Comps in Cognitive Science

Overview for Comps in Cognitive Science

The senior integrative exercise in Cognitive Science has a great deal of flexibility to it.  The basic requirements are some kind of project culminating in a paper that is on a topic relevant to cognitive science, and shows integration of different disciplinary approaches to that topic.  Project can involve data collection, a computer model, a theoretical integration, a proposal for a future research project, or any of a number of other possibilities. 

Any Carleton faculty member listed on our website as a core or affiliated faculty member may supervise a CGSC comps project. Listed below are faculty member areas of expertise:

Kathie Galotti
Primary areas:
     - Reasoning and decision making in children, adolescents, and adults
     - Planning and goal-setting
     - Stylistic differences in cognition
     - Narrative and autbiographical memory
     - Moral development and reasoning
     - Conceptual development in preschoolers
     - Epistemological development in adolescents

Justin London
Primary areas:
     -Music perception and cognition
     -Sensorimotor behavior & perception-action dynamics (rhythm and timing behaviors beyond music)
     -Cognitive aesthetics
     -Auditory sensation, perception, and cognitive neuroscience
     -Cross-cultural studies of perception and cognition

Secondary areas:
     -Embodied Cognition
     -Social Cognition & Joint Action
     -Linguistic Pragmatics (extending speech-act theory to non-language domains)

Julie Neiworth
Primary areas:
     - Animal Models of memory, attention, visual processing, social thinking, theory of mind
     - Brain models of memory, attention, consciousness, visual processing
     - Some clinical models (chiefly autism or Alzheimer's Disease) applied to perception or memory
     - Cognitive neuroscience of vision, memory, social thinking

Secondary areas:
     - Toddler research, chiefly on social thinking and theory of mind (sharing, altruism, cooperation, perspective taking) 

Anna Rafferty
Primary areas:
     - Computational models of human learning
     - Rational models
     - Bayesian cognitive modeling
     - Computational models of categorization
     - Educational data mining and designing/testing interactive educational technologies
     - Probabilistic machine learning

Secondary areas:
     - Computational models of language evolution and cultural evolution
     - Natural language processing

Cherlon  Userry
Primary areas:
     - Theoretical models of syntactic structure from a cross-linguistic perspective
     - The relationship between syntactic structure and word formation
     - Processing structural complexity and relationships between different components of sentences
     - Modeling meaning via lexical semantics, and formal semantics and lambda calculus

Mija Van Der Wege
Primary areas:
     - Psychology of language
        (conversation & common ground, reference, inference & implication, deception, semantics & word choice, pragmatics, syntactic processing, reading, gesture, biligualism, figurative language processing, language development)
     - Memory
        (semantic memory, memory for narratives, scripts & schemas, eyewitness memory, false memory, implicit memory priming)
     - Concepts and categorization
     - Social cognition (group membership and group behavior, attitude change and persuasion, advertising and marketing)
     - Human-computer interface design 

The director of the CGSC program will select a second reader for the project in the spring who comes from a different discipline than the faculty member supervising the project.

The basic structure and timetable for CGSC comps is as follows:

Junior – spring term Senior – fall term Senior – winter term Senior – spring term
  • Discuss ideas with possible comps advisors
  • Notify CGSC director who will be advising your project. 
  • Enroll in a section of CGSC 396 (3 cr) with your advisor
  • Set up meeting schedule & intermediate deadlines that work for you & your advisor. 
  • Prepare a proposal of 12-15 pages by the end of the term
  • Enroll in a 6-credit, 300-level independent study, either CGSC 391 or 392, with your advisor
  • Set up meeting schedule & intermediate deadlines that work for you & your advisor.
  • Carry out the project you proposed in the fall
  • Write a paper (25-40 pages, inclusive of everything) that presents your project
  • Submit final paper to advisor for grade & comments
  • Enroll in CGSC 400 (3 cr, not graded
  • Make revisions to paper week 1-3
  • Submit revision to advisor and second reader by due date determined by CGSC director
  • Present paper during a 15-20 minute talk in May

Grading of Comps

  • CGSC 396 is taken for a grade and your advisor determines the grade
  • CGSC 391 or 392 is taken for a grade.  Advisor gives your overall independent study a grade based on submitted paper. Expect to receive extensive comments on this final paper when you return from spring break.
  • CGSC 400 is not graded.  Advisor, and second reader will independently assess the paper, using a rubric developed for this process, and submit these to the CGSC director who determines whether the project passes, and/or receives distinction.  In the event the paper does not pass, the CGSC director and your comps advisor will meet with you to tell you what needs to be done.

Comps Talks

By past student tradition, CGSC seniors give a 15-20 minute talk on their projects sometime in early May.  Students are allowed to invite family and friends.  Light refreshments are provided.