CourseMotivation

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This course is designed to teach the secrets of cognitive psychology. These secrets are those of how Cognitive Psychology works. We are not here to learn facts, but to understand how facts are made within cognitive psychology. The skills you need are to understand how individual pieces of research join theory and experiment and to interpret what this research means.

The course is a series of activities, not a list of information. Information is abundant: you can, and should, read widely about cognitive psychology online, in textbooks and in books. It is not, however, a good use of our time together for me to present this information to you. I am here to explain how a skeptical cognitive psychologist thinks about cognitive psychology research. This is hard to convey, so it is more worthwhile to spend our time on.

The topics choose for the course are all eminently useful (such as how to learn effectively), or generated widespread media interest when they were published (such as the idea that signs featuring eyes can reduce crime), or both. The course is not based around such pieces of research because only popular research matters, but because this is the kind of research idea which you, as a psychology graduate, will commonly encounter after you have left the University, and so most urgently need to develop a skeptical response to.