Psychology 3130A 650 SU23

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.




Department of Psychology 

Summer 2023 


Psychology 3130A  

Section 650 

The Psychology of Thinking 





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


Antirequisite: Not Applicable 


Antirequisites are courses that overlap sufficiently in content that only one can be taken for credit. There are no antirequisites for this course.  



  • Psychology 2820E or both Psychology 2800E and Psychology 2810, or both Psychology 2801F/G and Psychology 2811 A/B 
  • and One of Psychology 2115A/B, Psychology 2134A/B, or 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 if you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites. 




Instructor: Bailey Brashears  

Office Hours: Wednesday, 1:00pm – 2:30pm by Zoom 



Time and Location of Classes: Asynchronous 

Delivery Method: Virtual 


Course Operation:  

This is an asynchronous online course. The lectures are viewable on OWL and you can watch them at your own pace. I will maintain an active presence on OWL with weekly Zoom office hours to answer questions and engage with students. I also post regular YouTube updates about the course. 


The course runs on a weekly basis. Each week, there will be one lesson/topic assigned that corresponds to a chapter in the textbook. The topic will be unlocked and available at 12:00 am on the Monday of the week that it is assigned according to the schedule in Section 6. The topic will remain unlocked until the end of the term. You can find the topics on the left menu bar on OWL. Click on a topic, open the topic page and you will find: 


  • The assigned readings in the text 
  • Learning outcomes for the topic 
  • Two or three video lectures that are 20-30 min each 
  • PowerPoint slides without the audio 
  • Links to additional readings and resources 


There are also four quizzes and two exams that will be completed online. These will be released according to the schedule and will be timed, open book, open note. You should not work with others on the quizzes or the exams. 



Office Hours and email: 

I hold one-on-one student meetings on Wednesday from 1:00 pm–2:30 pm on Zoom. You must be logged into Western’s Zoom account to participate. The link is available on OWL. You can join the waiting room and I’ll meet with people first come first serve. 


Wellness and Accessibility: 

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. 


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. 





Minda, J. P. (2020). The Psychology of Thinking: Reasoning, Decision-Making and Problem-Solving, 2nd Ed. SAGE, London: UK. 


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



There are some additional readings that accompany the lectures. These include scientific journal articles, blog posts, and popular articles. These additional readings are available on the course website for the topic in which they are relevant. Content from these readings will be on the quizzes and exams. 


Course Notes: 

Notes and slides from each class will be available on the course website. These notes will be identical to the ones in the short videos but will be PowerPoint slides without the audio. These are included if you need your own slides for review or for 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. 




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. 


Student Learning Outcomes: 


Learning Outcome  

Learning Activity  


Depth and Breadth of Knowledge.  

  • Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes relevant to the psychology of thinking 

Readings & Lectures 

 Quizzes & Exams 

Knowledge of Methodologies.  

  • Articulate the concepts and current states of knowledge in both the natural science and social science aspects of the psychology of thinking. 

 Readings & Lectures 


 Quizzes & Exams 


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 

Readings & Lectures 


Quizzes & Exams 


Communication Skills.  

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

Readings & Lectures 


Quizzes & Exams 







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. 




There are four online quizzes that will be released according to the schedule in Section 6 and will be timed, open book, open note, and not proctored. Each quiz will be available for 12 hours from 9:00am – 9:00 pm on the day it is scheduled. You can take the quiz any time during that period but once you begin, you will have 15 minutes to complete the quiz. Questions will be randomized and once you answer a question and advance you will not be able to go back to change your answer (linear format). If you require or receive accommodations for extra time on course work please connect with Services for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible and let me know so that I can make accommodations. Each quiz is worth 5% if the final grade and the four quizzes make up 20% of the final grade. 

Quiz Make Up Policy: 

If you miss a quiz you may have an opportunity to make up the quiz during the final week of the course, on Thursday July 27, 2023. Make up quizzes will be online multiple-choice format. See the section on Accommodations for information on seeking accommodations. Any quiz not taken or made up will be scored as “0". 


There are two exams according to the schedule in Section 6. Each exam includes short answer questions, short essay questions, problems, and multiple-choice questions. Each exam will be available for 3 hours from 9:00am–12:00 pm on the day it is scheduled. Each exam will be timed, open book, and open note and will be remote proctored. If you require or receive accommodation for extra time on course work please connect with Services for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible and let me know so that I can make accommodations. Each exam is worth 40% of the final grade, the exams together are worth 80% of the final grade. 

Exam 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 the section on Accommodations 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. Information on accommodation appeals and medical certificates is available here. 

Once I receive the verification of your eligibility for a makeup exam (Exam 1 or Exam 2), a make-up exam will be scheduled two weeks after the after the final exam. Any exam not taken or made up will be scored as “0". 

Exam Review: 

Grades will be released on OWL. If you wish to review an exam, you must make an appointment with me during my office hours. I do not re-grade questions or award points after the grades have been released. 

Final Grade: 

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



Quizzes (4) 

20% of final grade 

Exam 1 

40% of final grade 

Exam 2 

40% of final grade 


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 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. 









May 8 


Minda Ch. 1 


May 15 


Minda Ch. 2 


May 18 

Quiz 1 (Unit 1–2) 

Minda Chs.1–2 


May 22 

Knowledge and Memory 

Minda Ch. 3 


May 29 

Concepts and Categories 

Minda Ch. 4 


June 1 

Quiz 2 (Units 3–4) 

Minda Ch.3–4 


June 5 

Language and Thought 

Minda Ch. 5 


June 16 

Exam 1 (Units 1–5) 

Minda Ch. 1–5 


June 19 

Inference and Induction 

Minda Ch. 6 


June 26 

Deductive Reasoning 

Minda Ch. 7 


June 29 

Quiz 3 (Units 6–7) 

Minda Ch. 6–7 


July 3 

Context, Motivation, and Mood 

Minda Ch. 8 


July 10 

Decision Making 

Minda Ch. 9 


July 13 

Quiz 4 (Units 8–9) 

Minda Ch 8–9 


July 17 

Problem Solving and Creativity 

Minda Ch. 10 


July 24 

Expertise and Expert Thinking 

Minda Ch. 11 


July 27 

Make Up Quiz Day 




Exam 2 (Units 6–11) 

Minda Ch. 6–11 


Aug 11 

Make Up Exams 







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.