Courses 2023-24

Please consult the Schedule of Classes for the current quarter's schedule. Class offerings are subject to change.

PSYC 30401. Psycholinguistics: Language Processing. (LING 30401). This is an advanced introduction to the field of psycholinguistics. We will do an in-depth overview of both the empirical findings and the methodologies used on various topics in language comprehension/production, including areas of speech perception, lexical processing, syntactic parsing, and semantic/pragmatic processing. Models at both the computational and the mechanistic levels will also be examined. M. Do, Autumn.

PSYC 30510. Computing for the Social Sciences. (MACS 30500). This is an applied course for social scientists with little-to-no programming experience who wish to harness growing digital and computational resources. The focus of the course is on learning the basics of programming and on generating reproducible research. Topics include coding concepts (e.g., data structures, control structures, functions, etc.), data visualization, data wrangling and cleaning, version control software, exploratory data analysis, etc. Students will leave the course with basic computational skills implemented through many methods and approaches to social science; while students will not become expert programmers, they will gain the knowledge of how to adapt and expand these skills as they are presented with new questions, methods, and data. The course will be taught in R. J. Clipperton, Autumn, Winter, Spring.  Note: MACS students have priority.

PSYC 30550. From Data to Manuscript in R. (CHDV 30550). This course tackles the basic skills needed to build an integrated research report with the R programming language. We will cover every step from data to manuscript including: Using R's libraries to clean up and re-format messy datasets, preparing data sets for analysis, running statistical tools, generating clear and attractive figures and tables, and knitting those bits of code together with your manuscript writing. The result will be a reproducible, open-science friendly report that you can easily update after finishing data collection or receiving comments from readers. Never copy-paste your way through a table again! The R universe is large, so this course will focus specifically on: The core R libraries, the tidyverse library, and R Markdown. Students will also learn about the use of GitHub for version control. N. Dowling, Winter. 
Prerequisite(s): This is a project-based course. Students must already be in possession of a (partial or whole) dataset for which they would like to create a preliminary research report (e.g., for thesis submission, publication, or similar). No prior programing experience necessary.

PSYC 31150. Psychology of Race and Racism. This upper-level seminar will focus on the psychology of race and racism. We will discuss both structural and individual level factors that create and maintain racism in the U.S. context. While this course will focus on social psychology, we will also draw from other areas of psychology. We will discuss social structures and institutions that perpetuate racism, policies that shape societal attitudes and behaviors, and psychological frameworks for understanding racism. We will begin the course with a discussion of the origins of race and racism. We will then transition to contemporary expressions of racism. The goals of this course are to analyze structural contexts influencing racist attitudes and behaviors, evaluate the impact of racism on racially minoritized groups, and to examine strategies and interventions to address racism. K. Henderson, Spring.

PSYC 31850. Infants' Understanding of Social Relationships and Social Groups. In this advanced seminar we will dig deeply into the current literature on infant social cognition. Past generations of infancy research have shown the richness in infants' understanding of the physical world and the actions of individual agents. In recent years, new findings have burgeoned that suggest remarkable richness in infants' understanding of social processes that organize individuals into relationships and groups. These findings raise pressing questions - What is the infant's conception of a social relationship? Do infants understand social obligations? if infants detect markers of social groups, how do they understand the structure and function of these groups? How are infants' conceptions in these areas similar to and different from mature ideas? We will read recent findings in the scientific literature, with discussion and written assignments focused on critical and creative analysis of this work. A. Woodward, Spring.

PSYC 32220. Understanding Inequality as a Psychologist. Inequality within and across social groups has risen sharply in the past few decades. What are the early traces and psychological mechanisms of this pervasive phenomenon? In this seminar, we will discuss these questions from multiple angles, integrating developmental, social and cognitive psychology. Specifically, this course will cover topics in early social cognition, including social categorization, essentialism, structural reasoning, normative reasoning, stereotypes and prejudice, etc. Students will evaluate past studies throughout the course and propose original research at the end. L. Bian, Autumn.

PSYC 32950. Emergence and Development of Mathematics and Language. We will discuss the emergence and development of mathematics and language in humans. Among the topics we will discuss are the universality and variation of the development of these systems as well as their resilience in the face of biological and input variations. S. Goldin-Meadow, S. Levine, Autumn.

PSYC 33000. Cultural Psychology. (CHDV 31000). There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space. At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism, which states that the study of "normal" psychology is the study of multiple psychologies and not just the study of a single or uniform fundamental psychology for all peoples of the world. Research findings in cultural psychology thus raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups. In this course we analyze the concept of "culture" and examine ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization, and reasoning. R. Shweder, Autumn.

PSYC 33720. Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Language Development. (CHDV 33700). This discussion-based course covers cross-linguistic evidence concerning similarities and dissimilarities in how children learn language across diverse language communities. Each year will revolve around a central topic. This year we will focus on the acquisition of phonology. M. Casillas, Autumn.

PSYC 33165. Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Morality. Morality is essential for societal functioning and central to human flourishing. People across all cultures seem to have the same sense about morality. They simply know what morality is, often without being able to concretely define what exactly it means to label something as a moral kind. But when one tries to more precisely and scientifically define what morality is, things become less clear and more complex. As we'll see in the class, the field of morality is incredibly dynamic and characterized more by competing theories and perspectives than by scientific consensus. The past decades have seen an explosion of theoretical and empirical research in the study of morality. Amongst the most exciting and novel findings and theories, evolutionary biologists and anthropologists have shown that morality has evolved to facilitate cooperation and social interactions. Developmental psychologists came up with ingenious paradigms, demonstrating that some elements underpinning morality are in place much earlier than we thought in preverbal infants. Social psychologists and behavioral economists examine the relative roles of emotion and reasoning, as well as how social situations affect moral or amoral behavior. Social neuroscientists are mapping neural and hormonal mechanisms implicated in moral decision-making. The lesson from all this new knowledge is clear: moral cognition and behavior cannot be separated from biology, human development, culture, and social context. J. Decety, Spring.

PSYC 33830. Attention and Working Memory in the Mind and Brain. This course will provide a broad overview of current work in psychology and neuroscience related to attention and working memory. We will discuss evidence for sharp capacity limits in an individual's ability to actively monitor and maintain information in an "online" mental state. Readings will be primarily based on original source articles from peer-reviewed journals, with a focus on behavioral and neural approaches for measuring and understanding these basic cognitive processes. E. Vogel, E. Awh, Winter.

PSYC 33910. Hormones, Brain, and Behavior. This is an advanced course in behavioral neuroscience, with the goal of understanding the complex interactions among the brain, the endocrine system, and behavior (Behavioral Endocrinology). Reproductive hormones, stress hormones and hormone-brain interactions over development will be emphasized. The class will cover multiple levels of analysis/explanation from molecular, to organismal, to evolutionary, and the material will be primary research articles drawn from studies in a broad range of organisms, including humans. The course format will consist of weekly lectures and student-led discussions. Prior coursework in neuroscience (at or beyond the level of PSYC 20300) and a strong background in biology are prerequisites. B. Prendergast, Spring.

PSYC 34060. Understanding Practical Wisdom. Thinking about the nature of wisdom goes back to the Greek philosophers and the classical religious sages, but the concept of wisdom has changed in many ways over the history of thought. While wisdom has received less scholarly attention in modern times, it has recently re-emerged in popular discourse with a growing recognition of its potential importance for addressing complex issues in many domains. But what is wisdom? It's often used with a meaning more akin to "smart" or "clever." Is it just vast knowledge? This course will examine the nature of wisdom-how it has been defined in philosophy and psychological science, how its meaning has changed, and what its essential components might be. We will discuss how current philosophical and psychological theories conceptualize wisdom and consider whether, and how, wisdom can be studied scientifically; that is, can wisdom be measured and experimentally manipulated to illuminate its underlying mechanisms and understand its functions? Finally, we will explore how concepts of wisdom can be applied in business, education, medicine, the law, and in the course of our everyday lives. Readings will be drawn from a wide array of disciplines including philosophy, classics, history, psychology, behavioral economics, medicine, and public policy. The course will include lectures by philosophers and psychologists. This course is offered in association with the Chicago Moral Philosophy Project and the Good Life program (the Hyde Park Institute). A. Henly, H. Nusbaum, Spring.

PSYC 36210. Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences I. (CPNS 31000). This course builds on the introduction to modeling course biology students take in the first year (BIOS 20151 or 152). It begins with a review of one-variable ordinary differential equations as models for biological processes changing with time, and proceeds to develop basic dynamical systems theory. Analytic skills include stability analysis, phase portraits, limit cycles, and bifurcations. Linear algebra concepts are introduced and developed, and Fourier methods are applied to data analysis. The methods are applied to diverse areas of biology, such as ecology, neuroscience, regulatory networks, and molecular structure.The students learn to implement the models using Python in the Jupyter notebook platform. D. Kondrashov, Autumn.

PSYC 36211. Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences II. (CPNS 31100). This course is a continuation of BIOS 26210. The topics start with optimization problems, such as nonlinear least squares fitting, principal component analysis and sequence alignment. Stochastic models are introduced, such as Markov chains, birth-death processes, and diffusion processes, with applications including hidden Markov models, tumor population modeling, and networks of chemical reactions. In computer labs, students learn optimization methods and stochastic algorithms, e.g., Markov Chain, Monte Carlo, and Gillespie algorithm. Students complete an independent project on a topic of their interest. D. Kondrashov, Winter.

PSYC 36455. Relationships and Health: The Need to Belong. (MAPS 36455). This seminar will explore the theory that the need to belong is a fundamental human motivation. In our discussions of relevant psychology journal articles, we will examine the connections between relationships and health, how the need to belong is related to empathy, reactions to rejection, and substitutes for belonging. H. Hamilton, Autumn, Spring.

PSYC 36520. Mind, Brain and Meaning. (LING 36520).  What is the relationship between physical processes in the brain and body and the processes of thought and consciousness that constitute our mental life? Philosophers and others have puzzled over this question for millennia. Many have concluded it to be intractable. In recent decades, the field of cognitive science--encompassing philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, linguistics, and other disciplines--has proposed a new form of answer. The driving idea is that the interaction of the mental and the physical may be understood via a third level of analysis: that of the computational. This course offers a critical introduction to the elements of this approach, and surveys some of the alternative models and theories that fall within it. Readings are drawn from a range of historical and contemporary sources in philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and computer science. Bridges; L. Kay; C. Kennedy, Autumn.

PSYC 36750. Socio-ecological Psychology. This is an advanced seminar in social psychology and explores the ways in which socio-ecological factors such as residential mobility, income inequality, and geography affect individuals' thoughts, feelings, and actions, and the way in which individuals' thoughts, feelings, and actions help create particular socio-ecological conditions. S. Oishi, Autumn.

PSYC 37300. Experimental Design and Statistical Modeling I. This course covers topics in research design and analysis. Students will learn the intuitions behind basic statistical models, and learn how to apply them to programming analyses for real psychological data. We will also touch on methods becoming increasingly important in the field, such as machine learning, permutation testing, and data simulation. The class will also discuss the broader landscape of psychology research, including the shift to online experiments, open science, and the replication crisis. This a required course for Psychology PhD students; all other students by instructor consent only. W. Bainbridge, Winter.

PSYC 37900. Experimental Design and Statistical Modeling II. In this course you will learn concepts of Bayesian Data Analysis that builds off of Experimental Design and Statistical Modeling I. The course will require knowledge of the R statistical programming language. The relationship between frequentist approaches and Bayesian approaches will be discussed. The course will cover topics such as causal modeling, generalized linear models, markov chain monte carlo, multilevel models (i.e., varying/random intercepts and slopes), and multivariate analysis. The course will be taught from a regression framework. The course will examine both experimental and observational designs and how one can potentially glean causal inferences from observational data. This a required course for Psychology PhD students; all other students by instructor consent only. M. Berman, Spring.

PSYC 37400. Long Term Memory. This course surveys the scientific study of human memory, emphasizing both theory and applications. Lectures will cover current research and methods in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, as well as historical precursors and classic studies. Topics include consciousness and nonconscious processes, corresponding neural systems, and various phenomena such as amnesia, memory distortion, mnemonics, and metacognition. D. Gallo, Spring.

PSYC 37950. Evolution and Economics of Human Behavior. (CHDV 37950). This course explores how evolutionary biology and behavioral economics explain many different aspects of human behavior. Specific topics include evolutionary theory, natural and sexual selection, game theory, cost-benefit analyses of behavior from an evolutionary and a behavioral economics perspective, aggression, power and dominance, cooperation and competition, biological markets, parental investment, life history and risk-taking, love and mating, physical attractiveness and the market, emotion and motivation, sex and consumer behavior, cognitive biases in decision-making, and personality and psychopathology. D. Maestripieri, Autumn.

PSYC 40107. Behavioral Neuroscience. (NURB 30107). This course provides an introduction to neuroethology, examining brain activity relative to behaviors and organisms evaluated from an adaptive and evolutionary perspective. It starts with a brief introduction to classical ethology, and then develops a series of example animal model systems. Both invertebrate and vertebrate models are considered although there is a bias towards the latter. Many of these are "champion" species. There is a heavier demand for reading original data papers than typical in introductory graduate level courses. An integral part of the course is a series of assignments where you develop grant proposals describing novel science experiments in the animal models, thereby challenging your knowledge of the material and teaching aspects of scientific writing. In recent years there has been more computational material presented. The course is not available to undergraduates without prior approval of the instructor. D. Margoliash, Spring.

PSYC 40301. Topics in Psychology. Current research in psychology. Y.C. Leong, M. Rosenberg, Autumn, Winter, Spring.

PSYC 40450-40451-40452. Topics in Cognition I-II-III. Broadly speaking, this workshop will address fundamental topics in cognitive psychology such as attention, memory, learning, problem solving, and language. One unique aspect of this workshop is that we will not only explore topics central to the study of cognition, but we will also explore how the study of cognitive psychology can be used to enhance human potential and performance in a variety of contexts. These contexts range from an exploration of optimal teaching practices to enhance the acquisition of mathematical knowledge in the classroom, to issues regarding how individuals communicate best to foster the optimal exchange of information in, for instance, medical settings, to the optimal strategies older adults can use to help stave off the deleterious effects of aging on cognitive functioning and the performance of everyday activities. YC Leong, Autumn, Winter, Spring.

PSYC 40460. Computation and the Identification of Cultural Patterns. (MACS 40400). Culture is increasingly becoming digital, making it more and more necessary for those in both academia and industry to use computational strategies to effectively identify, understand, and (in the case of industry) capitalize on emerging cultural patterns. In this course, students will explore interdisciplinary approaches for defining and mobilizing the concept of "culture" in their computational analyses, drawing on relevant literature from the fields of Anthropology, Psychology and Sociology. Additionally, they will receive hands-on experience applying computational approaches to identify and analyze a wide range of cultural patterns using the Python programming language. For instance, students will learn to identify emerging social movements using social media data, predict the next fashion trends, and even decipher ancient symbols using archaeological databases. J. Clindaniel, Autumn, Winter. Prerequisite(s): No previous coding experience required. A Python boot camp will be held at the beginning of the quarter to teach the coding skills necessary to succeed in the course.

PSYC 40710. Early Childhood: Human Capital Development and Public Policy. (PPHA 40700). The goal of this course is to introduce students to the literature on early child development and explore how an understanding of core developmental concepts can inform social policies. Our substantive foci will be on early childhood poverty, the role of parenting and the home environment in shaping children's development, and the evidence base for intervention in early childhood for economically disadvantaged children. The course will cover evidence from neuroscience, psychology, economics, sociology, and public policy as it bears on these questions. In particular, we will explore how the principles of early childhood development can guide the design of policies and practices that enhance the healthy development of young children, particularly for those living in adverse circumstances, and thereby build a strong foundation for promoting equality of opportunity, reducing social class disparities in life outcomes, building human capital, fostering economic prosperity, and generating positive social change. In doing so, we will discuss the evidence on whether the contexts of children's development are amenable to public policy intervention and the costs and benefits of different policy approaches. A. Kalil, Autumn.

PSYC 40851-40852-40853. Topics in Developmental Psychology I-II-III. Brown-bag discussion of current research in psychology. S. Levine, Autumn; A. Shaw, Winter; K. Kinzler, Spring.

PSYC 41135. Electrophysiological Tracking of Dynamic Visual Representations. In this class we will examine the limits of an observer's ability to track items in dynamic visual displays, such as in a multiple object tracking paradigm. We will focus on behavioral and electrophysiological analyses of these tasks, with an eye towards characterizing the cognitive capacity limits and the neural signatures that track those limits. E. Awh, Autumn. 

PSYC 41920. The Evolution of Language. (LING 41920). This course is designed to review critically some of the literature on the phylogenetic emergence of Language, in order to determine which questions have been central to the subject matter, which ones have recurred the most, and to what extent the answers to these are now better informed. The class will also review new questions such as the following: What is the probable time of the emergence of modern language(s)? Should we speak of the emergence of Language or of languages, in the plural? S. Mufwene, Winter. 

PSYC 42100. Trial Research Seminar. PSYC 42100 is required of first-year Psychology graduate students. The purpose of this seminar is to assist students in formulating their trial research project. G. Norman, Spring.

PSYC 42350. Advanced Topics in Human Neuroimaging. This course will discuss advanced topics in human neuroimaging, reviewing recent papers using state-of-the-art methods, including multi-voxel pattern analysis, Big Data, connectivity analyses, and inter-subject correlations. We will discuss how these new methods fit into the current landscape of human neuroscience and support new theoretical ideas, and also conduct tutorials so students can use these methods in their own analyses. The course will be geared towards PhD students, but open to MAPSS students who receive instructor permission to enroll.  W. Bainbridge, M. Rosenberg, Autumn.

PSYC 42550. Topics in Cognitive Development. In the first years of life, children's cognition undergoes dramatic qualitative and quantitative change. For nearly a century, experimental psychologists have sought to understand the nature and causes of these developmental changes. This course surveys classic and current approaches to the study of cognitive development in infants and children. S. Levine, A. Shaw, Winter.

PSYC 43200. Seminar in Language Development. Undergraduates should register for PSYC 23200. Psychology and Linguistics doctoral students should register for PSYC 43200. This course addresses the major issues involved in first-language acquisition. We deal with the child's production and perception of speech sounds (phonology), the acquisition of the lexicon (semantics), the comprehension and production of structured word combinations (syntax), and the ability to use language to communicate (pragmatics). S. Goldin-Meadow, Winter.

PSYC 43780. Basics of conducting EEG and ERP research.  EEG recordings are a popular and long-standing approach to gather information about human brain activity that are used to address questions in many areas of Psychology. In this seminar, we will cover many of the basics of conducting human EEG research, including basic principles of recordings (e.g., detection and removal of artifacts, baseline correction, filtering and averaging) along with basic analytical approaches to measuring EEG (e.g., calculating and measuring ERPs; time-frequency analyses, etc). We will also cover research that has utilized EEG signals from multiple research domains, with the aim of giving the student exposure to a wide swath of well characterized neural tools from the existing literature. Throughout the course, we will emphasize how best to design experiments that can yield robust and interpretable data and avoid the common pitfalls in using this powerful approach. E. Vogel, Spring.

PSYC 43921. Current Topics in Working Memory. 100 Units. This seminar will cover a broad range of topics in the literature on working memory. E. Awh, Winter. Prerequisite(s): We strongly advise students without a prior background in these areas to consider auditing our undergraduate course "Attention and working memory in the mind and brain."

PSYC 44600. Topics in Social Psychology. Discussion of current topics in Social Psychology. S. Oishi, Autumn; L. Emery, Winter; S. Oishi, Spring.

PSYC 45300. When Cultures Collide: The Multicultural Challenge in Liberal Democracies. (CHDV 45699). Coming to terms with diversity in an increasingly multicultural world has become one of the most pressing public policy projects for liberal democracies in the early 21st century. One way to come to terms with diversity is to try to understand the scope and limits of toleration for variety at different national sites where immigration from foreign lands has complicated the cultural landscape. This seminar examines a series of legal and moral questions about the proper response to norm conflict between mainstream populations and cultural minority groups (including old and new immigrants), with special reference to court cases that have arisen in the recent history of the United States. R. Shweder, Winter. 

PSYC 45500. Cognitive and Social Neuroscience of Aging. As the baby boom generation ages, the rising prevalence of aging-related cognitive decline has become a major challenge for individuals, families and society. However, not all cognitive systems are negatively impacted by aging, and aging also causes complex social and emotional changes. How does aging affect our brains and our minds, and are these changes inevitable? This seminar provides an introduction to the scientific literature of the aging mind, focusing on both normal and pathological (e.g., Alzheimer's disease) changes in late adulthood. We will cover contemporary research from cognitive and social neuroscience perspectives. Topics include different psychological domains (e.g., attention, memory, metacognition, affective control) and applied issues (e.g., physical exercise, mental training, stereotype threat). D. Gallo, Winter.

PSYC 46050. Principles of Data Science and Engineering for Laboratory Research. The quantity of data gathered from laboratory experiments is constantly increasing. This course will explore the latest concepts, techniques and best-practice to create efficient data analysis pipelines. We will focus on the python ecosystem. By the end of the course, you are expected to be able to apply appropriate tools to streamline your own data analysis. J. Yu, Winter. 

PSYC 47001-47002. Language in Culture I-II. This two-quarter course presents the major issues in linguistics of anthropological interest. These courses must be taken in sequence.

PSYC 47001. Language In Culture I. (ANTH 37201). The first quarter of the two-quarter Language in Culture sequence introduces a number of analytic concepts developed out of the study of "language" and its limits. We begin with the study of "interaction order" in its multifunctional complexity, teasing out its constitution through the real-time unfolding of indexical (pragmatic) and reflexive (metapragmatic) signs/functions as coherent "text." We use this attention to the dialectics of indexicality and its various implications to investigate various problematics in the philosophy of language (reference, performativity), linguistics (poetics, grammatical sense, variation, register), and sociocultural anthropology (racialization, relativity, subjectivity/identity, temporality, institutionality). C. Nakassis, Autumn.

PSYC 47002. Language in Culture II. (ANTH 37202). This is the second part of a two-quarter sequence on the role of language in social life. Building on the first quarter's focus on the interaction order, this quarter explores how ideologies regiment and reflexively mediate between discursive/expressive practices of the interaction order and the wider organization of social life. How are people's ideas about ways of speaking and modes of expression shaped by their social positions and values? And how do their ideas shape interaction and vice versa? How is difference, in language and in social life, made - and unmade? How and why are some differences persuasive as the basis for action, while other differences are ignored or erased? The course proposes that ideologies are neither true nor false, they are positioned and partial visions of the world, relying on comparison and perspective; they exploit differences in expressive features - linguistic and otherwise - to construct convincing images of people, spaces and activities in sociopolitical processes. S. Gal, Winter.

PSYC 48000. Proseminar in Psychology. Required of first-year Department of Psychology graduate students. Department of Psychology faculty members present and discuss their research. This introduces new students to the range of research areas in the department. L. Bian, Autumn.

PSYC 48001-48002-48003. Mind and Biology Proseminar I-II-III. Seminar series at the Institute for Mind and Biology meets three to four times per quarter. Sign up for three quarters; receive credit at the end of Spring Quarter. S. Shevell, Autumn, Winter, Spring.