PLEASE NOTE: Course offerings are subject to change.  For the most up-to-date information regarding graduate courses, including the full list of courses offered, time, and location, please see classes.ucr.edu.


TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Seminar in Developmental Psychology: Psychology of Aging

INSTRUCTOR: Chandra Reynolds

DESCRIPTION: This seminar will examine adult development and aging from a psychological perspective, considering early life factors that may play out. The historical, theoretical and research perspectives associated with the lifespan processes will be covered.  Substantive topics will include cognitive and functional aging, mental health, personality, and emotional development.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Seminar in Developmental Psychology



TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 263: Seminar in Physiological Psychology: How Does the Brain Tell Time?


DESCRIPTION: Learning, memory formation, and decision making is inextricably linked to discriminating between stimuli. This sensory discrimination relies on the spatial (e.g., the orientation of a line) and temporal (e.g., duration) features of stimuli. Estimation of stimulus duration and discriminating between different intervals/durations requires precise representation of time and is central to making predictions and anticipating events. Speech production and perception, for example, require the sequential generation of syllables every 200 to 400 msec and each syllable has to last for an optimal duration. Similarly, while we wait at a traffic signal, we process the duration of the light in order to predict when to press the gas pedal. Another example is turn-taking during social interactions, where, estimating time and duration is important for efficient back-and-forth exchange and communication.  Therefore, it is clear that circuits in the brain need to process the temporal structure of sensory events and store this information for future reference. How is this achieved? We will discuss some prominent theoretical models supporting human psychophysical, neuroimaging, and rodent electrophysiological studies that provide answers to this question.

COURSE STRUCTURE: Reading will be provided for each week, and we will discuss the papers. Students are required to read the papers, engage in discussions, and present at least two figures from the assigned paper.

Feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in the list of papers, although depending on students’ interests the choice of papers does change a little bit.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 286 F: Proseminar in Health & Well-Being Psychology
Theme For the 2022-23 Academic Year: Promoting Well-Being

Fall Quarter Meetings: 5-8 pm on Wednesdays (October 12, November 2, November 30)
Location: Goldman Library
Professor: Kalina Michalska
Email: kalina.michalska@ucr.edu

DESCRIPTION: The goal of this proseminar is to provide an overview of health and well-being research in Psychology. Topics, class formats, and instructors will rotate year to year; our focus this year is on promoting well-being through evidence-based research. The Fall quarter will introduce the links between financial wellness and health (October), exercise, sleep, and the brain (November), and nutrition and vitality (November). In the Winter quarter, we will examine the science of making and breaking habits, and how to boost attention, focus, and memory with science-based tools. In the Spring quarter, we will consider how to maximize mental health, including harnessing neuroscience to manage anxiety, understanding and conquering depression, and enhancing creativity. Students are encouraged to make connections between their own interests/expertise and the meeting topics and to suggest any course content they wish to learn about this year.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 289 Special Topics in Neuroscience: Neural Mechanisms and Functions of Sleep

DESCRIPTION: Focuses on the neural mechanisms and functions of sleep. Students will present papers and discuss and address the functions of sleep or casual mechanisms involved in sleep. Any level of analysis (molecular/cellular to network/cognitive analysis) is acceptable as long as it addresses neural mechanisms or behavioral functions of sleep.

TITLE OF COURSE: PSYC 203A Experimental Psychology: Core Topic: Repetition

DESCRIPTION: This is the first in the three-course core series in cognition and cognitive neuroscience. The course will have two main aims: first, to provide you with a broad understanding of core ideas and findings in the field of cognition and cognitive neuroscience, and second to help you develop your abilities and confidence in the skills needed for research and teaching in this or other fields.

The topic for the course will be a massively important one which, incredibly, seems never to have been brought front and center as a core issue, namely, Repetition. In all that we do, repetition helps and hurts or at least irks us or bores us. In studies of learning, memory, perception, action, attention, and thinking, repetition has been used as a way of testing the workings of the system. Yet repetition hasn’t been considered under one roof even though it is “the gorilla in the room,” so to speak – and not just for CCN but for other fields as well, including social/personality psychology, developmental psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. How likely one is to see someone as one kind of person or another depends on how often an attribute has been associated with that type of person. How likely a child is to parse a sound stream as a series of syllables of a language being learned depends on the statistics of the sound patterns. And how likely a neuron is to fire depends on how often a particular input has been received (e.g., Kandel’s work on aplysia or Hebbian learning). In cognitive psychology, an enormous amount of research points to the centrality of priming, both positive and negative, depending on the history of recently (and not so recently) presented material. In the study of vision and audition, dramatic advancements have been made based on the realization that statistical information is used by the brain to facilitate stimulus identification (Bayesian inference).

COURSE STRUCTURE: In each class meeting, students will present the topic for the week, which was introduced in the last part of the previous week’s meeting by the instructor. Students will be expected to turn their presentations into brief written documents, due the following week. The documents will be short (about 1,500 words), not including figures that were shown in the presentation or that get replaced with others. These documents will be put on the class drive, available for the other students, and then for the instructor to help with by providing comments or raising questions. Only the authors themselves will be able to edit their documents. Each student’s portfolio of documents will comprise their final work for the quarter. Ideally, the full portfolio will serve as the rough draft for a textbook by the class as a whole, with each contributor being listed as an author. Students will be graded according to their level and quality of involvement both as presenters (oral and written) and as discussers/helpers on other students’ work. At the beginning of the quarter, we will set up the schedule, respecting students’ preferences as much as possible. The exact details for how the seminar will be run will depend on how many students are in the seminar and what their interests are, though the core aims will focus on repetition in cognition and cognitive neuroscience, highlighting previous findings and theoretical/computational models, with an eye toward potential applications.


TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 255: Seminar in Social Psychology

TOPIC: Relationships & Health

INSTRUCTOR: Megan Robbins

DESCRIPTION: The main objective of this course is to gain a deep understanding of the ways in which close relationships and health are interconnected. Through “classic” and current readings and extensive discussion, students will become familiar with the state of the relationships and health literature, and cultivate ideas of where it should go next. By the end of this class, students should be able to 1) think critically and evaluate scientific evidence regarding relationship science and health psychology, 2) understand the role of diversity in relationships and health, 3) demonstrate an understanding of the various methodological approaches in this area of study, and 4) effectively communicate their ideas regarding research on relationships and health.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 256: Seminar in Perception

Topic: Lecturing & Teaching

INSTRUCTOR: Larry Rosenblum

DESCRIPTION: In this seminar we will concentrate on improving our lecturing skills for the classroom and professional presentations. Much of the class time will involve students giving practice presentations and getting constructive feedback from the entire class. Along the way, we will discuss lecturing components including concept organization, choosing terminology, slide construction, and live demonstrations. We will also discuss how to develop course lesson plans, as well as creating good syllabi and exams. In addition, we will discuss how to construct conference, colloquium, and job talks, as well as how to speak to the media about our research findings. Finally, we will learn how improving our lecturing skills has benefits beyond the classroom and conference hall: good lecturing facilitates good writing and thinking – making us better scientists overall.

ELIGIBILITY: Graduate students from all areas of the Department are encouraged to attend (the more the merrier).

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Nothing formal – just preparing short presentations and discussing some readings.

MEETING TIME: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:50 in Goldman Library

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Seminar in Developmental Psychology

Topic: Psychology of Black Youth and Families in Context


DESCRIPTION: What is racial socialization? Is racial identity important? Isn’t anti-racism just the opposite of racism? Are Black girls magical? Where did the concept of “Black Lives Matter” come from? Am I using intersectionality theory correctly? What do these concepts have to do with human development? In this seminar, we will address these questions and explore the psychology of Black youth and families from a structurally informed and strengths-based perspective. Throughout the seminar, we will consider key social contexts, including family, peers, schools, neighborhoods, media, and other institutions, that inform Black youth’s development. From a developmental perspective, we will also explore Black youth and families as agentic. Overall, the seminar will focus on key considerations around how to conduct ethical and culturally informed research with Black youth and families. We will approach this topic from a multidisciplinary perspective, drawing on research and theory from psychology, education, sociology, legal studies, and Black studies. Although the instructor will assign foundational and key readings, the class will co-construct a collaborative reading list (e.g., students will recommend books and articles based on their topics of interest). Students are expected to come with a working project or idea, such as a second-year project, thesis/dissertation study, independent research project, grant proposal, or manuscript idea to discuss in the seminar. Ultimately, our goal is to explore factors that hinder optimal development and factors that contribute to thriving in Black youth and families.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 263: Seminar in Behavioral Science

Topic: Pre-Frontal Network Dynamics



TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 271: Seminar in Cognition

Topic: Eye Tracking in Cognitive Neuroscience Research

INSTRUCTOR: Weiwei Zhang

DESCRIPTION: Eye tracking has been widely employed in research on human behavior. It provides a noninvasive method of capturing the unfolding psychological processes at high temporal resolution. This seminar will begin with systematic reviews of the oculomotor system and the methodology for EYE-TRACKING. We will then discuss how different measures of eye movements (fixation duration, saccade speed, saccade trajectory, and pupillometry) have been used in hypothesis testing and theory development in research across cognitive, developmental, and social psychology, translational, and applied research.

Overall, this course examines the role of eye movements in vision, cognition, and action. Topics covered include the neural systems controlling saccade target selection and oculomotor execution, the relationship between attention and eye movements, and the role of eye movements in complex natural tasks.


TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Seminar in Developmental Psychology

INSTRUCTOR: Cecilia Cheung


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