Cognitive science

Cognitive science

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Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of mind and its processes. It examines what cognition
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

 is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on how information is processed (in faculties such as perception, language, memory, reasoning, and emotion), represented, and transformed in behaviour, (human or other animal) nervous system or machine (e.g., computer). Cognitive science consists of multiple research disciplines, including psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

, linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, and education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

. It spans many levels of analysis, from low-level learning and decision mechanisms to high-level logic and planning; from neural circuitry to modular brain organization. The term cognitive science was coined by Christopher Longuet-Higgins
H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins
Hugh Christopher Longuet-Higgins FRS was both a theoretical chemist and a cognitive scientist. He was born on April 11, 1923 in Kent, England and died on March 27, 2004....

 in his 1973 commentary on the Lighthill report
Lighthill report
The Lighthill report is the name commonly used for the paper "Artificial Intelligence: A General Survey" by James Lighthill, published in Artificial Intelligence: a paper symposium in 1973....

, which concerned the then-current state of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

 research. In the same decade, the journal Cognitive Science and the Cognitive Science Society
Cognitive Science Society
The Cognitive Science Society is a professional society for the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science. It brings together researchers from many fields who hold the common goal of understanding the nature of the human mind...

 were founded. In 1982, Vassar College
Vassar College
Vassar College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, in the United States. The Vassar campus comprises over and more than 100 buildings, including four National Historic Landmarks, ranging in style from Collegiate Gothic to International,...

 became the first institution in the world to grant an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science.

History


Cognitive science has a pre-history traceable back to ancient Greek philosophical texts (see Plato's Meno
Meno
Meno is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. It attempts to determine the definition of virtue, or arete, meaning virtue in general, rather than particular virtues, such as justice or temperance. The first part of the work is written in the Socratic dialectical style and Meno is reduced to...

); and certainly must include writers such as Descartes, David Hume
David Hume
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

, Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

, Benedict de Spinoza, Nicolas Malebranche
Nicolas Malebranche
Nicolas Malebranche ; was a French Oratorian and rationalist philosopher. In his works, he sought to synthesize the thought of St. Augustine and Descartes, in order to demonstrate the active role of God in every aspect of the world...

, Pierre Cabanis, Leibniz and John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

. But, although these early writers contributed greatly to the philosophical discovery of mind
Mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

 and this would ultimately lead to the development of psychology, they were working with an entirely different set of tools and core concepts than those of the cognitive scientist.

The modern culture of cognitive science can be traced back to the early cyberneticists
Cybernetics
Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to information theory, control theory and systems theory, at least in its first-order form...

 in the 1930s and 1940s, such as Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts
Walter Pitts
Walter Harry Pitts, Jr. was a logician who worked in the field of cognitive psychology.He proposed landmark theoretical formulations of neural activity and emergent processes that influenced diverse fields such as cognitive sciences and psychology, philosophy, neurosciences, computer science,...

, who sought to understand the organizing principles of the mind. McCulloch and Pitts developed the first variants of what are now known as artificial neural networks, models of computation inspired by the structure of biological neural networks.

Another precursor was the early development of the theory of computation
Theory of computation
In theoretical computer science, the theory of computation is the branch that deals with whether and how efficiently problems can be solved on a model of computation, using an algorithm...

 and the digital computer in the 1940s and 1950s. Alan Turing
Alan Turing
Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS , was an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which played a...

 and John von Neumann
John von Neumann
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician and polymath who made major contributions to a vast number of fields, including set theory, functional analysis, quantum mechanics, ergodic theory, geometry, fluid dynamics, economics and game theory, computer science, numerical analysis,...

 were instrumental in these developments. The modern computer, or Von Neumann machine
Von Neumann machine
Von Neumann machine may refer to:.* Von Neumann architecture, a conceptual model of a computer architecture* The IAS machine, a computer designed in the 1940s based on von Neuman's design...

, would play a central role in cognitive science, both as a metaphor for the mind, and as a tool for investigation.

In 1959, Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 published a scathing review of B. F. Skinner
B. F. Skinner
Burrhus Frederic Skinner was an American behaviorist, author, inventor, baseball enthusiast, social philosopher and poet...

's book Verbal Behavior. At the time, Skinner's behaviorist paradigm dominated psychology: Most psychologists focused on functional relations between stimulus and response, without positing internal representations. Chomsky argued that in order to explain language, we needed a theory like generative grammar
Generative grammar
In theoretical linguistics, generative grammar refers to a particular approach to the study of syntax. A generative grammar of a language attempts to give a set of rules that will correctly predict which combinations of words will form grammatical sentences...

, which not only attributed internal representations but characterized their underlying order.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, much cognitive science research focused on the possibility of artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

. Researchers such as Marvin Minsky
Marvin Minsky
Marvin Lee Minsky is an American cognitive scientist in the field of artificial intelligence , co-founder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AI laboratory, and author of several texts on AI and philosophy.-Biography:...

 would write computer programs in languages such as LISP
Lisp
A lisp is a speech impediment, historically also known as sigmatism. Stereotypically, people with a lisp are unable to pronounce sibilants , and replace them with interdentals , though there are actually several kinds of lisp...

 to attempt to formally characterize the steps that human beings went through, for instance, in making decisions and solving problems, in the hope of better understanding human thought, and also in the hope of creating artificial minds. This approach is known as "symbolic AI".

Eventually the limits of the symbolic AI research program became apparent. For instance, it seemed to be unrealistic to comprehensively list human knowledge in a form usable by a symbolic computer program. The late 80s and 90s saw the rise of neural networks
Neural Networks
Neural Networks is the official journal of the three oldest societies dedicated to research in neural networks: International Neural Network Society, European Neural Network Society and Japanese Neural Network Society, published by Elsevier...

 and connectionism
Connectionism
Connectionism is a set of approaches in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience and philosophy of mind, that models mental or behavioral phenomena as the emergent processes of interconnected networks of simple units...

 as a research paradigm. Under this point of view, often attributed to James McClelland and David Rumelhart
David Rumelhart
David Everett Rumelhart was an American psychologist who made many contributions to the formal analysis of human cognition, working primarily within the frameworks of mathematical psychology, symbolic artificial intelligence, and parallel distributed processing...

, the mind could be characterized as a set of complex associations, represented as a layered network. Critics argue that there are some phenomena which are better captured by symbolic models, and that connectionist models are often so complex as to have little explanatory power. Recently symbolic and connectionist models have been combined, making it possible to take advantage of both forms of explanation.

Levels of analysis


A central tenet of cognitive science is that a complete understanding of the mind/brain cannot be attained by studying only a single level. An example would be the problem of remembering a phone number and recalling it later. One approach to understanding this process would be to study behavior through direct observation. A person could be presented with a phone number, asked to recall it after some delay. Then the accuracy of the response could be measured. Another approach would be to study the firings of individual neurons while a person is trying to remember the phone number. Neither of these experiments on their own would fully explain how the process of remembering a phone number works. Even if the technology to map out every neuron in the brain in real-time were available, and it were known when each neuron was firing, it would still be impossible to know how a particular firing of neurons translates into the observed behavior. Thus an understanding of how these two levels relate to each other is needed. This can be provided by a functional level account of the process. Studying a particular phenomenon from multiple levels creates a better understanding of the processes that occur in the brain to give rise to a particular behavior.
Marr gave a famous description of three levels of analysis:
  1. the computational theory, specifying the goals of the computation;
  2. representation and algorithm, giving a representation of the input and output and the algorithm which transforms one into the other; and
  3. the hardware implementation, how algorithm and representation may be physically realized.


(See also the entry on functionalism
Functionalism (philosophy of mind)
Functionalism is a theory of the mind in contemporary philosophy, developed largely as an alternative to both the identity theory of mind and behaviourism. Its core idea is that mental states are constituted solely by their functional role — that is, they are causal relations to other mental...

.)

Interdisciplinary nature


Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field with contributors from various fields, including psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

, linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

, computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

, anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, and biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

. Cognitive science tends to view the world outside the mind much as other sciences do. Thus it too has an objective, observer-independent existence. The field is usually seen as compatible with the physical sciences, and uses the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 as well as simulation
Simulation
Simulation is the imitation of some real thing available, state of affairs, or process. The act of simulating something generally entails representing certain key characteristics or behaviours of a selected physical or abstract system....

 or modeling, often comparing the output of models with aspects of human behavior. Some doubt whether there is a unified cognitive science and prefer to speak of the cognitive sciences in plural.

Many, but not all, who consider themselves cognitive scientists have a functionalist
Functionalism (philosophy of mind)
Functionalism is a theory of the mind in contemporary philosophy, developed largely as an alternative to both the identity theory of mind and behaviourism. Its core idea is that mental states are constituted solely by their functional role — that is, they are causal relations to other mental...

 view of the mind—the view that mental states are classified functionally, such that any system that performs the proper function for some mental state is considered to be in that mental state. According to some versions of functionalism, even non-human systems, such as other animal species, alien life forms, or advanced computers can, in principle, have mental states.

Cognitive science: the term


The term "cognitive" in "cognitive science" is "used for any kind of mental operation or structure that can be studied in precise terms" (Lakoff
George Lakoff
George P. Lakoff is an American cognitive linguist and professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972...

 and Johnson
Mark Johnson (professor)
Mark L. Johnson is Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. He is well-known for contributions to embodied philosophy, cognitive science and cognitive linguistics, some of which he has coauthored with George Lakoff such as...

, 1999). This conceptualization is very broad, and should not be confused with how "cognitive" is used in some traditions of analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century...

, where "cognitive" has to do only with formal rules and truth conditional semantics.

The earliest entries for the word "cognitive" in the OED
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

 take it to mean roughly pertaining "to the action or process of knowing". The first entry, from 1586, shows the word was at one time used in the context of discussions of Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

nic theories of knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

. Most in cognitive science, however, presumably do not believe their field is the study of anything as certain as the knowledge sought by Plato.

Scope


Cognitive science is a large field, and covers a wide array of topics on cognition. However, it should be recognized that cognitive science is not equally concerned with every topic that might bear on the nature and operation of the mind or intelligence. Social and cultural factors, emotion, consciousness, animal cognition
Animal cognition
Animal cognition is the title given to the study of the mental capacities of non-human animals. It has developed out of comparative psychology, but has also been strongly influenced by the approach of ethology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary psychology...

, comparative
Comparative psychology
Comparative psychology generally refers to the scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of non-human animals. However, scientists from different disciplines do not always agree on this definition...

 and evolutionary
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

 approaches are frequently de-emphasized or excluded outright, often based on key philosophical conflicts. Another important mind-related subject that the cognitive sciences tend to avoid is the existence of qualia
Qualia
Qualia , singular "quale" , from a Latin word meaning for "what sort" or "what kind," is a term used in philosophy to refer to subjective conscious experiences as 'raw feels'. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, the experience of taking a recreational drug, or the...

, with discussions over this issue being sometimes limited to only mentioning qualia as a philosophically-open matter. Some within the cognitive science community, however, consider these to be vital topics, and advocate the importance of investigating them.

Below are some of the main topics that cognitive science is concerned with. This is not an exhaustive list, but is meant to cover the wide range of intelligent behaviors. See List of cognitive science topics for a list of various aspects of the field.

Artificial intelligence


"... One major contribution of AI and cognitive science to psychology has been the information processing model of human thinking in which the metaphor of brain-as-computer is taken quite literally.
."
AAAI Web pages.

Artificial intelligence (AI) involves the study of cognitive phenomena in machines. One of the practical goals of AI is to implement aspects of human intelligence in computers. Computers are also widely used as a tool with which to study cognitive phenomena. Computational modeling uses simulations to study how human intelligence may be structured. (See the section on computational modeling in the Research Methods section.)

There is some debate in the field as to whether the mind is best viewed as a huge array of small but individually feeble elements (i.e. neurons), or as a collection of higher-level structures such as symbols, schemas, plans, and rules. The former view uses connectionism
Connectionism
Connectionism is a set of approaches in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience and philosophy of mind, that models mental or behavioral phenomena as the emergent processes of interconnected networks of simple units...

 to study the mind, whereas the latter emphasizes symbolic computations. One way to view the issue is whether it is possible to accurately simulate a human brain on a computer without accurately simulating the neurons that make up the human brain.

Attention


Attention is the selection of important information. The human mind is bombarded with millions of stimuli and it must have a way of deciding which of this information to process. Attention is sometimes seen as a spotlight, meaning one can only shine the light on a particular set of information. Experiments that support this metaphor include the dichotic listening
Dichotic listening
In cognitive psychology, dichotic listening is a procedure commonly used to investigate selective attention in the auditory system. In dichotic listening, two different auditory stimuli are presented to the participant simultaneously, one to each ear, normally using a set of headphones...

 task (Cherry, 1957) and studies of inattentional blindness
Inattentional blindness
Inattentional blindness, also known as perceptual blindness, is when a person fails to notice some stimulus that is in plain sight. This stimulus is usually unexpected but fully visible. This typically happens because humans are overloaded with inputs. It is impossible to pay attention to every...

 (Mack and Rock, 1998). In the dichotic listening task, subjects are bombarded with two different messages, one in each ear, and told to focus on only one of the messages. At the end of the experiment, when asked about the content of the unattended message, subjects cannot report it.

Knowledge, and Processing, of Language



The ability to learn and understand language is an extremely complex process. Language is acquired within the first few years of life, and all humans under normal circumstances are able to acquire language proficiently. A major driving force in the theoretical linguistic field is discovering the nature that language must have in the abstract in order to be learned in such a fashion. Some of the driving research questions in studying how the brain itself processes language include: (1) To what extent is linguistic knowledge innate or learned?, (2) Why is it more difficult for adults to acquire a second-language than it is for infants to acquire their first-language?, and (3) How are humans able to understand novel sentences?

The study of language processing ranges from the investigation of the sound patterns of speech to the meaning of words and whole sentences. Linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 often divides language processing into orthography
Orthography
The orthography of a language specifies a standardized way of using a specific writing system to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur, Serbian or Inuktitut, there can be more than one orthography...

, phonology
Phonology
Phonology is, broadly speaking, the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language. That is, it is the systematic use of sound to encode meaning in any spoken human language, or the field of linguistics studying this use...

 and phonetics
Phonetics
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

, morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

, syntax
Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

, semantics
Semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata....

, and pragmatics
Pragmatics
Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory, conversational implicature, talk in interaction and other approaches to language behavior in philosophy, sociology, and linguistics. It studies how the...

. Many aspects of language can be studied from each of these components and from their interaction.

The study of language processing in cognitive science is closely tied to the field of linguistics. Linguistics was traditionally studied as a part of the humanities, including studies of history, art and literature. In the last fifty years or so, more and more researchers have studied knowledge and use of language as a cognitive phenomenon, the main problems being how knowledge of language can be acquired and used, and what precisely it consists of. Linguists
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 have found that, while humans form sentences in ways apparently governed by very complex systems, they are remarkably unaware of the rules that govern their own speech. Thus linguists must resort to indirect methods to determine what those rules might be, if indeed rules as such exist. In any event, if speech is indeed governed by rules, they appear to be opaque to any conscious consideration.

Learning and development


Learning and development are the processes by which we acquire knowledge and information over time. Infants are born with little or no knowledge (depending on how knowledge is defined), yet they rapidly acquire the ability to use language, walk, and recognize people and objects. Research in learning and development aims to explain the mechanisms by which these processes might take place.

A major question in the study of cognitive development is the extent to which certain abilities are innate or learned. This is often framed in terms of the nature versus nurture
Nature versus nurture
The nature versus nurture debate concerns the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities versus personal experiences The nature versus nurture debate concerns the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities ("nature," i.e. nativism, or innatism) versus personal experiences...

 debate. The nativist
Psychological nativism
In the field of psychology, nativism is the view that certain skills or abilities are 'native' or hard wired into the brain at birth. This is in contrast to empiricism, the 'blank slate' or tabula rasa view, which states that the brain has inborn capabilities for learning from the environment but...

 view emphasizes that certain features are innate to an organism and are determined by its genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 endowment. The empiricist
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

 view, on the other hand, emphasizes that certain abilities are learned from the environment. Although clearly both genetic and environmental input is needed for a child to develop normally, considerable debate remains about how genetic information might guide cognitive development. In the area of language acquisition
Language acquisition
Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. This capacity involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an extensive vocabulary. This language might be vocal as with...

, for example, some (such as Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker
Steven Arthur Pinker is a Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author...

) have argued that specific information containing universal grammatical rules must be contained in the genes, whereas others (such as Jeffrey Elman and colleagues in Rethinking Innateness
Rethinking Innateness
Published in 1996 by Jeffrey Elman, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Elizabeth Bates, Mark Johnson, Domenico Parisi, and Kim Plunkett, Rethinking Innateness: A connectionist perspective on development is a book regarding gene/environment interaction...

) have argued that Pinker's claims are biologically unrealistic. They argue that genes determine the architecture of a learning system, but that specific "facts" about how grammar works can only be learned as a result of experience.

Memory


Memory allows us to store information for later retrieval. Memory is often thought of consisting of both a long-term and short-term store. Long-term memory allows us to store information over prolonged periods (days, weeks, years). We do not yet know the practical limit of long-term memory capacity. Short-term memory allows us to store information over short time scales (seconds or minutes).

Memory is also often grouped into declarative and procedural forms. Declarative memory
Declarative memory
Declarative memory is one of two types of long term human memory. It refers to memories which can be consciously recalled such as facts and knowledge. Its counterpart is known as non-declarative or Procedural memory, which refers to unconscious memories such as skills...

--grouped into subsets of semantic
Semantic memory
Semantic memory refers to the memory of meanings, understandings, and other concept-based knowledge unrelated to specific experiences. The conscious recollection of factual information and general knowledge about the world is generally thought to be independent of context and personal relevance...

 and episodic forms of memory
Episodic memory
Episodic memory is the memory of autobiographical events that can be explicitly stated. Semantic and episodic memory together make up the category of declarative memory, which is one of the two major divisions in memory...

--refers to our memory for facts and specific knowledge, specific meanings, and specific experiences (e.g., Who was the first president of the U.S.A.?, or "What did I eat for breakfast four days ago?). Procedural memory
Procedural memory
Procedural memory is memory for how to do things. Procedural memory guides the processes we perform and most frequently resides below the level of conscious awareness. When needed, procedural memories are automatically retrieved and utilized for the execution of the integrated procedures involved...

 allows us to remember actions and motor sequences (e.g. how to ride a bicycle) and is often dubbed implicit knowledge or memory .

Cognitive scientists study memory just as psychologists do, but tend to focus in more on how memory bears on cognitive processes, and the interrelationship between cognition and memory. One example of this could be, what mental processes does a person go through to retrieve a long-lost memory? Or, what differentiates between the cognitive process of recognition (seeing hints of something before remembering it, or memory in context) and recall (retrieving a memory, as in "fill-in-the-blank")?

Perception and action




Perception is the ability to take in information via the senses, and process it in some way. Vision
Visual perception
Visual perception is the ability to interpret information and surroundings from the effects of visible light reaching the eye. The resulting perception is also known as eyesight, sight, or vision...

 and hearing
Hearing (sense)
Hearing is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations through an organ such as the ear. It is one of the traditional five senses...

 are two dominant senses that allow us to perceive the environment. Some questions in the study of visual perception, for example, include: (1) How are we able to recognize objects?, (2) Why do we perceive a continuous visual environment, even though we only see small bits of it at any one time? One tool for studying visual perception is by looking at how people process optical illusion
Optical illusion
An optical illusion is characterized by visually perceived images that differ from objective reality. The information gathered by the eye is processed in the brain to give a perception that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source...

s. The image on the right of a Necker cube is an example of a bistable percept, that is, the cube can be interpreted as being oriented in two different directions.

The study of haptic
Haptic perception
Haptic perception is the process of recognizing objects through touch. It involves a combination of somatosensory perception of patterns on the skin surface and proprioception of hand position and conformation....

 (tactile), olfactory, and gustatory stimuli also fall into the domain of perception.

Action is taken to refer to the output of a system. In humans, this is accomplished through motor responses. Spatial planning and movement, speech production, and complex motor movements are all aspects of action.

Research methods


Many different methodologies are used to study cognitive science. As the field is highly interdisciplinary, research often cuts across multiple areas of study, drawing on research methods from psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

, computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

 and systems theory
Systems theory
Systems theory is the transdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research...

.

Behavioral experiments


In order to have a description of what constitutes intelligent behavior, one must study behavior itself. This type of research is closely tied to that in cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

 and psychophysics
Psychophysics
Psychophysics quantitatively investigates the relationship between physical stimuli and the sensations and perceptions they effect. Psychophysics has been described as "the scientific study of the relation between stimulus and sensation" or, more completely, as "the analysis of perceptual...

. By measuring behavioral responses to different stimuli, one can understand something about how those stimuli are processed. Lewandowski and Strohmetz (2009) review a collection of innovative uses of behavioral measurement in psychology including behavioral traces, behavioral observations, and behavioral choice. Behavioral traces are pieces of evidence that indicate behavior occurred, but the actor is not present (e.g., litter in a parking lot or readings on an electric meter). Behavioral observations involve the direct witnessing of the actor engaging in the behavior (e.g., watching how close a person sits next to another person). Behavioral choices are when a person selects between two or more options (e.g., voting behavior, choice of a punishment for another participant).
  • Reaction time. The time between the presentation of a stimulus and an appropriate response can indicate differences between two cognitive processes, and can indicate some things about their nature. For example, if in a search task the reaction times vary proportionally with the number of elements, then it is evident that this cognitive process of searching involves serial instead of parallel processing.

  • Psychophysical responses. Psychophysical experiments are an old psychological technique, which has been adopted by cognitive psychology. They typically involve making judgments of some physical property, e.g. the loudness of a sound. Correlation of subjective scales between individuals can show cognitive or sensory biases as compared to actual physical measurements. Some examples include:
    • sameness judgments for colors, tones, textures, etc.
    • threshold differences for colors, tones, textures, etc.

  • Eye tracking
    Eye tracking
    Eye tracking is the process of measuring either the point of gaze or the motion of an eye relative to the head. An eye tracker is a device for measuring eye positions and eye movement. Eye trackers are used in research on the visual system, in psychology, in cognitive linguistics and in product...

    .
    This methodology is used to study a variety of cognitive processes, most notably visual perception and language processing. The fixation point of the eyes is linked to an individual's focus of attention. Thus, by monitoring eye movements, we can study what information is being processed at a given time. Eye tracking allows us to study cognitive processes on extremely short time scales. Eye movements reflect online decision making during a task, and they provide us with some insight into the ways in which those decisions may be processed.

Brain imaging


Brain imaging involves analyzing activity within the brain while performing various cognitive tasks. This allows us to link behavior and brain function to help understand how information is processed. Different types of imaging techniques vary in their temporal (time-based) and spatial (location-based) resolution. Brain imaging is often used in cognitive neuroscience
Cognitive neuroscience
Cognitive neuroscience is an academic field concerned with the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of mental processes. It addresses the questions of how psychological/cognitive functions are produced by the brain...

.
  • Single photon emission computed tomography
    Single photon emission computed tomography
    Single-photon emission computed tomography is a nuclear medicine tomographic imaging technique using gamma rays. It is very similar to conventional nuclear medicine planar imaging using a gamma camera. However, it is able to provide true 3D information...

    and Positron emission tomography
    Positron emission tomography
    Positron emission tomography is nuclear medicine imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image or picture of functional processes in the body. The system detects pairs of gamma rays emitted indirectly by a positron-emitting radionuclide , which is introduced into the body on a...

    . SPECT and PET use radioactive isotopes, which are injected into the subject's bloodstream and taken up by the brain. By observing which areas of the brain take up the radioactive isotope, we can see which areas of the brain are more active than other areas. PET has similar spatial resolution to fMRI, but it has extremely poor temporal resolution.

  • Electroencephalography
    Electroencephalography
    Electroencephalography is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain...

    . EEG measures the electrical fields generated by large populations of neurons in the cortex by placing a series of electrodes on the scalp of the subject. This technique has an extremely high temporal resolution, but a relatively poor spatial resolution.

  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
    Functional magnetic resonance imaging
    Functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI is a type of specialized MRI scan used to measure the hemodynamic response related to neural activity in the brain or spinal cord of humans or other animals. It is one of the most recently developed forms of neuroimaging...

    . fMRI measures the relative amount of oxygenated blood flowing to different parts of the brain. More oxygenated blood in a particular region is assumed to correlate with an increase in neural activity in that part of the brain. This allows us to localize particular functions within different brain regions. fMRI has moderate spatial and temporal resolution.

  • Optical imaging
    Optical imaging
    Optical imaging is an imaging technique.Optics usually describes the behavior of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light used in imaging.Because light is an electromagnetic wave, similar phenomena occur in X-rays, microwaves, radio waves. Chemical imaging or molecular imaging involves inference...

    . This technique uses infrared transmitters and receivers to measure the amount of light reflectance by blood near different areas of the brain. Since oxygenated and deoxygenated blood reflects light by different amounts, we can study which areas are more active (i.e., those that have more oxygenated blood). Optical imaging has moderate temporal resolution, but poor spatial resolution. It also has the advantage that it is extremely safe and can be used to study infants' brains.

  • Magnetoencephalography
    Magnetoencephalography
    Magnetoencephalography is a technique for mapping brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical currents occurring naturally in the brain, using arrays of SQUIDs...

    .
    MEG measures magnetic fields resulting from cortical activity. It is similar to EEG
    Electroencephalography
    Electroencephalography is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain...

    , except that it has improved spatial resolution since the magnetic fields it measures are not as blurred or attenuated by the scalp, meninges and so forth as the electrical activity measured in EEG is. MEG uses SQUID sensors to detect tiny magnetic fields.

Computational modeling


Computational models require a mathematically and logically formal representation of a problem. Computer models are used in the simulation and experimental verification of different specific and general properties
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 of intelligence
Intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

. Computational modeling can help us to understand the functional organization of a particular cognitive phenomenon.
There are two basic approaches to cognitive modeling. The first is focused on abstract mental functions of an intelligent mind and operates using symbols, and the second, which follows the neural and associative properties of the human brain, and is called subsymbolic.
  • Symbolic modeling evolved from the computer science paradigms using the technologies of Knowledge-based systems
    Knowledge-based systems
    Knowledge based systems are artificial intelligent tools working in a narrow domain to provide intelligent decisions with justification. Knowledge is acquired and represented using various knowledge representation techniques rules, frames and scripts...

    , as well as a philosophical perspective, see for example "Good Old-Fashioned Artificial Intelligence" (GOFAI
    GOFAI
    In artificial intelligence research, GOFAI describes the oldest original approach to achieving artificial intelligence, based on logic and problem solving...

    ). They are developed by the first cognitive researchers and later used in information engineering
    Information engineering
    Information engineering or information engineering methodology in software engineering is an approach to designing and developing information systems.-Overview:...

     for expert system
    Expert system
    In artificial intelligence, an expert system is a computer system that emulates the decision-making ability of a human expert. Expert systems are designed to solve complex problems by reasoning about knowledge, like an expert, and not by following the procedure of a developer as is the case in...

    s . Since the early 1990s it was generalized in systemics
    Systemics
    In the context of systems science and systems philosophy, the term systemics refers to an initiative to study systems from a holistic point of view...

     for the investigation of functional human-like intelligence models, such as personoids, and, in parallel, developed as the SOAR
    Soar (cognitive architecture)
    Soar is a symbolic cognitive architecture, created by John Laird, Allen Newell, and Paul Rosenbloom at Carnegie Mellon University, now maintained by John Laird's research group at the University of Michigan. It is both a view of what cognition is and an implementation of that view through a...

     environment. Recently, especially in the context of cognitive decision making, symbolic cognitive modeling is extended to socio-cognitive
    Socio-cognitive
    Socio-cognitive or sociocognitive describes integrated cognitive and social properties of systems, processes, functions, models, as well as can indicate the branch of science, engineering or technology, such as socio-cognitive research, socio-cognitive interactions.This term is especially used when...

     approach including social and organization cognition interrelated with a sub-symbolic not conscious layer.
  • Subsymbolic modeling includes Connectionist/neural network models
    Connectionism
    Connectionism is a set of approaches in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience and philosophy of mind, that models mental or behavioral phenomena as the emergent processes of interconnected networks of simple units...

    .
    Connectionism relies on the idea that the mind/brain is composed of simple nodes and that the power of the system comes primarily from the existence and manner of connections between the simple nodes. Neural nets are textbook implementations of this approach. Some critics of this approach feel that while these models approach biological reality as a representation of how the system works, they lack explanatory powers because complicated systems of connections with even simple rules are extremely complex and often less interpretable than the system they model.


Other approaches gaining in popularity include the use of Dynamical systems theory and also techniques putting symbolic models and connectionist models into correspondence (Neural-symbolic integration). Bayesian models
Bayesian cognitive science
Bayesian Cognitive Science is a rapidly-growing approach to cognitive science concerned with rational models, in the particular sense of "Bayesian rationality"....

, often drawn from machine learning
Machine learning
Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, is a scientific discipline concerned with the design and development of algorithms that allow computers to evolve behaviors based on empirical data, such as from sensor data or databases...

, are also gaining popularity.

All the above approaches tend to be generalized to the form of integrated computational models of a synthetic/abstract intelligence, in order to be applied to the explanation and improvement of individual and social/organizational decision-making and reasoning
Psychology of reasoning
The psychology of reasoning is the study of how people reason, often broadly defined as the process of drawing conclusions to inform how people solve problems and make decisions...

.

Neurobiological methods


Research methods borrowed directly from neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

 and neuropsychology
Neuropsychology
Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain related to specific psychological processes and behaviors. The term neuropsychology has been applied to lesion studies in humans and animals. It has also been applied to efforts to record electrical activity from individual cells in...

 can also help us to understand aspects of intelligence. These methods allow us to understand how intelligent behavior is implemented in a physical system.
  • Single-unit recording
    Single-unit recording
    In neurophysiology and neurology, single-unit recording is the use of an electrode to record the electrophysiological activity from a single neuron.-History:...

  • Direct brain stimulation
    Transcranial direct current stimulation
    Transcranial direct current stimulation is a form of neurostimulation which uses constant, low current delivered directly to the brain area of interest via small electrodes...

  • Animal models
  • Postmortem studies
    Postmortem studies
    Postmortem studies are a neurobiological research method in which the brain of a patient, usually the subject of a longitudinal study, with some sort of phenomenological affliction is examined after death...


Key findings


Cognitive science has much to its credit. Among other accomplishments, it has given rise to models of human cognitive bias
Cognitive bias
A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations. Implicit in the concept of a "pattern of deviation" is a standard of comparison; this may be the judgment of people outside those particular situations, or may be a set of independently verifiable...

 and risk
Risk
Risk is the potential that a chosen action or activity will lead to a loss . The notion implies that a choice having an influence on the outcome exists . Potential losses themselves may also be called "risks"...

 perception, and has been influential in the development of behavioral finance
Behavioral finance
Behavioral economics and its related area of study, behavioral finance, use social, cognitive and emotional factors in understanding the economic decisions of individuals and institutions performing economic functions, including consumers, borrowers and investors, and their effects on market...

, part of economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

. It has also given rise to a new theory of the philosophy of mathematics
Philosophy of mathematics
The philosophy of mathematics is the branch of philosophy that studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of mathematics. The aim of the philosophy of mathematics is to provide an account of the nature and methodology of mathematics and to understand the place of...

, and many theories of artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

, persuasion
Persuasion
Persuasion is a form of social influence. It is the process of guiding or bringing oneself or another toward the adoption of an idea, attitude, or action by rational and symbolic means.- Methods :...

 and coercion
Coercion
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way...

. It has made its presence firmly known in the philosophy of language
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. As a topic, the philosophy of language for analytic philosophers is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language...

 and epistemology - a modern revival of rationalism - as well as constituting a substantial wing of modern linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

. Fields of cognitive science have been influential in understanding the brain's particular functional systems (and functional deficits) ranging from speech production to auditory processing and visual perception. It has made progress in understanding how damage to particular areas of the brain affect cognition, and it has helped to uncover the root causes and results of specific disfunction, such as dyslexia
Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a very broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, or rapid...

, anopia, and hemispatial neglect
Hemispatial neglect
Hemispatial neglect, also called hemiagnosia, hemineglect, unilateral neglect, spatial neglect, unilateral visual inattention, hemi-inattention or neglect syndrome is a neuropsychological condition in which, after damage to one hemisphere of the brain, a deficit in attention to and awareness of...

.

Criticism



In a paper written shortly before his death, B.F. Skinner stated that "cognitive science is the creation science
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 of psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

."

Notable researchers


Some of the more recognized names in cognitive science are usually either the most controversial or the most cited. Within philosophy familiar names include Daniel Dennett
Daniel Dennett
Daniel Clement Dennett is an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is currently the Co-director of...

 who writes from a computational systems perspective, John Searle
John Searle
John Rogers Searle is an American philosopher and currently the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.-Biography:...

 known for his controversial Chinese Room
Chinese room
The Chinese room is a thought experiment by John Searle, which first appeared in his paper "Minds, Brains, and Programs", published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 1980...

, Jerry Fodor
Jerry Fodor
Jerry Alan Fodor is an American philosopher and cognitive scientist. He holds the position of State of New Jersey Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University and is the author of many works in the fields of philosophy of mind and cognitive science, in which he has laid the groundwork for the...

 who advocates functionalism
Functionalism (philosophy of mind)
Functionalism is a theory of the mind in contemporary philosophy, developed largely as an alternative to both the identity theory of mind and behaviourism. Its core idea is that mental states are constituted solely by their functional role — that is, they are causal relations to other mental...

, and Douglas Hofstadter
Douglas Hofstadter
Douglas Richard Hofstadter is an American academic whose research focuses on consciousness, analogy-making, artistic creation, literary translation, and discovery in mathematics and physics...

, famous for writing Gödel, Escher, Bach
Gödel, Escher, Bach
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid is a book by Douglas Hofstadter, described by his publishing company as "a metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll"....

, which questions the nature of words and thought. In the realm of linguistics, Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 and George Lakoff
George Lakoff
George P. Lakoff is an American cognitive linguist and professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972...

 have been influential (both have also become notable as political commentators). In Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

 Marvin Minsky
Marvin Minsky
Marvin Lee Minsky is an American cognitive scientist in the field of artificial intelligence , co-founder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AI laboratory, and author of several texts on AI and philosophy.-Biography:...

, Herbert Simon
Herbert Simon
Herbert Alexander Simon was an American political scientist, economist, sociologist, and psychologist, and professor—most notably at Carnegie Mellon University—whose research ranged across the fields of cognitive psychology, cognitive science, computer science, public administration, economics,...

, Allen Newell
Allen Newell
Allen Newell was a researcher in computer science and cognitive psychology at the RAND corporation and at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, Tepper School of Business, and Department of Psychology...

, and Kevin Warwick
Kevin Warwick
Kevin Warwick is a British scientist and professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom...

 are prominent. Popular names in the discipline of psychology include James McClelland and Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker
Steven Arthur Pinker is a Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author...

. Anthropologists Dan Sperber
Dan Sperber
Dan Sperber is a French social and cognitive scientist. His most influential work has been in the fields of cognitive anthropology and linguistic pragmatics: developing, with British psychologist Deirdre Wilson, relevance theory in the latter; and an approach to cultural evolution known as the...

, Edwin Hutchins
Edwin Hutchins
Edwin Hutchins is a professor and former department head of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego. Hutchins is one of the main developers of distributed cognition....

, Scott Atran
Scott Atran
Scott Atran is an American and French anthropologist.-Education and early career:Atran was born in New York City in 1952 and he received his PhD in anthropology from Columbia University. While a student at Columbia, he became assistant to anthropologist Margaret Mead at the American Museum of...

, Pascal Boyer
Pascal Boyer
Pascal Boyer is a French anthropologist, and Henry Luce Professor of Individual and Collective Memory at Washington University in St. Louis.He is a Guggenheim Fellow.-Work:...

 and Joseph Henrich
Joseph Henrich
Joseph Henrich holds the Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Coevolution at the University of British Columbia where he is an associate professor in the departments of psychology and economics. He was previously on the faculty of Emory University...

 have been involved in collaborative projects with cognitive and social psychologists, political scientists and evolutionary biologists in attempts to develop general theories of culture formation, religion and political association.

See also


  • Affective science
    Affective science
    Affective science is the scientific study of emotion or affect. This includes the study of emotion elicitation, emotional experience and the recognition of emotions in others...

  • Cognitive science of religion
    Cognitive science of religion
    Cognitive science of religion is the study of religious thought and behavior from the perspective of the cognitive and evolutionary sciences. The field employs methods and theories from a very broad range of disciplines, including: cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, cognitive...

  • Cognitive bias
    Cognitive bias
    A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations. Implicit in the concept of a "pattern of deviation" is a standard of comparison; this may be the judgment of people outside those particular situations, or may be a set of independently verifiable...

  • Cognitive linguistics
    Cognitive linguistics
    In linguistics, cognitive linguistics refers to the branch of linguistics that interprets language in terms of the concepts, sometimes universal, sometimes specific to a particular tongue, which underlie its forms...

  • Cognitive neuropsychology
    Cognitive neuropsychology
    Cognitive neuropsychology is a branch of cognitive psychology that aims to understand how the structure and function of the brain relates to specific psychological processes. It places a particular emphasis on studying the cognitive effects of brain injury or neurological illness with a view to...

  • Cognitive neuroscience
    Cognitive neuroscience
    Cognitive neuroscience is an academic field concerned with the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of mental processes. It addresses the questions of how psychological/cognitive functions are produced by the brain...

  • Cognitive psychology
    Cognitive psychology
    Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

  • Computational neuroscience
    Computational neuroscience
    Computational neuroscience is the study of brain function in terms of the information processing properties of the structures that make up the nervous system...

  • Decision theory
    Decision theory
    Decision theory in economics, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and statistics is concerned with identifying the values, uncertainties and other issues relevant in a given decision, its rationality, and the resulting optimal decision...

  • Decision field theory
    Decision field theory
    Decision Field Theory , is a dynamic - cognitive approach to human decision making. It is a cognitive model that describes how people make decisions rather than a rational model that prescribes what people should do...

  • Dynamicism
    Dynamicism
    Dynamicism, also termed the dynamic hypothesis or the dynamic hypothesis in cognitive science or dynamic cognition, is a new approach in cognitive science exemplified by the work of philosopher Tim van Gelder. It argues that differential equations are more suited to modelling cognition than more...

  • Educational psychology
    Educational psychology
    Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Educational psychology is concerned with how students learn and develop, often focusing...

  • Educational neuroscience
    Educational Neuroscience
    Educational neuroscience is an emerging scientific field that brings together researchers in cognitive neuroscience, developmental cognitive neuroscience, educational psychology, educational technology, education theory and other related disciplines to explore the interactions between biological...

  • Heterophenomenology
    Heterophenomenology
    Heterophenomenology is a term coined by Daniel Dennett to describe an explicitly third-person, scientific approach to the study of consciousness and other mental phenomena...

  • Human Cognome Project
    Human Cognome Project
    The Human Cognome Project is an effort to reverse engineer the human brain by studying both its structure and function, in order to fully understand mental processes, also known as cognition. The project has many parallels to the Human Genome Project...

  • Indiana Archives of Cognitive Science
    Indiana Archives of Cognitive Science
    The Indiana Archives of Cognitive Science is an online information portal providing information about the field of cognitive science. The purpose of IACS is to promote the study of cognitive science at the undergraduate level...

  • Informatics (academic field)
    Informatics (academic field)
    Informatics is the science of information, the practice of information processing, and the engineering of information systems. Informatics studies the structure, algorithms, behavior, and interactions of natural and artificial systems that store, process, access and communicate information...

  • Embodied cognitive science
    Embodied cognitive science
    Embodied Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary field of research, the aim of which is to explain the mechanisms underlying intelligent behavior...

  • Embodied cognition
    Embodied cognition
    Philosophers, psychologists, cognitive scientists and artificial intelligence researchers who study embodied cognition and the embodied mind believe that the nature of the human mind is largely determined by the form of the human body. They argue that all aspects of cognition, such as ideas,...

  • Spatial Cognition
    Spatial cognition
    Spatial cognition is concerned with the acquisition, organization, utilization, and revision of knowledge about spatial environments. These capabilities enable humans to manage basic and high-level cognitive tasks in everyday life...

  • Enactivism
  • Linguistics
    Linguistics
    Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

  • List of cognitive scientists
  • List of institutions granting degrees in cognitive science
  • Malleable intelligence
    Malleable intelligence
    Malleability of intelligence describes the processes by which human intelligence may be augmented through changes in neuroplasticity. These changes may come as a result of genetics, pharmacological factors, psychological factors, behavior, or environmental conditions...

  • Neural Darwinism
    Neural Darwinism
    Neural Darwinism, a large scale theory of brain function by Gerald Edelman, was initially published in 1978, in a book called The Mindful Brain...

  • Neural network
    Neural network
    The term neural network was traditionally used to refer to a network or circuit of biological neurons. The modern usage of the term often refers to artificial neural networks, which are composed of artificial neurons or nodes...

  • Neuropsychology
    Neuropsychology
    Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain related to specific psychological processes and behaviors. The term neuropsychology has been applied to lesion studies in humans and animals. It has also been applied to efforts to record electrical activity from individual cells in...

  • Neuroscience
    Neuroscience
    Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

  • Personal information management
    Personal information management
    Personal information management refers to the practice and the study of the activities people perform in order to acquire, organize, maintain, retrieve and use information items such as documents , web pages and email messages for everyday use to complete tasks and fulfill a person’s various...

     (PIM)
  • Philosophy of mind
    Philosophy of mind
    Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

  • Psycholinguistics
    Psycholinguistics
    Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, comprehend and produce language. Initial forays into psycholinguistics were largely philosophical ventures, due mainly to a lack of cohesive data on how the...

  • Psychology
    Psychology
    Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

  • Simulated consciousness
  • Situated cognition
    Situated cognition
    Situated cognition poses that knowing is inseparable from doing by arguing that all knowledge is situated in activity bound to social, cultural and physical contexts....

  • Society of Mind theory
  • Speech-Language Pathology
  • Concept Mining
    Concept Mining
    Concept mining is an activity that results in the extraction of concepts from artifacts. Solutions to the task typically involve aspects of artificial intelligence and statistics, such as data mining and text mining...

  • Thought
    Thought
    "Thought" generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination...

  • Quantum Cognition
    Quantum cognition
    Quantum cognition is an emerging field which applies the formalism of quantum theory to model cognitive phenomena such as human memory, concepts and conceptual reasoning, human judgment, and decision making...



Further reading


Introductory literature
  • Eckardt, Barbara Von (2003): Cognitive Science: Philosophical Issues. In: Lynn Nadel (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Vol. 1, London: Nature Publishing Group, pp. 552–559.
  • Thagard, Paul (2nd, 2005). Mind : Introduction to Cognitive Science. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.


General
  • Bechtel, W. et al. Ed. (1999). A Companion to Cognitive Science. Blackwell Companions to Philosophy. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Gardner, Howard (1987). The Minds New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution. New York: Basic Books.


Classic texts

Definitions

Miscellaneous
  • Baumgartner, P., et al. Eds. (1995). Speaking Minds: Interviews With Twenty Eminent Cognitive Scientists. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain. New York: Grosset/Putnam.
  • Gazzaniga, M. S. Ed. (1996). Conversations in the Cognitive Neurosciences. New York: The MIT Press.
  • Hunt, M. (1982). The Universe Within: A New Science Explores the Human Mind. Brighton: The Harvester Press.
  • Lakoff, G and Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy In The Flesh. New York: Basic Books.
  • Port, Robert F. and vanGelder, Tim (1995). Mind as Motion: Explorations in the Dynamics of Cognition. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. ISBN 0262161508 .
  • Sun, Ron & L. Bookman, (eds.), Computational Architectures Integrating Neural and Symbolic Processes. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Needham, MA. 1994.
  • Thelen, Esther and Smith, Linda B. (1996). A Dynamic Systems Approach to the Development of Cognition and Action. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. ISBN 026270059X .
  • Tsakiridis, George. Evagrius Ponticus and Cognitive Science: A Look at Moral Evil and the Thoughts. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2010.


Publications & publishers

External links