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Mt Holyoke PSYCH 349 - Syllabus

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Psychology 349 Fall 2001 Cognition Seminar on Language and Deception Syllabus Wednesday 1:00-3:50, Reese 324 Instructor: Mija Van Der Wege Office: 123 Psych-Ed Bldg. Phone: 538-2086 Email: [email protected] Office Hours: Monday 3-5 (or by appt.) Course description: In this course we will examine deception and persuasion in language use. We will take up three main issues. The first is what it means to deceive and how people deceive others through language. What methods do they use, and how do these methods work? The second issue is why people deceive. What purposes do their deceptions serve—in court, in advertising, in bureaucracies, in business transactions, and in everyday face-to-face conversation? The third issue is the ethics of deception. Is it legitimate to deceive others, and if so, when and why? Readings: Readings will be made available in reserves and electronic reserves. I will hopefully have a WebCT site available with all of the readings linked from it. Course requirements: 1. Mandatory regular attendance at all classes. We only have 13 classes to get through a lot of material. If you miss more than two (2) classes, you will fail the class. 2. Active participation in discussions. This includes familiarity with the assigned readings each week. You will also take responsibility for leading discussion on an assigned reading on two class days. 3. Reaction papers. You need to submit three (3) reaction papers (1-2 pages) on the readings for the course. You can choose which weeks you submit them, however, they cannot be on the weeks that you give a presentation. Please give your thoughts, opinions and reactions to the assigned papers. Do not just summarize the findings. Submit these by 5:00pm Tuesday of the week of the readings (the day before we discuss the readings) in person or by email. They will be returned in class. 4. Mini-projects: There will be two mini-projects to be described below. Due dates: submit the first by October 24 and the second by November 28 at the beginning of class. 5. Term Paper. In place of a course examination, students will complete a term paper (10-14 pages) on a relevant topic of your choice to be turned in to me by 5:00pm Wednesday December 19. Please make an appointment with me early on in the term to discuss your potential topic.Mini-projects: Mini-project 1 (due 10/24): Record and transcribe one TV commercial break (3-5 advertisements/1-3 minutes of advertising). Write down the words used and any significant nonverbal communication and events in the ad. Describe how language and other kinds of nonverbal communication are used to deceive in these commercials in a brief write-up (2-3 pages). If you have problems finding access to the necessary equipment, please let me know as soon as possible. Mini-project 2 (due 11/28): Find one other example of deception and describe it, with documentation, in a brief write up (3-4 pages). Try to find examples related to the current topics of the seminar, e.g., a biased news article, an infomercial, a horoscope, a friend telling a story, a euphemistic sign. Extension and Absence Policy: There are two situations that can acceptably result in an extension of the date for assigned work or a missed class: (1) personal illness, and (2) personal or family crisis. You are entitled to an excused extension if either of these situations arise. You are not entitled to an excused extension if the illness or crisis allows you to complete work for another course. If an extension is needed, take the following steps: (1) If at all possible, notify me prior to the class in which the assignment is due. (2) If you are eligible for and wish to take an excused extension according to the guidelines above, submit to me a written statement indicating that you are acting in accord with Mount Holyoke’s Honor Code, and that your reason for the late assignment or the missed class is consistent with the criteria established above. You do not have to specify the reason, only that you meet the guidelines. Late work or missed class periods without a written statement are unexcused. The assignment date for an excused extension is one week later than the original due date unless other arrangements are made. Grading: 15% Class Attendance and Participation 20% Class presentations 15% Reaction papers 20% Mini-Assignments 30% Term Paper Topic schedule: What does it mean to deceive? Week 1 (Sept 12): Truth and deception Ford, C. (1996). Defining deceit: The language of lying. Lies! Lies! Lies! The psychology of deceit (Chapter 2, pp. 23-46). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, Inc. Nyberg, D. (1993). Varieties of truth. The varnished truth: Truth telling and deceiving in ordinary life (Chapter 2, pp. 29-45). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Week 2 (Sept 19): Ethics of deception Bok, S. (1979). Lying: Moral choice in public and private life (Chapters 1-5, pp. 3-72). New York: Vintage Books. Nyberg, D. (1993). Truth telling is morally overrated. The varnished truth: Truth telling and deceiving in ordinary life (Chapter 1, pp. 7-26). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Week 3 (Sept 26): Lying and its detection Ekman, P. (1988). Lying and nonverbal behavior: Theoretical issues and new findings. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 12, 163-175. Ekman, P. (1991). Who can catch a liar? American Psychologist, 46(9), 913-920. Gross, J. J. & Levinson, R. W. (1997). Hiding feelings: The acute effects of inhibiting negative and positive emotion. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106 (1), 95-103. Deception in the courtroom Week 4 (Oct 3): Perjury as a legal issue Tiersma, P. M. (1990). The language of perjury: “literal truth,” ambiguity, and the false statement requirement. Southern California Law Review, 63, 373-431. Week 5 (Oct 10): False confessions Kassin, S. M. (1997). Coerced confessions and the jury: An experimental test of the “harmless error” rule. Law and Human Behavior, 21, 27-46. Kassin, S. M. (1997). The psychology of confession evidence. American Psychologist, 52, 221-233. Deception as a career Week 6 (Oct 17): Deception in advertising 1 Geis, M. L. (1982). Saying things indirectly. The language of television advertising (Chapter 2, pp. 25-58). New York: Academic Press. Geis, M. L. (1982). The strength of a claim. The language of television advertising (Chapter 3, pp. 59-83). New York: Academic Press. Week 7 (Oct 24): Deception in

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