Psychology 334-3: Cognitive Psychology Laboratory

Spring 2001/ Brackett Hall 422/ Tuesday 4:30-6:30 pm








Required Materials:

  • »  James St. James, Walter Schneider, and Kimberly A. Rodgers, MEL LAB: Experiments in Perception, Cognition, Social Psychology, and Human Factors. (Version 1.6). Pittsburgh: Psychology Software Tools, 1994. [with version 1.61 software]
  • » One blank 3.5-inch IBM-compatible floppy disk.
  • » To complete your assignments, you will often need to refer to a cognitive psychology textbook. Either Reisberg (used in Dr. Campbell's Psychology 333 class) or Matlin (used in Dr. Alley's 333 class) will do.
  • » Daniel Reisberg, Cognition: Exploring the Science of the Mind. New York: W. W. Norton, 1997.
  • or
  • » Margaret W. Matlin, Cognition (4th edn.). New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998.


Course Description:

In this course we aim to cover some classic types of experiments in cognitive psychology, and some of the most widely used methods of conducting experiments. You will get extensive practice in collecting and presenting experimental data.

Course Attendance, Tests, and Grading

Attendance is quite important in this course; you need to attend every lab section and get there on time. We do not have a formal attendance policy, but we will give two unannounced quizzes during the semester and success in the course depends on staying on top of the laboratory assignments. If you are unable to get to lab, you should let me know beforehand, if at all possible; we will work out a way to make up the lab. We try to avoid such things, but if I haven't arrived (or Valerie hasn't arrived) within 15 minutes of the scheduled time for a class, you are free to leave without penalty. Your grade will be based on this formula:


12 Lab Reports (6% each) 72%
3 Quizzes (6% each) 18%
Oral Report 10%

Three quizzes will cover assigned readings, laboratory exercises, and presentations. Each will target labs that you have already completed. The first two quizzes will not be announced; the third will be given during the final meeting of the lab in April. The quizzes are designed to be easy for those how have kept up with the assignments. Lab reports will be evaluated on the basis of accuracy, clarity, completeness, neatness, and adherence to instructions. Tables and figures need to be complete and properly designed and labled to get full credit (see pp. 11-17 in the MEL LAB Manual). Answers to the questions should be easy to read and double-spaced; typed is better. Often data (for instance, means) will need to be included in your answers. Lab reports are due at the start of the next lab meeting unless otherwise announed. We will accept late reports until we return the on-time reports (normally, a week later) but we may deduct points for lateness. In addition, we will ask each of you to prepare and present an oral report on one of the labs. (Since there are 13 labs and a full section of the course is 17 students, in some cases two students will each be asked to give separate reports on the same lab.) Presentations will be made during one of the next two lab meetings. They should cover the background, method, results, and conclusions for the assigned lab. We will be highly appreciative if you can read and report on background articles (such as the original research report on which will the MEL LAB version of the experiment is based). We will grade oral reports on thoroughness, scholarship, accuracy, and clarity. We expect everyone to abide by Clemson University rules concerning academic integrity. All lab reports (written and oral) are expected to be the work of individual students; they are not collaborative projects. If you are having difficulty with a lab report, please see Valerie or me for assistance.

Our Lab Schedule

No. Date Topic MEL Experiment Lab Report Data Lab Report Points MEL Reading Assignment Textbook Assignment
1 Tue. Jan. 16 Introduction to course and computers - - - pp. 1-17 -
2 Tue. Jan. 23 Reaction Time 5.1 pp. 206 and 208-209 [3] 6 pp. 195-204 -
3 Tue. Jan. 30 Stroop Effect 1.7 68-69 [2] 6 63-64 Reisberg pp. 114-117
4 Tue. Feb. 6 Selective Attention and Response Competition 1.5 53 [1] 6 55-56 Reisberg 92-97
5 Tue. Feb. 13 Duration of Short Term Memory 2.6 116-117 [2] 6 113-115 Matlin 115-118; Reisberg 125-131
6 Tue. Feb. 20 Serial Position Effect 2.7 123-124 [3] 6 119-120 Matlin 71-73; Reisberg 125-131
7 Tue. Feb. 27 Encoding Specificity 2.10 138-139 [3] 6 135-136 Matlin 140-142; Reisberg 177-180
8 Tue. Mar. 6 Spacing and Rehearsal Patterns in Learning 2.11 143 [2] 6 145-146 -
9 Tue. Mar. 13 Mnemonics 2.9 131 [2] 6 129-130 Matlin 169-174; Reisberg 157-159
March 19 through - 23 SPRING - BREAK
10 Tue. Mar. 27 Organization and Recall 2.8 127 and recall sheets [2] 6 125-126 Matlin 174-176; Reisberg 159-165
11 Tue. Apr. 3 Mental Rotation 1.6 61-62 [1] 6 57-58 Matlin 186-188; Reisberg 403-406
12 Tue. Apr 10 Symbolic Distance and Congruity effects 2.5 110 [1] 6 107-108 Matlin 191; Reisberg 427-433
13 Tue. Apr 17 Reading Comprehension and Linking Inferences 2.14 162-163 [2] 6 159-160 -
14 Tue. Apr. 24 Remaining oral presentations, Quiz #3 - - - - -

Lab Questions

02Reaction Time

1. List the dependent and independent variables for each of the "Number of Choices" experiment. [1]
2. In the experiment on RT as a function of the number of choices, is there any indication of a speed-accuracy tradeoff in your data? (Give a numerical answer.) [2]

03Stroop Effect

Questions 1-5 from MEL LAB handbook, p. 66. [4]
 

 

 

 

04Selective Attention

Questions 1 through 5, p. 53, and Thought Questions 1-3, p. 54. [5]
 

 

 

05Duration of STM

1. List the dependent and independent variables in this experiment. [2]
2. How do your results compare to Peterson and Peterson's (1959)? [See pp. 113-114 in the MEL Lab Manual.] In other words, what percentage recall do find for a given delay time? [2]
 

06Serial Position Effect

1. What is the expected effect of delay on the primacy effect? Explain. [2]
2. What is the expected effect of delay on the recency effect? Explain. [2]
 

 

07Encoding Specifity

1. Interpret your data, including any intrusions. Be sure to address the question, "Was recall consistently better than recognition?" [3]

08Spacing & Rehearsal Patterns

Questions 1-4 on p. 143 and Advanced Question 2, p. 143 [4]

09Mnemonics

1. Give examples of two kinds of material. One sort of material should allow the pegword method or the method of loci to produce better results than rote learning. The other should allow rote learning to produced better results. Give a brief rationale for these choices. [5]

10Organization and Recall

Questions 1 through 4, p. 126, and Thought Questions 1 and 2, p. 126 [4]
 

 

 

 

11Mental Rotation

1. Use your data to calculate the speed of mental rotation (in degrees per second) for each of the 3 conditions. Show how you did the calculations. Don't forget that the task has to take some time even when the rotation is 0°. [3]
2. Is the speed constant across the different angles (60°, 120°, 180°)? [1]
3. For the 180° condition, did you rotate the figure in the plane of the screen, or in depth? Would rotation in depth work? Explain. [1]

12Symbolic Distance Effect

1. Did you find a symbolic distance effect? What pattern in the data shows this? [3]
2. Did you find a congruity effect? What pattern in the data indicates this? [3]
 

 

 

 

13Reading Comprehension

Questions 1-6, pp. 160-161, and Extension Experiment 1, p. 161. [4]