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Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

Introduction to Basic Cognitive Processes

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and NPTEL via Swayam


Introduction to Basic Cognitive Processes is an introductory course in Cognitive Psychology. As opposed to the behaviorist tradition in psychology that concerns itself with only the observable behaviours of the individual, Cognitive Psychology focuses on the internal mental processes. The approach adopted in this course will look at human behaviour at large as made up of many component mental processes such as sensation, perception, attention, memory, language, imagery, decision making, problem solving, emotion and others.

In the current course, I will first introduce the students to the field of cognitive psychology. I will then move on to talking about the historical developments in Cognitive Psychology. I will spend some time elaborating the fundamental assumptions in cognitive psychology. Also, I will talk about sister disciplines like Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuropsychology and how they help us to understand the mental processes in question. I will then spend some more time talking about methods used in Cognitive Psychology before moving on to talk about the basic mental processes such as sensation, perception, attention and memory. Other cognitive functions like language, imagery, decision making etc. will be taken up in the next part of the course named Introduction to Advanced Cognitive Processes.


Week 1: 

Introduction to Cognitive Psychology, History and Foundations of Cognitive Psychology.

Week 2: 

Approaches towards studying Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience.

Week 3: 

Research Methods in Cognitive Psychology. Sensation. Psychophysics and Signal Detection Theory.

Week 4: 

Physiology of Visual Perception, Representation in Perception and Approaches to Perception.

Week 5: 

Theories of Object Recognition, Perception and Action, Attention.

Week 6: 

Attention, Concept of Memory, Sensory Memory, Short Term Memory.

Week 7: 

Long Term Memory, Errors in Memory, Improving Memory.

Week 8: 

Memory and other topics

Taught by

Prof. Ark Verma

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