BSc Computer Science (Human Computer Interaction) / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Introduction to Cognition

Unit code PSYC10431
Credit rating 5
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Psychology and Mental Health
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Students will be introduced to the field of cognition, integrating research from the areas of learning, attention, memory and language. The course starts out with an overview of cognitive psychology with a focus on its methods and approaches to the study of human cognition. The attention lectures will include discussion of the classic theories of attention including Broadbent’s bottleneck theory and Treisman’s attenuation theory.  We will also cover attention in specific contexts such as visual search, and explore what happens when attention goes wrong.  The learning lectures will introduce theories of habituation, classical and instrumental conditioning and cognitive learning. As part of these you will develop an understanding of the seminal animal studies that shed light on how we learn, including work by Pavlov, Thorndike and Watson. The memory lectures will introduce evidence for the multi-store model of memory, then show how subsequent research has led to a more elaborate model of working memory and to the multiple-systems theory of long-term memory. The language lectures will cover word recognition and how people read (including eye movements during reading), the processing of speech, an overview of sentence and discourse processing, and will provide an introduction to models of speech production.

 

Aims

This unit aims to:

Provide students with an introduction to human cognition. It introduces students to cognitive psychology and to a number of core components of cognition. Topics covered include human learning, attention, memory, and language. The learning lectures will introduce you to the main theories of learning and briefly consider its neural basis. Moving on to attention, we will cover how we use attention to (sometimes) successfully filter out that information which is irrelevant to our current goals.  The memory lectures will introduce you to cognitive models describing how we store and retrieve information and experiences (remembering), why this can sometimes fail (forgetting). In terms of language, this module will introduce students to models of reading, speech perception, language comprehension and language production.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:

Appreciate the importance of the study of cognition for the understanding of human psychology.

Intellectual Skills:

Describe, understand and think critically about models and theories of learning, attention, memory, and language (especially in light of recent empirical findings).

Practical Skills:

Plan, research and produce a poster on a topic in the area of cognition.

Transferable skills and personal qualities:

Synthesise information; summarise theories and evidence; evaluate evidence; work in groups; present a clear and concise overview of a topic for a broad audience.

Teaching and learning methods

Course unit content will be delivered in eleven 90 minute lectures. Lecture content, supplementary reading and resources and a monitored discussion board will be available via the unit Blackboard site.

Knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to:

Appreciate the importance of the study of cognition for the understanding of human psychology.

Intellectual skills

Students should be able to:

Describe, understand and think critically about models and theories of learning, attention, memory, and language (especially in light of recent empirical findings).

 

Practical skills

Students should be able to:

Plan, research and produce a poster on a topic in the area of cognition.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students should be able to:

Synthesise information, summarise theories and evidence; evaluate evidence; work in groups; present a clear and concise overview of a topic for a broad audience.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Students will receive a grade and can request a summary of their performance after the exam board

Recommended reading

Eysenck, M. W. & Keane, M. T. (2015). Cognitive Psychology: A student’s handbook (7th ed.). East Sussex: Taylor & Francis.

N.B. The 6th edition (2010) of this textbook is also appropriate and available as an e-book via the University of Manchester library

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 17
Independent study hours
Independent study 33

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Stewart Unit coordinator

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