SPRING 2020 GRADUATE COURSES
PSYC 231: Mathematical and Computational Models in Cognitive Science
Instructor: Jimmy Calanchini
Topic: Multinomial Processing Trees
Description: Multinomial Processing Trees (MPTs) are a class of statistical methods to jointly estimate the contributions of multiple latent cognitive processes from responses to a single task. This course will cover the mathematical and theoretical underpinnings of MPTs; discuss a wide variety of MPTs as implemented across psychological sub-disciplines; and compare and contrast MPTs with other, related statistical methods. The seminar is designed to help students to develop and implement MPTs in their own research.
Location: PSYC 3210
Instructor: Brent Hughes
Topic: Social Cognitive Neuroscience
Description: Over the last 20 years, neuroscientists have become increasingly interested in topics that were previously the purview of social psychologists. More than ever, phenomena such as self perception, empathy, morality, and social influence are being investigated through brain imaging and related techniques. This course introduces students to research in social neuroscience with the goal of developing students’ understanding of the basic theories and methods as well as the challenges of social neuroscience research. The class will focus on particular social phenomenon and (a) evaluate the utility of current social neuroscience research examining the phenomenon and (b) consider future experimental designs using the social neuroscience approach to further inform our understanding of each phenomenon. This course will feature a broad—but by no means exhaustive—selection of research topics in social neuroscience.
Location: PSYC 3210
Psych 257: Seminar in Social-Personality Psychology
Instructor: Veronica Benet-Martinez, visiting professor for the 2020 Spring quarter (https://scholar.google.es/citations?user=tI2CqJsAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao)
Topic: Doing (Cross)Cultural Psychology: Integrating a Cultural Perspective into your Research
This seminar is designed to provide PhD students with an opportunity to (1) meet Prof. Benet-Martinez and learn about her research, (2) learn about the state of the art in cultural/cross/multi-cultural psychology, and (3) bring their own topics of discussion and questions in relation to incorporating cultural/ethnic/diversity factors into their own research activities. Secondly, in this seminar we will closely examine a wide range of basic social/personality processes (e.g., self-concept, social-cognition, personality traits, well-being, identity) from a cultural perspective by drawing on a wide range of cultural and cross-cultural studies. Lastly, we will also discuss more practical and professional issues such as: How does one do research across cultures? What are the challenges of international collaborations? Is it always necessary to demonstrate cross-cultural equivalence in our constructs and scales before conducting research across different cultural groups? Or what is the role of cross-cultural research in psychology’s replicability crisis?
Requirements: Only 2-3 readings will be assigned every week, and each student will be responsible for leading discussion for one class session.
Location: PSYC 1311
PSYC 263: Seminar in Physiological Psychology
Instructor: Anu Goel
Topic: 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 andduration 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 and supporting human psychophysical, neuroimaging and rodent electrophysiological studies that provide answers to this question.
Room: PSYC 1311
WINTER 2020 GRADUATE COURSES
Psychology 257: Seminar in Personality/Social Psychology
Instructor: David Funder
Topic: “Repligate”: Reliability and Reproducibility in Psychology
This seminar will address issues relevant to the controversy over the reliability of psychological research. Topics will include (but not be limited to)
- Critiques of the current science, including the claim that “most published research findings are false”
- Controversies over the replicability of particular findings, including behavioral priming and ESP
- The way practices by journal editors, granting agencies, and hiring committees do and do not encourage reliable, replicable research
- Recommendations for improving conduct and reporting of research, including statements by professional societies, journals, and government agencies
- Related methodological issues including
- Null-hypothesis statistical testing
- The “new statistics” emphasizing effect sizes and confidence intervals
- Exploratory vs. confirmatory research
- p-curving, the test for excess significance, and other statistical tools intended to detect questionable research
- Defenses of the current state of psychological research, and the various kinds of push back against what some call the “anti-false-positives movement” and others simply call “shameless little bullies.”
Readings will include journal articles, editorials, blog posts and probably even a tweet or two. While a lengthy reading list will be provided, we will be selective in what we actually read in depth; skimming will be encouraged when appropriate. The course structure will be discussion of the readings. That’s all. No exams or papers. But do come to class ready to talk.
PSYC 258: Seminar in Developmental Psychology
Instructor: John Franchak
Topic: Developmental Cascades and Everyday Experience
This course will examine developmental cascades—the idea that acquisition of new abilities in one domain can lead to downstream effects on another. We will review claims about cascading effects in different developmental domains—motor, cognitive, linguistic, and social development—with a critical eye. For each example, we will analyze how sufficiently the data distinguish between cascade and non-cascade mechanisms (e.g., domain-general change, maturation). The course will discuss what the role of everyday experiences might be in mediating cascading effects. For example, what changes in infants’ daily experiences could explain the supposed link between learning to walk and improvements in vocabulary? Dr. Lana Karasik — a visiting professor from CUNY Staten Island and expert on cascading effects of learning to walk on social development — will join for some class discussions.
PSYC 258: Seminar in Developmental Psychology
Instructor: Aerika Loyd
Topic: Identity Development: Issues in Theory and Research
This course is designed for researchers who are interested in learning about identity development among diverse populations. This course will begin by reviewing foundational theories by William James, Erik Erikson, and James Marcia. We will then discuss research and theory on differentiated aspects of identity (e.g., racial, ethnic, gender, religious, and national). Throughout the course, we will discuss primary social contexts through which personal and group identities form, such as families, peer groups, schools, and neighborhoods, and how identity relates to other outcomes (e.g., academic achievement, well-being, and mental health). We will approach this topic from a multidisciplinary perspective, drawing from peer-reviewed articles and readings in psychology, education, sociology, and cross-cultural studies. Students are expected to come with a working project or idea, such as a second year project, thesis/dissertation study, or idea for publication to discuss in the seminar. Overall, the course will focus on how different researchers assessed identity and students will consider and discuss the best methods for their research questions.
PSYC 251: Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience
Instructor: Edward Korzus