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Department of Psychology

This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit http://catalogs.uchicago.edu.

Chair

  • Susan Cohen Levine

Professors

  • John T. Cacioppo
  • Sian Beilock
  • Jean Decety
  • Susan Goldin Meadow
  • Boaz Keysar
  • Susan Cohen Levine
  • John A. Lucy, Comparative Human Development
  • Daniel Margoliash, Organismal Biology and Anatomy
  • Martha K. McClintock
  • Howard C. Nusbaum
  • Brian Prendergast
  • Steven K. Shevell
  • Richard Shweder, Human Development
  • Michael Silverstein, Anthropology
  • Steven K. Small, Neurology
  • Nancy Lou Stein

Associate Professors

  • David Gallo
  • William Goldstein
  • Leslie M. Kay
  • Penelope S. Visser

Assistant Professors

  • Jasmin Cloutier
  • Katherine Kinzler
  • Sarah London
  • Gregory Norman
  • Kimberly Rios

Emeritus Faculty

  • R. Darrell Bock
  • Abraham Bookstein, Humanities Division
  • Norman M. Bradburn
  • Robert A. Butler, Surgery
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Eugene T. Gendlin
  • Sebastian P. Grossman
  • Eric P. Hamp, Linguistics
  • Janellen Huttenlocher
  • Philip W. Jackson, Education
  • Jerre Levy
  • Frederick F. Lighthall, Education
  • David McNeill
  • Joel M. Pokorny, Ophthalmology and Visual Science
  • Allan Rechtschaffen, Psychiatry
  • Milton J. Rosenberg
  • Vivianne Smith, Ophthalmology and Visual Science
  • Benjamin D. Wright

Department website:  http://psychology.uchicago.edu

The primary focus of the study of psychology is on the individual. Thus, its scope includes the biological processes of brain growth, development and functioning; the perceptual and cognitive processes by which information is acquired, stored, used and communicated; the comprehension, production, and use of language from a psychological viewpoint; the social, cultural, and emotional processes by which experience is interpreted and organized; and the developmental processes that underlie change from infancy through adulthood. Training emphasizes the conceptual theories that describe and explain these processes, and the variety of methods that are used to study them.

Originally founded as the Laboratory of Psychology in 1893, the Department of Psychology has been for a century a leading center of scholarship, research and teaching in psychology and related fields. Among its distinguished faculty and students have been James Rowland Angell, John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, John B. Watson, the founder of behaviorism, L. L. Thurstone, a pioneer in psychological measurement, Karl Lashley, Klüver and Bucy, Kleitman, discoverer of REM sleep, Frank Beach, founder of behavioral endocrinology, W. C. Allee who viewed biology as a social phenomenon, and Roger Sperry, Nobel Prize winner for his work in cerebral lateralization. The present Department of Psychology is conscious of its distinguished intellectual forebears and continues to reflect its heritage in its commitment to research, the scope of its inquiry, and the diversity of its programs of graduate study.

Moreover, consistent with the interdisciplinary traditions of the University of Chicago, the Department of Psychology maintains close connections with other departments in the University. The department’s faculty and students actively participate in courses, colloquia, workshops and joint research ventures with scholars in related departments, including, but not confined to, anthropology, biology, computer science, computational neuroscience, linguistics, neurobiology, and philosophy, and in the University’s professional schools of business, public policy, law, medicine, and social service administration.

The Department of Psychology is organized into specialized training and research programs that reflect the contemporary state of the discipline as well as wide ranging interests of its own faculty. They are currently the Cognition Program, the Developmental Psychology Program, the Integrative Neuroscience Program, the Perception Program, and the Social Psychology Program. The interdisciplinary character of the University and the Department of Psychology is reflected in the fact that many faculty members serve on more than one of the department’s programs.

Degrees

The course of study offered by the Department of Psychology is designed primarily to prepare students for careers in research and teaching and for whatever professional work is necessary as an adjunct to these career objectives. Programs of graduate study offered by the department lead to the Ph.D. degree in the Division of the Social Sciences. In order to qualify for the Ph.D. degree, students must satisfy:

  1. The University’s residency requirements
  2. The requirements of the Division of the Social Sciences
  3. The requirements of the particular program of the Department of Psychology

The Department of Psychology does not offer courses of study leading to the degree of Master of Arts. However, students admitted to doctoral study may take the Master of Arts degree as an optional step in the doctoral program. Similarly, a student admitted who must leave the program, for whatever reason, may apply for a terminal Masters of Arts degree, providing the student has met the University’s residency requirements, the requirements of the Division of the Social Sciences, and the program requirements of the particular program of the Department of Psychology.

Psychology Linguistics Joint Ph.D. Program

A joint Ph.D. degree program in psychology and linguistics exists for those students who are interested in completing degree requirements in both fields. Psychology students in the Language area of the Cognition Program may apply to the joint degree program in the second year and beyond, but are not required to do so.

 

Psychology-Business Joint PhD Program

 

A joint PhD degree program in psychology and business exists for those students who are interested in completing degree requirements in both fields. This program is overseen jointly by the Department of Psychology and by the Managerial and Organizational Behavior Area in the Booth School of Business. Admission to this program requires admission to both the PhD program in psychology and at Booth School of business. Faculty in both programs will determine, based in a student’s primary research interests and/or explicit preferences for a primary research advisor, which program will be the student’s primary affiliation.

Admission

Students are admitted by application to the Department of Psychology to pursue courses of study in doctoral programs that are formulated by the individual programs. Applicants must specify the program to which they are applying. Applicants will be considered for admission only if they have earned a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Admission depends upon the strength of the general undergraduate record, scores on the Graduate Record Examination, letters of recommendation, personal statement and interests, and relevant laboratory or field research experience. Please refer to the Office of International Affairs web site: https://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu/students/prospective/toefl.shtml . Foreign language students must provide evidence of English proficiency by submitting scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Testing System (IELTS). Candidates for admission are expected to have some background in psychology as well as mathematics and statistics. Candidates with backgrounds in anthropology, history or sociology are encouraged to apply to Psychology, (the Social Psychology Program); those with strong biological training and interests are encouraged to apply to Psychology, (the Integrative Neuroscience Program or the Social Program).

Students are admitted through the Division of the Social Sciences. Students already enrolled in the Department of Linguistics of the Division of the Humanities who wish to work toward the joint Ph.D. In Psychology, (the Language area of the Cognition Program) and in Linguistics must be admitted as well to the Department of Psychology through the Division of the Social Sciences.

How to Apply

The application process for admission and financial aid for all Social Sciences graduate programs is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department specific information is available online at: https://apply-ssd.uchicago.edu/apply/ .  Most of the required supplemental material can be uploaded into the application. 

Questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to admissions@ssd.uchicago.edu or (773) 702-8415. All correspondence and materials that cannot be uploaded should be mailed to:

The University of Chicago
Division of the Social Sciences
Admissions Office, Foster 105
1130 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

For additional information about the Psychology program, please see: http://psychology.uchicago.edu/ or call 773-702-8861.

General Requirements for Doctoral Students

All doctoral students in the Department of Psychology must complete the common graduate curriculum. In addition, each student must complete the course requirements specified by one of the department’s specialized training and research programs. In exceptional cases, a student may design an individual sequence of courses. This sequence must be approved by the curriculum and student affairs committee before the student undertakes it. Completion of these course requirements is a prerequisite for Ph.D. candidacy.

Common Graduate Curriculum

The common curriculum consists of a maximum of 11 courses. Other requirements for graduate students will be set by the areas of specialization.

 

Proseminar:  One-quarter course in which faculty members whose primary affiliation is the Department of Psychology give a summary of their ongoing research.  This introduces new students to the range of research areas in the department.

Statistics requirement, passed with a grade of B or better:

STAT 22000Statistical Methods and Applications (or a more advanced STAT course)100
PSYC 37300Experimental Design-1100
PSYC 37900Experimental Design-2100

Trial research seminar

All graduate students are required to take the trial research seminar in the spring of the first year. The purpose of this seminar is to help students formulate and complete their trial research projects.

Core courses

Five core courses will be offered each year. Students will be required to take three of these five courses. These courses must be passed with a grade of B or better.

Choose three of the following:300
Cognitive Psychology
Sensation and Perception
Advanced Topics in Biological Psychology
Advanced Seminar in Developmental Psychology
Advanced Seminar in Social Psychology
Total Units300

Minor area

Students must take three graduate courses that provide coherent coverage of a discipline outside of psychology that complements a student’s course of study within psychology (e.g., computer science, neurobiology, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, mathematics, statistics beyond the courses required, etc.). These courses should be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor, and they may be taken pass/fail.

Cognition Program

Research on cognition lies at the core of the study of many basic psychological mechanisms (e.g., recognition, attention, categorization, memory, inference) and in recent years, neuroimaging methods have been used to make enormous strides grounding these mechanisms in the brain. Work on cognitive mechanisms has been important in a number of other areas of psychology (e.g., Social Psychology and Developmental Psychology) and provides an important theoretical foundation for understanding higher order cognition including language use, reasoning, and problem solving.

Curriculum

There are three elements in the graduate curriculum of the Cognition Program.

  1. Departmental curriculum. Students must complete the departmental core graduate curriculum.  Within this curriculum, there are two requirements specific to cognition students.
    1. They must take PSYC 30400 Cognitive Psychology as one of their three core psychology classes.
    2. They must fulfill the departmental minor area requirement by taking three courses that provide a coherent grounding in some aspect of cognition or cognitive neuroscience. These courses are to be decided on in consultation with the student's advisor, prior to actually taking the courses. It is recommended that students fulfill this requirement through cognitively-oriented courses in anthropology, computer science, human development, linguistics, or neurobiology.  Other courses are also acceptable as long as they are relevant to the study of cognition.

 

  1. Basic courses. Three basic courses. The following list includes possible courses, including those that are not offered every year. Pre-approved courses are:
  • PSYC 31200: Systems Neuroscience 
  • PSYC 31500: Neuroethology
  • Psyc 32000: Color Vision
  • Psyc 32600: Speech Perception
  • Psyc 33100:  Developmental Neuropsychology
  • Psyc 33650: The Development of Social Cognition
  • Psyc 34214: Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psyc 34400: Computational Models of Language
  • Psyc 34700: Social Cognition
  • Psyc 36100: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psyc 37500: Introduction to the Psychology of Language
  • Psyc 38300: Attention
  • Psyc 38500: Cognitive Neuropsychology
  • Psyc 39000: Vision
  • Psyc 36100: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psyc 37400: Human Memory 
  • Psyc 41450: Evolutionary Psychology
  • Psyc 42550: Cognitive Development
  • Psyc 42831: Debates in Cognitive and Social Neuroscience
  • Psyc 43200: Seminar: Language Development 
  • Psyc 43350: Gesture, Sign, and Language

Students may also propose other courses, based on course offerings in a given year. Such student-proposed courses should be approved by the cognition area chair prior to taking them.

3. Advanced courses and seminars. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in advanced courses and seminars, particularly in their area of interest.

 

The Developmental Psychology Program

There is a strong history of work in developmental psychology at the University of Chicago. The goal of this program is to foster the continuing development of this area by providing a program of study for graduate students and a community of researchers who share an interest in how development occurs. The Developmental Psychology program offers graduate study which investigates child psychology from a variety of perspectives. Four major research areas make up the program: cognitive development, social and emotional development, language and communicative development, and biological development. Specific topics of research specialization include: vocabulary acquisition, the development of gesture and other forms of nonverbal communication, the development of discourse abilities, mathematical and number knowledge in infants and children, the effects of early brain damage on development, social cognitive development in infancy and early childhood, early emotional understanding, the development of autobiographical memory, parent child interaction, language socialization, cultural influences on development, and environmental effects on language development and school achievement. The emphasis is on the use of experimental and observational methods for the study of development.

Curriculum

In their third and fourth year students write a theoretical review relevant to their dissertation. Ideally, this review could be a publishable article, suitable for a journal such as a Psychological Bulletin or Developmental Review and will help in formulating the dissertation.

  1. General course: PSYC 40500 Advanced Seminar in Developmental Psychology is required of all students in the program. A prerequisite for this course is that the student has already taken a survey course in developmental psychology. This course will also fulfill a core course requirement for the common graduate curriculum.
  2. An advanced course in each of four areas of Developmental Psychology. Certain seminars may also fulfill these requirements. Below are a few examples of courses that will fulfill these requirements. This is not a comprehensive list as course offerings change from year to year. Students may petition the developmental area chair to count courses not included on this list. Topics in Developmental Psychology along with an additional paper may, under special circumstances, be used towards one course satisfying this requirement, with permission of the developmental area chair.
    1. Cognitive/Intellectual Development:
      PSYC 42550 Topics in Cognitive Development; Psyc 33600: Development in Infancy (A. Woodward); Psyc 42040 Sem. Mathematical Development (S. Levine). 
    2. Biological Development:
      Psyc 31700: Developmental Biopsychology (M. McClintock); Psyc 34900: Biopsychology of Attachment (D. Maestripieri); Psyc 36100: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (Staff); Psyc 36660: Genes and Behavior (London).
    3. Language/Communicative Development:
      PSYC 43200 Seminar in Language Development; Psyc 35500: Language Socialization (J. Lucy).
    4. Social/Emotional Development:
      Psyc 34701: The Development of Emotional and Social Understanding (N. Stein); PSYC 43650 The Development of Social Cognition; Psyc 34500. Developmental and Neuroscience Perspectives on Social Cognition (K. Kinzler, J. Decety).
  3. The minor area courses must form a cohesive unit that relates to the student's program of study. It is suggested that the three minor area courses required by the common graduate curriculum be chosen from the following areas: linguistics, computer science, computational neuroscience, neurobiology, statistics, sociology, anthropology, public policy, human development. The minor area courses must form a cohesive unit that relates to the student's program of study.
  4. Students are expected to take advanced courses and seminars, particularly in their area of interest, and to attend the weekly meeting of Topics in Developmental Psychology

 

Integrative Neuroscience

The notion that 100 billion neurons give rise to human behavior proved daunting up through the 20th Century because neuroscientists were limited by existing technologies to studying the properties of single neurons or small groups of neurons. Characterizing simple neural circuits has led to an understanding of a variety of sensory processes, such as the initial steps in vision, and motor processes, such as the generation of locomotion patterns. However, unraveling the neural substrates of more complex behaviors, such as the ability to pay attention to relevant events in its surroundings or the ability to understand the likely events going through the mind of another, remains one of the major challenges for the neurosciences in the twenty-first century. In contrast to simple behaviors, these complex behaviors depend on interactions within a network of different brain structures. Studying the neural bases of complex behaviors, thus, requires an integrative neuroscience approach.

The Integrative Neuroscience graduate program at the University of Chicago is designed to provide the training and research opportunities for the next generation of behavioral, cognitive, and social neuroscientists. Behavioral, cognitive, and social neuroscience represent three complementary and partially overlapping aspects of this integrative neuroscience of mind and behavior. Behavioral neuroscience places an emphasis on the biological mechanisms underlying basic behavioral processes; cognitive neuroscience places an emphasis on the biological mechanisms underlying cognition, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of mental processes and their behavioral manifestations; and social neuroscience places an emphasis on the biological mechanisms underlying social processes and behavior, including the ability to perceive and communicate mental states including the beliefs and desires of others and to form and maintain interpersonal and group relationships. The University of Chicago is optimally positioned to meet this challenge because its unique academic structure facilitates interactions across disciplinary perspectives.

Curriculum

  1. PSYC 48000 Proseminar in Psychology: One quarter course in which faculty members whose primary affiliation is the Department of Psychology give talks summarizing their on ongoing research
  2. Statistics (3 courses)
    1. STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications, or a more advanced statistics course for which Statistics 22000 is a prerequisite.
    2. PSYC 37300 Experimental Design-1
    3. PSYC 37900 Experimental Design-2
  3. PSYC 42100 Trial Research Seminar(1 course)                
    This seminar helps students formulate and complete the Trial Research Project
  4. Psychology Department Core Courses (3* courses)
    Select 3* courses from PSYC 30400 Cognitive PsychologyPSYC 30700 Sensation and PerceptionPSYC 40300 Advanced Topics in Biological PsychologyPSYC 40500 Advanced Seminar in Developmental PsychologyPSYC 40600 Advanced Seminar in Social Psychology               
  5. Minor Area (3 courses)
    These courses must be the Neuroscience Cluster courses:
    1. Cellular Neurobiology   (Normally taken Autumn of first year)
    2. Survey of Systems Neuroscience (Normally taken Autumn of first year)
    3. Behavioral Neuroscience

 The IN program offers the following advanced courses. All of these courses will not be offered every year.

  • Biological Rhythms and Behavior (Psyc 33960)
  • Attention (Psyc 38300)                                               
  • Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience (Psyc 38760)
  • Neural Oscillations (Psyc 37150)                                            
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (Psyc 36100)
  • Neuropsychopharmacology  (Psyc 36901)                    
  • Color Vision (Psyc 32000)                                                                 
  • Human Memory (Psyc 37400) or LM&C
  • Perception and Action (Psyc 33700)                                  
  • Skill Learning & Performance (Psyc 33750)
  • Spoken Language Processing (Psyc 35750)               
  • Social Neuroscience of Empathy (Psyc 33300)
  • Attitudes & Persuasion (Psyc 46100)                                
  • Stereotyping and Prejudice (Psych 35950)
  • Social Cognition (Psyc 34700)
  • Physiology of Vision (Psyc 35000)                                       
  • Vision (Psyc 39000)          
  • PSYC 32600 Speech Perception                                                                            

 

Trial Research Project

Each student completes a Trial Research Project under the guidance of a faculty advisor.  This is a significant piece of research carried out over a 12-month period.  Both written and oral presentations of the research are required.  The written report is due during Spring Quarter of the second year.  The oral presentation is required before the end of Spring Quarter of the second year.

Qualifying Exam

A PhD Qualifying Examination is given at the beginning of the third year.

 

Doctoral Dissertation

The Doctoral Dissertation is an independent research project carried out under the guidance of a faculty Dissertation Committee with at least four members. At least two members of the committee, including the chair, must be in the Integrative Neuroscience program; a third member must be in the Department of Psychology.  The chair of the committee typically is the primary research advisor.  A written dissertation proposal is presented to the committee in advance of an oral Proposal Hearing.  The hearing is open to all students and faculty in the Integrative Neuroscience program.

A student is admitted to PhD Candidacy after successfully completing (i) all course requirements, (ii) written and oral presentations of the Trial Research Project, (iii) the Qualifying Exam and (iv) an approved dissertation proposal (including oral defense).

The doctoral dissertation is submitted to the dissertation committee prior to a final oral defense (the “final oral examination”).  The dissertation committee plus an outside reader, who may be a faculty member at the University of Chicago or a scientist at another institution, administer the final oral exam.  The committee members and reader evaluate the dissertation in private after the oral exam.  At most one abstention or vote to disapprove is allowed among the committee members and reader; all others must approve the dissertation to satisfy the requirements for the PhD degree.

 

The Social Psychology Program

The general philosophy of the curriculum is to provide students with the requisite knowledge and skills to excel in mainstream, academic social psychology. In addition to Departmental requirements, graduate students in the University of Chicago Social Psychology Program must fulfill the following course requirements:

  1. General Courses:
    1. PSYC 40600 Advanced Seminar in Social Psychology: Introductory course in experimental social psychology. This course will also fulfill part of the core course requirements of the common graduate curriculum.
    2. Proseminar in Social Psychology: One quarter course in which faculty members in the Chicago Program (but not in the Department of Psychology) give summarizes of ongoing research.
  2. Topics in Experimental Social Psychology: An ongoing seminar taught collectively by the Core Faculty each quarter. Required of Social Area Students in Years 1-3. Please note: This course is neither required of Joint students nor is it available to them.
  3. An advanced course or seminar in at least two of the following Areas of Emphasis:
    • Self
    • Social Cognition
    • Social and Cognitive Neuroscience
    • Decision Making
    • Attitudes and Affect
    • Stereotyping and Prejudice
    • Communication and Language Processes
    • Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes
    • Political Psychology
    • Cultural Psychology
  4. PSYC 45200 Advanced Methods in Experimental Social Psychology plus two additional courses in advanced methods and statistics.
  5. Finally, students are expected to take advanced courses and seminars in their area of interest.

Research Requirements

Trial Research Project

Each student in the Department of Psychology will complete a trial research project under the guidance of a faculty advisor or advisors by the end of the seventh week of the spring quarter of the second year. Each student’s trial research committee consists of the advisor and two other faculty members.

Dissertation

Each student in the Department of Psychology will complete a dissertation under the guidance of a faculty advisor or advisors. The committee consists of the advisor, two other members of the faculty, and an outside reader.

Evaluations

All students in the Department of Psychology are evaluated at the end of the spring quarter each year. The evaluation at the end of the second year is particularly important, as it determines whether a student will be admitted to candidacy and permitted to conduct dissertation research.

 

 

Psychology Courses

PSYC 30700. Sensation and Perception. 100 Units.

This course centers on visual and auditory phenomena. Aside from the basic sensory discriminations (acuity, brightness, loudness, color, and pitch), more complex perceptual events, such as movement and space, are discussed. The biological underpinnings of these several phenomena are considered, as well as the role of learning in perception.

Instructor(s): S. Shevell     Terms Offered: Autumn

PSYC 31200. Systems Neuroscience. 100 Units.

This course meets one of the requirements of the neuroscience specialization. This course introduces vertebrate and invertebrate systems neuroscience with a focus on the anatomy, physiology, and development of sensory and motor control systems. The neural bases of form and motion perception, locomotion, memory, and other forms of neural plasticity are examined in detail. We also discuss clinical aspects of neurological disorders.

Instructor(s): M. Hale, D. Freedman     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 24204 or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 24205,PSYC 24000

PSYC 31600. Biopsychology of Sex Differences. 100 Units.

This course will explore the biological basis of mammalian sex differences and reproductive behaviors. We will consider a variety of species, including humans.  We will address the physiological, hormonal, ecological and social basis of sex differences. To get the most from this course, students should have some background in biology, preferably from taking an introductory course in biology or biological psychology. (A, 1)

Instructor(s): J. Mateo     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): EVOL 36900,GNSE 30901,CHDV 30901

PSYC 32600. Speech Perception. 100 Units.

 The primary mode of human interaction is through spoken language and forms the foundation for all of our language use. Understanding speech perception is basic to understanding language and communication and this course introduces the fundamental concepts, theoretical issues, and empirical findings in speech research. Topics will include the acoustic properties of speech, recognition of speech sounds and talkers, and understanding spoken language, including an examination of the cognitive and neural mechanisms of speech perception and their development.

Instructor(s): H. Nusbaum     Terms Offered: Spring

PSYC 33000. Cultural Psychology. 100 Units.

There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space. At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism. Research findings in cultural psychology raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups. This course analyzes the concept of “culture” and examines ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning, with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization, and reasoning.

Instructor(s): R. Shweder     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 21001,ANTH 21500,ANTH 35110,CHDV 21000,CHDV 31000,PSYC 23000

PSYC 33200. Seminar in Language Development. 100 Units.

Advanced undergraduates and MAPSS students should register for Psyc 33200. Psychology graduate students should register for Psyc 43200. This course addresses the major issues involved in first-language acquisition. We deal with the child's production and perception of speech sounds (phonology), the acquisition of the lexicon (semantics), the comprehension and production of structured word combinations (syntax), and the ability to use language to communicate (pragmatics).

Instructor(s): S. Goldin-Meadow     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PSYC 43200

PSYC 34400. Computational Neuroscience III: Cognitive Neuroscience. 100 Units.

This course is concerned with the relationship of the nervous system to higher order behaviors (e.g., perception, action, attention, learning, memory). Psychophysical, functional imaging, and electrophysiological methods are introduced. Mathematical and statistical methods (e.g., neural networks, information theory, pattern recognition for studying neural encoding in individual neurons and populations of neurons) are discussed. Weekly lab sections allow students to program cognitive neuroscientific experiments and simulations.

Instructor(s): N. Hatsopoulos     Terms Offered: Spring

PSYC 34410. Computational Approaches for Cogintive Neuroscience. 100 Units.

This course is concerned with the relationship of the nervous system to higher order behaviors such as perception and encoding, action, attention and learning and memory. Modern methods of imaging neural activity are introduced, and information theoretic methods for studying neural coding in individual neurons and populations of neurons are discussed.

Instructor(s): N. Hatsopoulos     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 24222 or CPNS 33100
Equivalent Course(s): ORGB 34650,CPNS 33200

PSYC 35550. The Psychology of Risk: Practical Wisdon. 100 Units.

Risk is involved in almost every aspect of our lives. Yet, our understanding how risk affects our behavior and decision-making is rudimentary and often wrong. In this seminar, we will consider the literature on the psychology of risk in an attempt to develop a deeper appreciation of the role that risk plays in the lives of individuals as well as public policy. We will consider questions such as: How do people perceive risk? How do they assess it? What is the role of emotion in risk perception? What determines people’s attitude towards taking risks, and what function does it play in everyday behavior? Under what conditions do people choose to either take or avoid risks? What is the role of risk perception and attitudes in important domains such as medical decision-making and legal outcomes? Finally, we will evaluate the possibility of practical wisdom in the face of risk: We will consider how risk could be measured and what implications the psychology of risk has for increasing wisdom in policy-making. The seminar is open to graduate students from all disciplines. Advanced undergraduates are welcome as well. Any student who is not in the psychology Ph.D. program should seek the instructor’s permission prior to registering.

Instructor(s): B. Keysar     Terms Offered: Winter

PSYC 36210. Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences I. 100 Units.

This course focuses on ordinary differential equations as models for biological processes changing with time. The emphasis is on dynamical systems theory, stability analysis, and different phase portraits, including limit cycles and chaos. Linear algebra concepts are introduced and developed. Numerous biological models are analyzed, and labs introduce numerical methods in MATLAB.

Instructor(s): D. Kondrashov     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): BIOS 20151 or BIOS 20152
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 26210,CPNS 31000,ISTP 26210

PSYC 36211. Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences II. 100 Units.

This course continues the study of time-dependent biological processes and introduces discrete-time systems, studying period-doubling, and onset of chaos. Fourier transform methods are used to analyze temporal and spatial variation, leading to the study of partial differential equations. The diffusion, convection, and reaction-diffusion equations are all used to model biological systems. Finally, common optimization methods are introduced. In labs, computational techniques are used to analyze sample data and study models.

Instructor(s): D. Kondrashov     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): MATH 15300 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 26211,CPNS 31100,ISTP 26211

PSYC 36212. Mathematical Models for Biological Sciences III. 100 Units.

For course description contact BIOS.

Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 26212,CPNS 31200,ISTP 26212

PSYC 36400. Theories of Emotion and the Psychology of Well Being. 100 Units.

This course will review different approaches to the study of emotion and well being, different ways of measuring well being, the relationship between positive and negative well being, and the degree to which well-being can be changed. We will discuss studies that focus on the mechanisms that control psychological well being, and the thinking, appraisals, and beliefs that lead to positive versus negative well being. We will also investigate those conditions that produce irrevocable changes in psychological well being and those conditions that promote robustness.

Instructor(s): N. Stein     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PSYC 26400,CHDV 23800,CHDV 36400

PSYC 40107. Behavioral Neuroscience. 100 Units.

This course is concerned with the structure and function of systems of neurons, and how these are related to behavior. Common patterns of organization are described from the anatomical, physiological, and behavioral perspectives of analysis. The comparative approach is emphasized throughout. Laboratories include exposure to instrumentation and electronics, and involve work with live animals. A central goal of the laboratory is to expose students to in vivo extracellular electrophysiology in vertebrate preparations. Laboratories will be attended only on one day a week but may run well beyond the canonical period.

Instructor(s): D. Margoliash     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): NURB 30107,CPNS 30107

PSYC 40300. Advanced Topics in Biological Psychology. 100 Units.

What are the relations between mind and brain? How do brains regulate mental, behavioral, and hormonal processes; and how do these influence brain organization and activity? This course provides an introduction to the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain; their changes in response to the experiential and sociocultural environment; and their relation to perception, attention, behavior, action, motivation, and emotion.

Instructor(s): L. Kay     Terms Offered: Winter

PSYC 40450-40451-40452. Topics in Cognition I-II-III.

Broadly speaking, this workshop will address fundamental topics in cognitive psychology such as attention, memory, learning, problem solving, and language. One unique aspect of this workshop is that we will not only explore topics central to the study of cognition, but we will also explore how the study of cognitive psychology can be used to enhance human potential and performance in a variety of contexts. These contexts range from an exploration of optimal teaching practices to enhance the acquisition of mathematical knowledge in the classroom, to issues regarding how individuals communicate best to foster the optimal exchange of information in, for instance, medical settings, to the optimal strategies older adults can use to help stave off the deleterious effects of aging on cognitive functioning and the performance of everyday activities.

PSYC 40450. Topics in Cognition I. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Beilock     Terms Offered: Autumn

PSYC 40451. Topics in Cognition II. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Beilock     Terms Offered: Winter

PSYC 40452. Topics in Cognition III. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Beilock     Terms Offered: Spring

PSYC 40851-40852-40853. Topics in Developmental Psychology I-II-III.

Brown-bag discussion of current research in psychology.

PSYC 40851. Topics in Developmental Psychology I. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): K. Kinzler     Terms Offered: Autumn

PSYC 40852. Topics in Developmental Psychology II. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Levine     Terms Offered: Winter

PSYC 40853. Topics in Developmental Psychology III. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): J. Decety

PSYC 40900. HD Concepts. 100 Units.

Our assumptions about the processes underlying development shape how we read the literature, design studies, and interpret results.  The purpose of this course is two-fold in that, first, it makes explicit both our own assumptions as well as commonly held philosophical perspectives that impact the ways in which human development is understood. Second, the course provides an overview of theories and domain-specific perspectives related to individual development across the life-course.  The emphasis is on issues and questions that have dominated the field over time and, which continue to provide impetus for research, its interpretation, and the character of policy decisions and their implementation. Stated differently, theories have utility and are powerful tools. Accordingly, the course provides a broad basis for appreciating theoretical approaches to the study of development and for understanding the use of theory in the design of research and its application. Most significant, theories represent heuristic devices for “real time” interpretations of daily experiences and broad media disseminated messages.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): CHD Grad Students Only
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 40000

PSYC 41000. Advanced Topics in Color Vision. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Shevell
Equivalent Course(s): OPTH 41000

PSYC 41050. Computational Psycholinguistics. 100 Units.

Theoretical linguists describe the relation between sentences and their meanings, and psycholinguists the relation between behavior and linguistic stimuli. In order for these two groups to interact, linking theories must be formulated to relate grammars to behavioral data. This course explores linking theories in a rigorous way. We begin with the classic competence/performance distinction, and the relationship between grammar and parser. The classical cognitive science approach to this latter takes them to be descriptions of the same process. Computational linguistics allows us to make this precise, and we explore the relation between grammar and parser in the simple case of context-free grammars. We then formulate explicit linking theories which relate either memory burden (stack size) or non-determinism (surprisal; entropy reduction) to behavioural data. The predictions of these linking theories are extremely dependent on the underlying grammatical assumptions, and we examine how to use them to decide between competing grammatical analyses. The goals of this course are to get you: thinking about the relation between theoretical and psycholinguistics; stating explicit linking hypotheses; able to use behavioral data to decide between grammatical analyses.

Instructor(s): G. Kobele, M. Xiang     Terms Offered: Autumn 2012
Equivalent Course(s): LING 41000

PSYC 41450. Evolutionary Psychology. 100 Units.

This course explores human social behavior from the perspective of a new discipline: evolutionary psychology. In this course we will read and discuss articles in which evolutionary theory has been applied to different aspects of human behavior and social life such as: developmental sex differences, cooperation and altruism, competition and aggression, physical attractiveness and mating strategies, incest avoidance and marriage, sexual coercion, parenting and child abuse, language and cognition, and psychological and personality disorders. (A, 1)

Instructor(s): D. Maestriperi, D. Gallo     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates must have permission of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 41451,CHDV 37801

PSYC 41920. The Evolution of Language. 100 Units.

How did language emerge in the phylogeny of mankind? Was its evolution saltatory or gradual? Did it start late or early and then proceed in a protracted way? Was the emergence monogenetic or polygenetic? What were the ecological prerequisites for the evolution, with the direct ecology situated in the hominine species itself, and when did the prerequisites obtain? Did there ever emerge a language organ or is this a post-facto construct that can be interpreted as a consequence of the emergence of language itself? What function did language evolve to serve, to enhance thought processes or to facilitate rich communication? Are there modern “fossils” in the animal kingdom that can inform our scholarship on the subject matter? What does paleontology suggest? We will review some of the recent and older literature on these questions and more.

Instructor(s): S. Mufwene     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Equivalent Course(s): CHSS 41920,ANTH 47305,CHDV 41920,EVOL 41920,LING 21920,LING 41920

PSYC 42040. Seminar: Mathematical Development. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Levine     Terms Offered: Spring

PSYC 42100. Trial Research Seminar. 100 Units.

PSYC 42100 is required of first-year Psychology graduate students The purpose of this seminar is to assist students in formulating their trial research project.

Instructor(s): S. Beilock

PSYC 42400. Teaching Psychology. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): J. Cacioppo     Terms Offered: Autumn

PSYC 42500. Attention. 100 Units.

This course will cover basic topics in the area of attention including orienting responses, selective and divided attention, resource limitations and cognitive load. We will discuss basic research methods in attention, mathematical and computational models of attention, and neurophysiological research on attention. The course will consider theoretical controversies and recent advances in our understanding of attention and its role in cognitive processing.

Instructor(s): H. Nusbaum     Terms Offered: Spring

PSYC 42550. Topics in Cognitive Development. 100 Units.

In the first years of life, children’s cognition undergoes dramatic qualitative and quantitative change. For nearly a century, experimental psychologists have sought to understand the nature and causes of these developmental changes. This course surveys classic and current approaches to the study of cognitive development in infants and children.

Instructor(s): A. Woodward

PSYC 42831. Debates in Cognitive and Social Neuroscience. 100 Units.

During this course students will be asked to review and discuss current key issues in cognitive and social neurosciences. In addition, students will in turn be asked to select a "hot topic" in the field (suggestions related to the previous discussions will be provided) and prepare a debate illustrating different perspectives on the issue.

Instructor(s): J. Cloutier     Terms Offered: Autumn

PSYC 43200. Seminar in Language Development. 100 Units.

Advanced undergraduates and MAPSS students should register for Psyc 33200. Psychology graduate students should register for Psyc 43200. This course addresses the major issues involved in first-language acquisition. We deal with the child's production and perception of speech sounds (phonology), the acquisition of the lexicon (semantics), the comprehension and production of structured word combinations (syntax), and the ability to use language to communicate (pragmatics).

Instructor(s): S. Goldin-Meadow     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PSYC 33200

PSYC 43350. Gesture, Sign, and Language. 100 Units.

The notion of gesture has been used in many ways and in a variety of disciplines. The study of sign languages has allowed us to raise a new series of questions about the role of gesture in language and communication. It is well established that gestures play an important role in spoken languages. What is the relationship between gestures used as an entire language (i.e., sign languages), and those used as a parallel part of a spoken language (i.e., the gestures of hearing people)? What cognitive mechanisms underlie the use of gesture in its various forms? How does the study of gesture shed light on the emergence of language? Scholars already working on gesture in the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions may be invited to be guest lecturers in the course as time permits.

Instructor(s): D. Brentari, S. Goldin-Meadow     Terms Offered: Autumn 2012
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 53350,CHDV 53350,LING 53450

PSYC 43600. Processes of Judgement and Decision Making. 100 Units.

This course offers a survey of research on judgment and decision making, with emphasis placed on uncertainty and (intrapersonal) conflict. An historical approach is taken in which the roots of current research issues and practices are traced. Topics are drawn from the following areas: evaluation and choice when goals are in conflict and must be traded off, decision making when consequences of the decision are uncertain, predictive and evaluative judgments under conditions of uncertain, incomplete, conflicting, or otherwise fallible information.

Instructor(s): W. Goldstein     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 43600

PSYC 43650. The Development of Social Cognition. 100 Units.

This course explores current topics in the development of human social cognition. We will evaluate infants' and children's reasoning about other individuals -- including those individuals minds, their relationships, and their social identities -- with the goal of exploring the developmental origins and foundations of social cognition. Sample topics include theory of mind, morality, social learning, psychological essentialism, and intergroup attitudes. Particular attention will be given to the relationship of early social processes to those observed in adulthood.

Instructor(s): K. Kinzler     Terms Offered: Autumn

PSYC 44000. Moral Development & Comparative Ethics. 100 Units.

Three types of questions about morality can be distinguished: (1) philosophical, (2) psychological, and (3) epidemiological.  The philosophical question asks, whether and in what sense (if any) "goodness" or "rightness" are real or objective properties that particular actions possess in varying degrees.  The psychological question asks, what are the mental states and processes associated with the human classification of actions are moral or immoral, ethical or unethical.  The epidemiological question asks, what is the actual distribution of moral judgments across time (developmental time and historical time) and across space (for example, across cultures).  In this seminar we will read classic and contemporary philosophical, psychological and anthropological texts that address those questions. (B, C; 3)

Instructor(s): R. Shweder     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 45601

PSYC 44700. Seminar: Topics in Judgement and Decision Making. 100 Units.

This course offers a survey of research on judgment and decision making, with emphasis placed on uncertainty and (intrapersonal) conflict. An historical approach is taken in which the roots of current research issues and practices are traced. Topics are drawn from the following areas: evaluation and choice when goals are in conflict and must be traded off, decision making when consequences of the decision are uncertain, predictive and evaluative judgments under conditions of uncertain, incomplete, conflicting, or otherwise fallible information.

Instructor(s): W. Goldstein     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 44700

PSYC 45200. Advanced Methods in Experimental Social Psychology. 100 Units.

The course covers advanced topics in experimental social psychology through the exercise of critiquing and reviewing empirical and conceptual papers in the field.

Instructor(s): J. Cacioppo; J. Cloutier     Terms Offered: Spring

PSYC 45350. Current Issues in Behavioral Research. 100 Units.

In this class (geared toward second-year graduate students and beyond), we will debate a different methodological issue or controversy in the field of psychology. Possible issues include but are not limited to: the value of interdisciplinary research, bridging the gap between basic and applied work, testing process/mechanism, and conducting research outside of the laboratory. Throughout the course, you will be asked to think about how these issues relate to your own program of research. You will be expected to participate in interactive discussions during class meetings, complete small-group assignments, and write critical response papers.

Instructor(s): K. Rios     Terms Offered: Autumn

PSYC 46660. Social Norms. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): K. Rios

PSYC 47001. Language in Culture I. 100 Units.

Among topics discussed in the first half of the sequence are the formal structure of semiotic systems, the ethnographically crucial incorporation of linguistic forms into cultural systems, and the methods for empirical investigation of “functional” semiotic structure and history.

Instructor(s): M. Silverstein     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 37201,CHDV 37201,LING 31100

PSYC 47002. Language in Culture II. 100 Units.

The second half of the sequence takes up basic concepts in sociolinguistics and their critique.

Instructor(s): C. Nakassis     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 37202,LING 31200

PSYC 48000. Proseminar in Psychology. 100 Units.

Required of first-year Department of Psychology graduate students. Department of Psychology faculty members present and discuss their research. This introduces new students to the range of research areas in the department.

Instructor(s): S. London     Terms Offered: Autumn

PSYC 48001-48002-48003. Mind and Biology Proseminar I-II-III.

Seminar series at the Institute for Mind and Biology meets three – four times per quarter. Sign up for three quarters; receive credit at the end of spring quarter.

PSYC 48001. Mind and Biology Proseminar I. 000 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Shevell

PSYC 48002. Mind and Biology Proseminar II. 000 Units.

Instructor(s): S. Shevell

PSYC 48003. Mind and Biology Proseminar III. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): S. Shevell