PSYCH-UA.46 - Fall 2023


Professor: Brenden M. Lake
Office Hours: Thursdays 4:30-5:30pm. 6 Washington Place, Room 589. I can also accommodate you on zoom if you let me know in advance.

Teaching Assistant: Marianne Azar
Office Hours: Wed. 11am-12. Conference room, 6th floor (neurolinguistics lab), NYU Department of Linguistics, 10 Washington Place. (Sometimes this doesn’t show on Google maps. It’s right across the street from NYU Public Safety and next to the Leslie eLab)

Getting in touch

Questions should be posted in EdStem, which is your first point of contact. Use EdStem if you think there’s even a small chance someone has the same question. This will also get you the fastest answer.

If enrolled, you should already have access to the Edstem. If, for some reason you need to join manually, here is a link to join the EDSTEM.

If you need to contact the instructors directly or about something more specific to you, please use this email

Place and Time

Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
238 Thompson St (GCASL) Room 365

Course Overview

This course provides hands-on experience with the tools, practices, and computer programming techniques used in psychological research. Students learn how to collect, analyze, and report psychological data concerning a variety aspects of human cognition and perception. By the end of the course students will have an first hand understanding of how to run psychological experiments, collect and analyze data, and write research reports. Students will also get substantial practice with computer programming in Python.

In addition to methods, the course will expose students to key concepts in cognition and perception including intelligence, learning, memory, attention, visual perception, mental imagery and imagination, and cognitive neuroscience. Data analyzed include choice data, reaction time, eye-movement data, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The course culminates in an intensive final project involving the design and analysis of a novel experiment.

This course is useful for undergraduate students interested in getting actively involved in research at NYU or another university. In addition, this course provides a strong background for graduate work in psychological science, particularly cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, and perception. Even if you plan to not continue to do scientific research, the course should arm you with some of the necessary skills to be an effective worker in a world awash with data.

Credits and Degree Progress

This class is worth four credit hours and applies to the lab requirement for the psychology major.


You are looking at it! The current website includes an online textbook developed by Todd Gureckis. You will refer to this website for reading, lecture slides, videos, and other exercises. Sometimes links will be provided to other websites and videos.


PSYCH-UA 10 (Statistical reasoning for the behavioral sciences), PSYCH-UA 11 (Adavance psychological statistics) and one of the following: PSYCH-UA 22 (Perception), PSYCH-UA 25 (Cognitive Neuroscience), or PSYCH-UA 29 (COGNITION). Permission of the instructor may be obtained in certain cases.

Computing Environment

The course will rely on a online computing environment called Jupyter. Each student will have their own JupyterHub instance and can connect to this from a variety of devices over the internet. The address of the class JupyterHub is here. You will log in with your normal NYUHome credentials.


We will use EdStem to facilitate discussion outside of class. You can post questions about any of the course content and the TA or instructor will try their best to respond quickly. By asking your question on the public forum you can learn from the questions and answers of your fellow students.


Classes will take a mixed format, facilitating an interactive learning experience. Sometimes there will be a short lecture in class. Other times there will be a recorded video to watch in advance (“flipped classroom”). We will also use class time for discussion, student presentations, group work, and practical exercises. A link to the current schedule can be found here, but it will be updated as we go.


The grade in the course will be determined by the following categories:

Class Participation (10% of grade)

Attendance and participation is important given the hands on nature of the course. Two “free”/”no excuse” absences are automatically granted. You do not need to tell me the reason but connect with other students or the TA to find out what you missed. Otherwise, please get in touch in advance if you expect to miss class.

Quizzes (10% of grade)

Short quizzes on the assigned reading and videos will be assigned at the start of each class.

Presentation (10% of grade)

Students will be assigned to a working group that they will keep throughout the entire semester (3 people). You will use this group for in-class work and labs. Additionally, each group will be in charge of presenting a summary of the reading/chapter assigned for one of the classes. Presentations involve a few slides describing the overall content of the class, and a list of questions that your group had about the reading that we can discuss as a group.

Homework (15% of grade)

We will have semi-regular homeworks. These should not be too long or onerous and should let you develop your skill and practice material covered in class. Often you will complete these assignments by filling out a webform or by completing some exercises on the class Jupyterhub instance and submitting your completed notebooks. Some are written assignments which give you practice summarizing research results in paper form, writing the various parts of an academic paper, and communicating the results of statistical tests.

Labs (45% of grade)

The main part of the course will consist of three multi-part labs. These labs will expose key concepts in the psychology of cognition and perception and will consist of multiple exercises and reports. Most of this work will take place in the Jupyterhub.

Final Project (10% of grade)

The course builds to a final project which will be completed in groups. The final project will involve designing and experiment, collecting the data, and analyzing it. You will complete the project in your assigned group (2-4 people) and will collectively submit a final paper. The final written paper should be in conference submission format with an abstract, intro, methods, results, discussion, and references. The length should be 6-8 pages. Bibliography and references will not included in the page limit. At the end of the class each group will give a ~10 minute presentation on their project (background, hypothesis, experimental design, results, analyses, conclusions). The paper will be due at Midnight on the day of the final exam.

  • Final Paper: 5%

  • Final Presentation: 5%

Classroom Policies

Attendance and tardiness

Attendance is necessary, but of course please do come if you are sick. The course is cumulative and so that the information you learn on one day will be important for the following day’s learning. Thus, it is not something you can catch up easily with notes from a friend. If you have to be away for a class please let the instructor or TA know in advance. Also, students should aim to arrive at class on time as much as possible. Frequent tardiness will cause you to miss the quizzes. If you must miss a class, you can ask your group about what you missed.

Honor code and plagiarism

All work that students turn in must be their own work. For group assignments, all work must have been done by the students on the team and must include an acknowledgements section detailing the contribution of each team member. Any outside sources (articles, books, people) must be appropriately cited in written assignments. Turning in someone else’s work as your own is unacceptable and will result in a failing grade. Most importantly, such behavior is academically dishonest and lazy. Submit only your own ideas and words.

Research Ethics and Misconduct

Although the experiments performed in this class are for educational purposes, and therefore not covered by the usual informed consent regulations, we will try to treat the confidentiality of the data as if it were. Falsification of any data or analysis will result in a failing grade for the course. (Note that grades are not based in any way on getting statistical significance or any particular result!)

Programming and statistical software

A substantial aspect of the class is learning to use Python software packages for data analysis. We will be teaching these skills in the class. However, if you find that you need extra assistance, the Bobst library provide statistical consultants who are familiar with these packages. According to their webpage: Consultation information will be available on the 6th floor in rooms 620 and 621* via e- mail (, telephone 212-998-3434, by appointment or on a walk-in basis. Staff and student consultants will offer free tutorials and workshops on a variety of statistical packages. Sign up for fall software tutorials on the library’s classes page:


Students requesting academic accommodations are advised to reach out to the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities as early as possible in the semester for assistance.

NYU’s Henry and Lucy Moses Center for Students with Disabilities. 726 Broadway, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10003-6675 Telephone: 212-998-4980 Web site: Email: For students who would benefit from assistive technology but don’t wish to register with Moses CSD, please use: Info and links on CSD website.

Late Assignments

All papers and presentations are due at the date and time specified. Scores for late papers will be reduced by 10% for every 24-hour period a paper is late. No extensions will be granted due to computer failure, roommate difficulties, printing problems, etc.


Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to speak with me by the end of the second week of the term.

Religious observances

Some students may wish to take part in religious observances that occur during this academic term. If you have a religious observance which conflicts with your participation in the course, please meet with me by the end of the second week of the term to discuss appropriate accommodations.