Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science examines different approaches to questions concerning the nature of mind, the representation of knowledge, the acquisition, comprehension, and production of language, the development of learning and intelligence, the use of information to draw inferences and make decisions, and the assessment of "goodness of fit" between purportedly similar systems (e.g., the computer and the mind). Exploration of some or all of these questions has been and is being undertaken in such disciplines as cognitive psychology, linguistics, philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, social cognition, anthropology, education and others.

The major and minor in Cognitive Science therefore represent a formal means of bringing together students and faculty in different disciplines who share common interests. We seek to enrich the view provided by any one discipline through an exploration or the methodologies of others. The minor is designed for students majoring in psychology, philosophy, computer science, or linguistics, although all students are welcome.

Requirements for the Cognitive Science Major

Total credits required for the major: 70

Required courses: 46 credits

  • CGSC 130 Introduction to Cognitive Science (6 credits)
  • CGSC 232/CGSC 233/PSYC 232/PSYC 233 Cognitive Processes and Laboratory in Cognitive Processes (8 credits)
  • CS 111 Introduction to Computer Science or PHIL 210 Logic (6 credits)
  • LING 115 Introduction to Theory of Syntax (6 credits)
  • PSYC 200/201 Measurement and Data Analysis (8 credits)
  • CGSC 391/392 (6 credits)
  • CGSC 396  Directed Research in Cognitive Studies (3 credits)
  • CGSC 400 Integrative Exercise (3 credits)

Note: Prior to beginning the comps sequence, majors must normally have completed CGSC 130, CGSC 232/233 and PSYC 200/201

Elective Courses: 24 credits from the following list. At least two must be a 300-level course. To ensure sufficient interdisciplinarity, no more than four courses may be taken from any one department or program.

  • BIOL 365 Seminar: Topics in Neuroscience
  • BIOL 368 Seminar: Developmental Neurobiology
  • BIOL 379 Seminar: Behavioral Genetics
  • BIOL 386 Neurobiology (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CGSC 236 Thinking, Reasoning, and Decision Making
  • CGSC 330 Embodied Cognition
  • CGSC 336 Moral Thinking, Reasoning, and Decision Making (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CGSC 340 Phenomenology and Cognitive Science (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CGSC 382 Cognitive Development in Children and Adolescents
  • CGSC 386 Adolescent Cognitive Development: Developing an Identity and Life Plans (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CS 254 Computability and Complexity
  • CS 314 Data Visualization
  • CS 321 Making Decisions with Artificial Intelligence
  • CS 322 Natural Language Processing (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CS 344 Human-Computer Interaction (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CS 361 Artificial Life and Digital Evolution
  • ECON 265 Game Theory and Economic Applications
  • ECON 267 Behavioral Economics
  • EDUC 234 Educational Psychology
  • IDSC 250 Color!
  • LING 117 Sociophonetics
  • LING 150 From Esperanto to Dothraki: The Linguistics of Invented Languages
  • LING 216 Generative Approaches to Syntax
  • LING 217 Phonetics and Phonology
  • LING 240 Semantics and Pragmatics (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 275 First Language Acquisition (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 280 Field Methods in Linguistics (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 285 Japanese Linguistics in Kyoto Seminar: The Linguistics of the Japanese Writing System
  • LING 315 Topics in Syntax
  • LING 316 Topics in Morphology (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 317 Topics in Phonology
  • LING 325 Syntax of an Unfamiliar Language (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 340 Topics in Semantics (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 375 Second Language Acquisition: Speech (not offered in 2022-23)
  • MUSC 227 Perception and Cognition of Music
  • NEUR 127 Foundations in Neuroscience and Lab
  • PHIL 100 Science, Faith and Rationality
  • PHIL 116 Sensation, Induction, Abduction, Deduction, Seduction (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 203 Bias, Belief, Community, Emotion
  • PHIL 217 Reason in Context: Limitations and Possibilities (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 223 Philosophy of Language (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 225 Philosophy of Mind (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 251 Evidence, Objectivity, and Realism in the Sciences (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 272 Early Modern Philosophy: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Philosophy
  • PHIL 273 Kant's Metaphysics (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 287 Conspiracy Theories and Dogmatism (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 303 Bias, Belief, Community, Emotion (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 373 Reptiles and Demons
  • PSYC 216 Behavioral Neuroscience
  • PSYC 220 Sensation and Perception
  • PSYC 234 Psychology of Language
  • PSYC 238 Memory Processes (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 250 Developmental Psychology (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 258 Social Cognition (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 267 Clinical Neuroscience (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 366 Cognitive Neuroscience (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 367 Neuropsychology of Aging
  • PSYC 371 Evolutionary and Developmental Trends in Cognition (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 375 Language and Deception (not offered in 2022-23)

Requirements for the Cognitive Science Minor

To encourage breadth within the minor, normally no more than four courses taken from a single department or program may be counted toward the minimum eight courses required.

Core Courses: (26 credits of four six-credit courses plus one two-credit lab course)

  • CGSC 130 Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • CGSC 232/CGSC 233/PSYC 232/PSYC 233 Cognitive Processes and Laboratory in Cognitive Processes (8 credits)

           Plus any two of the following courses:

Elective Courses: 24 credits from the following list. At least one must be a 300-level course. To ensure sufficient interdisciplinarity, no more than four courses may be taken from any one department or program.

  • BIOL 365 Seminar: Topics in Neuroscience
  • BIOL 368 Seminar: Developmental Neurobiology
  • BIOL 379 Seminar: Behavioral Genetics
  • BIOL 386 Neurobiology (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CGSC 236 Thinking, Reasoning, and Decision Making
  • CGSC 330 Embodied Cognition
  • CGSC 336 Moral Thinking, Reasoning, and Decision Making (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CGSC 340 Phenomenology and Cognitive Science (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CGSC 382 Cognitive Development in Children and Adolescents
  • CGSC 386 Adolescent Cognitive Development: Developing an Identity and Life Plans (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CS 254 Computability and Complexity
  • CS 314 Data Visualization
  • CS 321 Making Decisions with Artificial Intelligence
  • CS 322 Natural Language Processing (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CS 344 Human-Computer Interaction (not offered in 2022-23)
  • CS 361 Artificial Life and Digital Evolution
  • ECON 265 Game Theory and Economic Applications
  • ECON 267 Behavioral Economics
  • EDUC 234 Educational Psychology
  • IDSC 250 Color!
  • LING 117 Sociophonetics
  • LING 150 From Esperanto to Dothraki: The Linguistics of Invented Languages
  • LING 216 Generative Approaches to Syntax
  • LING 217 Phonetics and Phonology
  • LING 240 Semantics and Pragmatics (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 275 First Language Acquisition (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 280 Field Methods in Linguistics (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 285 Japanese Linguistics in Kyoto Seminar: The Linguistics of the Japanese Writing System
  • LING 315 Topics in Syntax
  • LING 316 Topics in Morphology (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 317 Topics in Phonology
  • LING 325 Syntax of an Unfamiliar Language (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 340 Topics in Semantics (not offered in 2022-23)
  • LING 375 Second Language Acquisition: Speech (not offered in 2022-23)
  • MUSC 227 Perception and Cognition of Music
  • NEUR 127 Foundations in Neuroscience and Lab
  • PHIL 100 Science, Faith and Rationality
  • PHIL 116 Sensation, Induction, Abduction, Deduction, Seduction (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 203 Bias, Belief, Community, Emotion
  • PHIL 217 Reason in Context: Limitations and Possibilities (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 223 Philosophy of Language (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 225 Philosophy of Mind (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 251 Evidence, Objectivity, and Realism in the Sciences (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 272 Early Modern Philosophy: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Philosophy
  • PHIL 273 Kant's Metaphysics (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 287 Conspiracy Theories and Dogmatism (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 303 Bias, Belief, Community, Emotion (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PHIL 373 Reptiles and Demons
  • PSYC 216 Behavioral Neuroscience
  • PSYC 220 Sensation and Perception
  • PSYC 234 Psychology of Language
  • PSYC 238 Memory Processes (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 250 Developmental Psychology (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 258 Social Cognition (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 267 Clinical Neuroscience (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 366 Cognitive Neuroscience (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 367 Neuropsychology of Aging
  • PSYC 371 Evolutionary and Developmental Trends in Cognition (not offered in 2022-23)
  • PSYC 375 Language and Deception (not offered in 2022-23)

Cognitive Science Courses

CGSC 130 Revolutions in Mind: An Introduction to Cognitive Science An interdisciplinary study of the history and current practice of the cognitive sciences. The course will draw on relevant work from diverse fields such as artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, philosophy, biology, and neuroscience. Topics to be discussed include: scientific revolutions, the mind-body problem, embodied cognition, perception, representation, and the extended mind. 6 credits; SI; Winter; Jonathan R McKinney
CGSC 130 The Musical Mind: An Introduction to Cognitive Science An interdisciplinary examination of issues concerning the mind and mental phenomena involved in the uniquely human activity of making and understanding music. The course will draw on psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, computer science, biology, and philosophy. Topics to be discussed include: the embodied cognition of rhythm; linguistic syntax and musical structure; mental representations of musical sound and action; musical learning and development; tone and beat deafness; and perfect pitch and neural plasticity. 6 credits; SI, WR2; Not offered 2022-23
CGSC 130 What Minds Are What They Do: An Introduction to Cognitive Science An interdisciplinary examination of issues concerning the mind and mental phenomena. The course will draw on work from diverse fields such as artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and neuroscience. Topics to be discussed include: the mind-body problem, embodied cognition, perception, representation, reasoning, and learning. 6 credits; SI, WR2; Fall; Jason A Decker
CGSC 232 Cognitive Processes Cross-listed with PSYC 232. An introduction to the study of mental activity. Topics include attention, pattern recognition and perception, memory, concept formation, categorization, and cognitive development. Some attention to gender and individual differences in cognition, as well as cultural settings for cognitive activities. A grade of C- or better must be earned in both Psychology/Cognitive Science 232 and 233 to satisfy the LS requirement. Prerequisite: Psychology 110, Cognitive Science 100, Cognitive Science 130 or instructor permission; concurrent registration in Cognitive Science 233. 6 credits; WR2, LS; Fall, Spring; Kathleen M Galotti, Jonathan R McKinney
CGSC 233 Laboratory in Cognitive Processes Cross-listed with PSYC 233. Students will participate in the replication and planning of empirical studies, collecting and analyzing data relevant to major cognitive phenomena. A grade of C- or better must be earned in both Psychology/Cognitive Science 232 and 233 to satisfy the LS requirement. Prerequisite: Concurrent registration in Cognitive Science 232; Psychology 110, Cognitive Science 100, Cognitive Science 130 or permission of the instructor. 2 credits; LS, QRE; Fall, Spring; Kathleen M Galotti, Jonathan R McKinney
CGSC 236 Thinking, Reasoning, and Decision Making An examination of the way people think and reason, both when given formal laboratory tasks and when facing problems and decisions in everyday life. Students consider their own reasoning and decision making through course exercises. Topics include models of formal reasoning, decision making, heuristics and biases in thinking and problem-solving, moral reasoning, improving skills of higher order cognition. Prerequisite: Psychology 110 or Cognitive Science 100 or 130. 6 credits; FSR, WR2; Winter; Kathleen M Galotti
CGSC 330 Embodied Cognition This seminar will consider recent work in philosophy, cognitive science and linguistics critical of views of human cognition as "disembodied" and Cartesian. Philosophical sources of the early critiques of symbolic AI and "cartesianism" will be considered (Merleau-Ponty, Dewey), as will the enactive (Cuffari, Di Paolo, and De Jaegher) and ecological (Chemero, Cowley, Steffensen) critiques of language, and current work on embodied cognition by Eleanor Rosch, Hubert Dreyfus, John Haugeland, Andy Clark and Evan Thompson. The seminar will include materials relevant to students in philosophy, linguistics, psychology and cognitive science. Prerequisite: Cognitive Science 130, or Cognitive Science/Psychology 232 or permission of the instructor. 6 credits; HI; Winter; Jonathan R McKinney
CGSC 336 Moral Thinking, Reasoning, and Decision Making In this seminar course we will examine how children, adolescents, and adults confront moral dilemmas, reason about ethical issues, and decide on a course of action when challenged by confounding questions. Topics include the development of moral reasoning, gender difference in moral reasoning, socio-cultural influences on moral reasoning, and how moral issues intersect with other realms of decision making. We will examine work by Lawrence Kohlberg, Carol Gilligan, Eliot Turiel, and Jonathan Haidt. As a seminar, the emphasis will be on discussion. Course requirements include regular attendance and participation, preparing and leading class discussions, short reaction/reflection papers, and a final paper.  Prerequisite: Cognitive Science 130 or Cognitive Science 232, 236 or any 200-level course in Psychology or Instructor Consent. 6 credits; SI; Not offered 2022-23
CGSC 340 Phenomenology and Cognitive Science This course will provide an in-depth study of phenomenology, covering both its history and contemporary debates, and phenomenology-inspired research in cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience. Roughly half the course will be devoted to the history of phenomenology, setting the main views within their historical context and explaining how these views respond to the difficulties of their predecessors. The other half will discuss contemporary philosophical debates and scientific research involving phenomenological approaches. Prerequisite: Cognitive Science 130 required, 200 level Cognitive Science, Psychology or Philosophy course recommended. 6 credits; HI; Not offered 2022-23
CGSC 382 Cognitive Development in Children and Adolescents This seminar will focus on the cognitive changes experienced by children in the preschool, elementary, and middle school years, in such realms as perception, attention, memory, thinking, decision-making, knowledge representation, and the acquisition of academic skills. Weekly observation at local day care centers or schools will be a required course component. The seminar will be discussion-based and participants will take turns making presentations and leading discussions.  Prerequisite: Psychology 250, Cognitive Science 232, Psychology 232 or Intructor consent. 6 credits; SI; Winter; Kathleen M Galotti
CGSC 386 Adolescent Cognitive Development: Developing an Identity and Life Plans An examination of recent literature on how adolescents develop their value system, explore their goals, begin to make life-framing decisions, establish new relationships, and discover answers to the question "Who am I?" Course readings will involve primary literature, and the course is discussion-based. Prerequisite: Psychology 250, Educational Studies 234 or consent of the instructor. 6 credits; SI; Not offered 2022-23
CGSC 394 Collaborative Research in Cognitive Science This course will be centered around a collaborative research project in cognitive science. Students enrolled will meet with the instructor to complete background readings and discussions, then will create recruiting materials, consent forms, IRB applications, debriefing statements, stimuli, and task instructions. They will then gather data from research participants and participate in data entry, analysis, and writing up the results. This course may be repeated multiple terms. Prerequisite: Cognitive Science 233 or Psychology 233. 2 credits; NE; Not offered 2022-23
CGSC 396 Directed Research in Cognitive Studies Senior majors in cognitive studies will work with the instructor to develop a thesis proposal for their comps project. Prerequisite: Cognitive Science 130, Cognitive Science/Psychology 232/233 and Psychology 200/201 or Instructor Consent. 3 credits; NE; Fall; Justin M London
CGSC 400 Integrative Exercise 3 credits; S/NC; Spring; Kathleen M Galotti