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 233: Research Methods in Cognitive Science (MATLAB)

INSTRUCTOR: David Rosenbaum

QUARTER: Fall Quarter 2020

DESCRIPTION: This seminar is for students who have little or no background in computer programming but wish to avail themselves of the power that computer programming affords. Once you learn how to program, you can analyze and view data however you want, build and run your own computational models, and build and run your own experiments. Learning how to program can make you a better writer and clearer thinker.

The seminar will focus on MATLAB, a popular, widely used, user-friendly language with a huge interactive community. MATLAB is an ideal language for your first foray into programming because it lets you create graphs and other visuals relatively easily. This can in turn help you brush up on mathematical concepts that may be useful to you.

The seminar will be run in a way that lets you progress as far as you can be given your own needs and interests. By the time you complete the seminar, you should be able to complete (or learn how to complete) virtually any computer programming task you will ever need to do. The subject matter of the course can apply to the area of psychology or a related field that is of interest to you.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 251: Understanding Models – Evaluating Those of Others and Making Your Own 


QUARTER: Fall Quarter 2020

DESCRIPTION: This course aims to help students to understand how models are developed and evaluated with the goal of promoting the skills needed to develop and test one’s own models. The course will use examples in the field of Perceptual Learning, where numerous models have been proposed and tested, with mixed success. We will take a careful review of a variety of controversies in the field where competing models are championed, or novel models are proposed. Class presentations will include debates where students are assigned to represent different sides of the debate, explain extant models, evaluate the evidence used to address these models, as well as to propose models of their own and what extant or new evidence would adjudicate between such models. Course work will involve reading empirical and review articles, and analyses and discussions of these readings.  No specific prior experience is required beyond an open and curious mind and a willingness to challenge published works.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 255: Narrating the Good Life (HWB)


QUARTER: Fall Quarter 2020

DESCRIPTION: Over the last 30 years, psychologists have come to exhibit increased interest in the study of life stories, or narrative identities. These stories represent narrators’ attempts to understand what has happened in their lives, where, in the future, these lives may be headed, and what these lives mean within the particular social and cultural context in which they are produced. In this graduate seminar, we will examine the relationship between narrative identity and human flourishing. To do so, we will survey the emerging literature exploring narrative identity, health, and well-being. We will also engage with various writings on the role of ‘story repair’ in psychotherapy. This course will count towards the health and well-being of graduate specialization.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Bridging Cognitive Development and Cognitive Aging


QUARTER: Fall Quarter 2020

DESCRIPTION: In this seminar, we will read and discuss overlapping concepts in cognitive development and cognitive aging. The topics that we will focus on are often investigated in their own silos and entrenched in the theories related to the age group of interest, such as attention and learning interactions, cognitive interventions, and developmental cognitive neuroscience. Each week, empirical readings will focus on these topics, some from infant and child development and some from aging. Each class session will run as a discussion of the topic based on the assigned readings to delve into the benefits of cross-talk between the developmental and aging literature. The readings will be tailored to the interests of the enrolled students. The seminar also will provide a career development session on the practicalities of merging research from different areas.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: The Development of the Empathic Brain

INSTRUCTOR: Kalina Michalska

QUARTER: Fall Quarter 2020



INSTRUCTOR: Amanda Woodward

QUARTER: Fall Quarter 2020

DESCRIPTION: Psychologists are increasingly interested in open science. R is a powerful, open-source tool that allows for easy sharing of data manipulation and analysis. Students in this course will learn basic and advanced R programming. They will learn to apply functions for a range of tasks, including data cleaning, analysis, and presentation. We will also discuss how to incorporate R and R Studio into their research workflow.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 289: Psychedelic Drugs: Mechanisms of Action and Use in Psychiatry

INSTRUCTOR: Khaleel Razak

QUARTER: Fall Quarter 2020


TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 309B: Professional Development

INSTRUCTOR: Sonja Lyubomirsky

QUARTER: Fall Quarter 2020

DESCRIPTION: This class will be geared primarily toward advanced graduate students who are planning a research-teaching-professional career in psychology. Topics include most of the following: (1) writing curriculum vitae; (2) writing the “Statement of Research Interests”; (3) writing diversity statements and teaching statements; (4) general tips on writing skills; (5) the academic job market; (6) the job application process, the job visit, negotiating a job contract, giving a job interview; (7) giving a job talk or colloquium; (8) non-academic jobs; (9) networking, professional affiliations, conventions; (10) transition from student to professional; (11) the life of a new assistant professor; (12) running a lab; and (13) balancing work and family, ethnicity/gender/age, and 2-career couples. 
In the seminar, students will receive hands-on experience (e.g., giving a practice 15-min “job talk,” which will be videotaped and critiqued, writing and revising your CV, giving a 3 to a 5-minute oral summary of your research, practice your writing skills, etc.). Relevant chapters and articles will be assigned to read.  A number of guests will also join us to share their experiences and perspectives (e.g., former graduate students who are in industry careers or brand new assistant professors, other faculty with special experience).


TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 203B: Experimental Psychology: Action, Mind, and Brain

INSTRUCTOR: David Rosenbaum

QUARTER: Wtr Quarter 2021

DESCRIPTION: This is the second in the three-course core series in cognitive psychology, but it is open to students who have not taken the first course or are not planning to take the third. The main question is how the actions we take, refrain from taking, and never even consider taking reflect the workings of the mind and brain. We will seek answers expressed in terms of relevant biological hardware and software. Particular attention will be paid to experiments that have proven central to this area of study.

The instructor’s aims for you are to help you develop your ability to read and critically evaluate research literature, present that works to others in a professional and provocative manner, and come up with your own hypotheses and predictions.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Adolescence

INSTRUCTOR: Misaki Natsuaki

QUARTER: Wtr Quarter 2021

DESCRIPTION: Adolescence is a time of change. This course is designed to provide a comprehensive, integrative overview of development during this second decade of life. The aim of this course is threefold: (1) to provide a description of biological, cognitive, and socio-emotional development in adolescence; (2) to acquaint you with various relevant social contexts (family, peer, school, community, and culture) and their influences on adolescents; and (3) to deeply think about the application of theories to important and practical (and controversial) issues that involve teenagers.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 259: Principles of Data Science

INSTRUCTOR: John Franchak

QUARTER: Wtr Quarter 2021

DESCRIPTION: Most quantitative courses (importantly) focus on the final steps of data analysis—conducting and understanding statistical tests. However, much of the work in data science is taking raw data, often from multiple, incompatible sources, and processing those data into a usable form. This course will emphasize the importance of robust, documented, and automated workflows for processing data to save time, reduce errors, improve reproducibility, and facilitate collaboration among multiple researchers. We will also spend time on data visualization and communication—an important part of creating, checking, and collaborating on data workflows. We will use the R programming language, Github, and Rmarkdown to work through examples, but the focus is on concepts/best practices that can be applied to any software or programming language. The course is open to students who have little programming experience or experience with R. The goal is for students at all levels of programming experience to set goals to improve their data science skills.

TITLE OF SEMINAR:  PSYC 271 Social collaboration and interaction in perception, memory, and decision-making


QUARTER: Winter 2021

DESCRIPTION: This seminar focuses on how people perform perceptual and cognitive tasks together.  Our discussion may stretch all the way from simple (or complex) signal detection tasks to jury decision-making, depending on the interests of the participants.  At the core of our discussions is a fundamental question about whether (and when or how) two heads are better than one.

If you send me an email (clark@ucr.edu), I can send you more information and a tentative reading list (subject to change, depending on the interests of the class).


TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 257: Doing (Cross)Cultural Psychology: Integrating a Cultural Perspective into your Research

INSTRUCTOR: Veronica Benet-Martinez

QUARTER: Spr Quarter 2021

DESCRIPTION: This seminar is designed to provide Ph.D. 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?

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 257: History of Psychology

INSTRUCTOR: David Funder

QUARTER: Spr Quarter 2021 Tuesdays, 9 am to noon.

DESCRIPTION: Our department for a long time has gone without a course on the history of psychology, yet even a brief overview will reveal that many current and even controversial issues have very deep historical roots, and certain conceptual “wheels” have been rediscovered many times. I have compiled lecture notes for an undergraduate course on the History of Psychology, but will not be teaching it this year (and maybe not ever…).  My plan is to provide these notes to the students in the seminar as a basis for discussion, along with reading one book, a very well-written and broad survey of the topic. I plan no other assignments for this course. A final note is that the course will not focus on personality psychology to a disproportionate degree; most of the material is equally or even more relevant to cognitive, social, development, and even biological psychology.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Cognitive Developmental Theory–Core Knowledge

INSTRUCTOR: Amanda Woodward

QUARTER: Spr Quarter 2021

DESCRIPTION: How do infants learn about the world and how do they represent their knowledge? What components are built-in and what is learned? This course will examine the theory of Core Knowledge, how it relates to other theories of knowledge acquisition, and its applications beyond developmental psychology, including artificial intelligence.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Motivation and Achievement

INSTRUCTOR: Cecilia Cheung

QUARTER: Spr Quarter 2021

DESCRIPTION: This seminar aims to provide a general overview of topics in motivation from a psychological perspective. We will cover motivation theories, with a focus on how the environment shapes individuals’ motivation. Motivation in the domains of learning and academic performance will be emphasized.


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.

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

Topic: TBD

Description: TBD