of Psychology 2115A/B, Psychology 2134A/B, or Psychology 2135A/B, Psychology 2220A/B, Psychology 2221A/B, or Neuroscience 2000 PLUS registration in third or fourth year Honours Specialization in Psychology, or Honours Specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience or Honours Specialization in Neuroscience. Third or fourth year Psychology Majors and Psychology Special Students who receive 70% or higher in both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811A/B, or 70% or higher in the former Psychology 2820E (or 60% or higher in the former Psychology 2800E and the former Psychology 2810), plus 60% or higher in one of Psychology 2115A/B, Psychology 2134A/B, Psychology 2135A/B, Psychology 2220A/B, Psychology 2221A/B, or Neuroscience 2000 also may enrol in this course. 






Instructor: Bailey Brashears 

Office and Phone Number:  Western Interdisciplinary Research Building 

Office Hours: Online (via Zoom) by appointment on OWL             



Teaching Assistant: TBA 

Office: TBA 

Office Hours: TBA 

Email:   TBA      


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. Please refer to the course syllabus for further information. 





There is no textbook for this course. Course readings will be posted on OWL. 


Recommended Text:  

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition (2020). Note: you will need this manual for the Honors Thesis course, so it is worth buying your own copy. Make sure you use the 7th edition – earlier editions contain formatting rules that are no longer current and may cost you marks.  


For laboratory sessions and assignments, we will use three software: 

  1. PsychoPy ( 
  1. R ( 
  1. Jamovi ( 


For laboratory sessions: You are supposed to bring your own electronic device (e.g., laptop) that allows to run the specified software. Alternatively, you can team up with a classmate (no more than two students per team). Download, system requirements, and installation instructions are available on the software website. Note that it is your responsibility that your electronic device meets the installation requirements of the software. All software must be installed and tested by the first laboratory session of the course. 



By the end of the course students should have:  
   Knowledge of the fundamental concepts in human cognition.  
   Extensive exposure to human cognition research paradigms.  
   Hands-on experience in designing research projects (including one experiment), data collection and analysis, and preparing research reports on human experimental research.  




Learning Outcome 

Learning Activity 


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge. 

  • Foster critical thinking 
  • crystalize knowledge about human cognition   



Weekly readings and discussions 




Weekly Lab Session 

Knowledge of Methodologies. 

  • Foster experience designing research 
  • Extensive exposure to human cognition research paradigms.  

Research Paper workshop 

Research Paper 


Application of Knowledge. 

  • Knowledge translation related to research in cognitive psychology 


Oral Presentation workshop 

Oral presentation given by students 



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. 

Students will demonstrate their achievements via the following activities: 1) Class participation (10%), 2) a written research proposal submitted via OWL (20%), 3) mid-term paper comprising a literature review on any topic relevant to experimental research in cognitive psychology (35%) 4) creation and presentation of a final project to the class comprising a simple yet technically robust experiment and analysis relevant to cognitive psychology (35%). 

Each week, students will read the assigned paper(s) and either be assessed in class via a discussion where they will expected to ask and answer questions about the material, or via a 500 word written critique of the article which they must submit before the Wednesday class. The students are free to choose if they would like to be assessed in class or via written critique.   

The proposal will be approximately 500 words and consist of a research question, relevant hypothesis, and methodology. The students may select a cognitive psychology topic of their choosing, subject to instructor approval. 

The written research paper will be a 5-page literature review based on the written proposal. Students will review the topic by finding relevant research papers on this topic and summarizing the information.  

The students will then develop an experiment based on their proposal and present their research topic orally with an accompanying power point presentation. Presentations will be 12-15 minutes and will cover background and the main content of their research paper as well as the components of their experiment. 


PLEASE NOTE: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.  






% of final grade 





Proposal & Ethics 


Feb. 2 

Midterm paper 


Feb. 26 

Final project 


Mar. 25, 27, Apr. 1, 3 


Deadlines are strictly enforced. A penalty of 10% per day is applied to every 24-hour period an assignment is late. Extensions for assignments will be granted only for documented health reasons or on documented compassionate grounds. Makeup exams will be arranged only in the situation thata student misses the midterm due to sickness or other acceptable excuse and the student must present an official document justifying the absence. 




If you miss an assignment and have an excuse documented accommodation approved by the academic counselling office in your home faculty, you will be offered a make-up assignment. In arranging academic consideration, medical documentation will be required for any absences, late assignments or essays, laboratory experiments or tutorials, laboratory reports, mid term papers, and final projects. Such documentation must be submitted by the student directly to the appropriate Faculty Dean’s office, and it will be the Dean’s office that will make the determination whether academic consideration is warranted. 

Given the University’s Official Student Record Information Privacy Policy, instructors may not collect medical documentation. 

In all cases where academic consideration is being sought for work totalling 10% or more of the final grade in a course, students will be directed to the appropriate Faculty Dean’s office. Students who have been denied academic consideration by the instructor may appeal this decision to the appropriate Faculty Dean’s office but will be required to present appropriate documentation. A student may appeal a decision on academic consideration made by the Dean’s Office of the student’s Home Faculty to the Senate Review Board Academic (SRBA) as set out in theUndergraduate Student Academic Appealspolicy. 

Grades will be rounded only to the nearest whole number, that is, marks ending in a 4 or a 9 (e.g., 74 and 79) will not be rounded up a mark. No additional assignments will be offered to enhance a final grade, nor will any requests be considered for additional marks because they are needed for a grad/law/med school application, etc. To maximize your grade, do your best on each and every component during the course. 


PLEASE NOTE: 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.  










Jan. 8, 10 



Introduction: What is research in cognitive psychology? What will we achieve in this course? 

Course syllabus, 

PsychoPy Documentation 

Jan. 15, 17 




(Posner, 1980) 

Jan. 22, 24 



Cognitive Control Part I, Response Inhibition) 

 (Verbruggen & Logan, 2008) 

Jan. 29, 31 



Cognitive Control Part II (Cognitive Conflict/Interference) 

  (Stroop, 1935) 

 (Limongi et al., 2020) 

Feb. 5, 7 



Memory (Part I, short-term memory) Memory (Part II, Long term Memory) 

(Sternberg, 1966) 

(Silva & Limongi, 2019) 

Feb. 12, 14 



Category Learning 



Feb. 19, 21 



Reading Week 


Feb  28* 



Experiment Design & Consultation   


Mar. 4, 6 



Experiment Design & Consultation   



Mar. 11, 13 



Data Collection & Consultation   


Mar. 18, 20 



Analysis & Consultation   


Mar. 25, 27 



Final Project Presentations 


Apr. 1, 3 



Final Project Presentations 



*Feb 26. No in-person class midterm paper due date. 


Reading List 

Limongi, R., Jeon, P., Mackinley, M., Das, T., Dempster, K., Théberge, J., Bartha, R., Wong, D., & Palaniyappan, L. (2020). Glutamate and Dysconnection in the Salience Network: Neurochemical, Effective-connectivity, and Computational Evidence in Schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry. 

Posner, M. I. (1980). Orienting of Attention. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 32(1), 3-25. 

Silva, A. M., & Limongi, R. (2019). Writing to Learn Increases Long-term Memory Consolidation: A Mental-chronometry and Computational-modeling Study of “Epistemic Writing”. Journal of Writing Research, 11(vol. 11 issue 1), 211-243. 

Sternberg, S. (1966). High-Speed Scanning in Human Memory. Science, 153, 652-654. 

Stroop, J. R. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18(6), 643-662. 

Verbruggen, F., & Logan, G. D. (2008). Response inhibition in the stop-signal paradigm. Trends Cogn Sci, 12(11), 418-424. 



8.0  Land Acknowledgement 


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. 



If a remote proctoring service is used, the service will require you to provide personal information (including some biometric data). The session will be recorded. 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. More information about remote proctoring is available in the Online Proctoring Guidelines. Please ensure you are familiar with any proctoring service’s technical requirements before the exam. Additional guidance is available at the following link: 


* Please note that Zoom servers are located outside Canada. If you would prefer to use only your first name or a nickname to login to Zoom, please provide this information to the instructor in advance of the test or examination. See this link for technical requirements:   




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 hoursafter 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. 


12.0      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. 




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.