PSYE502 Foundations of Modeling in Psychology


• Acquaints the students with the notions of theory and model in psychology and their goals and use

• Introduces the students to the main approaches and methods in building models in psychology

• Teaches students to formulate hypotheses based on models and theories, to design experiments to test model predictions and to understand experimental results

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Psychology (in English)


Prof. Maurice Grinberg, PhD

Course Description:


Students who completed the course will:

1) know:

• the basic approaches to modeling in psychology

• how to use models to design and interpret psychological experiments

2) be able to:

• represent knowlege about psychological phenomena in terms of models

• understand the assumptions and characteristics of the main modeling approaches

• give explanations in term of specific models

• formulate hypotheses based on models

Introductory psychology courses

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:


  1. Explanations in psychology. Theories and models in psychology. Model thinking basics. Examples of models in psychology.
  2. Computational models in cognitive psychology. Approaches to modeling.
  3. The mind-body problem and the modeling of cognitive processes in cognitive psychology.
  4. Models of perception: Visual perception.
  5. Attention and consciousness.
  6. Memory and memory processes.
  7. Knowledge representation. Example: The cognitive architecture ACT-R.
  8. Example: A model of counting in ACT-R.
  9. Test I
  10. Connectionist approach: distributed and parallel computation. Typical architectures and learning paradigms.
  11. Connectionist models of memory: McClelland's model of semantic memory. Predictions and experimental support.
  12. The dynamical systems approach to cognition: manifesto and modern implementation. The iCub robot and the research program behind it.
  13. Dynamical systems approach: The dynamic field theory and its applications.
  14. Contemporary modeling approaches in cognitive psychology: Strengths and Weaknesses.
  15. Test II


Sternberg, R. J. (2012). Cognitive psychology (6th ed). Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Friedenberg, J., & Silverman, G. (2011). Cognitive science: an introduction to the study of mind. Sage.

Thagard, P. (2005). Mind: Introduction to cognitive science. MIT press.

Anderson, J. R. (2007) How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe? New York: Oxford University Press

McLeod, P., Plunkett, K., and Rolls, E.T. (1998), "Introduction to Connectionist Modelling of Cognitive Processes", Oxford Press

Langley, P., Laird, J. E., & Rogers, S. (2006). Cognitive architectures: Research issues and challenges