Full course description
This course supplements the first-year courses Perception and Learning and Memory and completes our introduction into cognitive psychology. The course ‘Complex Cognition’ focuses on higher cognitive processes such as reasoning, decision making and problem solving. Students will learn about the information processing system that constrains these processes. Finally, this course highlights the role cultural differences play in research into cognition.
The course starts with several questions about knowledge representation and language: How do we categorise objects? How do we store the meaning of words? How do we recognise words? How do we understand texts? We then focus on psychological research into human problem solving and reasoning and the underlying dual process. Decision making then becomes the dominant theme of this course. How rational is human decision making? What role does emotion play in the decision making process? If the human decision maker is often irrational, how can we improve his or her decisions? Can people learn to become better decision makers? How do we reach moral decisions and what role does our social and cultural environment play? The environment also plays an important role in negotiating and cooperative behaviour. A successful Indian negotiator, for example, acts differently than a negotiator in the Netherlands. Students learn how game-theoretic and social-neuroeconomic research help us understand cooperative behaviour. The course will offer illustrations of the role of complex cognitive processes in applied psychological disciplines (e.g., educational psychology and work and organizational psychology).Throughout the course, students will focus on and map relations between theories.
Students are able:
- to understand and explain higher cognitive processes (i.e., reasoning, decision making, problem-solving, and language comprehension);
- to compare and differentiate prominent theories of higher cognitive processes;
- to organize and visualize knowledge of these theories in maps;
- to explain how social and cultural factors affect complex cognitive behaviour (e.g., in moral judgment, team cognition, cooperation, and negotiation);
- to reflect on intercultural differences in cognition;
- to present an empirical article to peers;
- to self-supervise their group learning process.