Human Reasoning and Complex Cognition
Full course description
The present course is concerned with theoretical (psychological) and empirical perspectives on human reasoning and decision making. Reasoning involves making deductive or inductive inferences and judging them according to current goals, beliefs and knowledge. Decision making refers to choosing between alternatives (e.g. different mental models). Both topics are of central importance to humans and even though some seem to reason better than others or their decisions seem more sound, thinking remains an important and for some uniquely human feature. Studying humans thought (both reasoning and decision making) belongs to the field of Cognitive Psychology. Like most topics studied by psychologists, both reasoning and decision making include a wide range of explanatory models that emphasize different aspects of human thought.
Eleven topics of the (cognitive) psychology of reasoning and decision making are discussed using a Problem Based Learning format. The topics are: (hypothetical) reasoning, the mental imagery-debate, the psychology of decision making, Signal Detection Theory and vigilance, emotions and reasoning, emotions and decision making (the Somatic Marker hypothesis), subliminal perception, deductive and inductive reasoning (heuristics and biases) and socio-economical decision making (pro-social behavior: risk and trust).
- To help students acquire knowledge of recent (psychological) theories in the field of reasoning, decision making, problem solving, and (moral) judgement.
- To provide an insight into the role of higher cognitive processes have in directing human behaviour; various forms of human reasoning, decision making, problem solving, creativity, etc.
- To explore a given topic in the psychology of thought by writing a client consultancy report (group work).
SSC1005 Introduction to Psychology or SCI2036 Artificial Intelligence and at least two 2000-level courses.
- Chapters of several basic cognitive psychology books are made available as e-reader or hardcopy.