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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Stephen J Ross
TPSYCH 250
Tacoma Campus

Human Cognition

Surveys cognitive psychology related to the mental processes associated with acquiring, storing, transforming, and using knowledge. Topics include perception, attention, learning, memory, metacognition, imagery, language, problem solving, and decision-making. Emphasizes identifying these concepts in everyday situations and application to educational and criminal justice fields. May not be taken for credit if TPSYCH 355 already taken. Prerequisite: either TPSYCH 100 or PSYCH 101.

Class description

This course is designed to be a survey of the main topics of cognitive psychology. In general, cognitive psychology evaluates the mental processes corresponding to the acquisition, storage, transformation, and use of knowledge. As an introduction to this sub-discipline of psychology, this course will provide an overview of 1.) how information enters our cognitive system (e.g., perception, attention); 2.) how this information becomes incorporated into our cognitive structures (e.g., learning, memory); and 3.) how this information is processed to allow us to complete complex tasks (e.g., language, problem solving, decision-making). In addition, the course will focus on limitations within our cognitive system and the application of this knowledge to other fields (e.g., education, criminal justice).

Student learning goals

Define cognitive psychology and relate cognitive psychology to other fields of psychology and the social & natural sciences. This objective contributes to the Psychology SLOs to 1.)be familiar with the major theoretical approaches and historical trends in psychology and 5.) be able to synthesize theories and methodologies across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

Understand concepts related to how individuals process basic stimuli and the limitations of these perceptual abilities. This objective contributes to the Psychology SLO to 4.) understand that human behavior may have some common determinants.

Understand the structures of our memory systems and how these structures are related to the encoding, storage, and retrieval of information. This objective contributes to the Psychology SLO to 4.) understand that human behavior may have some common determinants.

Differentiate between various types of knowledge (e.g., episodic, semantic, declarative, procedural). This objective contributes to the Psychology SLO to 4.) understand that human behavior may have some common determinants.

Apply the scientific method and basic principles to cognitive research and be able to critically evaluate such research. This objective contributes to the Psychology SLO to 2.) understand the core concepts and methodologies of psychology.

Identify and apply basic issues in cognitive psychology within education and criminal justice settings. This objective contributes to the Psychology SLO to 6.) understand the application of psychological principles to the understanding of social issues.

General method of instruction

Class meetings will consist of a mix of lecture, discussion, and class activities.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Grades for the course will consist of your performance on 3 examinations (2 midterms and 1 final), “pop” quizzes (5-7 throughout the quarter), and participation in class activities/writing assignments.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Stephen J Ross
Date: 08/25/2011