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Indiana University Bloomington

Cognitive Psychology

The Cognitive Psychology program at IUB is designed to develop a systematic understanding of cognitive processes (perception, human learning, attention, categorization, problem solving, decision -making, information processing and retrieval, short and long-term memory and forgetting, sensory encoding, motor control, psycholinguistics, and reading) with major emphasis on the development and testing of theories in this area. As part of the training program, students are expected to participate in extensive research programs.

The cognitive psychology program overlaps with other areas of specialization both within and outside the department. Where it is appropriate to the student's individual program, course work in other areas such as cognitive science, mathematical psychology, linguistics, computer science, mathematics, etc. is encouraged.

At the present time, the department has active research programs in the following areas:

  • Information processing in decision making
  • Categorization and conceptual representation
  • Language acquisition and sentence processing
  • Speech perception
  • Reading
  • Analysis of choice behavior
  • Visual perception
  • Stages of sensory information processing
  • The focus of attention
  • Forgetting in short and long-term memory
  • The nature of retrieval from memory
  • The mechanisms of visual and auditory imagery
  • The control of the memorial system
  • Shared cognitive processing.

Research in these areas is being carried out in laboratories equipped with computers, in association with a variety of specialized stimulus presentation and data acquisition devices (e.g., video display devices, tachistoscopes, speech synthesizers and recognizers, etc.).

Mathematical Psychology

The primary aim of this area of specialization is to encourage and develop the use of mathematical theory in psychology, cognition, and cognitive science. All of the mathematical modeling laboratories utilize computers to carry out construction and simulation of models, and as process-control and data acquisition devices. These computers operate in several independent laboratories which include a full range of equipment for conducting research: closed-circuit television, high resolution display units, analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, and speech synthesizers. Additional hardware and software is available to provide very general and flexible experimental procedures. Students in the mathematical psychology program are trained in the use of computers and are encouraged to use them in their research.

Research Interest
Human learning and memory, decision processes, choice, measurement theory, perception, cognitive processes, neural models, computer simulation, and statistical techniques are problems under current study by faculty and students in mathematical psychology.

Students who elect mathematical psychology as a primary field of research and study are expected to have a research interest in at least one of the other major content areas of psychology offered by the department. Students are also encouraged to undertake ancillary study in mathematics, statistics, computer science, or cognitive science.

Curriculum
The curriculum in mathematical psychology deals with progressively deeper and more advanced application of mathematical thinking in psychology. Students must fulfill 18 credit hours in the modeling area, including the required Q550 (Models in Cognitive Science). Mathematically oriented courses and seminars in specialized topics such as learning, memory, attention, information processing, speech perception, psycholinguistics, perception, decision making, choice, categorization, scaling, and test theory are offered on a regular basis, as are advanced courses and seminars in computer applications, multivariate analysis, and advanced statistical theory.

Financial Support ~ Training Grant in Mathematical Modeling
The department has received funding for the training of pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral visitors in the mathematical modeling of cognition. The program offers twelve-month training fellowships for up to three years. Typically predoctoral fellowships last for one year and postdoctoral fellowships occupy two years. Please indicate in the application for admission if you would like to be considered for such a fellowship.

Area Spokesperson: Jason Gold