PS 101 - Introduction to General Psychology (Spring '97)
PS 217 - Introduction to Statistics I (Fall '12)
ID 151-03 - Psych in the Courtroom Seminar (Spring '07)
PS 225 - Perception (Fall '13)
PS 306 - Experimental Psychology (Spring '12)
PS 318H - Statistics II (Fall '13)
SS 100-036 - Perception and Reality (Fall '10)

[Hugh's Home Page | Psych Dept Home Page]

PS101 - Introduction to General Psychology

PS101 Materials

Hello, and welcome to your first psychology course at Skidmore. I hope that you had an enjoyable break and that you've returned to campus ready to learn. As you might expect, given my choice of profession, I enjoy both psychology and teaching. I will be working hard to make each lecture both enjoyable and educational. Certainly, I feel justified in expecting you to work hard also. Although I will not take daily attendance throughout the term, I will come to know each of you, and I will notice your absence. Please try to attend every class, and to come to each class prepared (i.e., read in preparation for class).

Because we are searching for new faculty this semester, we will have a few guest lecturers throughout the semester. You are totally responsible for the information conveyed in the guest lecture (on exams), but I'm particularly interested in your impression of that person as a teacher.


I have several goals in mind as I teach this class: 1) to provide you with a broad overview of the discipline of psychology, 2) to give you an insight into the way in which a psychologist views the world, 3) to excite you about the field of psychology so that you would want to take other courses in psychology, and possibly pursue a career in psychology, and 4) to make your learning experience as pleasant as possible. To give you sufficient breadth, we will be working through most of Matlin's Psychology text. I think that students find most of the material covered in this class to be intrinsically interesting, so I hope that you find that to be true for yourself.


There will be three non-cumulative exams (2/21, 3/21, and during finals week). Each exam will be worth 30%, and will be composed of multiple choice, short answer, and a few essay questions. Although the questions will focus on material covered in lectures, you are responsible for all the relevant material in the textbook.
There will also be a paper worth 10% of your final grade. If your total percentage is 95% or above, you will have earned an A, 90-95% is an A-, 87-90% is a B+, 83-87% is a B, 80-83% is a B-, etc. If you learn that you will have to miss an exam or the paper deadline due to a serious problem, please let me know as far in advance as possible. With appropriate documentation, I will let you turn a paper in late without penalty, or will reschedule a missed exam for a day during the final exam week. Cheating on exams, plagiarism of papers, etc. is totally unthinkable (right?).


On the next page is a schedule of the approximate dates on which we will cover topics in class. I would encourage you to try to read the material appropriate for a particular day before that class meeting. That way you will already have a framework for processing the material covered that day, which should make the material easier to remember. It will also make it easier for you to ask questions in class, to clarify the material you read but did not understand. I always encourage classroom participation, so feel free to ask questions during class. In a class lecture, I will typically cover only a subset of the topics in a given chapter, but will go into greater depth than the text provides. For that reason, your class notes will be very important for exams. However, you will be responsible for all the material in each chapter we cover, although exams will tend to emphasize the material covered in class.

I'm really looking forward to teaching this class, and hope that you are looking forward to taking it. If you have any questions, complaints, etc., please feel free to drop by my office and discuss them with me. Let's have a good term together...

1/22 Introductory stuff...what the course will be like [Read Ch 1 for background ASAP]
1/24 Drooling dogs & Skating chickens: Classical and Operant Conditioning (Film) [Ch 6]
1/27 Lecture and discussion on conditioning {Thought question: Can humans be conditioned?}
1/29 Boxes in the Brain?: Human Information processing [Ch 7]
2/3 Palaces of Memory: Full (Mnemonic devices) and Empty (Forgetting and Memory loss)
2/5 More on (not moron) memory and cognition
2/7 Patricia Colby visits, gives talk
2/10 Vicki Garlock visits, gives talk
2/12 Memory and cognition redux
2/14 Cogito ergo sum...I think, therefore I am (I think) [Ch 8]
2/17 Just how smart are you? [Ch 14 up to p. 469]
2/19 Consciousness and altered states: Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore! [Ch 5]
2/21 Zzzzz: Sleeping and dreaming

2/24 Exam 1

2/26 Vision, how do we see? [Ch 4 up to p. 120 with some of Ch 3]
2/28 Depth perception and illusions
3/3 Color vision and visual organization
3/5 Physical development and development of perception [Ch 10]
3/7 Cognitive development: Learning to think, and learning what you know
3/10 Language and language development [Ch 9] (Paul Scott lectures)
3/12 Development of gender roles: How do we treat boys and girls?
3/14 Motivation: Why do you do what you do to me? [Ch 12]
3/17 Emotions: What makes us angry, sad, happy, etc.?
3/19 Catch-up day

3/21 Exam 2

3/31 Personalities and their measurement [Ch 13 and Ch 14 p. 469ff]
4/2 The good Dr. Freud and all those naughty little children
4/4 Sorted nuts, putting mental illness in its place [Ch 15]
4/7 Catch-up day
4/9 Focus on schizophrenia and depression (fun times!!)
4/11 No class - Eastern Psychological Association meetings in Washington, DC
4/14 STRESSSSS!! and coping with health psychology [Ch 15]
4/16 Helping the mentally ill, therapies that can help [Ch 16]
4/18 More issues in therapy
4/21 Humans as social animals [Ch 17]
4/23 Prejudice and altruism [Ch 18]
4/25 Just DO it! Conformity, compliance, and obedience
4/28 Wrap up and review

[Hugh's Home Page | Psych Dept Home Page]

PS 306 - Experimental Psychology

PS306 Materials (Exams, Notes, etc.)

Hugh's Office Hours: Posted on office door (TLC 101)


             How do you know what you know? How do you know if what you know is accurate? I’m sure that much of what you know you’ve learned by observing the world…and that’s probably fine for most knowledge. A lot of what you know was imparted to you by trusted others (parents, teachers, books, etc.). But how would you go about learning about the world…and people in the world…in a systematic fashion? That’s what science is all about…and we’ll spend this semester learning about how one might “do” science in the discipline of psychology. People are such fascinating creatures, which is what makes psychology so interesting. So this semester we’ll focus on how one might learn about aspects of people in a very systematic fashion. What fun!
            Welcome back from your winter break. I hope that you’ve returned to campus energized and ready for the challenges of this new semester. This informational packet is intended to provide you with a clear orientation to the course—its content, goals, evaluation process, etc. It’s a course that I very much enjoy teaching and I hope that some of my enjoyment is contagious. I also hope that you come to see the course as a valuable experience and an important contribution to your development within the discipline of psychology.



Course content and goals

            My goal in this course is to explore and to understand the methods of science, and, in particular, how science is done in the field of psychology. This course will introduce you to some of the common methods for doing research in psychology. This process involves learning about various research methodologies, their strengths and weaknesses, and the ways they are used to address questions. The course will also provide you with material on theories and recent research findings in various areas of psychology that involve the use of these research methodologies. By the semester's end, not only will you learn a great deal about research methodologies and their applications and a great deal about how to begin to conduct research but I hope that you will also become more sensitized to the ways in which you think about and read about others' research (e.g., asking questions about the basis of conclusions, implications beyond the lab, etc.).

Four important objectives guide our work in this course:

1. Learning how to evaluate research and research claims

            You will gain the ability to look critically at other people's research reports and determine whether their conclusions are correct. (For example, how might you decide if it is correct to claim that left-handed individuals are at a psychological disadvantage compared to right-handed individuals?) This ability for critical analysis and evaluation is useful in many situations including when you read scientific papers, when you read newspapers claiming to review scientific work, or when you listen to what your friends and instructors have to say about some topic.

2. Learning about important topics & controversies in psychology

            You will also learn about specific examples of recent research in psychology and neuroscience. This objective of the course should give you a good feeling for the difficulties that we encounter when asking particular kinds of psychological questions and provide you with knowledge about specific areas of psychological research. In the process, you will also grapple with some of the controversies associated with doing these kinds of research.

3. Setting up, proposing and conducting research

            This course will enhance your ability to form a scientifically testable question about a psychological process and to implement the test of that question. This aspect of the course involves learning about formal research methods used in the design and implementation of research. In the lab section of this course, you will experience many different aspects of the research enterprise and actually help design and carry out several collaborative research projects that use some of the designs and methodologies upon which the lecture portion of the course will have focused. By the end of the semester, your understanding of these designs and methodological issues, and your experience in the research laboratory, will help you to think critically and communicate clearly about psychological research. This experience will therefore serve as a foundation for future research and laboratory courses in psychology and other science courses. Although some students are convinced that they won't like doing research (or may feel intimated by the prospects), we hope by "rolling up your sleeves" and diving into the research experience, you will discover what a fun and fascinating endeavor it can be! Perhaps best of all, the course should also enhance your ability to think scientifically when addressing psychological problems in everyday life (and we will discuss why you should care about that).

4. Reporting research and evaluating written reports--yours and others

            You will learn more about the process of scientific writing by way of your own written work and your critique of others' written work. One of the best ways to sensitize ourselves to the writing process is to read one another's work, noticing authors' different approaches to the same goals. You will learn to write formal research reports--or learn to write better ones if you have some experience along these lines. In your role as reviewer of your fellow students' work (as well as the work of other researchers), your own writing skills should be enhanced. As in previous years, you will have the opportunity to revise some of your written work. However, the feedback will now be more extensive, coming from us and other members of the class.

These writing experiences are invaluable if you plan to pursue graduate work in psychology (or any other science). However, even if you don't have those kinds of plans right now, these writing experiences should enhance your ability to express yourself in written form in more cogent and persuasive ways. Enhancing your ability to express yourself, particularly when trying to describe a phenomenon objectively, is a valuable tool no matter what your future plans.


The lecture and lab portions of the course will each count as 50% of your grade. The lecture portion of the course will be evaluated by two in-class exams (see lecture plan), each worth 15% of your grade, and a final exam, worth 20% of your grade. The final exam is cumulative. If you miss an exam, notify me as early as possible and provide documentation for the basis of your absence. If your reason for missing the exam is an acceptable one, a make-up exam will be scheduled during the final exam period--no exceptions!! I have placed old exams on the web to give you a sense of what to expect.

Because I believe that practice is imperative to improving one's writing, you will submit several APA-style papers. Although most lab projects will be completed in small groups (because we are dependent on one another for data collection), each individual in the course will submit his or her own lab report and proposal. The lab portion of the course will be evaluated by three lab reports, one research proposal, and critiques of papers written by your fellow students. The guidelines for your research proposal (i.e., parts to include) will follow later in the semester. Some preliminary information about these writing assignments is provided with the lab plan. I will provide more detailed guidance about each writing assignment throughout the semester. But, in brief, here is a summary: Lab 1 (5% points), Labs 2 and 3 (each 10% points), Research Proposal (20%), and Critiques (5%).

I am convinced that that criticizing the work of your peers is another way to improve our writing skills. In my work as an author and reviewer (of manuscripts as well as student papers), I have come to appreciate how much one can learn about the process of writing by the careful review of others' work. Thus, I hope that your fellow students will profit from your feedback (as well as mine), but, in your role as reviewer, I expect that reading alternative ways to approach labs will also influence how you approach your own writing assignments. I will provide you with guidelines in your work as a reviewer. Last, but not least, part of effective writing involves learning how to respond to feedback--deciding what suggestions to incorporate and how to incorporate them into a revised paper. Assuming that your versions of Lab 2 and Lab 3 are completed on time, you will have the option to revise one of them (your choice), incorporating suggestions for revision in whatever way seems appropriate to you. If you decide to revise either Lab 2 or 3, your grade for the revised lab will be the average of the original grade and the grade on the revised version. By giving this special attention to the writing of labs and the proposal, my goal is to strengthen your writing and critical thinking skills.

Because it is important to provide authors with feedback while they still remember what they wrote (if only vaguely), we need to return labs with our comments relatively soon after the labs are due. Your feedback will be due approximately one week after each lab is due, and I’ll return my feedback and yours to the author of a lab within about two weeks of completing the lab. If you turn a lab in late, or if you are late with your critique, your grade will be negatively affected. If your own lab is late, you will lose a point on your lab for each day that it is late, and you will not be able to participate as a reviewer (reducing your percentage points for the critiques). If your own lab is turned in on time, but you are late with your critique, only your critique % points will be affected. The feedback for the proposal drafts will be due before the proposals are due so that you can incorporate the feedback into your final version before the end of the semester. The lab plan provides more detail about due dates, etc. If you miss the lab meeting when this feedback occurs, you will not have the option to obtain feedback (and your % allocated to work on critiques will be negatively affected). If you choose to revise either Lab 2 or Lab 3, the revised version (along with both copies of the earlier version plus our comments) is due no later than the last study day. Finally, all labs must be completed in order to receive a passing grade for the course.


Recommended textbooks for Lecture and Lab

Ray, W. J. (2009, 10th edition). Methods: Toward a science of behavior and experience.
Perrin, R. (2011, 4th edition). Pocket guide to APA style.

  Some of the readings are listed below, but others will be added later in the term as each lab is developed.   A few readings are distributed in lecture as part of some exercises about research methods.   Otherwise, the readings are over the web.  

Fine, M. A., & Kurdek, L. A. (1993). Reflections on determining authorship credit and authorship order on faculty-student collaborations. American Psychologist, 48 , 1141-1147.

McFarland, C., Cheam, A., & Buehler, R. (2007). The perseverance effect in the debriefing paradigm: Replication and extension. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 233-240.

Mook, D. G. (1983). In defense of external invalidity. American Psychologist , 38 , 379-387.

Ross, L., Lepper, M. R., & Hubbard, M. (1975). Perseverance in self-perception and social perception: Biased attributional processes in the debriefing paradigm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32 , 880-892.

Your presence & My expectations

            Your attendance in lecture and lab is very important for the success of the course. Although attendance is not reflected directly in your final grade, keep in mind that there is a lot of evidence suggesting the value of attending the lecture and lab part of the course. I expect to work very hard in this course and I look forward to the discussions that will unfold during our conversations in and out of lecture and lab meeting times. I also take your presence and your contributions very seriously and value them as well. I expect that you will also work hard and I hope that you will learn a lot about doing and interpreting psychological research. However, if you do not participate in the lecture and lab sessions (and you can't if you aren't here), then don't expect help immediately before exam or lab due dates. Also, if you do not attend lecture and lab regularly, then you cannot expect me to "teach" or "review" a particular lecture or lab meeting during office hours. Last but not least, if you need to miss a lab for a very important reason (e.g., observance of a religious holy day, scheduled sports event in which you are a key player, etc.), let me know ahead of time.

Acknowledging and Respecting One Another

             I also expect that we will all be considerate of each another. You can expect me to respect you and what you have to say. At the same time, we all need to show respect for one another in both verbal and non-verbal behavior.

            Routinely coming late to lecture or lab meetings or leaving during class is rude and disruptive. This behavior certainly distracts me, and I know that the behavior distracts other members of the lecture and lab sessions. So please avoid rude behaviors. If I have to call our collective attention to these rude behaviors, I will do so, but I hope that you will not behave in ways that require us to talk about this failure to acknowledge the presence and needs of others. I also understand that there are rare occasions when any one of us might be running late. When caught in such a bind, I would rather have you come to the lecture or lab (even though you are late). However, we all know the difference between rare and habitual. I am commenting here on the habitual behaviors that are not welcomed in this course. If medical complications require that you leave during class, then please be courteous and sit in the back near the door.

            Finally, to aid your concentration and mine, turn off all cell phones for the duration of lecture or lab meetings. I don't mean that you should set your cell phone to vibrate. I mean turn it off and put it away from view! You should have no reason to look at your cell phone during a class or lab. Thanks for your consideration.

Last but not least: The Skidmore Honor Code

            I expect that you will abide by Skidmore’s Honor Code as described in your Student Handbook or in the Academic Information Guide.






Introduction, Psychologists’ ways of knowing (video)

R1, R5, R12(292-297)


Causal vs. correlational hypotheses, correlational designs

R2, R12(290-292)


Looking for relationships (statistical, that is!)



Null Hypothesis Significance Testing, Type I vs. Type II Errors

R6, R7(162-172), R8


The logic of experimental design, operational definitions



External validity and experiments, Internal validity



Two or more conditions, independent random groups ANOVA



More on ANOVA, Post hoc tests



Two or more conditions, repeated measures ANOVA



More on repeated measures ANOVA, Post Hoc tests



Exam 1



More than one independent variable (factorial designs)



More on two-factor designs



More on two-factor designs



Spring Break



Spring Break



Interpreting interactions and post hoc analyses



Two repeated factors and mixed-model designs



Review of multi-factor designs



Those confounded experiments!



More on detecting confounds and avoiding them in designs



Exam 2



Ethics in research — Knights in tarnished armor



More on ethics in research



Concerns about participants’ rights, deception

R4, Ross et al.


Ethics workshop



Ethics and authorship considerations

Fine & Kurdek


The ecology of the experiment—focus on the experimenter



The ecology of the experiment—focus on the participant



Final Exam (6:00 – 9:00)


R = Ray






#1 (1/23)

Initial meeting


#2 (1/30)

Set up for Lab 1
Bring calculator


#3 (2/6)

APA style
Writing Lab 1


#4 (2/13)

Set up for Lab 2

Two copies of Lab 1 are due on Friday (2/17)

#5 (2/20)

Criticizing Lab 1
Discuss Proposal

Lab 2 data due on Wednesday (2/22)

#6 (2/27)

Writing Lab 2
Proposal Topic Due


#7 (3/5)

Research Design
Figures and Tables

Two copies of Lab 2 are due on Wednesday (3/7)

You will receive a peer’s Lab 2 in class on 3/7, and you will need to turn in your comments in lab on 3/19.

#8 (3/12)

Spring Break

Spring Break

#9 (3/19)

Set up for Lab 3


#10 (3/26)

Discuss Proposal
Five of ten proposal sources due

Lab 3 data due on Wednesday (3/28)

#11 (4/2)

Writing Lab 3


#12 (4/9)

Topic to be announced

Two copies of Lab 3 are due on that lucky day Friday (4/13)

You will receive a peer’s Lab 3 on 4/16, and you will need to turn in your comments in class on 4/18, so I can return them on 4/23.

#13 (4/16)

Topic to be announced


#14 (4/23)

Proposal drafts due!!
Peer review of proposal drafts in lab


#15 (4/30)

No Lab

Proposal due on Friday (5/4)
Re-write of Lab 2 or 3 due on Friday (5/4)




Data Submission

The success of the class depends on each student for data collection (if we have no data, there is nothing to analyze!).   Therefore it is important that the date for lab be turned in by the date specified above. Because we are so interdependent in terms of these data, there is a one-point penalty on the lab for any data not submitted on time.

Where to submit data, labs, and proposal

Data, lab reports, and your proposal should be placed in HF's mailbox in the Psychology Department on the dates specified above.

Getting Started:   Some Recommendations & Suggestions
The muses don't speak!

When planning to work on the labs, keep in mind that muses don't come to us (at least not in this course)!!   Sitting and waiting for inspiration about writing a lab will not work.   Write, scribble if you must, and write some more.   Clear thinking and clear writing take time.   But they also take writing!! So avoid reading the papers for the labs only once, the night before the lab is due.   If you read them well in advance, giving yourself time to look at them again, and let the information "perk" or "bubble" in your psyche (even while you think about other ideas), you will be amazed at how much better you will do.   It is rarely the case that the first draft of any paper is a good version; our advice to you is to try to write the lab and leave it for at least a day, returning to it to see if even you know what you meant by what you wrote.   Think of the writing as an act of writing/revising/transforming and finalizing.

Sharing, collaborating and cryptoamnesia

            We encourage cooperation and collaboration among all of us because this exchange can be a place where significant learning occurs.   That means you should freely talk about the labs, and share research articles if you find some that would be of great interest to a friend or someone in the class you don't even know very well.   There is too much to do in the course, and in psychology for that matter, for us to be selfish with our insights or discoveries.   At the same time, it is extremely important that you avoid writing together (literally, that is).   All too often, one lab "emerges" from that interaction of writing together and we are left with a complicated situation.   When you write, write alone!   Cryptoamnesia is a term we memory researchers use for a "problem" that involves a special kind of plagiarism.   That is, inadvertently forgetting the source of information (e.g., writing about something as if it was your own idea).   This can happen all too easily if you write in the presence of another person who is writing the same kind of assignment.   Of course, more damning forms of plagiarism exist and we needn't describe them; you know them as well as I do.   The solution is to write alone and avoid all forms of plagiarism, accidental or otherwise.   Collaborative efforts are encouraged but collaborative writing (or stealing, for that matter) is not. Each of you assigns your own name and not any collaborators to your labs.

Establishing Authorship

            Any ideas that are not your own should be identified as such (e.g., provide credit to someone else when credit is due him or her).   When quoting a source directly, use quotations, cite the author, the year he or she said or wrote, and the specific page on which the verbatim text can be found.   In addition, list the complete reference--APA Style--in the reference section of you paper (even if the reading is not assigned).   When paraphrasing someone else's words or citing his or her research, you are also obliged to credit him or her for those ideas or research findings, and to list his or her article in the reference section of you paper.   Most important, AVOID direct quotes--typically when we force ourselves to make a point in our own words, even if paraphrased, we come to understand better those points we want to make.  

Evaluating Labs and Proposal

The lab reports will be assessed for both content and structure.   It is nearly impossible to overemphasize the importance of revising; please do not turn in your first drafts!   Revising and rewriting and revising again are a vital part of the writing process. All labs and the proposal must be typed and must follow APA Guidelines (you'll get lots of info about those guidelines). When typos get to be distracting, the reader doesn't focus on the content of the paper. So proof your papers; when distraction starts, the grade on the lab will be negatively affected.    More specific details about grading policy and criteria will follow later in the term.

Some guidelines for preparing labs

"Procrastination is bad for your health"

We are happy to invest time and energy helping you with your thinking and writing of the labs. Keep in mind, though, if you do not attend the labs, you cannot expect us to spend a great deal of time helping you catch up during office hours. The course is stressful enough without adding extra burdens to your life (like falling behind or missing labs). So, avoid leaving things to the last minute. Here are some reminders of the "parts" that are due for each lab. More information will follow as we work on each lab.

Lab 1--two copies

1.  I'll answer questions but not look at any drafts (to see how you do on your own).

2.  First lab worth 5% points

Parts:  Title Page, Purpose paragraph, Method, Results, Discussion paragraph (very brief -- what you think the results might mean and what might be interesting to do next), Reference page. Although you will receive feedback on the complete lab, the purpose paragraph and short discussion do not affect the grade for Lab 1.

Lab 2--two copies

1.  Second lab worth 10% points

            Parts:  Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion (what you can conclude, connect your results to the literature, which means that you need to mention at least two sources, and then close with some indication of what might be interesting to do next), Reference page, Table(s). 

2.  Evaluation of feedback--contributes to the 5% points for additional writing. Your review of fellow student’s paper is due one week after you receive the paper.

Lab 3--two copies

1.  Third lab worth 10% points 

Parts:  Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, Reference page, Table(s) or Figure(s) (if include figures, need fig cap page). 

2. Evaluation feedback--contributes to the 5% points for additional writing. Your review of fellow student's paper is due one week after you receive the paper.

Research Proposal--one copy of final version

1.  Topic and working bibliography need approval (see dates on syllabus). Working bibliography must include at least 5 of the final set of 10 sources that will be included in your paper. These sources must be drawn from peer-reviewed journals. Guidelines about these criteria will be discussed in lab.

2.  Drafts due before deadline--two copies at the beginning of lab meeting (see lab plan for date)

3.  Final version worth 20% points

            Parts:  Title Page, Introduction, Method, Predicted Results (including kind of stats you would calculate if you had the data). Again, more details will follow later in the semester, but this last section of text should include comments about what you expect to find and why (drawing on the literature that you read), comments on the opposite of what you expect and what that would mean, and any concerns you have about possible design flaws. Additional sections to include in the proposal itself include References (required), Tables(s) and/or Figure(s), optional. You should also attach a complete version of the Form for the Participant Review Board (or alternative form if you are proposing a study involving non human subjects), Consent Form, and Debriefing Statement. Details will follow much later in the term.

[Hugh's Home Page | Psych Dept Home Page]

PS225 - Perception


Laboratory Materials

Course Materials (Exams, etc.)

Supplemental Perception Materials


            Welcome back from your summer break. I hope that you’re looking forward to this class. It’s one of my favorite courses to teach…as you’ll be able to tell, I’m always happy when I’m talking or thinking about perceptual topics. I do hope that you come to enjoy both the classroom and laboratory portions of the course.

            Orientation.  I am a psychologist, and so I will teach you about the senses from a psychologist’s perspective. However, it is impossible to discuss the senses fully without some discussion of their anatomy and physiology. Be forewarned that for some of the class we will be discussing material that will seem very biological to you. If you anticipate that such an orientation will be a major problem for you (which excludes the NS folks), you might want to consider taking a different course. Perception is one of the few areas of psychology where researchers have some clear ideas of the underlying neuroscience and I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t explore some of these findings.

            Comportment. The bottom line here is respect for one another and for the educational process. Please come to class on time and I’ll try to do so as well. When you’re in class, please try to remain for the entire class. I find it disruptive when you get up and leave during class…and your fellow students likely find it disruptive as well. In the event of an emergency, I’ll understand your need to leave the class before it ends, but emergencies are not routine occurrences. Please be sure that your cell phones, pagers, etc., are turned off (not simply set to vibrate). Thus, you should have no need to look at your cell phone for the duration of the class. I fully expect you to be engaged in every class.

            Grading. There will be two non-cumulative exams (10/23 and 12/19 during the final exam period), each worth 20%. Exams will be a mix of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions, and I will provide you with representative essay questions in advance of each exam. I believe that it’s really important for you to be actively involved in the learning process, which is why classroom participation and the laboratory component are both important. There will be 6 quizzes, worth 25%, with the lowest 2 quiz grades dropped. You will also write an APA-style lab paper, based on research, worth 25% of your final grade. Finally, you must complete all experiential labs to receive 10% of your final grade. If your total percentage is 93% or higher, you’ve earned an A, 90-93% is an A-, 87-90% is a B+, 83-87% is a B, 80-83% is a B-, etc. Needless to say, the Skidmore Honor Code is in effect for this class.
            Note that lecture attendance will not represent a specific portion of your grade. I hope to make the lectures as stimulating as possible, so if I’m successful you should want to come to each class. Certainly, a fair amount of material that is presented in lectures will not be in the textbook. I am relying on you to be a serious student and to miss a class only rarely, if ever. With the class size, I will certainly be sensitive to your absence. If you find out that you must miss an exam, please let me know as soon as possible. Of course, your reason must be a good one, and appropriate documentation is required. I will schedule a make-up for the first exam, if necessary, during final exam week. You wouldn’t be able to make up a quiz—it will be one of your dropped quiz grades.
            You are responsible for completing all the laboratories. I expect you to attend every lab, but if you must miss a lab (again for a good reason), you will need to complete the lab on your own and turn in the lab handout.

            Schedule.  Below is a brief description of the topics we will be covering, and an approximate date on which the material will be covered.





Introductory comments [Ch 1]; Anatomy of the Eye [Ch 3]



Visual Anatomy: Retina and Brain



Lab 1: Anatomy of the Eye and Visual Pathways



Visual Anatomy: Brain



Basic Visual Functions [Ch 4]           



Lab 2: Basic Visual Functions



Basic Visual Functions



Visual Pattern Perception [Ch 5]



Lab 3: Object Perception



Visual Pattern Perception



Distance and Size Perception [Ch 6]



Lab 4: Distance Perception



Distance and Size Perception



Color Perception [Ch 7]



Lab 5: Color Perception



Color Perception



Motion Perception [Ch 8]



Lab 6: Motion Perception



Motion Perception






No Lab






Methodology in perception [Ch 2]



Lab Design



More perceptual methodology



Signal Detection Theory



Writing APA-style lab



The Auditory System [Ch 9]



The Auditory System and Basic Auditory Functions [Ch 10]



Lab 8: Auditory Anatomy and Physiology, Basic Auditory Functions



Basic Auditory Functions



Auditory Pattern Perception [Ch 11]



Lab 9: Auditory Pattern Perception



Auditory Pattern Perception



No Lab



Auditory Pattern Perception



Lab 10 (Maybe)



Auditory Pattern Perception



Some other sense(s)



Lab 11 (Maybe)



Some other sense(s)



EXAM 2 (6:00 – 9:00)



[Hugh's Home Page | Psych Dept Home Page]

PS318H - Advanced Statistics

 PS 318 Materials (Exams, Notes, etc.)

            Hello! Welcome back from your summer break. I hope that you’ve gotten sufficient advance warning about this course to know that it’s definitely a difficult one—certainly the most difficult course I teach. The material is extremely challenging, but the students who choose to take this course are usually up to the challenge. Thus, you should experience the rewards that go along with mastering a difficult topic. I will do everything in my power to ensure that if you want to learn the material, you will do so. First of all, ask lots of questions in class. If you don’t understand something, just ask and I’ll try to explain. As usual, we have the luxury of a relatively small class, so let’s take advantage of that situation.

            Although you will not all decide to go on to graduate school in psychology, the course is designed to bridge the gap between the statistics/design sequence at most undergraduate institutions such as Skidmore and the statistics courses found in most graduate programs. The graduate-level statistics courses are often the undoing of otherwise fine graduate students, and I hope that this course will prepare you for such courses, should you opt to go to graduate school. We use a text (Keppel & Wickens: Design & Analysis) that is used in many graduate programs, and we will cover most of the text in this term. There are enough technical benefits of the course that I do believe that those of you who do not go on to graduate school will also profit from the course. For example, you will also come to learn how to use statistical packages (e.g., SPSS) for data analysis. You may be able to parlay knowledge of these packages into a job that involves data analysis.

My Expectations

            I’ve had some of you as students in class before, but let me attempt to provide a fairly clear sense of my expectations for all of you. The clearest statement of my expectations is that I fully expect that you are taking the course to learn as much as you can about statistical analysis. As a corollary of that expectation, I expect you to attend every class and every lab. Of course, in the event of a legitimate problem, I also trust your judgment about attendance. I expect you to respect what we’re hoping to accomplish in the class by arriving on time, staying for the entire class period, turning off cell phones (not merely setting them to vibrate), listening attentively to class discussions, etc.

Goals of the Course/ Assessment

            This course presents a trees/forest kind of problem for many students. We will be analyzing data (numbers) using a variety of statistical techniques and computer programs—most of which will be novel to you. It’s easy to focus on all those numbers (and novel procedures) and lose sight of the fact that the course is primarily about concepts. Below I’ve listed the primary concepts and procedures that you will master in the course. In most cases, we’ll be able to assess your mastery through homework assignments and exams. You’ll also be able to gain a sense of your level of understanding via classroom discussions (which will be frequent).



Underlying statistical/design concepts (Review)

HW1, Exam 1

Logic of Null Hypothesis Significance Testing (and criticisms)

Discussion, readings

Single Factor Independent Groups Designs

HW1, Exam1

     Analytical comparisons and post hoc analyses

HW1, Exam1

     Heterogeneity of Variance

HW1, Exam1

     Estimating Effect Size and Power (determining sample size)

HW1, Exam1, Discussion

Two Factor Independent Groups Designs

HW2, Exam1

     Heterogeneity of Variance

HW2, Exam1

     Interpreting Interactions and Main Effects

HW2, Exam1

Repeated Measures Designs

HW3, Exam2

     Single-factor designs

HW3, Exam2

     Two-factor designs

HW3, Exam2

     Mixed designs

HW3, Exam2

Three-Factor Designs

HW4, Exam2

     Independent Groups

HW4, Exam2

     Repeated Measures

HW4, Exam2

     Mixed Designs

HW4, Exam2


            Here’s a rough idea of the order in which we will cover the material. It is crucial that you read the chapters in the text—and by that I mean an active reading that involves working through the problems in the chapters. I really think that it will help if you work through the chapters (that is, read and do problems) prior to the classroom discussion of the material, but do what seems to work best for you. I will provide you with my notes for each chapter. However, you will need to read each chapter in its entirety in addition to reading the notes, completing homework assignments, etc. If you don’t understand something you read, you should raise the question during class.



9/8, 9/13

Chs. 1, 2, & 3—Background

9/12 Lab


9/15, 9/20

Continuing Chs 1, 2, & 3—Single Factor Independent Groups Designs


Ch 4—Analytical comparisons

9/26 Lab


9/27, 9/29

Ch 6—Simultaneous Comparisons and Post-Hoc Tests

10/3 Lab

Simultaneous Comparisons

10/4, 10/6

Chs 7 & 8—Linear model and assumptions; Effect Size and Power

10/10 Lab

Brown-Forsythe, Treatment Effect & Power

10/11, 10/13

Chs 10 & 11—Two Factor Independent Groups Designs

10/17 Lab

Two-Way Independent Groups ANOVA

10/18, 10/20, 10/25,10/27

Chs 12 & 13—Two Factor Independent Groups Designs, Post Hocs

10/24 Lab

Interactions 1

10/31 Lab

Interactions 2

11/1, 11/3

Chs 16 & 17—Repeated Measures Designs

11/7 Lab

Repeated Measures ANOVA

11/8, 11/10

Ch 18—Two-factor Repeated Measures Design

11/14 Lab

Two-Way Repeated Measures ANOVA

11/15, 11/17

Chs 19 & 20—Mixed Design ANOVA

11/21 Lab

Two-Way Mixed Design ANOVA

11/22, 11/29, 12/1, 12/6, 12/8

Chs 21, 22 & 23—Three Factor Designs

12/5 Lab

Three-Way Independent Groups and Mixed Groups ANOVA

Determination of Final Grade

            The course requires you to (1) read the chapters assigned in the textbook, (2) read several articles assigned for additional reading, (3) complete several homework assignments, (4) complete two take-home exams. (You should expect the exams and the homework to take a lot of time to complete.) I expect you to average a minimum of 10 hours/week of work (outside of class time) on this course. Ultimately, your grade should be based on the following rubric:




Excellent work, representing your estimate of the best work you imagine students are capable of producing.


Excellent work, with only minor imperfections. The work represents a level of performance achieved by only a small percentage of students.


Very good work—much better than typical performance, resulting from greater effort than a student typically expends.


Very good work—somewhat better than typical performance.


Good work. With grade inflation, a B- now represents an average job.


Good work, but slightly less quality than one would expect from a serious effort.


Acceptable work, but weak in several respects (effort, success, etc.)


Barely acceptable work, with glaring weaknesses.


Poor work that typically results from poor effort or poor comprehension.


Unacceptable work.

[Hugh's Home Page | Psych Dept Home Page]

PS217 - Statistical Methods in Psychology I

PS217 Materials (Exams, Notes, etc.)

 My Expectations

            First of all, let me be absolutely clear: I expect that you are here to learn statistics. I approach each course I teach with the expectation that every student in the course really wants to learn. You will find that I have all the patience in the world for someone who really wants to learn statistics. Conversely, you’ll find that I have little patience for someone who does not take her or his education seriously.

            I’m hoping that this will be a very interactive class. Please ask questions if you don’t understand something in class—in all likelihood you’re not the only one confused! Although I do not have a formal attendance policy for lecture, I fully expect you to attend every class. I guarantee you that coming to class will help make the material more understandable. I realize that I need not say so explicitly, nonetheless I expect you to adhere to the Skidmore Honor Code. And, of course, you should do nothing that would disrupt the class, so:

1. come to class on time
2. be prepared to sit through the entire class without leaving the room
3. turn off cell phones (don’t simply set them to vibrate, and never look at them during class)
4. don’t engage in disruptive (especially off-topic) interactions with your fellow students

Heads Up!

            This is not material that you can easily master in an hour or two of frantic study, so I encourage you to work at it steadily throughout the term. In an effort to ease the learning process, you will have plenty of opportunities for clarification through one-on-one or small group interactions. I have a sign-up sheet on my office door, indicating my office hours, and I encourage you to make use of me as a resource.

About the Course

            As I’m sure you are already aware, Statistical Methods is quite different from other psychology courses you may have taken. It is a nuts-and-bolts course, where you will learn about the ways in which psychologists do research—especially how they analyze their data. In the methodology course (PS306), we focus on ways that psychologists learn about the world by generating data. In this course, you will learn how psychologists determine if any reliable patterns are found in their data. As you can tell, the courses are closely related, and this course is a prerequisite for the methodology course. One focus of PS217 is to prepare you for PS306. If you do well in this course, you should be ready to master the material in the methodology course. After taking this course, you should be better able to understand psychological research that you read and to analyze data that you might produce in your own research.

            In the Lecture portion of the course, we will go over the statistical concepts and computations that are central to most psychologists’ research. You will need to read the relevant chapters in the textbook (Gravetter & Wallnau, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, 8th Ed.) to flesh out the classroom presentations. For the most part, you should find that class meetings are not at all passive. Though I’ll routinely present lectures about the material, you’ll typically be given sample problems to work through. Thus, you should bring your calculator to every class. It is vital that you take an active role in class, because doing so will ensure that you are mastering the material. In fact, when reading the textbook, you’ll also find problems interspersed through the chapters. Working on those problems will help you to understand the material as well.

            In the Laboratory portion of the course, what happens will vary. I think of the labs as an opportunity to go over questions you might have about material we’re discussing in class, homework problems, etc. In addition, I’ll use the labs as opportunities to show you exactly how the statistics you’re learning might have applications in psychological research. You must complete every lab, and you must attend each lab unless you have a legitimate excuse. As is true for lecture attendance, labs will definitely help you to learn the material, which will have a positive impact on your performance in the course.

What you should learn—Course objectives
            By the end of the semester, you should:
• Learn how psychologists use statistical analyses to evaluate their data in an effort to learn about the world
• Learn about how to test research hypotheses (e.g., null hypothesis significance testing)
• Learn how to compute specific statistics (e.g., z, t, F, r)
• Learn the conditions under which you would compute a specific statistic
• Learn how to use SPSS to analyze data
• Be well prepared to take Experimental Psychology (PS 306)


            For homework assignments and quiz/exam questions requiring computation, it is essential for you to have a calculator. In fact, you should always bring your calculator to class and lab. You only need a calculator that performs simple arithmetic operations, including squaring and square roots. In addition, you will be computing statistics using a computer program called SPSS. I will be introducing you to the computers available in TLC 206 for completion of some assignments.


Section 1
There will be two within-term exams (Exam 1 worth 22.5% and Exam 2 worth 23.5%) and a comprehensive final (worth 29%). If, due to a documented emergency, you are unable to take one of the within-term exams, I will schedule a make-up exam during finals week. You will also take 8 quizzes (worth 15%), with the lowest 2 dropped.

Section 3
There will be two within-term exams (Exam 1 worth 22.7% and Exam 2 worth 23.9%) and a comprehensive final (worth 29.9%). If, due to a documented emergency, you are unable to take one of the within-term exams, I will schedule a make-up exam during finals week. You will also take 8 quizzes (worth 13.5%), with the lowest 2 dropped.

Both sections
You cannot make up missed quizzes, but will simply drop a missed quiz. Homework assignments and lab attendance/performance will be worth 10%, and you must turn in all homework and complete all labs to receive those points. If you receive 93% or better overall, you will have earned an “A” for the course. From 90-93% gets an “A-,” 87% to 90% gets a “B+,” 83-87% gets a “B,” 80-83% gets a “B-,” etc.


            Below is a tentative schedule for the semester. We will surely deviate from the schedule, but usually not by much. It should provide you with a rough guideline to the approximate times that we will discuss particular topics.

Date Topic Reading Quiz/Exam/etc.
9/5 Introductory comments, housekeeping Ch 1  
9/7 Descriptive statistics: Graphing and Central Tendency Ch 2, 3  
9/10 Descriptive statistics: Central Tendency and Variability Ch 4  
9/12 Variability    
9/14 Sampling and Inferential Statistics   Quiz 1
9/17 More on sampling and inferential statistics    
9/19 Standard scores: z-Scores and their relatives Ch 5  
9/21 Probability and the Unit Normal Table Ch 6  
9/24 Using z-Scores with the Normal Probability Distribution   Quiz 2
9/28 More on using Normal Distribution and sampling    
10/1 Sampling and Sampling Distributions Ch 7  
10/3 Sampling Distribution of the Mean   Quiz 3
10/5 One way to learn about the world: Hypothesis Testing Ch 8  
10/8 One-tailed vs. two-tailed tests, discussion of power Ch 9  
10/10 Exam 1   Exam
10/12 Independent groups ANOVA Ch 12  
10/15 More on ANOVA    
10/17 More on ANOVA    
10/19 More on ANOVA    
10/22 More on ANOVA   Quiz 4
10/24 More on ANOVA    
10/26 Study Day    
10/29 More on ANOVA    
10/31 More on ANOVA    
11/2 Repeated measures ANOVA Ch 13 Quiz 5
11/5 More repeated measures ANOVA    
11/7 More repeated measures ANOVA    
11/9 More repeated measures ANOVA    
11/12 More repeated measures ANOVA   Quiz 6
11/14 More repeated measures ANOVA    
11/16 ANOVA Summary    
11/19 Exam 2   Exam
11/26 Two-factor ANOVA Ch 14  
11/28 More two-factor ANOVA    
11/30 More two-factor ANOVA    
12/3 More two-factor ANOVA   Quiz 7
12/5 More two-factor ANOVA    
12/7 What goes up and down (together)?: Correlation Ch 15  
12/10 More on correlation   Quiz 8
12/12 The line of best fit: Regression analysis Ch 16  
  Final Exam   Exam


ID 151-02 - Psychology in the Courtroom

The seminar will allow interested students to explore topics at the intersection of law and psychology. Controversial topics might include: credibility of eyewitness testimony, the nature of expert testimony, the false memory controversy, the insanity defense, and leading questions and the malleability of memory.

Here's the tentative schedule of topics for Spring '07.




Introduction, Processing of Visual Information


PERFINK and Attention


Eyewitness Testimony: Face Perception and Face Recognition


Expert Testimony


Human Memory/Memory and the Courtroom


Memory, Memory Malleability, and False Memories


Recovered Memories? False Memories?


Children as Witnesses: Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Development


Children as Witnesses


Jury Selection and Jury Decision-Making


Lying and Lie Detection


Clinical Psychology and the Courts (The three C's) Dr. M. Oswalt



READINGS FOR 2/1 (Eyewitness testimony)
Buckhout, R. Eyewitness testimony. [pdf]
Green, M. Errors in eyewitness identification. [link]

The Innocence Project

READINGS FOR 2/8 (Eyewitness testimony)
Bradfield, et al. The damaging effect of confirming feedback on the relation between eyewitness certainty and identification accuracy. [RA]
Kassin, S. M., Tubb, V. A., Hosch, H. M., & Memon, A. On the "general acceptance" of eyewitness testimony research. [CB]
Lindsay, R. C. L. Expectation of eyewitness performance: Juror's verdicts do not follow from their beliefs. [EB]
Lindsay, R. C. L. et al. Biased lineups: Sequential presentation reduces the problem. [RB]
Luus, C. A. E. & Wells, G. L. Eyewitness identification confidence. [ED]
Ross, et al. Unconscious transference and mistaken identitiy: When a witness misidentifies a familiar but innocent person. [EE]
Tollesrup, P. A. et al. Actual victims and witnesses to robbery and fraud: An archival analysis. [HL]
Vrij, A. Psychological factors in eyewitness testimony. [JO]
Wells, G. L., et al. The confidence of eyewitnesses in their identifications from lineups. [SS]
Wells, G. L. et al. Building face composites can harm lineup identification performance. [AT]

READINGS FOR 2/15 (Memory & False memories)
Wells, G. L. & Loftus, E. F. Eyewitness memory for people and events. [pdf] [RA,CB, EB]
Loftus, E. Creating False Memories. [link] [RB,ED,EE]
Loftus, E. Make-Believe Memories. [top link is to the article in pdf format] [HL,JO,SS]

Sites to visit for background on the False Memory controversy:
Jennifer Freyd’s web page:
Elizabeth Loftus's web page: or
False Memory Syndrome Foundation:
British False Memory Society:
Rick A. Ross Institute on False Memories (links):
False Memory Syndrome Facts:
Discrediting the False Memory Syndrome:

READINGS FOR 2/22 (Expert witnesses)
Loftus, E. Witness for the Defense, Ch1, Trials of a Psychologist [pdf] [Word] [Everyone reads]
Loftus, E. Witness for the Defense, Ch4, The All-American Boy: Ted Bundy [pdf] [Word] [RA,CB,EB,RB]
Loftus, E. Witness for the Defense, Ch5, A Knock on the Door: Timothy Hennis [pdf] [Word] [ED,EE,HL,JO,SS]

READINGS FOR 3/1 (Recovered memories)
Alison, L. et al. Considerations for experts in assessing the credibility of recovered memories of child sexual abuse [pdf] [RA]
Benatar, M. Running away from sexual abuse: Denial revisited [pdf]
Brenneis, C. B. Evaluating the evidence [pdf] [EB]
Clancy, S. A. et al. Memory distortion in people reporting abduction by aliens [pdf] [RB]
Davies, G. et al. Recovered memories in theory and practice [pdf] [ED]
Knapp, S. Recovered memories of childhood abuse [pdf] [EE]
McNally, R. J. et al. Personality profiles, dissociation, and absorption... [pdf] [HL]
Robbins, S. P. Wading through the muddy waters of recovered memory [pdf] [JO]
Roediger, R. The controversy over recovered memories [pdf] [SS]

READINGS FOR 3/22 (Children's perception and memory)
Matlin, M. Cognitive Development [pdf] [All]
Bruck, M., & Ceci, S. (2004). Forensic developmental psychology. [pdf] [All]

READINGS FOR 3/29 (Child witnesses)
Alexander, K. W. et al. (2005). Traumatic impact predicts long-term memory for documented sexual abuse. Psychological Science. [pdf] [RA]
Beuscher, E. et al. (2005). Does a warning help children to more accurately remember an event... [pdf] [CB]
Bull, R. (1998). Obtaining information from child witnesses. [pdf] [EB]
Goodman, G. (2005). Wailing babies... [pdf] [RB]
Koenig, M. A. et al. (2004). Trust in testimony. [pdf] [ED]
McCauley, M. R. & Fischer, R. P. (1995). Facilitating children's eyewitness recall with the revised cognitive interview. [pdf] [EE]
Nikonova (2005) - Juror's perceptions of child witnesses [pdf] [HL]
Poole, D. A. & White, L. T. (1993). Two years later: Effects of question repetition... [pdf] [JO]
Thierry, K. L. et al. (2002). Source-monitoring training facilitates pre-schooler's eyewitness memory performance. [pdf] [SS]

Warren - Believability of children [pdf]

Multiple Victims/Multiple Offenders:
Manning, The Wee Care Case [pdf]

READINGS FOR 4/5 (Juries)
Carlson & Russo (2001). Biased interpretation of evidence [pdf] [JO]
Conley (2000). Psychology of jury instructions [pdf] [CB]
Halverson et al. (1997). Jury instruction [pdf] [EB]
Horowitz & Bordens (2002). Effects of jury size, etc. [pdf] [RB]
Horowitz et al. (1996). Effects of trial complexity [pdf] [ED]
Hope et al. (2004). Understanding pretrial publicity [RA]
Kerr & MacCoun (1985). Effect of jury size, etc. [pdf] [EE]
London & Nunez (2000). Inadmissible evidence [pdf] [HL]
Sommers (2006). On racial diversity... [SS]

READINGS FOR 4/12 (Lying and Lie Detection)
Boaz et al. Using ERP for lie detection [pdf] [DM, MeMo]
Iacono & Lykken Surveys about validity of ploygraphs [pdf] [JC, EN]
Mann et al. Detecting true lies... [pdf] [VL, SJ]
Vrij et al. Let me tell you a convincing story... [pdf] [LM]

Other possible sites to explore: [a very negative site, but possibly worth perusing] [and, having just discussed expert witnesses, this site may be of interest] [another site that promotes lie detection through polygraphs, but note answers to some FAQs] [brief article about another approach -- fMRI -- to lie detection] [link]

READINGS FOR 4/19 (Clinical)
Clinical reading



Perception & Reality: Psychology and Artistic Expression


Hello and Welcome!
I’m delighted that you have chosen to join us in this seminar. I anticipate that we’ll work hard and have a lot of fun together. As an experimental psychologist with interests in perception, I’ve chosen a number of topics that intrigue me. I hope that you come to share my enthusiasm for the topics. Throughout the semester, you’ll find three major themes/threads woven through all the topics:

1. Our perception of the world is constructed—often differing substantially from “reality.” As a result, and for a variety of reasons, different people will see the world quite differently. And the same person may see the same world quite differently on different occasions.

2. People (in general) and psychologists (in particular) are interested in learning about “the other.” How do psychologists learn about “the other?” How do artists (novelists, film-makers, etc.) tell us about “the other?”

3. Two kinds of context influence how we see the world: 1) the immediate context surrounding an object of interest; and 2) our own experiences, which provide a context for interpreting what we perceive.

Given those themes, we’ll spend a lot of our time exploring shades of gray as we try to imagine how others might experience the world.

In addition to leading the seminar, I’m also your academic advisor. Thus, throughout the semester we’ll meet individually and collectively to talk about the educational process. I look forward to many discussions about your college experience and your academic aspirations.

Course Goals
Your experiences in this seminar will introduce you to disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g., psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, art history, history) on artistic expression in paintings, plays, novels, and movies. You’re going to learn about specific topics (see the list below), so this is a course about knowing. In pursuing the topics, you’ll learn about ways to identify problems, formulate productive questions, and go about answering those questions. Throughout the seminar, in both your written work and oral contributions to discussions, I will expect you to demonstrate that you can:

  1. distinguish among the evidence and methodologies appropriate to different disciplines (and come to formulate the types of questions asked by different disciplines)
  2. read critically, gather and interpret evidence, and come to conclusions based on evidence
  3. make connections among ideas
  4. consider and address complexities and ambiguities in the human experience, including the impact they have on your own life—your academic work, your educational goals, the choices you make, and the assumptions you hold dear

My Expectations

            First of all, let me be perfectly clear. I expect to work very hard in this course, and I expect you to do the same. I am prepared to facilitate your learning in any way that I can. I look forward to the discussions that will unfold during our conversations in class and I hope that those discussions continue outside of class (with me or among yourselves). I also take your presence and your contributions very seriously and value them as well. However, if you do not participate in the discussions (and you can’t if you aren’t present), then you aren’t meeting my expectations. You should come to each class fully prepared (i.e., completed assigned readings) and then contribute to the discussion.

Acknowledging and Respecting One Another

            I also expect that we will all be considerate of each another. You can expect me to respect you and what you have to say. At the same time, we all need to show respect for one another in both verbal and non-verbal behavior. Routinely coming late to seminar meetings or leaving during class is rude and disruptive. This behavior certainly distracts me, and I know that the behavior distracts other members of the class. (If medical complications require that you leave during class, then please be courteous and sit near the door.) If I have to call our collective attention to these behaviors, I will do so, but I hope that you will not behave in ways that require us to talk about this failure to acknowledge the presence and needs of others. I also understand that there are rare occasions when any one of us might be running late. When caught in such a bind, I would rather have you come to the seminar (even though you are late). However, we all know the difference between rare and habitual. I am commenting here on the habitual behaviors that are not welcomed in this course. Last but not least, turn off all cell phones for the duration of seminar meetings. Should your cell phone ring during class, do not even look at it…just let it ring. We’ll suspend class until it stops ringing. And then we’ll discuss ways to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Thanks for your consideration.

Assessing Your Performance

            Because I think that your contributions to seminar discussions are vital, we anticipate that 10% of your grade will be based on those contributions. I’ll provide feedback throughout the semester as to my view of your performance in that regard.
            Writing and thinking are closely intertwined. Expressing yourself (orally or in writing) is a terrific means of establishing what you know and how you think about a topic. I think that it’s also quite helpful to be critical of your own writing and the writing of others. Finally, I think that it’s important to learn to respond well to criticism and to revise one’s written work.
            With all that said, John and I decided that we’d like to determine the assessment procedure in conjunction with all of you. Thus, you’ll have input to the determination of the grading procedure. Once we’ve established the assessment scheme, I’ll post it on the web for your review.

Last but not least: The Skidmore Honor Code

            I expect that you will abide by Skidmore’s Honor Code as described in your Student Handbook or in the Academic Information Guide.




PERFINK: Perception, Feeling, and Thinking

• What do you know? How do you know what you know? What don’t you know?
• How do you know another? How do you know yourself?
• Anosognosia (Reading: Errol Morris pieces from NY Times)
• What might cognitive psychology have to say to help students?
• How is art perceived? What role does cognition play in our perception of art?
• The importance of visual perception (Reading: Dennett “Where am I?”)


Visual Perception and the Constructed Nature of Reality

• Do you believe what you see? How accurate are your perceptions?
• How the visual system functions (anatomy, physiology, psychology)
• What happens when visual perception goes awry? (Readings: Marmor, Ravin, etc. on artists with visual disorders)
• How do we perceive depth? Illusory depth: Representing a 3-D world on a 2-D surface
• How do we perceive motion? Illusory motion: Television and motion pictures


Do Memories Shape Your World?

• How do we construct reality from perception and memory?
• The psychology and neuroscience of memory: How accurate are your memories?
• Who are you without memory?: Alzheimer’s Disease
• A visual artist’s descent into Alzheimer’s Disease: William Utermohlen
• One novel: Block’s The Story of Forgetting
• Two movies: Memento and Iris


Unconscious desires: Do you really want to have sex with a parent?

• What role does the unconscious play in your experience of the world?
• Two plays: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare’s Hamlet
• Sigmund Freud’s influence on the world (including the Oedipal/Electra Complex)
• It all comes together in a novel: Rubenfeld’s The Interpretation of Murder


Imagining the World of an Autistic Person

• What roles might scientists and artists play in helping us to understand the world—and especially the worlds of others?
• The psychology of autism: What do we know?
• One novel: Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
• One movie: Rain Man


Summary Discussions: Who Am I?

• What does it mean to gain a liberal arts education?
• How important is it to “live” in other people’s worlds?
• What role does an artist play in allowing us to see the world differently?

Errol Morris Anosognosic's Dilemma
Errol Morris Bamboozling piece

Dennett Where Am I?


Required texts to purchase (other readings will be provided):
Stefan Merrill Block The Story of Forgetting
Mark Haddon The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Jed Rubenfeld The Interpretation of Murder
William Shakespeare Hamlet


Readings for Foley Lab research in Fall 2011:

Boundary Extension articles
Link to Scholarpedia article [good general intro]
Intraub and Richardson (1989) [pretty much where it started]
Intraub, Bender, and Mangels (1992)
Intraub and Bodamer (1993)
Intraub and Berkowits (1996)
Intraub (1997)
Intraub (2010) [good summaries, etc., up to p. 242]

Closure articles
Foley, Foley, Durso, and Smith (1997) [pretty much where it started]
Foley, Foley, and Korenman (2002)
Foley, Foley, Scheye, and Bonacci (2007)

[Hugh's Home Page | Psych Dept Home Page]