Introduction to Cognition

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: Skorinko
Credits: 3

Field Work: Day 1 - Monday, 8 February | Vietnam Download Syllabus

Why do some things end up forgotten?  Is it really possible to have a false memory?  Why can one person’s perception of an image or situation be so drastically different from another person’s perception?  How do we make decisions and solve problems?

These are the types of questions that we will examine in cognitive psychology.  Cognitive psychology investigates the mental processes and strategies underlying human thoughts and behaviors.  In this course, we will examine the human mind and the way it works and the ways it does not work as well as we might like.  We will explore topics such as: sensations and perceptions, attention, learning, memory, problem-solving, and judgment and decision making.  We will discuss how genetics, environmental cues, social situations, and culture all influence who we think and act. This course is designed to increase awareness and to the inner workings of our mind and to consider situational factors that can influence the way our minds function.  We will use our times in different ports to observe and apply concepts discussed in class.

Field Work

Country: Vietnam
Day: 1 - Monday, 8 February

This field lab will involve a day-long visit that contains several components. We will also visit the Museum of War Remnants to explore of how cognitive psychology is related to the Vietnam war and perceptions of America. We will take a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels outside of Ho Chi Minh. This large network of tunnels were built during the Vietnam war. We will think about how the Viet Cong used problem solving strategies to find a way to defeat American forces. We will also examine the perceptions of Americans in Vietnam during that time (and today). This can include information we learn about perceptions but also about judgments and decision making as well. Throughout the day you will be asked to keep a journal and you will write a paper detailing your experience and how it ties into topics we have discussed so far.

Academic Objectives:
1. Connect theories of Cognitive Psychology with Vietnam war strategies.
2. Understand cross-cultural perceptions and decisions of the Vietnam War.
3. Gain an active understanding of the prevalence of cognitive psychology in the real world and globally.