cognitive science building ucsd and cognitive science decision making and cognitive science applications
Introduction to cognitive science
Session 1: Introduction
Centre for cognitive science
DAI FMFI Comenius University in Bratislava
Príprava štúdia matematiky a informatiky na FMFI UK v anglickom jazyku
ITMS: 26140230008 What is cognitive science?
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of
mind and how information, e.g., concerning
perception, language, reasoning, and emotion, is
represented and transformed in the brain. It
consists of multiple research disciplines, including
psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy,
neuroscience, learning sciences, linguistics,
anthropology, sociology, and education.
(Thagard, 2008) What is cognitive science?
Stainton (in Contemporary
Debates in Cognitive Science,
“It is the multidisciplinary
attempt to understand the
mind, most especially the
human mind. ... there are
behavioral and brain sciences
... formal disciplines ... and
parts of philosophy.” What is cognitive science?
Simon (Foundations of Cognitive
“Cognitive science is the study of
intelligence and intelligent
systems, with particular reference
to intelligent behavior as
computation.” What is cognitive science?
Searle (Minds, Brains and Science,
1984) on cognitivism:
“... the task of cognitive science is
to characterize the brain, not at the
level of nerve cells, nor at the level
of conscious mental states, but rather
at the level of its functioning as an
information processing system.” Interdisciplinarity
Cognitive science or sciences?
Common object of study?
Cognition (= information processing?)
Mind (more than knowledge, includes emotions, etc.)
Product of brain and neural activity
Situated-embodied action, “life”
Not shared by all disciplines
Cognitive science or sciences?
“Cognitive scientists tend to take as
objects of study of CS what they
normally investigate in their own
background disciplines: subjective
experiences if they are philosophers,
brain activations if they are
neuroscientists, information processing
if they are cognitive psychologists,
and so on. And they use their own
methods.” (Greco, 2012) What do these definitions have in common?
1. The subject of study in cognitive science is usually
mind, intelligence, thinking or cognition.
2. The nature of cognitive scientific investigation is
3. The subject of cognitive science is characterized in
Broad definition 1+2
Narrow definition 1+2+3 Historical background
René Descartes (1596-1650)
“cogito ergo sum”
Metodological scepticism – rejects any
ideas that can be doubted
Cartesian Dualism – body works like a
machine, mind is separate
Introspection as a method
Cognition is conscious
Hermann von Helmholtz
Sigmund Freud (1881-
Cognition is not only
conscious Historical background
1879 Wilhelm Wundt – first
1890 William James –
“Principles of Psychology”:
four methods in psychology:
experiment, and comparison Behaviourism
Mind as a black box
Mental states are unobservable
We don’t need them
Mind (internal states)
excluded from scientific
consideration Historical background
WWI – neuropsychology – lesions (Lurija).
Cognitive psychology during WWII – noisy speech
recognition, attention, vigilance, etc.
Boom After WWII:
Computer science: visual perception
Linguistics: language acquisition in children
Ethology: social behaviour in animals
Cybernetics: - Norbert Wiener, feedback
Information theory: Shannon
Neuropsychology: Donald Hebb
Computer science: Von Neumann, Turing
Software vs. hardware
Architecture similarities: processor,
memory, I/O devices
Mental representations computer
Two methodological consequences of the
Computer models can be built to test theories of
There are different levels of analysis for a complex
information processing system. Three Levels of Description
A complete understanding of a computational system
has to involve three (kinds of) levels :
What is computed and why.
What the system is capable of doing.
Representation and algorithm (software)
What program is used.
What are the symbols and how are they processed.
Where in the brain?
What kind of neurons and how are they connected?