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Cognitive Psychology
What I'm up to ...

Adjunct Professor,
Department of Psychology, San José State University
since 2005
I train undergraduate students in Experimental Research Methods, Cognitive Psychology, and Technical Writing for Psychologists.

Course Materials for Fall 2008
100W Writing Workshop
120 Advanced Research Methods


Some of the things that I've done ...
Research and Teaching
     Since the 1980s, I've done research and teaching on the cognitive processes that underlie reading, writing, and translation, with a particular focus on how people process technical texts.
Adjunct Professor
San José State University
San José, CA

Experimental Research Methods

This course is a practical introduction to experimental research in Psychology for undergraduates. I had to write my own textbook because existing texts all seem to emphasize theory and hypothetical, future research projects. I prefer to walk students through their own research so they can see how research really is, first hand.

I taught similar courses to:
  • first-year undergraduates from a range of areas at Kean University (Union, NJ) [2002-2003],
  • graduate students in Linguistics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil [1992-1998], and
  • freshmen in Modern Languages at the Higher Education Foundation of São João del-Rei (FUNREI) [1988-1992], also in Brazil.
  •      2005 to present

    Hands-on Research Methods
    [version 4, Spring, 2008]
  • 0. Front Matter and Introduction
  • 1. Formulate a Research problem
  • 2. Find Relevant Bibliography
  • 3. Write your Literature Review
  • 4. Design your Experiment
  • 5. Specify your Methods
  • 6. Assemble a Proposal
  • 7. Collect your Data
  • 8. Analyze your Data
  • 9. Write up your Results
  • 10. Discuss your Results
  • 11. Present your Work

    There's a social-networking version of this course in progress here.

    Cognitive Psychology

    This is an introductory survey course that covers the usual areas of Cognitive Psychology.

    Besides using the textbook, I also have the students replicate a well-known experiment for each chapter. In small groups, they review some of the literature, collect data with their classmates as participants, analyze it, and present their experiment to the class.
    I use this textbook:
  • Reed, S. K. (2006) Cognition: Theory and Applications.
    Language and Cognition Laboratory
    Professor of Linguistics
    Federal University of Minas Gerais
    Belo Horizonte, Brazil

    I started this lab when I was in the Linguistics Department here to give the students experience with cognitive research into text processing.

    This was a totally new area of research in Brazil at the time and was looked at with no little skepticism by linguists with more traditional training. Several professors from the schools of Letters and Education as well as both graduate students and undergraduate research assistants were involved in a range of projects that studied reading, writing, and translation.

    The lab was funded by the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) and by CAPES.
  • 1996-98 Principal investigator. Cognitive Processes of Semantic interpretation. Group research project Funded by the Brazilian National Research Council.
  • 1994-96 Principal investigator. Semantic interpretation. Group research project Funded by the Brazilian National Research Council.

    During this time, I was a reviewer (1995-2000) and then Member of the Editorial Board (1997-1999) for the journal Applied Psycholinguistics, published by Cambridge University Press.

    Some of the Master's Theses that I supervised or co-supervised in the lab are these (all in Portuguese):
  • Silva, A. (1997). The influence of prior knowledge and text structure on the reading of procedural texts.
  • Caetano, M. (1997). Building meaning: Influence of the canonicity of syntactic-semantic linking.
  • Correa, H. (1996). Influence of the title on macrostructural processing during reading.
  • Militão, J. (1996). Metaphorical meaning and the translation process.
  • Oliveira, E. (1996). Influence of the reader model on argumentation structure in school texts.
  • Pacheco, H. (1996). A tool for assisting writing. [Computer Science Department]
  • Cafiero, D. (1995). Influence of the reader model on planning of written texts by fourth graders: Information selection.
  • Coscarelli, C. (1993). Recovery of antecedents of cohesive elements during reading by first graders.
  •      1992 to 1998

    Some of the publications and presentations from the lab are these:
  • Rodrigues Vieira, M. A. & Dillinger, M. (1997). Connective and elaborative inferences in text production [in Portuguese]. Proceedings of the XLIV GEL Seminar (pp. 158-164), Taubaté, SP: Grupo de Estudos Lingüísticos do Estado de São Paulo.
  • Duque, C. & Dillinger, M. (1997). Interpretation of cohesive elements in multimedia environments [in Portuguese]. Presented at the Congresso Nacional da ABRALIN, Maceió, UFAL.
  • Dillinger, M. & Militão, J. (1996). Orientational metaphors and the translation process [in Portuguese]. J. Milton, M. Laranjeira & F. Aubert (Eds.), Anais do V Encontro Nacional de Tradutores (pp. 213-222). São Paulo: Humanitas Publicações.
  • Coscarelli, C. & Dillinger, M. (1996). Reading in multimedia environments and the production of inferences [in Portuguese]. Proceedings of the VII Simpósio Brasileiro de Informática na Educação (pp. 449-456). Belo Horizonte, UFMG.
  • Dillinger, M. (1996). The processing of cohesion and the production of coherence [in Portuguese]. Presented at the XI Congresso da Associação Nacional de Programas de Pós-graduação em Letras e Lingüística (ANPOLL), João Pessoa, PB.
  • Coscarelli, C. & Dillinger, M. (1995). A model of reading [in Portuguese]. Revista de Estudos da Linguagem, 4(2): 21-40.
  • Dillinger, M. & Corrêa, H. (1995). The role of the title in text comprehension [in Portuguese]. Cadernos de Pesquisa [Número Especial: I Encontro de Pesquisa da FALE/UFMG], 1: 15-25.
  • Dillinger, M., Reis, M. C. & Ferreira, M. P. (1994). Does the population at risk understand folders about cholera? [in Portuguese]. Presented at the I Encontro Estadual de Educação Popular em Saúde, Belo Horizonte, MG.
  • Oliveira, E. & Dillinger, M. (1996). Argumentation strategies in schoolchildren’s texts [in Portuguese]. Proceedings of the XII Congresso da Associação Internacional de Filologia e Lingüística da América Latina (ALFAL), Gran Canária, Spain.
  • Coscarelli, C., Dillinger, M. & Silva, S. (1993). Recovery of antecedents of nominal cohesive elements by first graders [in Portuguese]. Intercâmbio, vol. 3. São Paulo, PUC-SP.
  • Dillinger, M. (1992). Syntactic parsing [in Portuguese]. Boletim da Associação Brasileira de Lingüística, 13:31-42.
    Research Assistant
    Laboratory of Applied Cognitive Science
    McGill University
    Montréal, Canada

    I worked on a range of projects that covered reading, writing, translation, and knowledge representation with Profs. Carl Frederiksen, Robert Bracewell, and Janet Donin, while completing my PhD. My dissertation was one of the first to investigate the cognitive processes of simultaneous interpreters.

    The lab was funded by the Canadian National Science Research Council (NSERC) and by other entities. My work was funded in part by a Friends of McGill Fellowship.
         1982 to 1988

  • Dillinger, M. (1994). Comprehension during interpreting: What do interpreters know that bilinguals don’t? In: S. Lambert & B. Moser-Mercer (Eds.), Bridging the gap: Empirical research in simultaneous interpretation (pp. 155-189). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Donin, J., Bracewell, R. Frederiksen, C. & Dillinger, M. (1992). Students’ strategies for writing instructions: organizing conceptual information in text. Written Communication, 9(2): 209-236.
  • Dillinger, M. (1990). Component Processes of Simultaneous Translation [PhD dissertation] McGill University, Laboratory of Applied Cognitive Science, Department of Educational Psychology, Montreal.
  • Dillinger, M. (1990). What do interpreters know that bilinguals don’t? The Interpreters’ Newsletter [Trieste, Italy], 3: 41-58.
  • Groen, G. J., Frederiksen, C. H., & Dillinger, M. (1984). A Propositional Analyst’s Assistant. Behavior Research Methods. Instruments & Computers, 16(2): 154-157.

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