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This is the course wiki for PSY243 "Cognitive Psychology: from experiments to interpretations". If you are registered on the course you can log in to edit this wiki. Your username is your university username (e.g. pca10aa) in lower case letters and the password is your date of birth in the form dd/mm/year (e.g. 01/01/1995).

The Course

Over 12 weeks we will explore cognitive psychology, through critical analysis of scientific papers that report experiments on how the mind works. For each paper you will have a chance to check your understanding of the background cognitive psychology, practice producing a written analysis and see a model answer. The course also provides opportunities for feedback, peer review and questions and answers during the weekly lectures. The course is assessed by coursework, which will be an analysis of one of a selection of papers which will be released a week before the coursework is due.

If you have any questions, please look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Although each lecture involves reading a single paper, the papers are arranged so that we will cover the major topics of cognitive psychology and thematically cover the essential practical skills and habits of a cognitive psychologist. See the Overview

You can read some feedback from students who took the course in previous years here: StudentFeedback. You can read about why the course is the way it is, and why it covers what it does, in CourseMotivation

The Lectures

  • Lectures: Thursday @ 1pm, Richard Roberts Auditorium.
  • Read the paper before the lecture
  • Discuss the paper in the google group
  • Some resources are in this google drive folder, but anything important will be directly linked from this wiki
Week 1

Memory : effective study

Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger, H. L. (2008). The critical importance of retrieval for learning. science, 319(5865), 966-968.

Week 2

Memory 2: writing a critical review

Karpicke & Roediger (2008) again.
Week 3

Perception: Can glass shape control your beer drinking speed?

Attwood, A. S., Scott-Samuel, N. E., Stothart, G., & Munafò, M. R. (2012). Glass shape influences consumption rate for alcoholic beverages. PloS one, 7(8), e43007.
Week 4

Learning: Wiki editors get higher exam scores

Stafford, T., Elgueta, H., Cameron, H. (2014). Students’ engagement with a collaborative wiki tool predicts enhanced written exam performance. Research in Learning Technology, 22, 22797. doi:10.3402/rlt.v22.22797
Week 5

Performance: Seeing red - performance enhancing colours

Hagemann, N., Strauss, B., & Leißing, J. (2008). When the referee sees red…. Psychological Science, 19(8), 769-771.
Week 6

Social influence: Did the eyes really stare down bicycle crime in Newcastle?

Nettle, D., Nott, K., & Bateson, M. (2012) “Cycle Thieves, We Are Watching You”: Impact of a Simple Signage Intervention against Bicycle Theft. PloS one, 7(12), e51738.
  • Submit analysis of "Sight over sound in the judgment of music performance" (week 8 paper) by 11th Nov
Week 8

Judgement & Decision making: Are classical music competitions judged on looks?

Tsay, C. J. (2013). Sight over sound in the judgment of music performance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(36), 14580-14585.
Week 9

Numerical cognition: Could brain stimulation make you better at maths?

Snowball, A., Tachtsidis, I., Popescu, T., Thompson, J., Delazer, M., Zamarian, L., Zhu, T., Cohen Kadosh, R. (2013). Long-Term Enhancement of Brain Function and Cognition Using Cognitive Training and Brain Stimulation. Current Biology, 23, 987–992. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.04.045Ed
Week 10

Unconscious thought: Does the unconscious know when you are being lied to?

ten Brinke, L., Stimson, D., & Carney, D. R. (2014). Some Evidence for Unconscious Lie Detection. Psychological science, 25(5), 1098-1105.
Week 11

Q&A and course overview

please bring your questions or email me them by Tuesday the 8th
Week 12

writing the coursework

select 1 paper from those announced in week 11

The core readings are all on the University Google Drive (if you are logged in with your @sheffield account). The pre-lecture concept checking quizes are available here PreQuizzes

Final Assessment

The course is assessed by coursework. The coursework task is to write, in less than 1000 words, a critical analysis on one of a choice of papers similar to those covered by the course. The selection is released a week before the deadline.

Helpful advice

You have approximately 5 hours study time per week for each 10 credit module. I suggest this, 1 hour of study per day:

Monday: re-read the week's paper, read around the topic, organise your notes, discuss on the forum, email me questions

Tuesday: write an answer using the Answer Guide

Wednesday: compare your answer to the Answer Guide, revise your answer

Thursday: come to the lecture

Friday: read next week's paper

essential documents

  • Download all the core papers for this course (via Google Drive, only accessible within the University)

useful links



Understanding graphs

Critical thinking


Getting started with wikis