For me, teaching is an active process of thinking with others. In the classroom and in the lab I use an inquiring approach that, in varied ways, encourages students to express their thinking aloud and in writing, in their own words, and to ask questions of themselves and others.
I welcome students from a wide range of backgrounds in order to create a multifaceted collaborative learning environment. Students enroll in my courses from such varied fields as: art, biology, business, computer science, design, drama, economics, education, neuroscience, and all areas of psychology.
Creativity Sciences: Minds, Brains, and Innovation (PSY 4021, formerly PSY 4960)
Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2017
Creativity and innovation play a pivotal role in our individual and collective lives. How do our minds, brains, and environments together enable the generation of useful novel ideas?
This course investigates this question, using empirical findings and methods from the cognitive and brain sciences and other disciplines. Both close readings of original empirical research articles and active hands-on/minds-on within-class experiments and collaborative activities are core parts of the course.
Two integrative themes throughout the course are the need for dynamically adaptive (contextually sensitive) variation in both degrees of cognitive control and goal guidance (deliberate to spontaneous to automatic) and our level of representational specificity (concrete and specific to mid-level to abstract).
Representative topics: neural correlates of insight and analogical thinking; fluid categorization; environmental variation and brain plasticity; information systems and creative affordances; positive affect and cognitive flexibility; benefits of prototypes and parallel prototyping; and openness to experience and adaptability to change. (This course is typically offered in alternate years.)
Proseminar in Cognition, Brain, and Behavior (PSY 8042)
Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2016
This seminar course will introduce students to advanced topics in cognition, brain, and behavior. The course will combine lecture, discussion, and student-led presentations of research papers on core topics in attention, memory, emotion, categorization, thinking, and language, and intersections between these areas. The course readings and discussion will seek to extend our understanding of fundamental concepts of cognition, brain, and behavior while also pointing to the “edges” of what we know, and important unanswered questions. The course is jointly taught with additional invited faculty lectures and participation in discussion. (This course is typically offered in alternate years.)
Research Lab in Memory, Thinking, and Judgment (PSY 5993)
Fall and Spring 2005-2017
Directed study and cognitive neuroscience research in thinking, memory, and judgment.
If you are a student interested in gaining directed research experience in our lab, please e-mail me to learn more about this option.
The Agile Mind: Cognitive and Brain Bases (HSEM 3054H)
Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015
This seminar course will examine recent research findings from psychology and cognitive neuroscience to arrive at a better understanding of the conditions that foster, or impede, flexible thinking or “mental agility.” Two key questions will be examined throughout. First, what are the relative roles of predominantly controlled or deliberate modes of cognitive processing versus more automatic (or spontaneous) processes in enabling and sustaining creatively adaptive thinking? Second, how do mental representations at differing levels of specificity—highly abstract versus highly specific—contribute to flexible thinking? (This course is typically offered in alternate years.)
Psychology of Human Learning and Memory (PSY 5014)
Spring 2006-2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016
A fundamental characteristic of memory is that it in some way repeats or copies something that occurred previously to an organism. However, there is clear variability in the extent to which what is recalled actually matches or echoes what was originally experienced. Further, although this variability is often viewed as a problem, as it may result in errors of memory, such variability, in other contexts, is linked to sought after forms of thinking and expression, with implications for the transfer of learning, creativity, problem-solving, how we classify objects and events, and modes of thinking such as analogy and metaphor. One goal of this course is to understand how we adaptively use memory (episodic, semantic, procedural) in both exact and variable ways. We also will seek to relate behaviorally observed variability in memory to specific brain processes. A second goal is to understand the relative roles of predominantly controlled or deliberate modes of cognitive processing versus more automatic (or spontaneous) processes in enabling and sustaining memory and creatively adaptive thinking. Prerequisite: PSY 3011 (Introduction to Learning and Behavior) or PSY 3051 (Introduction to Cognitive Psychology), except for honors/graduate students. (This course is typically offered in alternate years.)
Memory, Belief, and Judgment: (PSY 5960) Fall 2004; Fall 2005; Fall 2006
Although disorders of memory, belief, and judgment are often considered separately, several neuropsychological and psychopathological phenomena seem to involve disruptions in a combination of these areas. This course will examine findings and accounts of phenomena that — to varying degrees — involve disorders of memory, belief, and judgment, and examine implications for understanding normal cognitive function. Topics will include: confabulation; deja vu; reduplicative paramnesia for place (involving the belief that places have exact or nearly exact duplicates); delusional misidentification (e.g., Capgras syndrome, the belief that familiar people, such as parents or siblings, have been replaced by look-alike imposters); anosognosia (unawareness of a deficit or illness); confidence, certainty, and biased belief; and magical ideation and bizarre beliefs. The course will take a cognitive neuroscience approach; contributions from motivation, emotion, and learning, and the need to explain the specific content of beliefs, also will be considered.
This is an intensive seminar course based on readings of empirical research articles and review papers from several perspectives, including neuropsychology, psychopathology, psychiatry, neurology, and philosophy. The course also explores multiple methodologies, including clinical case studies, neuroimaging methods, neurological procedures, as well as laboratory-based experiments typical of those conducted in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuropsychology.
Introduction to Psychology: (PSY 1001)
Fall 2004; Spring 2005 (3 lectures on memory and language)
Scientific study of human behavior. Problems, methods, findings of modern psychology.