Cognitive Science Program

Director: Gwen J. Broude (Psychology); Faculty Members: Janet K. Andrews (Psychology), Herman Cappelen (Philosophy), Carol Christensen (Psychology), Jennifer Church (Philosophy), Nancy Ide (Computer Science), Kenneth R. Livingston (Psychology), John H. Long, Jr. (Biology); Participating Faculty:Randolph Cornelius (Psychology), Jeffrey Cynx (Psychology), Thomas Ellman (Computer Science), John Feroe (Mathematics), Janet Gray (Psychology), Kevin Holloway (Psychology), Jannay Morrow (Psychology), Thomas Porcello (Anthropology), Carolyn Palmer (Psychology), Kathleen M. Susman (Biology), Douglas Winblad (Philosophy), Debra Zeifman (Psychology).

The relationship between consciousness and brain activity, the nature of language and symbolism, the possibility of machine intelligence, and the explanation of perception, memory, thought, emotion, and metaphor are such rich and complex problems that their exploration demands a multidisciplinary approach. Studies in the field of cognitive science combine the conceptual analysis of philosophy and linguistics with the technology of computer science and the empirical research of psychology and neuroscience in an attempt to understand these phenomena.

The key elements of the major in cognitive science are (1) sustained exposure to an integrated multidisciplinary perspective through the Core Courses in cognitive science, (2) development of thematic expertise or breadth in Cognitive Science themes and methods, (3) completion during the senior year of an independent research project on a topic chosen by the student.

The first of these goals is met by completion of the following courses. All majors are required to complete all of these courses:

Cognitive Science 100 Introduction to Cognitive Science (1)
Cognitive Science 211 Perception and Action (1)
Cognitive Science 213 Language (1)
Cognitive Science 215 Knowledge and Cognition (1)
Psychology 200 Statistics and Experimental Design (1)
Cognitive Science 219 Research Methods in Cognitive Science (1)
Cognitive Science 311 Seminar in Cognitive Science (1)
The second goal of the major is met by choosing four courses from the possible electives listed below. The following stipulations apply to electives: (1) The choice of electives must be made in consultation with the adviser at the time of declaration of the major. (2) Elective courses should allow students either to (a) gain thematic expertise or (b) attain breadth in Cognitive Science themes and methods. (3) At least one of the four electives must be a 300-level seminar. This can include a second Cognitive Science seminar. (4) No more than one of the electives can be a 100-level course. The exception is the Computer Science 101-102 sequence. A student who takes this sequence can have both courses count toward the major.
Approved Courses:
Anthropology 150 Linguistic and Anthropology (1)
Anthropology 250 Language, Culture, and Society (1)
Biology 151 The Evolution of Diversity (1)
Biology 152 The Cellular Basis of Life (1)
Biology 226 Animal Structure and Diversity (1)
Biology 228 Animal Physiology (1)
Biology 238 Principles of Genetics (1)
Biology 316 Neurobiology (1)
Biology 340 Animal Behavior (1)
Biology 350 Evolutionary Biology (1)
Computer Science 101 Computer Science I: Problemsolving and Procedural Abstraction (1)
Computer Science 102 Computer Science II: Objects and Data Abstraction (1)
Computer Science 240 Language Theory and Computation (1)
Computer Science 265 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (1)
Computer Science 340 Theory of Computation (1)
Computer Science 365 Topics in Artificial Intelligence (1)
Philosophy 125 Symbolic (1)
Philosophy 220 Metaphysics and Epistemology (1)
Philosophy 222 Philosophy of Language (1)
Philosophy 224 Philosophy of Mind (1)
Philosophy 310 Seminar in Analytic Philosophy: The Limits of Thought* (1)
Psychology 221 Learning and Behavior (1)
Psychology 223 Comparative Psychology (1)
Psychology 229 Research Methods in Learning and Behavior (1)
Psychology 231 Principles of Development
Psychology 239 Research Methods in Developmental Psychology (1)
Psychology 241 Principles of Physiological Psychology (1)
Psychology 243 Topics in Physiological Psychology* (1)
Psychology 249 Research Methods in Physiological Psychology (1)
Psychology 262 Abnormal Psychology (1)
Psychology 323 Seminar in Comparative Psychology (1)
Psychology 331 Seminar in Developmental Psychology (1)
Psychology 341 Seminar in Physiological Psychology (1)
Psychology 343 Seminar on States of Consciousness (1)
Biopsychology 201 Models and Systems in Biopsychology (1)
Biopsychology 301 Seminar in Biopsychology (1)

*Students should consult with their advisers to decide which sections of Philosophy 310 and Psychology 243 are relevant to their concentration.

The final goal of the major is met by completing a thesis in the senior year. The topic of the thesis is chosen by the student in consultation with one or more members of the program faculty. All majors must sign up for the thesis in the senior year. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for Cognitive Science 300-301 for 1/2 credit in the a-semester and 1/2 credit in the b-semester, for a total of 1 unit of credit. In cases where this is not possible it is acceptable to sign up for Cognitive Science 302 for a full unit in either the a- or the b-term. Consult your adviser before electing the latter option.

After declaration of the major, all courses within the major must be taken for letter grades. Students may elect a graded or ungraded option for theses, but may not change the election once made.

100a and b.   Introduction to Cognitive Science
This course serves as an introduction to the multidisciplinary field of cognitive science. The course provides the historical context of the emergence of cognitive science, tracing developments in modern philosophy and linguistics, and the rise of cognitivism and neuroscience in psychology and of artificial intelligence in computer science. The basic substantive issues of cognitive science discussed in-clude the mind-body problem, thought as computation and the computer model of mind, the role of representation in mental activity, and the explanation of mental activity via categories such as language, memory, perception, reasoning, and consciousness. The discussions of these issues illustrate the distinctive methodology of cognitive science, which integrates elements of the methodological approaches of several disciplines. The program faculty.
211a.   Perception and Action
(Same as Psychology 211) This course is about how systems for perceiving the world come to be coordinated with systems for acting in that world. Topics include how physical energies become perceptual experiences, systems for producing complex actions, and how it is that actions are brought under the control of perceptions. Relevant evidence is drawn from behavioral and neuroscientific studies of other species and from human infants and children, as well as from human adults. Computer models of these processes and the problem of replicating them in robots are considered. Classes include regular laboratory work.
       Prerequisite: Cognitive Science 100.
213a.   Language
(Same as Psychology 213) This course considers the rich and complex phenomenon of human language from a multidisciplinary perspective. The emphasis is on the cognitive representations and processes that enable individual language users to acquire, perceive, comprehend, produce, read, and write language. Consideration is given to the relation of language to thought and consciousness to neural substrates of language and the effects of brain damage on language ability to computational models of language and to language development. Throughout, language is examined at different levels of analysis, including sound, structure, and meaning.
       Prerequisite: Cognitive Science 100.
215b.   Knowledge and Cognition
(Same as Psychology 215) This course focuses on higher-order cognitive processes and abilities. The phenomena studied include memory, organization of knowledge, concepts, imagery, problem-solving, and reasoning. Relevant philosophical issues are examined along with research on the brain, experimental evidence from cognitive psychology, and some computer models. A major goal of the course is to show how these elements are integrated in the developing framework of cognitive science. The program faculty.
       Prerequisite: Cognitive Science 100.
219b.   Research Methods in Cognitive Science
(Same as Psychology 219b) In this course, students learn to apply the principal methodologies of cognitive science to a specific problem in the field, such as sentence processing or visual form perception. The methods are drawn from human neurophysiology, experimental cognitive psychology, computer modelling, linguistic and logical analysis, and other appropriate investigative tools, depending on the specific issue chosen for study. A major goal of the course is to give students hands-on experience with the use and coordination of research techniques and strategies characteristic of contemporary cognitive science. The program faculty.
       Prerequisites: Psychology 200, and either Cognitive Science 211, 213, 215, or Psychology 241.
290a and b.   Field Work
(1/2 or 1)
298a and b.   Independent Work
(1/2 or 1)
300-301.   Senior Thesis
A thesis written in two semesters for 1 unit.
302a.   and b. Senior Thesis
A thesis written in one semester for 1 unit.
311b.   Seminar in Cognitive Science
The topic of the seminar varies regularly, but is always focused on some aspect of thought, language, perception, or action considered from the unique, synthetic perspective of cognitive science. The seminar is team-taught by faculty members in the program. May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.
       Topic for 2002/03: Language. Ms. Andrews.
       Prerequisite: An intermediate-level course in cognitive science or permission of the instructors.
       One 3-hour period.
399a and b.   Senior Independent Work
(1/2 or 1)