Cognitive Science

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This track allows students to focus on knowledge and skills related to how technology is relevant to scientific investigation in the field of cognitive science.

FALL 2021 Course Descriptions

Course options WITH computational/digital focus:

CDT 31140 Human Computer Interaction taught by Ronald Metoyer
An in-depth coverage of the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) including its history, goals, principles, methodologies, successes, failures, open problems, and emerging areas. Topics include the fundamental principles of HCI (e.g., consistency, compatibility, pictorial realism), models of the human (e.g., perception, attention, memory, learning), interaction modalities and paradigms (e.g., windowing systems, haptic interactions), best-practice design principles (e.g., user-centered design, universal design, rapid application development), techniques to evaluate interfaces and interactions (e.g., observational methods, think-aloud protocols, cognitive walkthroughs), and emerging topics in HCI (e.g., affective computing, augmented cognition, social computing, ubiquitous computing).

Course options WITHOUT computational/digital focus:

CDT 20510: Science, Technology & Society taught by Samual Hall
This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies. Our concern will be with science and technology (including medicine) as social and historical, i.e., as human, phenomena. We shall examine the divergent roots of contemporary science and technology, and the similarities and (sometimes surprising) differences in their methods and goals. The central theme of the course will be the ways in which science and technology interact with other aspects of society, including the effects of technical and theoretical innovation in bringing about social change, and the social shaping of science and technology themselves by cultural, economic and political forces. Because science/society interactions so frequently lead to public controversy and conflict, we shall also explore what resources are available to mediate such conflicts in an avowedly democratic society.

CDT 30510 Intro to Cog Neuroscience taught by Jessica Payne
This is a survey course that introduces students to the biological substrates underlying various forms of cognition in humans, with a specific focus on mental processes. We will explore how psychological and cognitive functions are produced by the brain. Cognitive neuroscience is a branch of both psychology and neuroscience, drawing from disciplines such as biological psychology (biopsychology), neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and neuropsychology. We will cover a broad range of topics, including learning and memory, perception, development and neural plasticity, cerebral lateralization and language, emotions and social cognition, stress, sleep and dreaming, and consciousness. No previous coursework in neuroscience is required, but at least some experience with biology or biopsychology is preferred.

CDT 30540 Cognitive Psychology taught by Tsz Man Vanessa Chan
A lecture course presenting a cognitive approach to higher processes such as memory, problem solving, learning, concept formation, and language.

CDT 40211: Psychology of Info Analysis taught by Mitch Kajzer
The world is full of information that we are continuously evaluating. As part of the human thought process, we build mental models through which we process, analyze, and form conclusions as to the meaning of that information. This is a natural function of the human cognitive process. We construct our own version of reality based on the information that we have. The problem with this is that we frequently make judgments on large amounts of incomplete and ambiguous information. This is something that the mind is poorly wired to deal with effectively. In addition, we often fail to recognize our inherent biases in evaluation, cause & effect, and estimating probabilities. Some of these biases include confirmation, hindsight, anchoring, availability, and self-serving. The pitfalls set by the human mental process for analyzing information cannot be eliminated; they are part of us. What can be done is to learn how to look for and to recognize these mental obstacles, and how to develop procedures designed to offset them. We must distinguish between what you know and what you believe. The difference between fact and opinion; between knowledge and thinking. Through primary source readings and a declassified book from a government intelligence agency, students will learn how to be self-conscious about their reasoning processes. Students will learn techniques for critical thinking, creative thinking, and analytical thinking. About how you make judgments and reach conclusions, not just about the judgments and conclusions themselves. The goal is to equip students with the thinking and reasoning skills necessary to better construct a more accurate reality.

SPRING 2021 Course Descriptions

Course options WITHOUT computational/digital focus:

CDT 24505 Data Ethics taught by Don Howard
Philosophical exploration of ethical issues involved in data science.

CDT 30510 Intro to Cog Neuroscience taught by Tsz Man Vanessa Chan, Carissa DiPietro,& Chaz Rich
This is a survey course that introduces students to the biological substrates underlying various forms of cognition in humans, with a specific focus on mental processes. We will explore how psychological and cognitive functions are produced by the brain. Cognitive neuroscience is a branch of both psychology and neuroscience, drawing from disciplines such as biological psychology (biopsychology), neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and neuropsychology. We will cover a broad range of topics, including learning and memory, perception, development and neural plasticity, cerebral lateralization and language, emotions and social cognition, stress, sleep and dreaming, and consciousness. No previous coursework in neuroscience is required, but at least some experience with biology or biopsychology is preferred.

CDT 30550 Learning and Memory taught by Gabriel Radvansky
A survey of the theories and methods relating to basic processes in learning and memory from both biological and cognitive perspectives.

CDT 43510 Philosophy of Mind taught by Brian Cutter
Dualist and reductionist emphases in recent analyses of mind. Topics covered will include identity of mind and body, intentionality, actions and their explanation and problems about other minds.