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PSYCH 141: Cognitive Development

How do humans think, learn, and communicate? What are the developmental roots of these capacities, and what makes young children such remarkable learners? This course aims to offer an understanding of how human cognition - the ability to think, reason, and learn about the world - changes in the first few years of life. We will review and evaluate both classic findings and state-of-the-art research on cognitive development and understand the logic behind the scientific methods for studying cognition in young children. By the end of the course, students will gain a deeper understanding of the major theoretical accounts of intellectual growth as well as the key empirical findings that support (or refute) these accounts, understand the basic logic of scientific methods in cognitive development research, and be able to discuss implications of cognitive development research on real-world issues in education and social policy. PSYCH141 is an Area A course for 2019-2020. Prerequisites: PSYCH 1. Recommended: PSYCH 60
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Gweon, H. (PI)

PSYCH 141S: The Psychology of Health: Culture, Self, and Society

What is health? How does someone become healthy or maintain good health? In the US, mainstream narratives about health tend to focus on individual choices and behavior. In this course, we take a broader focus, examining how individual health is shaped by social interactions (e.g., with family, friends, doctors), institutions (e.g., media, policy, advertising), and broad cultural ideas and values (e.g., personal responsibility, independence). Drawing from psychological research, we will examine topics at the intersection of self and society, including: the role of stress, stigma and blame in shaping health and wellbeing, cultural processes contributing to health disparities, attitudes about the proper role of government in shaping public health, and the erosion of trust in medical authority (e.g. anti-vaccination attitudes). We will also consider how race, gender, and socioeconomic status impact health outcomes. Throughout the course, we will analyze cultural products including advertisements, media stories, health PSAs, and government statements to better understand the transmission of cultural ideas of health. Finally, we will discuss various opportunities and barriers to creating social and cultural change regarding health. The course will empower students learn to recognize and analyze the influence of culture on everyday functioning and apply that understanding to improving their own and other people's health outcomes.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Handron, C. (PI)

PSYCH 175: Social Cognition and Learning in Early Childhood

Social cognition - the ability to recognize others, understand their behaviors, and reason about their thoughts - is a critical component of what makes us human. What are the basic elements of social cognition, and what do children understand about other people's actions, thoughts, and feelings? How do these capacities help us understand the world, as learning unfolds in the first few years of life? This course will take a deeper look at the intersection of social cognition and cognitive development to better understand how children learn about the world.nnStudents will explore various topics on social cognition with an emphasis on (but not limited to) developmental perspectives, including face perception, action understanding, Theory of Mind, communication, and altruism, and think about how these abilities might be linked to the developmental changes in children's understanding of the world. The course will encourage students to think hard about the fundamental questions about the human mind and how it interacts with other minds, and the value of studying young children in addressing these questions. Students should expect to read, present, and discuss theoretical and empirical research articles and to develop original research proposals as a final project. nnStudents will have an opportunity to develop their proposals into a research project in PSYCH 187, a lab course offered every other year in Spring (next offer expected to be Spring 2018) as a sequel to this course. This course fulfills the WIM requirement. nnPrerequisites Psych 60 or Psych141, or see instructor
Terms: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Gweon, H. (PI)

PSYCH 178: New Methods for Old Questions: Linking Social Cognition and Social Cognitive Neuroscience

Novel technology can fuel new discoveries and generate new questions for future research. For instance, looking-time methods for studying infants or response time (RT) measures in cognitive psychology have been enabled by the use of computers and video cameras. More recently, neuroimaging techniques (such as fMRI) have transformed the field by offering a more direct look into the working human brain. These methods are, in a way, 'old' and 'new' ways of studying what psychologists want to study - mental representations. nnWhat are the promises and challenges of using these methods to study human cognition and its development? What have we learned, where have we fallen short, and why? Most importantly, how can we make the most out of these new methods to bear on our understanding of social cognition and its development? After the first two weeks of lectures on basic methods, each week we will consider a topic that has been extensively studied in cognitive development literature. Topics will include: perception of agency, theory of mind, and morality; on each topic, we will compare two different ways of studying mental representations - the 'old' way (behavior) and the 'new' way (neural response) - to assess their relative benefits and shortcomings, and to discuss the promises and pitfalls for combining the two.nnThis course will be a combination of lectures, presentations, and discussions aimed primarily for upper-class undergraduate students or graduate students who do not have much background in neuroimaging methods, but interested in learning more about neuroimaging methods and think about how these methods can (and cannot) help address questions about social cognition and development. Prerequisite: Psych 60 or Psych141, or see instructor
Terms: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2015 | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
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