Comprehensive Exam in Cognitive/Affective Psychology

Type of instruction

comprehensive exam

Part of degree program
Typically offered in

Autumn/spring semester

Course description

Aim of the course:
The main objective of the course is to give an overview on the theoretical frames of affective
cognitive psychology, with it’s basic concepts.

Learning outcome, competences


  • Basic concepts of affective and cognitive psychology
  • Theories of emotions, perception, memory, thinking and motivation, including current research trends and their outputs
  • Relations of affective and cognitive mechanisms and their malfunctioning


  • Ability to understand and ask questions in relation to the functioning of mind,
  • Utilisation of knowledge in scientific communication, presentation


  • Skills af applying main methods
  • Skills of identifying a nd segmenting basic psychological mechanisms

1. Basic concepts of perception
sensation and perception; approaches to study perception; common characteristic of sensory
modalities; sensory codes and thresholds, measuring thresholds; Weber's and Fechner's law;
signal detection theory
2. Visual form perception
receptive fields, visual pathways, Gestalt laws, figure-ground segragation, visual cuesm perception
of faces
3. Spatial localization in various modalities
binocular disparity, monaural visual cues, motion parallax, interaural onset and volume
difference, monocular auditory cues, spatial reference frames
4. Psychoacoustics
physical properties of sounds; perception of loudness, effect of intensity and frequency on the
perception of loudness; perception of pitch in the case of simple and complex tones; perception
of timbre
5. Other dimensions of perception and their role in the basic processes of learning and
motivation body perception: touch and movement perception; perception of pain; the role of pain in basic
learning processes, and the role of learning in the perception of pain;
smell and taste: the role of smell and taste in the basic learning processes; the connection of smell
and taste with the basic drives (eating, sex)
6. Learning and memory.
Measurement of learning, the role of practice and repetition, different forms of learning, learning
and implicit memory, memory in infants, developmental changes in memory during childhood
7. Working memory
Short-term memory, memory span, the multicomponent model, imagery and the visuo-spatial
sketchpad, the central executive, the episodic buffer, individual differences in working memory,
working memory and aging
8. Declarative memory 1: Episodic and autobiographic memory
Levels of processing, limits of levels, organization and learning, retrieval, the importance of
incidental context in episodic memory retrieval, measurement of autobiographic memory, deficits
in autobiographical memory, eyewitness testimony
9. Declarative memory 2: Semantic memory
Semantic vs. episodic memory, concepts, organization of semantic knowledge, leaning new
concepts, schemas, forgetting: incidental vs. motivated, forgetting, amnesia
10. Models of speech perception and production
subprocesses of speech perception, role of mental lexicon in speech reception and production,
word recognition, lexical accessibility, logogen theory, autonomous model of speech perception,
interactive activational model, cohort model, recognition point, intermodal priming, word
frequency effect, phonological neighbourhood density, semantical priming effect, context effect,
failures at speech production, spoonerism, mental cronometry, Dell’s model, Levelt-model,
perseveration, lemma, Ellis and Young model, macro planning, micro planning, TOTphenomenon,
Liberman’s motor theory
11. Social Cognition
Perspective taking, theory of mind, intentionality, modularity theory, theory-theory, simulation
theory, dual process accounts, code model of communication, Grice-model, Relevance theory,
12. Consciousness and awareness
intentionality,representations, computer metaphor, modularity, transductor, domain-specificity,
encapsulated, connectionist models, dualism, epiphenomenalism, private characteristics of
consciousness, qualia, inverse spectral problem, others mind, phenomenological method, Block’s
theory, subliminal perception, perceptual parry, blind vision, colour phi-phenomemnon,
cutaneous rabbit phenomenon, Libet’s experiment, global workspace theory, focused attention,
divided attention, automatic processing, SAS theory, executive functions
13. High level problem solving
Gestalt model, insight, problem-space model, expertise, creativity
14. Reasoning and decision making
Normative systems for reasoning and decision making, abstract-rule theory, mental models
theory, domain-specific rule theory, decision making biases
15. Basic concepts and the levels of regulation of motivation and emotion.
Physiological, psychological/cognitive, social, and cultural levels; need, drive, homeostasis,
incentive, central and peripheral mechanisms
16. Primary motives and basic emotions
Thirst, hunger, sex, aggression, roots of altruism and prosocial behavior, cognitive motivation;
fear, anger, disgust, sadness, threat and harm, joy, interest
17. Human specific motives and emotions
Autonomy, competence, relatedness, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, achievement motivation,
human altruism and prosocial behavior, affiliation, power, self-actualization, love
18. Motor control, reaction time, and sensory-motor coordination
Stages and types of reaction time, factors influencing reaction time, ballistic movement, tracking
movement, goal-directed movement, role of afferentation in movement


Compulsory reading list

 Atkinson and Hilgard (2014): Introduction to Psychology. Cahpetrs--- 15th Edition, UK
 The content of lectures
Franken, R. E. (1998). Human motivation. Fourth edition. (Chapter 8. pp. 208–238). Pacific
Grove, etc.: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company
Józsa Emese, Gősiné Greguss, A. C. (2014). Motor control and reaction time (Handout)
Legge, D., & Barber, P. J. (1976). Information and skill. (Chapter 2-5. pp. 22-77.) London:
Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion. 5th edition. International Edition:
Wiley & Sons.
Smith, E. E., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Fredrickson, B. L., & Loftus, G. (2009) Atkinson and
Hilgard’s introduction to psychology. 15th edition. Australia, etc.: Thomson Wadsworth.
Chapters 2, 10, 11, & 14
Taylor, S. E., Peplau, L. A., & Sears, D. O. (2003) Social psychology. 11th edition. (Chapter
12 Helping behavior, pp. 370-401) Upper Saddle River, NJ, etc.: Prentice Hall, Pearson

Recommended reading list

 Eysenck, M., Keane, M.T. (2015): Cognitive Psychology: A Student's Handbook, 7th Edition.
Psychology Press, London