This course meets at the intersection of social psychology and intercultural communication, addressing the urgent need to understand audiences/consumers across cultures, and the intergroup processes that affect persuasion and democracy.

People’s predominant values and motivations influence their perception (i.e., how they interpret information). Those values often vary by contexts, geographical location, social status, situation, biological predispositions, and by demographic background and by past learning experiences. Thus, cultural values are sometimes open to change.

In this course, we will examine the multifaceted relationship between culture and cognition.

How do our cultural and environmental contexts shape our perceptions, knowledge, and
behaviors? How do specific aspects of a culture change the ways in which people acquire, store, and process information? What is the relationship between our culture experiences and our social identities? To what extent are our beliefs and knowledge structures culturally relative or universal? You will explore these questions and more using the tools of cognitive science.

Topics will include conceptual development, knowledge organization, causal reasoning, cultural transmission, morality, trust, and cooperation.
A recent replication crisis in the sciences has led to large-scale questioning centered on scientific integrity. Scientific integrity refers to 1) honesty while conducting and interpreting research, and 2) to developing conclusions that are unbiased and valid. Contemporary practices in research design and statistical analysis (e.g. p-hacking), lack of transparency, and political bias are all threats to scientific integrity. This course introduces and engages students conducting directed research with a faculty member in the Cognitive Science Department in best practices and ethical concerns in scientific research through evaluating primary research and commentaries within cognitive science and statistics, as well as by evaluating and critiquing the literature in their area of research focus. Students are expected to commit to a minimum of 8 hours of course-work each week including a course meeting, assigned group work, readings, and independent research. Prerequisite: Cognitive Science 101, Cognitive Science 201, and permission of instructor.