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

DESCRIPTION: This seminar is for students with little or no background in computer programming but wishes 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. It can also make you self-sufficient when you build your own lab or career. Being able to program provides you with a valuable marketable skill, and knowing how to program in one language that resembles others, will prepare you to learn those other languages quickly and easily. MATLAB is a language that closely resembles other languages, so learning MATLAB will poise you to acquire other languages easily.

The seminar will focus on MATLAB, a popular, widely used, user-friendly language with a large interactive community. MATLAB is an ideal language for your first foray into programming because it lets you create professional 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, 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 any area of psychology or related field of interest to you. The seminar has been taken by a large number of graduate students every year it has been offered (in each of the past five years). The textbook was written by the instructor.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 255: Computational Approaches in Social Neuroscience

INSTRUCTOR: Brent Hughes

DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to acquaint students with computational approaches in social neuroscience as well as recent findings using these approaches. Readings and discussions will focus on particular social phenomena and (a) evaluate the utility of current computational and social neuroscience research examining each phenomenon and (b) consider future experimental designs using these approaches to apply to students’ own work and to further inform our understanding of each phenomenon.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 256: Overview of Cognitive Science and Perception


DESCRIPTION: In this course, we will provide an overview of cognitive science starting with basic perceptual processes and building up to higher cognitive processes. A multidisciplinary approach will be taken typically examining neuroscience, computation and behavioral/cognitive approaches to each topic discussed. For students enrolled as 203A, a final paper will be expected in the form of a grant proposal. For students enrolled as Psych 256 they will be expected to fully participate in class (including doing all the readings and presenting on papers in class) but without the paper requirement.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Seminar in Developmental Psychopathology

INSTRUCTOR: Tuppett Yates

DESCRIPTION: Drawing on research traditions in the domains of clinical and developmental psychology, the integrative framework of developmental psychopathology holds great promise for efforts to understand both typical and atypical development. This graduate seminar provides an introduction to this exciting field, which conceptualizes psychopathology in terms of normal developmental issues and deviations from typical patterns of adaptation; it is both the study of psychological problems in the context of human development and the study of human development in the context of psychological problems. The course will cover the broad and varied theoretical foundation of developmental psychopathology, as well as the specific principles subsumed by a developmental approach to understanding mal(adaptation). We will discuss biological, environmental, and interactive influences on human adaptation with respect to internalizing, externalizing, and resilient developmental processes. Finally, we will consider the real-world implications and applications of a developmental psychopathology perspective on research and practice in developmental and other branches of psychological science.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 258: Understanding Motivation Beyond AbcdF

INSTRUCTOR: Diamond Bravo

DESCRIPTION: This course is intended to help student researchers critically explore the holistic nature of achievement motivation (i.e., motivation stemming from a desire to perform well or a striving for success). Guided by multidisciplinary theoretical (e.g., Critical Race Theory, Expectancy Value Theory, Cultural Competencies, Intersectionality) and applied perspectives (e.g., social media, sociopolitical climate, policy), students will develop a comprehensive contextually-situated understanding of achievement motivation. Using a strengths-based approach, students will learn about motivation beyond traditional markers of academic success. Students are expected to engage collaboratively and design a project to promote any aspect of achievement motivation.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 259: Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis

INSTRUCTOR: Chandra Reynolds

DESCRIPTION: This course will introduce multilevel regression techniques applied to longitudinal data as well as survival analysis as applied to event occurrence. Application of the techniques as well as their conceptual underpinnings will be emphasized.


INSTRUCTOR: Khaleel Razak






TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 257: History of Psychology

INSTRUCTOR: David Funder

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.


INSTRUCTOR: Kalina Michalska


TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 259: Introduction to Data Science in R

INSTRUCTOR: John Franchak

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 258: Development in Culture

INSTRUCTOR: Mary Gauvain

DESCRIPTION: This graduate seminar is designed to help students understand the complex and significant role that culture plays in human psychological development. The course will examine the role of culture in various aspects of development: physical, cognitive, language, emotions, personality, social, and evolutionary. Culture is the species-specific habitat of human beings. Infants are prepared to participate in culture when they are born, and the behaviors and other psychological functions that emerge over development find form and expression through cultural experience. The end result is a mature organism that thinks, acts, interacts, and feels like other members of the cultural group. Thoughtful appreciation of culture is important for psychologists to have today, but the literature on this topic is vast. The aim of this seminar is to read and discuss the main issues of debate in this area of study, along with the important theories, techniques of research, and the evidence itself. The course will involve weekly readings and discussions. Students will be asked to assume some responsibility for individual readings throughout the course, but the main focus will be on group discussion and understanding. Students will also engage in a project that involves investigating cultural aspects in the student’s area of research or working with “big cultural data” using eHRAF or Google n-grams. The final class will be devoted to presenting and discussing these projects. The aims of the seminar are to provide graduate students with sufficient familiarity with approaches and findings in this area to (1) aid them in their own research and (2) serve as a basis for those who may want to teach a course on culture and psychology at some point in their career. Students in all areas of psychology and social science are welcome.



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 and supporting human psychophysical, neuroimaging, and rodent electrophysiological studies that provide answers to this question.

TITLE OF SEMINAR: PSYC 271: Lecturing and 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 create good syllabi and exams. In addition, we will discuss how to construct conferences, colloquiums, 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, 1-3:50 in Goldman Library