PSYC 891CM: Computational Modeling in Cognition


Class Number 58870

Tu. 4-6:30

Tobin 207



This syllabus is available at: and on Moodle.


Professor: David Huber

Office Hours: Thurs. 10-11

Tobin 425




Course Description (3 credits):

This course surveys mathematical and computational models of human cognition. After covering background readings on modeling techniques, you will engage in a hands-on project that applies a model to your research data. These models will be run in Matlab by modifying an existing model or development of a new model. Course requirements include textbook and article readings, active participation in class discussions, leading the class when covering a model related to your research, and a final presentation of your modeling project.



Lewandowsky, S. & Farrell, S. (2011). Computational modeling in cognition: Principles and practice. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California. (downloadable Matlab files). (downloadable R files).




Hands-on project (34%)

A major component of the course is to develop and implement your own modeling project, applying a mathematical model to your research. This may be achieved with an 'off the shelf' model, modification of an existing model, or an original model. Each student will give a report of their project in class. To receive full credit for the project, you must e-mail your PowerPoint presentation and computer program files (e.g., Matlab, R, C++, etc.) to Professor Huber by the start of the class period in which you give your final report.


Student Led Discussions (33%)

Each student will lead the class in covering a research article that is directly related to their project. This will occur 4 weeks prior to the final report of your project. Professor Huber will help you to identify appropriate models for your area of research and the chosen article should present a model that is closely related to your project. In addition to covering this article, you should briefly present (using PowerPoint) the motivation/design/results of the data that you will model in your project. After discussing the article and your experiment, the class will give you feedback that may help you with your project.


Class Discussion (33%)

Each week we will cover 2 book chapters or 3 research articles. During class, participation is required, with everyone providing comments during every class.

Schedule of Class Meetings





Jan. 21

Jan. 28

Chapters 1 and 2

Feb. 4

Chapters 3 and 4

Feb. 11

Chapter 5

Feb. 18

no class

Feb. 25

Chapters 6 and 8

March 4

Andrea: Busemeyer, J. R., & Myung, I. J. (1992). Journal of Experimental Psychology, 121 (2), 177-194.

Lisa: Lee, M. D., & Cummins, T. D. R. (2004) Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11 (2), 343-352.

Diego: Bonacich, P. J. Journal of Social Structure, Volume 2.

March 11

Tina: Wixted, J. T. (2007). Psychological Review, 114, 152-176.

James: Shiffrin, R. M., & Steyvers, M. (1997). Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 4, 145-166.

March 25

Tara: Rehder, B. (2003). Cognitive Science, 27, 709-748.

Monica: Massaro & Cohen (1983). Journal of Experimental Psychology: HPP, 9 (5), 753-771.

Ben: Ratcliff & McKoon (2008). Neural Computation, 20, 873-922

Lap: Brown & Heathcote (2008). Cognitive Psychology, 57, 153-178.

April 1

Manisha: Riefer, D. M. & Batchelder, W. H. (1988). Psychological Review, 95, 318-339.

Will: Tomlinson, T. D. et al. (2009). Proc. of the Nat. Acad., 106, 15588-15593. and supporting material

Josh: Balota, D. A. & Yap, M. J. (2011). Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 160-166.

Aleksei: Hayes, B. & Wilson, C. (2008). Linguistic Inquiry, 39. 379-440 (focus on 379-395)

April 8

Andrea, Lisa, Diego

April 15

Tara, Tina, James

April 22

Ben, Lap, Monica

April 29

Manisha, Will, Josh, Aleksei