The primary research interests of the faculty are: language comprehension, the interaction between technology and learning, advanced literary skills, instructional psychology, individual differences in language comprehension (e.g., what makes a good reader different from a poor reader), and non-text discourse processing (e.g., film and aesthetics).
Course work and research opportunities focus on three primary areas: (1) human learning and memory, (2) reading and discourse processes, and (3) instructional psychology. Study plans are individually designed to facilitate the fit between student interests and faculty expertise. In addition to course work and research within cognitive psychology, programs may pursue joint study in neuroscience and behavior, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, social-organizational psychology, and school psychology, as well as other cognitive/instructional-developmental fields within the university such as mathematics, education, and computer science. Students are expected to participate and develop research programs throughout their graduate careers. There is also an emphasis on developing cognitive modeling computer programming and skills.
Cognitive Psychology I: Theories, issues, and research in fundamental areas of human cognition. Topics include human learning and memory, attention, concepts and categories, and knowledge representation.
Cognitive Psychology II: Contemporary research and theories on higher-order processes in human cognition. Topics include discourse processing, problem solving, reasoning, and decision making.
Psychology of Language: Examination of the cognitive, motor, and physiological processes invlovle in production and comprehension of spoken and written language from a psychological perspective.
Instructional Psychology: Models and theories of instructional psychology as related to contemporary research in cognition.
Seminars are also offered that discuss various specialized topics. These enable the student to interact with the faculty member and other students in a small, intimate fashion.
Students are also expected to participate in weekly research meetings that offer the student the opportunity to present research ideas and findings.
Development of language acquisition: Critical evaluation of recent research and theory in developmental psychology on the processes underlying normal language acquisition and development. Background in developmental psychology is assumed, and background in language development is desirable.
Development of perception and learning: The development of perception and children's learning with emphasis on the basic processes and changes which occur during childhood. Topics include visual attention in infancy, form and pattern perception, the development of visually guided behavior, perceptual integration, information processing approaches to perceptual development, infant learning, higher-order learning and motivation.
Development of cognition and memory: The development of cognitive skills and memory with emphasis on the basic processes and changes which occur during childhood. The topics to be covered include overview of cognitive theorists, conceptualizations of cognitive growth patterns, concept development, problem solving, cognitive styles, developmental aspects of the obtaining and storing stimulus information, selective attention, and metamemory.