Human Memory (PSYC 5374-261)
Spring 2016

Professor: Roberto R. Heredia., Ph.D. 

URL: http://www.tamiu.edu/~rheredia/

Office: CH 205B

E-mail: rheredia@tamiu.edu

Class Time & Place: M 5:30 - 8:30 PM PH 107

Phone: (956) 326-2637

Office Hours:  M-W 4:00 PM-5:00 PM;  T & R 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM  & By Appointment

Course Description:
Examines the processing systems that underlie human learning, memory and cognition. Involves discussion and critical evaluation of current, historical, and interdisciplinary readings relevant to human memory. Prerequisite: Graduate standing, or permission of the instructor.

Course Objectives:

1. Critically interpret research articles in the field of human memory and learning.
2. Appraise and contrast the principles (e.g., short-term, long-term, episodic, procedural, and working memory) and logic in human memory research.
3. Compose a literature review on a specific topic in the field human memory and learning.
4. Formulate a theoretically sound research proposal for an original study in the field of human memory and learning

Required Text:
Schwartz, B. L. (2013). Memory: Foundations and applications (2nd ed.).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (ISBN: 9781452259116)

Note: Additional readings will be determined as the semester progresses.    

Course Philosophy:
This is a demanding course. There is considerable reading and writing to be done and much to think about. You are expected to master the basic material covered in the readings/discussions and to participate actively in class. The assumption underlying this class is that we are responsible students that want to learn and do high quality work. Some lectures and discussions in the course are designed to supplement the readings. As such, you can expect discussions to present ideas that are not always covered in the readings.

(1). There will be one midterm and a final each worth 100 points consisting of general essay questions. The Midterm will cover only the material for the first part of the course, and the final will be comprehensive, covering the new material and the material from the first part of the class. You may use published material and your own notes in answering midterm questions.

(2). Class will consist of discussions, and in-class activities. Active class discussion is required. The purpose of class discussions is to allow a more in-depth analysis of the issues covered in the assigned weekly readings, particularly discussions of the ways in which these issues apply to problems in everyday life and the study of the human mind. You will be much more prepared for lively discussion during the classroom time if you have read the assigned material prior to the time in which it will be addressed in class.

(3). Discussion Points: By 10:00 A.M. of every Monday, please submit by email a set of at least five brief discussion points related to the broad themes of the readings from your textbook and readings. Discussion points should be empirical or theoretical implications raised by the material that suggest creative connections to other issues, or follow up experiments. Do not submit clarification questions of the material. Comments must reveal thoughtful reflection on the material in fewer than 100 words. Be prepared to discuss the issues you raise and please bring a copy of your discussion points to class. (Discussions points are part of your Participation evaluation). Notice that there is a Cognitive Psychology Facebook Group. You are encoraged to post contributions related to Human Memory or Cognitive Science.

(4) Attendance: Attendance is not only mandatory, but crucial for this course to function well. You will be allowed 1 absence for emergencies (Note: Provide adequate notice and documentation). Failure to provide notice or documentation, or having more than 1 absence will result in heavy penalties (i.e. dropping a whole letter grade or two).

(5). Discussion + Presentation (Scoring Rubric): Students will be discussion leaders for one topic, of their choice, from the textbook used in class. The discussion-presentation will include information from the texbook readings (see Schedule of Classes below) and three related (to the topic) academic (journal) articles chosen by the student. A final academic presentation is required (see requirement 6 for more details). In lieu of the final academic presentation, the student may choose to present a poster or paper at the Lamar Bruni Vergara & Guillermo Benavides Z Spring 2016 Student Academic Conference (see also, www.facebook.com/lbvconference or lbvconference@tamiu.edu) Iff you choose this option, you need to register for the conference. Your grade for the presentation will be based on the score that you obtain from the conference judges plus 10%. For example, if you receive a 90% from the Conference judges, your grade for the presentations would be 90% + 10% = 100%.

(6) Research Paper:  A written assigment (15-20 double-spaced pages) worth 100 points with at least 15 references is due May 7, 2014 at 11:59 PM. Psychology Today and internet sources are not valid references. The emphasis on the research paper will be on your ability to write well (i.e., APA style, 6th ed.), integrate existing literature, and your ability to reason critically and scientifically. This paper will be an independent project (e.g., a proposed set of experiments, or a theoretical review) related to Human Memory and Learning. An academic presentation (10-15 minutes) will accompany this proposal.

(7). As part of your academic and intellectual development, you are required to attend at least two academic presentations (e.g., Academic Conferences: Psychology/Student related) or Psychology Master's Students Theses presentations). Dates will be provided for these presentations. Please check your email messages.

(8). It is expected that you will neither give nor receive any unauthorized aid for all tests and assignments in this class.  Unauthorized aid is defined as, but not limited to, the use of your notes, textbooks, the internet, or people. All students are required to read and understand Dusty Devil's HONOR CODE, complete the HONOR CODE FORM and return it to your professor, and remember, A Dustyt Devil does not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.

(9). All assignments and requirements  must be completed successfully by the start of the final exam to pass the course. As per TAMIU Regulations,  all electronic communication with students will take place via the TAMIU email system. The instructor will ONLY respond to and send messages to TAMIU email addresses. Students must check their TAMIU email accounts regularly. In general, students can expect responses to email messages within 24/48 hours.

Summary: Points will accumulate over the semester such that there will be:

2 Examinations                                                        @100 points X 2        = 200 points
Participation & Attendance                                      @100 + 50 points      = 150 points
2 Presentations                                                         @ 50 points X 2         = 100 points
Research Paper                                                        @ 100 points              = 100 points

Total possible points: 550  pts.
   A = 90-100%, B = 80-89%, Unsatisfactory = 79% and below





FEB 15

Introduction to the Study of Memory/Memory and the Brain

Ch 1-2

FEB 22

Working Memory

Ch 3

FEB 29

Episodic Memory

Ch 4


                                SPRING BREAK

MAR 14

Semantic and Lexical Memory

Ch 5

MAR 21

Visual Memory

Ch 6

MAR 28



Autobiographical Memory

Ch 7

APR 11

False Memory

Ch 8

APR 18

Metamemory (Faculty Evaluations)

Ch 9

APR 25

Memory Disorders 

Ch 10


Memory in Childhood/Older Adults/Academic Presentations

Ch 11 or 12

May 9

Memory Improvement/Academic Presentations

Ch 13


Reading Day/ Research Proposal Due Date

May 16


NOTE: The above schedule and procedures in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.


Classroom Behavior
The College of Arts and Sciences encourages classroom discussion and academic debate as an essential intellectual activity. It is essential that students learn to express and defend their beliefs, but it is also essential that they learn to listen and respond respectfully to others whose beliefs they may not share. The College will always tolerate diverse, unorthodox, and unpopular points of view, but it will not tolerate condescending or insulting remarks. When students verbally abuse or ridicule and intimidate others whose views they do not agree with, they subvert the free exchange of ideas that should characterize a university classroom. If their actions are deemed by the professor to be disruptive, they will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include being involuntarily withdrawn from the class.

Plagiarism and Cheating
Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s work as your own. 1) When you borrow someone else’s facts, ideas, or opinions and put them entirely in your own words, you must acknowledge that these thoughts are not your own by immediately citing the source in your paper. Failure to do this is plagiarism. 2) When you also borrow someone else’s words (short phrases, clauses, or sentences), you must enclose the copied words in quotation marks as well as citing the source. Failure to do this is plagiarism. 3) When you present someone else’s paper or exam (stolen, borrowed, or bought) as your own, you have committed a clearly intentional form of intellectual theft and have put your academic future in jeopardy. This is the worst form of plagiarism.

Here is another explanation from the 2010, sixth edition of the Manual of The American Psychological Association (APA):

Plagiarism: Researchers do not claim the words and ideas of another as their own; they give credit where credit is due. Quotations marks should be used to indicate the exact words of another. Each time you paraphrase another author (i.e., summarize a passage or rearrange the order of a sentence and change some of the words), you need to credit the source in the text.

The key element of this principle is that authors do not present the work of another as if it were their own words. This can extend to ideas as well as written  words. If authors model a study after one done by someone else, the originating author should be given credit. If the rationale for a study was suggested in the Discussion section of someone else's article, the person should be given credit. Given the free exchange of ideas, which is very important for the health of intellectual discourse, authors may not know where an idea for a study originated. If authors do know, however, they should acknowledge the source; this includes personal communications (pp. 15-16).

Consult the Writing Center or a recommended guide to documentation and research such as the Manual of the APA or the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers for guidance on proper documentation. If you still have doubts concerning proper documentation, seek advice from your instructor prior to submitting a final draft.

Use of Work in Two or More Courses:  You may not submit work completed in one course for a grade in a second course unless you receive explicit permission to do so by the instructor of the second course.

Penalties for Plagiarism: Should a faculty member discover that a student has committed plagiarism, the student should receive a grade of 'F' in that course and the matter will be referred to the Honor Council for possible disciplinary action. The faculty member, however,  may elect to give freshmen and sophomore students a “zero” for the assignment and to allow them to revise the assignment up to a grade of “F” (50%) if they believe that the student plagiarized out of ignorance or carelessness and not out of an attempt to deceive in order to earn an unmerited grade. This option should not be available to juniors, seniors, or graduate students, who cannot reasonably claim ignorance of documentation rules as an excuse.

Caution: Be very careful what you upload to Turnitin or send to your professor for evaluation. Whatever you upload for evaluation will be considered your final, approved draft. If it is plagiarized, you will be held responsible. The excuse that “it was only a draft” will not be accepted.

Caution: Also, do not share your electronic files with others. If you do, you are responsible for the possible consequences. If another student takes your file of a paper and changes the name to his or her name and submits it and you also submit the paper, we will hold both of you responsible for plagiarism. It is impossible for us to know with certainty who wrote the paper and who stole it. And, of course, we cannot know if there was collusion between you and the other student in the matter.

Penalties for Cheating: Should a faculty member discover a student cheating on an exam or quiz or other class project, the student should receive a “zero” for the assignment and not be allowed to make the assignment up. The incident should be reported to the chair of the department and to the Honor Council. If the cheating is extensive, however, or if the assignment constitutes a major grade for the course (e.g., a final exam), or if the student has cheated in the past, the student should receive an “F” in the course, and the matter should be referred to the Honor Council. Under no circumstances should a student who deserves an “F” in the course be allowed to withdraw from the course with a “W.”

Student Right of Appeal: Faculty will notify students immediately via the student’s TAMIU e-mail account that they have submitted plagiarized work. Students have the right to appeal a faculty member’s charge of academic dishonesty by notifying the TAMIU Honor Council of their intent to appeal as long as the notification of appeal comes within 10 business days of the faculty member’s e-mail message to the student. The Student Handbook provides details.
UConnect, TAMIU E-Mail, and Dusty Alert
Personal Announcements sent to students through TAMIU’s UConnect Portal and TAMIU E-mail are the official means of communicating course and university business with students and faculty – not the U.S. Mail and not other e-mail addresses. Students and faculty must check UConnect and their TAMIU e-mail accounts regularly, if not daily. Not having seen an important TAMIU e-mail or UConnect message from a faculty member, chair, or dean is not accepted as an excuse for failure to take important action. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to sign-up for Dusty Alert (see www.tamiu.edu). Dusty Alert is an instant cell phone text-messaging system allowing the university to communicate immediately with you if there is an on-campus emergency, something of immediate danger to you, or a campus closing.

Copyright Restrictions
The Copyright Act of 1976 grants to copyright owners the exclusive right to reproduce their works and distribute copies of their work. Works that receive copyright protection include published works such as a textbook. Copying a textbook without permission from the owner of the copyright may constitute copyright infringement. Civil and criminal penalties may be assessed for copyright infringement. Civil penalties include damages up to $100,000; criminal penalties include a fine up to $250,000 and imprisonment.

Copyright laws do not allow students and professors to make photocopies of copyrighted materials, but you may copy a limited portion of a work, such an article from a journal or a chapter from a book for your own personal academic use or, in the case of a professor, for personal, limited classroom use. In general, the extent of your copying should not suggest that the purpose or the effect of your copying is to avoid paying for the materials. And, of course, you may not sell these copies for a profit. Thus, students who copy textbooks to avoid buying them or professors who provide photocopies of textbooks to enable students to save money are violating the law.

Students with Disabilities
Texas A&M International University seeks to provide reasonable accommodations for all qualified persons with disabilities. This University will adhere to all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as required to afford equal education opportunity. It is the student's responsibility to register with the Director of Student Counseling and to contact the faculty member in a timely fashion to arrange for suitable accommodations.

Student Attendance and Leave of Absence (LOA) Policy:
As part of our efforts to assist and encourage all students towards graduation, TAMIU provides LOA’s for students, including pregnant/parenting students, in accordance with the Attendance Rule (Section 3.24) and the Student LOA Rule (Section 3.25), which includes the “Leave of Absence Request” form. Both rules can be found in the TAMIU Student Handbook  (URL: http://www.tamiu.edu/studentaffairs/StudentHandbook1.shtml).

Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, harassment based on sex, including harassment because of pregnancy or related conditions, is prohibited. A pregnant/parenting student must be granted a leave of absence (LOA) for as long as the student’s physician deems the absence medically necessary. As a TAMIU faculty member, we must:

(1)  allow a pregnant/parenting student to submit work after a deadline that was missed because of a LOA due to pregnancy or childbirth,
(2)  if grading is based in part on class attendance or participation, allow a pregnant/parenting student to earn the credits missed so that the student can be reinstated to the status held before the LOA, and
(3)  at the conclusion of the LOA, allow the pregnant/parenting student to return to the same academic and extracurricular status held when the LOA began.

If we receive a request from a student for a LOA, including pregnant/parenting students, we will promptly report it to and seek guidance from the Office of Student Affairs at ext. 2282.

Students who are unable to complete a course should withdraw from the course before the final date for withdrawal and receive a “W.” To qualify for an “incomplete” and thus have the opportunity to complete the course at a later date, a student must meet the following criteria:

1. The student must have completed 90% of the course work assigned before the final date for withdrawing from a course with a “W”, and the student must be passing the course;
2. The student cannot complete the course because an accident, an illness, or a traumatic personal or family event occurred after the final date for withdrawal from a course;
3.  The student must sign an “Incomplete Grade Contract” and secure signatures of approval from the professor and the college dean.
4. The student must agree to complete the missing course work before the end of the next long semester; failure to meet this deadline will cause the “I” to automatically be converted to a “F”; extensions to this deadline may be granted by the dean of the college.
This is the general policy regarding the circumstances under which an “incomplete” may be granted, but under exceptional circumstances, a student may receive an incomplete who does not meet all of the criteria above if the faculty member, department chair, and dean recommend it.

Student Responsibility for Dropping a Course
It is the responsibility of the STUDENT to drop the course before the final date for withdrawal from a course. Faculty members, in fact, may not drop a student from a course without getting the approval of their department chair and dean.

Independent Study Course
Independent Study (IS) courses are offered only under exceptional circumstances. Required courses intended to build academic skills may not be taken as IS (e.g., clinical supervision and internships). No student will take more than one IS course per semester. Moreover, IS courses are limited to seniors and graduate students. Summer IS course must continue through both summer sessions.

Grade Changes & Appeals
Faculty are authorized to change final grades only when they have committed a computational error or an error in recording a grade, and they must receive the approval of their department chairs and the dean to change the grade. As part of that approval, they must attach a detailed explanation of the reason for the mistake.  Only in rare cases would another reason be entertained as legitimate for a grade change. A student who is unhappy with his or her grade on an assignment must discuss the situation with the faculty member teaching the course. If students believe that they have been graded unfairly, they have the right to appeal the grade using a grade appeal process in the Student Handbook and the Faculty Handbook.

Final Examination
Final Examination must be comprehensive and must contain a written component. The written component should comprise at least 20% of the final exam grade. Exceptions to this policy must receive the approval of the department chair and the dean at the beginning of the semester.

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