The Science of Everyday Thinking

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Science of Everyday Thinking

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Psychology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Recommended Prerequisite

    PSYC1020 or PSYC1030

  • Course Level Recommendations

    Lower

    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

    2
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course explores the nature of everyday thinking. Why people believe weird things, how to deal with opinion change, and why expectations and emotions skew our judgements. We examine and debate topics such as subliminal persuasion, paranormal phenomena, alternative medicine, placebos and miracles. You will learn how to evaluate claims, understand why we consistently make the same kinds of "irrational" mistakes, and how to make better decisions.
     
     
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1. Identify and understand various cognitive processes that affect human behaviour in the real world. That is, the application of findings and theories should help students make sense of why people believe the things that they do.
    2. Display an understanding of the quantitative aspects of thinking and reasoning, such as: reasoning with frequencies and probabilities, estimating base rates, distinguishing samples from populations, and differentiating correlation and causation.
    3. Assess, use, document and present information objectively and effectively.
    4. Conduct and complete effective research.
    5. Articulate and debate current issues in the news and media by means of verbal and written presentation
     
    Class Contact
    2 Contact hours
     
     
    Assessment
    Weekly Quizes
    Type: Quiz
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Due Date: End of Semester
    Weight: 50%
    Task Description: Several experiments have demonstrated that repeated testing of information results in better retention compared to repeated study, especially when testing is spaced out over time. Tests that require effortful retrieval of information, such as short-answer tests, promote better retention than tests that require recognition, such as multiple-choice tests (Larsen, Butler & Roediger, 2008). In this course, there will be 12 short quizzes each week instead of a final exam.
     
     
    edX Discussion
    Type: Discussion
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 5
    Due Date: End of Semester
    Weight: 12%
    Task Description: The best way to ensure that you apply the course material to your everyday life is to practice applying the material. At the end of each episode of Think101 on edX, there?s a section that called, ?What do you think?? with a bunch of questions for you to consider based on the material in that episode. Rather than trying to discuss these questions with the thousands of online students, we want you to chat about it with your UQ classmates.
     
    You need to provide an example from your experience, respond to someone else?s post, ask questions about the material, help other people understand the material better, and up-vote the posts that are interesting or helpful (and down-vote those that aren?t so much). Part of our aim here is to encourage you to consider other viewpoints and learn about opinion change and persuasion, firsthand.
     
     
    Change the World Final Paper
    Type: Blog
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Due Date: End of Semester
    Weight: 25%
    Task Description: In this course, we?re trying to provide you with the tools to be able to improve your everyday thinking. Towards the end of this course, you?ll have the tools to think better, and you can use those tools to do better. We want you to think about what you can do to make the world smarter, more rational, less superstitious. Look around you and see what's broken and exactly what you can do to fix it. If there's a change that you want to see, what are you going to do to make it happen? Throughout the course, we?ll give you the tools to be able to change the world; now it's up to you to use them.
     
    This idea of changing the world might seem idealistic or lofty, but it's not as difficult as you might think. The goal of the Change the World project is to determine the extent to which you genuinely understand the material in the course by applying it to a current topic that we haven?t discussed in the lectures or tutorials. For example, topics from previous years included: asylum seekers, carbon tax, gun laws in Australia, false positives in HIV testing, faith healing, #KONY2012, the burka debate, violent video games, etc. We are less interested in the subtleties and complexities of your topic (e.g., the antioxidant content of goji berries, their detailed history, or their cancer-preventive properties). We?re interested instead in how your topic relates to the content we?ve been discussing in this course.
     
    The Change the World project is worth 38% of your final mark: 25% will be for your paper, which will apply material in the course to some current topic of interest, and 13% will be for creating a ?Change the World video? that?s based on the same information as your paper. There is a 2,000 word limit on this project (excluding references). Think of it more like a thoughtful, well-referenced blog post or opinion piece, rather than a passive, formal essay. Your paper and video will be published on the web and on YouTube.
     
     
     
    Change the World Final Video
    Type: Video
    Learning Objectives Assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Due Date: Throughout Semester
    Weight: 13%
    Task Description: In this course, we?re trying to provide you with the tools to be able to improve your everyday thinking. Towards the end of this course, you?ll have the tools to think better, and you can use those tools to do better. We want you to think about what you can do to make the world smarter, more rational, less superstitious. Look around you and see what's broken and exactly what you can do to fix it. If there's a change that you want to see, what are you going to do to make it happen? Throughout the course, we?ll give you the tools to be able to change the world; now it's up to you to use them.
     
    This idea of changing the world might seem idealistic or lofty, but it's not as difficult as you might think. The goal of the Change the World project is to determine the extent to which you genuinely understand the material in the course by applying it to a current topic that we haven?t discussed in the lectures or tutorials. For example, topics from previous years included: asylum seekers, carbon tax, gun laws in Australia, false positives in HIV testing, faith healing, #KONY2012, the burka debate, violent video games, etc. We are less interested in the subtleties and complexities of your topic (e.g., the antioxidant content of goji berries, their detailed history, or their cancer-preventive properties). We?re interested instead in how your topic relates to the content we?ve been discussing in this course.
     
    The Change the World project is worth 38% of your final mark: 25% will be for your paper, which will apply material in the course to some current topic of interest, and 13% will be for creating a ?Change the World video? that?s based on the same information as your paper. There is a 2,000 word limit on this project (excluding references). Think of it more like a thoughtful, well-referenced blog post or opinion piece, rather than a passive, formal essay. Your paper and video will be published on the web and on YouTube.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.