BCSC 163: Cognition & Writing

Cross-listed: WRTG 253
Prerequisites: Completion of the Primary Writing Requirement.
Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

What goes on in writers’ minds when they write and in readers’ minds when they read? Can learning about what goes on in both writers’ and readers’ minds help writers make their writing more effective? In this course we will delve into the cognitive processes underlying writing and reading: how writers generate ideas, translate those ideas into words and sentences, organize those sentences into arguments, and do all of this while managing things like spelling and typing, and how readers actually interpret the message being conveyed by a piece of writing. We’ll also explore the extent to which research in cognitive science can inform what we do as writers by experimenting on ourselves with research-grounded strategies. Students will read and take responsibility for presenting work from cognitive scientists and composition theorists, and will work towards a final project in which they explore existing research on a topic of their choosing and propose either further research or applications of that research.