Set #8 (Lectures 20 & 21)
Set #9 (Lectures 22 & 23) will be sent out by email, as will Set #10 (Lecture 24).
Good luck on your finals!!
Lecture 20 March 30 , 2010
For midterms, you have best 2/3. Exam is 50%. Participant pool can give you an extra
2%. The subject pool will be closing the last day of classes, the 14 of April (the last day
to get your credits). Therefore it is possible to get 102%.
If you miss one midterm, the score is computed out of the remaining two. If you miss two
midterms, your final is worth 75%. If you miss 3, you get 0 for your midterms. You final
will never be worth 100%.
Here is your final exam cover sheet. I gave you an option to downgrade your definitions.
On your cover sheet, you will have to select your grading option. Option 1: grading
scheme that has been used so far: MC 60%, definitions 40%. If people do well on
definitions they can choose this. Option 2: MC 80%, definitions 20%. This only applies
for the final exam. Make sure that you know this because the final will be held in a big
room, and I will be there, so make sure you know what this means. I actually couldnt
change the final, only the cover sheet, but if you select option two we will halve what the
definitions are worth. I hope that that will put us in a better mood.
Now we go into our last four classes. Our readings are journals. The reason why these
journal articles are posted on WebCT is because they are distributed in academic license.
Universities pay subscription to companies that publish scientific journals, so we can use
them free of charge. This is unlike the Levitin reading that is a copyright book by a single
author and that is why you had to photocopy it. These journals are available to people at the
There is a big movement in the US to make all scientific research available to the public
because most of the research is funded by taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers want to see where their dollars are going to and be able to read articles even if they do not go to a university.
Some of the journals being founded are open access, and are actually pretty good. PLOS
Biology (Public Library of Science Biology) is an open access journal that is available to
everyone. If you google it, you can get access from anywhere.
The issue with the general public reading scientific findings is complicated by the fact that
scientific journals are not always easy to read. This is why we have this exercise. You will
now get a glimpse of what it takes to figure out what is in the field. All the articles that we
read are review articles: a person reviews a whole bunch of studies in an area on a specific
topic. These review articles are removed from the primary sources which are the individual
studies that people have published.
In this course you had the opportunity to read a textbook, with lots of primary source articles,
a single author book, which is a popular book, This is Your Brain on Music, an easy read,
and now you have a chance to read review articles from the field that are considered to be
quite an easy read (you might disagree with this).
The first article is by Ralph Adolphs who is in Caltech in Pasadina. Social Cognition and the
Human Brain review article published in TiCS (trends in cognitive sciences), a journal that
mostly publishes review articles. People who publish in TiCS, the psychology of magic
article is from the same journal, are usually well established within the field and have a
productive career behind them. They typically review their own studies and those they have
conducted with their collaborators.
The other one is from American Psychologists, which is almost considered a newspaper in
terms of easiness to read. That is from John Cacioppo who is at University of Chicago, one
of the first people who started social research in neuroscience.
Q: How many of you have read these articles, and how do you find it in comparison to reading your textbook?
A: A comment here is that there is so much information that it is difficult to pick out what is
important. Here we have an opposite argument: some people thought it was easier to pick
out. A comment here was that it was difficult to pick out because there is a lack of factual
I know that this is hard to accept, but we actually dont have definitive answers in this
science and field. Most of it is an interpretation of primary findings. All the authors can do is
tell you the facts, what is known so far, and they can attempt to make some conclusions, but
a lot of readers make their own conclusions and form the basis of other studies and
arguments. What the authors of the textbook did is read many of these (one of these would
be a paragraph in the book), which would be summarized in the book, and draw conclusions
from what they know.
How do we read these? They are difficult to read. You may need to read them more than
once and pick out certain themes. You need to know what the sub-headings are telling you
and see what the author is actually trying to say. I know this is difficult because oftentimes
you have to pick things out yourself. If you have trouble understanding the articles, go see
your TAs. This is why it is important that you read them ahead of time. If you start reading
on April 14 , it will not go well.
Today, we are going to deal with social cognition, which is an area that my research is
partially related to, social cognition and attention. We will get there next time. Today is an
introduction to social cognition.
If you look at the first sentence, Ralph Adolphs gives us a definition of social cognition: He
says that social cognition is a field of study that investigates processes that subserve
behaviour in response to conspecifics. Conspecifics are members of the same species as you,