Cognitive Science is the cross-disciplinary study of how the mind works, with a focus on perception, reasoning, memory, attention, language, decision-making, motor control, and problem solving. Cognitive scientists often compare minds to computers. In particular, they describe mental processes as computational operations on internal representations. For instance, perception is seen as a representation of the external world that results from sensory stimulation; learning is analyzed as the addition of new representations through interactions with the environment; reasoning is treated as the addition of new representations through operations on existing representations.
Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary field: it draws on tools and ideas from psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, economics, computer science, and philosophy, with affiliated faculty in each of these disciplines. Psychologists study the computational operations that we use to solve specific tasks; neuroscientists study the implementation of those operations in the brain; linguists study the representations involved in communication; economists study the representations involved in decisions involving uncertainty and reward; computer scientists consider how the processes involved in human cognition fit into a more general theory of computations and a larger space of tasks; and philosophers ask fundamental questions about the nature of representation and computation.
Cognitive Science majors will gain fluency in computational methods; a capacity for rigorous and careful thought; a broad understanding of the affiliated disciplines; and a deep understanding of cognition.
Director: Professor John Morrison, firstname.lastname@example.org
Department Assistant: Maia Bernstein, email@example.com