496-2596, 1470 William James Hall
|The basic idea of this course is that people perceive willful minds as a way of understanding behavior--including their own. This perception process can create illusions, and is responsible for the general feeling that we cause our actions. The experience of consciously willing an act arises, in particular, whenever people perceive their own conscious thought as having caused their action--even if in reality the thought could not have been causal. This analysis leads to new ways to examine classic questions of free will vs. determinism and mind vs. body, and also helps to understand unusual phenomena of will or volition--from phantom limbs, Ouija boards, and dowsing rods to hypnosis, spirit possession, auditory hallucinations, and dissociative identity disorder. Most generally, it suggests a way of understanding why the intuition that we consciously will our actions is so strong and compelling.|
Comments on the Main Readings. Each week there will be a main reading for the class (marked with * in the outline below). Your assignment is to do the reading and then turn in a page (or so) of comments on the reading by the Tuesday of that week. The comments should include 4 elements: a summary (a few sentences summarizing the reading), an idea (the most interesting or important idea you found in the reading or had about the topic), a question (a query, comment, complaint, wish, or issue for class discussion), and an example (something you have experienced that is relevant to the topic). This requirement accounts for 20% of your course grade.
Class Participation. Your discussion, questions, and comments in class will account for 20% of your course grade. Late arrival and/or absence from class are considered lapses in participation.
Individual Reports on the Special Readings. In addition to the main readings, there are several special readings noted for each week's topic. Each member of the class will select 2 of the weekly topics (beginning Feb. 6) and do one of the special readings those weeks. A 10-minute presentation on the special reading will be done in class on the Thursday of that week. Your assignment is to present the special readings clearly and creatively, and to explain how the reading relates to the week's topic. This requirement accounts for 25% of your course grade.
Research Paper. A research paper examining a specific topic
in the study of conscious will accounts for 35% of your grade. A proposal
for the paper (under one page) is due March 20; the paper in APA style
is due May 3; and a brief presentation of your project to be delivered
in class should be prepared by May. (Readings marked + below are background
sources you may consult in developing your research paper.)
|OUTLINE AND READINGS
The main readings (*) are available on the web at: http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~psy1565/
Readings labeled ICW are chapters in Wegner, D. M. (in press). The illusion of conscious will. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
The special readings for individual reports (no *) are available on
file in 1472 William James Hall, and the background sources (+) are available
from the library.
Feb. . 1 Organizational Meeting
Feb. 6/8 Mind Perception
* ICW, Chapter
1: The illusion
Geschwind, D. H., Iacoboni, M. S., Mega, D.
W., Zaidel, W., Cloughesy, T., & Zaidel, E. (1995). Alien hand syndrome:
Interhemispheric motor disconnection due to a lesion in the midbody of
the corpus callosum. Neurology, 45, 802-808.
+ Feinberg, T. E. (2001). Altered egos: How the brain creates the self. New York: Oxford University Press.
Feb. 13/15 Brain, Body, and Will
* ICW, Chapter 2: Brain and will
Ramachandran, V. S., & Rogers-Ramachandran,
D. (1996). Synaesthesia in phantom limbs induced with mirrors. Proceedings
of the Royal Society of London, 263, 377-386.
+ Libet, B., Freeman, A., & Sutherland,
K. (1999). The volitional brain: Towards a neuroscience of free will.
Exeter, U. K.: Imprint Academic.
Feb. 20/22 Apparent Mental Causation
* ICW, Chapter 3: The experience of will
Langer, E. J. (1975). The illusion of control.
of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 311-328.
+ Kelley, H. H. (1980). Magic tricks: The management
of causal attributions. In D. Görlitz (Ed.), Perspectives on attribution
theory and research: The Bielefeld Symposium. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.
Feb. 27/Mar. 1 Automatisms and Ideomotor Action
* ICW, Chapter 4: An analysis of automatism
Jacobson, E. (1932). The electrophysiology
of mental activities. American Journal of Psychology, 44, 677-694.
+ Ansfield, M. E. & Wegner, D. M. (1996).
The feeling of doing. In P. M. Gollwitzer & J. A. Bargh (Eds.),
The psychology of action: Linking cognition and motivation to behavior
(pp. 482-506). New York: Guilford.
Mar. 6/8 Automaticity and Unconscious Processes
* Bargh, J. A., & Chartrand, T. L. (1999). The unbearable automaticity of being. American Psychologist, 54, 462-479.
Bargh, J. A., Chen, M., & Burrows, L. (1996).
Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and
stereotype activation on action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
+ Bargh, J. A. (1997). The automaticity of everyday life. In Wyer, R. S. (Ed.) Advances in Social Cognition, Vol. 10 (pp. 1-62). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Mar. 13/15 Self-Perception and Interpretation
* ICW, Chapter 5: Protecting the illusion
Bem, D. J., & McConnell, H. K. (1970).
Testing the self-perception explanation of dissonance phenomena: On the
salience of premanipulation attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 14, 23-31.
+ Fazio, R. H. (1987). Self-perception theory: A current perspective. In M. P. Zanna, J. M. Olson, & C. P. Herman (Eds.), Social influence: The Ontario symposium, Vol. 5 (pp. 129-150). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Mar. 20/22 Action Projection and Facilitated Communication
* ICW, Chapter
6: Action Projection]
Jacobson, J. W., Mulick, J. A., & Schwartz,
A. A. (1995). A history of facilitated communication: Science, pseudoscience,
American Psychologist, 50, 750-765.
+ Twachtman-Cullen, D. (1997). A passion
to believe: Autism and the facilitated communication phenomenon. Boulder,
Apr. 3/5 Spirit Possession, Channeling, and Role Playing
Chapter 7: Virtual Agency
Lambek, M. (1988). Spirit possession/spirit
succession: Aspects of social continuity among Malagasy speakers in Mayotte.
Ethologist: The Journal of the American Ethological Society, 15, 710-731.
+ Fine, G. A. (1983). Shared fantasy: Role
playing games as social worlds. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago
Apr. 10/12 Hypnosis
* ICW, Chapter 8: Hypnosis and Will
Whitehouse, W. G., Dinges, D. F., Orne, E.
C., & Orne, M. T. (1988). Hypnotic hypermnesia: Enhanced memory accessibility
or report bias? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97, 289-295.
+ Kihlstrom, J. F. (1985). Hypnosis. Annual
Review of Psychology, 36, 385-418.
Apr. 17/19 Dissociative Identity Disorder
* Humphreys, N., & Dennett, D. C. (1989). Speaking for our selves. Raritan: A Quarterly Review, 9, 68-98.
Birnbaum, M. H., & Thomann, K. (1996).
Visual function in multiple personality disorder. Journal of the American
Optometric Association, 67, 327-334.
+ Acocella, J. (1999). Creating hysteria:
Women and multiple personality disorder. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Apr. 24/26 The Uses of the Will
* ICW, Chapter 9: The Mind's Compass
Fletcher, G. P. (1998). Intention versus negligence.
concepts of criminal law.
Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
+ Dennett, D. C. (1984).
Elbow room: The
varieties of free will worth wanting. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
May 1/3 Presentations
May 8/10 Presentations (during Reading Period)