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Study how people intelligently adapt to the functional demands of environments in Wright State’s Cognition and Perception (CAP) concentration in psychology. A cognitive neuropsychologist might ask how people who naturally develop an exceptional skill in visual object recognition (e.g. bird watchers) process information differently and if there might be differences in the neural substrates supporting these perceptual differences.
In addition to coursework on how people perceive, remember, decide, and act in concert with our immediate and long-term goals and constraints, you are also encouraged to participate in research of one the CAP faculty laboratories or as independent research. The concentration will equip you with domain knowledge about human performance and also the analytic skills to evaluate and apply scientific data.
A solid background in cognition and perception will prepare you for more advanced studies in these areas and related fields such as neuropsychology and human factors. The CAP concentration will also prepare you well for working in applied settings such as those engaged in research and development activities.
View Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Cognition and Perception Concentration program information, degree requirements, and graduation planning strategy in the Academic Catalog.
Students must apply for admission to Wright State University. For admission into the Department of Psychology, applicants must meet the following requirements.
Admission criteria are:
- Completion of at least 48 hours of coursework
- Completion of PSY 3010 and PSY 3210 or PSY 3710, each with a minimum grade of C
- An overall GPA of 3.2
- Declaration of psychology as your major
- Declaration of CAP Concentration
Note that although formal admission into the concentration will not be granted unless you have completed at least 48 hours of coursework, we encourage you to explore your interest with the CAP faculty early. Please also note that although the concentration is only open to psychology majors, any student may take the listed courses provided they have the necessary prerequisites. We recommend that you work closely with a faculty member engaged in the CAP concentration or an advisor at the COSM Advising Office to ensure that you are on track and taking the most advantage of being in the CAP concentration.
What is the Cognition and Perception (CAP) Concentration?
The cognition and perception (CAP) concentration is a study focus in the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in psychology. It focuses on how people intelligently adapt to the functional demands of environments. Discoveries about the functioning of the brain have been escalating at an ever more rapid pace in recent decades but have yet to cease to amaze. We now know that we do not passively register information that happens to pass us by but actively select and interpret what we perceive, remember, decide, and act upon, in concert with our immediate and long-term objectives and constraints. This is the case whether we are interacting with people, the environment, or advanced technologies such as vehicles, computers, or smartphones.
What does the CAP concentration prepare me for?
A solid background in cognition and perception will prepare you well for more advanced studies in experimental psychology and related fields (e.g., graduate studies in cognition, perception, cognitive neuroscience, computer science, human factors or engineering psychology, medical school, law school) as well as for working in applied settings. The required and recommended courses for the CAP concentration will equip you with the domain knowledge about human performance as well as the analytic skills to evaluate and apply scientific data. A few examples are provided below.
A perception psychologist might study the basics of hearing and a human factors specialist would use this information to design an audio display to help locate objects in the environment. A cognitive psychologist and a public policy maker might ask how one divides attention and whether it is safe to drive and talk on the cell phone at the same time. A cognitive neuropsychologist might ask how people who naturally develop an exceptional skill in visual object recognition (e.g. bird watchers) process information differently and if there might be differences in the neural substrates supporting these perceptual differences. In the court of law, knowing the impact of the power and limits of memory is paramount for gauging the weight of eyewitness testimonies. Understanding basic human reasoning and decision making provides critical information for a training psychologist to devise safeguards and training regimens to ensure medical safety.
Do I have to go to graduate school?
Whether you go to graduate school depends on your career goal. In general, the higher the level of education, the higher the degree of responsibility you have in your job, but also a higher degree of intellectual freedom (such as directing your own research program or leading a human factors design team in improving the human-computer interface of a newly developed technology). For example, the principal investigator of a research project at an academic institution, a government laboratory, or at a research and development department in industry would typically have an advanced degree; a research assistant would not. An advanced degree is required for teaching at a college level, but many government and industrial jobs do not require one.
What kinds of classes do I need to take?
You will need to take PSY 3210 (Cognition and Learning) and PSY 3710 (Perception), either PSY 3230 (Cognition Methods), PSY 3730 (Perception Methods), or PSY 3830 (Cognitive Neuroscience Methods), PSY 4020 (Advanced Topics in Research Methods and Experimental Designs), two 4000-level Capstone courses from the PSY 4200, PSY 4600, and PSY 4700 series, and CS1160 (Introduction to Computer Programming I).
The CAP Required and Recommended Courses List (see Academics and Curriculum above)
provides a list of required and recommended courses for the concentration. All of the required and recommended courses for the CAP concentration will count towards satisfying your psychology B.S. degree or your general electives.
We also strongly recommend that you take additional basic science, mathematics, computer programming, and engineering classes to gain a background in methods of scientific inquiry, analytic reasoning, and research skills.
The Sample Course Plan (download Academics and Curriculum above) provides a sample course path for completing all the requirements for the B.S degree in psychology with a concentration in cognition and perception. We recommend that you work closely with a faculty member engaged in the CAP concentration or an advisor in the COSM Student Service Office to ensure that you are on track and taking the most advantage of being in the CAP concentration.
What other preparation will I need?
We highly recommend that you obtain research experience while you are an undergraduate student. This may be obtained in a variety of ways, including working with a faculty member as a research assistant in their laboratory for pay or for Independent Research credit (PSY 4060). We encourage you to speak with the faculty members whose research areas interest you. In addition to getting to know your professors through your classes, you are invited to browse the description of their research areas on the Psychology Faculty web pages. You may also want to express your interest in engaging in research activities at the college.
We also encourage you to participate in the many professional activities available in the department and at the university. Examples of these activities include joining the Psychology Club or Psi Chi, signing up for Independent Reading (PSY 4040) with a faculty member, joining a reading group (many professors have reading groups outside their classes), attend department brown bags and colloquia of interest, and attend and present at scientific conferences when feasible.
Practical experience such as participating in an internship or practicum (PSY 4030) in your field of interest could also be valuable. To explore opportunities for practica, you are encouraged to express your interest to your faculty and to monitor the bulletin board on the third floor of Fawcett regularly.
If you are planning on graduate school, medical school, or law school, find out about the proper preparation for taking the standardized tests in your field (e.g., GRE for graduate schools, MCAT for medical schools, and LSAT for law schools). Although you will most likely not start practicing the tests until a few months before you plan to take your exam, you need to be building up your verbal, quantitative, and analytic skills all along. The actual practice of the tests will familiarize you with the format and test-taking tactics only. We recommend that you continue to read to improve your vocabulary and comprehension and to acquire a solid quantitative background throughout your undergraduate tenure and beyond.
Who are the faculty members that teach CAP courses?
Full-time faculty members in the CAP concentration include Dr. Kevin Bennett, Dr. Herbert Colle, Dr. Robert Gilkey, Dr. Assef Harel, Dr. Joseph Houpt, Dr. Ion Juvina, Dr. Valerie Shalin, Dr. Pamela Tsang, and Dr. Scott Watamaniuk. Find out more about their research interests at the Psychology Faculty web page.
How do I apply for a concentration in Cognition and Perception?
- Obtain program information and course guidelines from the Psychology office (335 Fawcett Hall), the CoSM Student Service Office (106 Oelman Hall), or online at the CAP web page.
- Set up an advising appointment at the CoSM Student Service Office or with a CAP faculty member to discuss your interests and questions.
- Apply for a concentration in CAP by filling out an application form available online at the CAP web page or at the CoSM Student Service Office.
Admission criteria are:
- completion of at least 48 hours of coursework
- completion of PSY 3010 and PSY 3210 or PSY 3710, each with a minimum grade of C
- an overall GPA of 3.2
- declaration of psychology as your major, and
- completion of an application form.
Students will be notified upon admittance.
Note that although formal admission into the concentration will not be granted unless you have completed at least 48 hours of coursework, we encourage you to explore your interest with the CAP faculty early. Please also note that although the concentration is only open to psychology majors, any student may take the listed courses provided they have the necessary prerequisites.
Where can I learn more?
Make an advising appointment at the CoSM Student Service Office. We especially encourage you to speak with those CAP faculty members whose research areas interest you.