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Taught at Haverford College (2023-2024) and Northwestern University (2018-2020)

Language & Thought

2019, 2023, 2024

Language is a signature of human cognition: a rich and flexible method of communicating our most complex thoughts. An intellectual tradition stretching from Ancient Greek philosophers to present-day scientists proposes that language is what makes us human. This class will examine the fundamental question: What is language’s role in human cognition? Drawing on research from psychology, as well as cognitive science, linguistics, and occasionally neuroscience, philosophy, anthropology, and animal cognition, we will ask questions like whether our language(s) change the way we see colors, categorize objects, experience emotions, and understand time.


Psychological Research Methods


In this course, you will become a practicing scientist and a thoughtful consumer of science. You will learn to ask and answer questions about the mind using the experimental and observational methods of psychologists. You will evaluate the methods and statistics of scientific papers, replicate another scientist's finding, and finally conduct your own experiment and present its findings.



This course provides an overview of topics in cognitive psychology. Essentially, this course will examine the scientific study of mental processes from the ground up.

In the first half of the course, we will begin with the basic mechanics of the brain, examine the low-level processes that enable much of our cognition. and investigate how we acquire and store information.

In the second half, we will turn to “higher-level” cognition, looking at fundamental building blocks of thought (like language and concept learning) and then at the high-level, conscious deliberations we engage in when we make decisions.


Foundations of Psychology


Why do people think, feel, and act the way they do? How do we best understand, explain, and predict human thought and behavior through psychological science? This course addresses these questions and provides an introduction to the scientific study of mind, brain, and behavior that prepares students for more advanced coursework in the department. We will take a variety of theoretical perspectives on psychological processes, including biological, cognitive, developmental, personality, and social-cultural perspectives. We will focus on the empirical approach to the study of mind and behavior. We will end with a consideration of how these various perspectives contribute to understanding health processes, psychological disorders, and treatment.

For more in-depth course descriptions, feel free to reach out.

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