Marianne Abramson, Ph.D.

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Recent Work
M.A. in Psychology Program


I teach courses related to research and cognitive psychology mainly. At present I teach:

  • Effective Thinking (PSYC 477.5)

This course is a practical, applied course in how to think more effectively (also known as critical thinking). We cover topics such as how to use and understand language more effectively, improve memory and logical thought, analyze and develop good arguments, and spot pseudoscientific and otherwise flawed ideas. The format of the course is some lecture, group activities, and discussion. The ideas in this course will help you in other classes as well as in your everyday life (I hope...). Some cool websites used in class are listed on the Favorite Links page.

  • Understanding Psychological Research (PSYC 300A and 300B)

A course in the scientific method as it is applied to psychological research. We cover everything from the purpose of the scientific method to bad science and pseudoscience,  how to write a good survey, what the heck to do with data once you've collected it. With what you learn in this course, you're ready to go on to some really juicy stuff like...

  • Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Lab (PSYC 304 and 304L)

Taught as 2 separate courses, these classes introduce you to the world of mental processing through both behavioral and brain research. The lecture course covers topics including memory, perception, language, attention, decision making, and problem solving. You also learn why the brain sometimes makes mistakes or what happens after brain injuries. These topics are presented in lecture, reading assignments, films, demonstrations (including some really cool and funny ones you can impress your friends with!), discussions, and a poster session. The lab offers hands-on opportunities to see how cognitive research is really done. Using the department's computer lab, you can learn to run cognitive experiments, collect data, analyze the data, and write up your results.

  • Psychology of Language (PSYC 477)

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the psychology of language. By the end of the quarter, I hope that you will have developed an appreciation for the complexities of the gift of human language, and an understanding of the mechanisms responsible for this gift. The class explores: the basic psychological and neural mechanisms and functions of language, animal communication in comparison to human language, language and thought, language development, American Sign Language, bilingualism, reading and writing, and language disorders. Each of these topics will open a window onto the most common tool you use every day, one without which you would have many difficulties dealing with the modern world.

  • History and Systems of Psychology (PSYC 477)

This class will answer questions like “What the heck do the ancient Greeks have to do with Freud?”  Most people don’t realize that psychology has a long history all the way back to ancient times. This course is an overview of the historical roots of psychology beginning in philosophy, the major influences in psychological thought (including the inside dirt into what really inspired some of those early thinkers, like the use of the Ouija board by William James –not all thought was successful, even for the geniuses), and a chance to think about what the future may hold for psychology. The format of the course is mostly discussion/lecture, exams, and a final paper.

  • I also teach Introductory Psychology (PSYC 100), Psychology as a Profession (PSYC 290), and Interpersonal and Group Processing Skills (PSYC 291).

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