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Cognitive Studies Concentration (CGST)

Director: Professor Kathleen Galotti

Cognitive studies 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 and is undertaken in such disciplines as cognitive psychology, linguistics, philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, social cognition and others. The concentration in cognitive studies therefore represents 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 of the contributions of others.

The concentration is designed for students majoring in psychology, philosophy, computer science or linguistics (as a special major), although all students are welcome. In recent years, special majors in Cognitive Studies have been approved by petition through the Academic Standing Committee. Special majors typically require students to complete all of the "core" concentration courses, plus four elective courses and integrative exercise.

Requirements for the Concentration:

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

Core Courses: (24 credits-four six-credit courses)

CS 117 Introduction to Computer Science

Note: For 2006-07 the designated seminars are:

PSYC 374 Eyewitness Testimony

PSYC 377 Research Seminar in Language: Conversational Processes

PSYC 380: Seminar in Developmental Psychology: Cognitive Development During the Preschool Years

Plus any two of the following courses:

LING 115 Introduction to Theory of Syntax

PSYC 232/233 Cognitive Processes and Laboratory

PHIL 210 Logic or

CS 117 Introduction to Computer Science

Elective Courses: (24 credits) from the following list. At least one must be a 300-level course. No more than four courses from any one department (or cross-listed with any one department) may be counted toward the concentration.

LING 270 Language, Speech, and Evolution (not offered in 2006-2007)

LING 317 Topics in Phonology (not offered in 2006-2007)

PHIL 110 Evolution and Mind

PSYC 215 Memory and Amnesia (not offered in 2006-2007)

PSYC 236 Thinking, Reasoning, and Decision-Making (not offered in 2006-2007)

PSYC 256 Social Behavior and Interpersonal Processes

PSYC 364 Psychology of Reading Words (not offered in 2006-2007)

THEA 209 Project Course: The Lovesong of the Electric Bear

The Dyad or Triad in Cognitive Studies

Origins and Minds, an introduction to questions regarding the nature of biological evolution and the evolution of mind, language and culture, will be offered as both a Triad and a Dyad during fall term.

Students registering for the Triad of courses listed above must register for Biology 125, Philosophy 110-01 and Psychology 110. Students registering for the Dyad must register for Biology 125 and Philosophy 110-02.

Central questions to be discussed include: the nature of Darwinian evolution; the nature, structure and function of human language; the nature of mind and consciousness; the possibility of innate structures of cognition and language; the universality and universality and diversity of human culture and categorization of experience.

Biologists, psychologists and philosophers are intrigued by evolution, cognition, and behavior but go about asking and answering questions in distinctive ways. For example, biologists consider the brain from a genetic and evolutionary frame of reference. Philosophers and psychologists advance and consider different theories of how the mind works. By combining these approaches, a more holistic appreciation for brain-mind-behavior relationships develop. The theory of evolution readily encompasses these approaches and raises additional questions as well, as current discussions in biology, psychology and philosophy reveal: How and why did the mind evolve? Can the roles of cognition and culture be effectively addressed by evolutionary theory? What can the biology of the gene and the psychology of cognition tell us about language, learning, culture, ethics, consciousness and free will? Finally, what is the nature and explanatory power of the theory of evolution itself?

Lab experiences will primarily be in biology. There will be a common weekly meeting withe the faculty members to enhance the interdisciplinary nature of the program.

Cognitive Studies Courses

CGST 130. How to Build a Mind: An Introduction to Cognitive Science Recently, psychologists, linguists, philosophers, biologists, and computer scientists have begun to share the insights their differing perspectives bring to certain issues involving perception, imagery, knowledge representation, thinking and consciousness. This class will give students a broad introduction to the history and practice of this multidisciplinary approach. 6 cr., SS, WinterR. Elveton

CGST 360. Artificial Intelligence How can we design computer systems with behavior that seems “intelligent?” This course will examine a number of different approaches to this question, including intelligent agents, machine learning (including neural networks and genetic algorithms), and reasoning with uncertainty. We will also examine search methods, with an interest in computer game playing. This course is actually a computer science course (CS 327), but cognitive studies students may enroll in the course as CGST 360. Instead of the computer programs that CS 327 students submit, CGST 360 students submit solutions to a variety of analytical and mathematical problems. Prerequisites: Mathematics 111 and 121. 6 cr., MS, FallD. Musicant

CGST 396. Directed Research in Cognitive Studies Senior majors in cognitive studies will work with the director to develop a thesis proposal for their comps project. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. 3 cr., ND, Not offered in 2006-2007.

CGST 400. Integrative Exercise 3 cr., S/CR/NC, ND, Not offered in 2006-2007.