COGSCI 600 Winter 2013

Graduate Seminar in Cognitive Science

Description: Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence. This seminar will discuss cutting edge topics concerning human and computer intelligence.

Organizer: Paul Thagard

Office hours (HH368): TTh 11:30-12:30, and by appointment.

Email: Phone: extension 33594.

Web page: l

This is the core course for the Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Science.

Time: Tuesday, 1-3:20, HH 334. To improve learning, please turn off all electronic devices such as phones, computers, and transcranial magnetic stimulators. See blog for reasons.

Readings: Readings for each week are available electronically: see links below.

Assignments: Each student will write a research essay of approximately 20 pages. Essay proposals should be submitted in class by February 26 . The proposal should be maximum one page, and indicate the question you hope to answer and how more than one of the disciplines of cognitive science is relevant to answering it. Students will present their work in class April 2. The final essay is due April 9. The essays can be on any topic related to the investigation of mind and intelligence, but must be interdisciplinary: they should draw on at least two of psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, linguistics, and anthropology. Any reference style is acceptable, but be sure to indicate your sources. Mark breakdown: proposal 5%, presentation 5%, essay 80%. 10% of the course grade will be based on 1-page essays to be handed in each week concerning the week's readings. Discussion questions to guide your reading will be available 1 week before the relevant class.


 Week  Date  Instructor Reading



Jan. 8

 Paul Thagard, Philosophy

Thagard, 2012

  What is cognitive science?

Jan. 15

Nancy Barrickman, Anthropology

Seed and Tomasello, 2010; von Schaik, 2006

Origins of cognitive complexity


Jan. 22

Chris Eliasmith, Philosophy & Systems Design Eng.

Eliasmith et al., 2012

How to build a brain


Jan. 29

Jesse Hoey, Computer Science

Hwang & Hoey, 2012

Do it yourself smart home


Feb. 5

Dana Kulic, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Kulic et al. 2012,Samadani et al. 2012

What can robots learn from human motion?


Feb. 12

Matt van der Meer, Biology

Schacter & Addis, 2007,Corballis, 2012

Decoding the neural basis of planning in the rat


Feb. 26

Sarah Tolmie, English

Describe this dance

Dance dance innovation


Mar. 5

Jonathan Fugelsang, Psychology

Ozubko & Fugelsang, 2010 The application and modification of beliefs in decision-making


Mar. 12

Tobias Schröder

Kiesling et al., 2011

Changing minds about cars: Modeling the adoption of innovations in transportation

Mar. 19

Randy Harris, English

Harris, 2002

This is your brain on rhetorical figures


Mar. 26

John Turri, Philosophy

Turri 2012a,
Turri 2012b

Experimental philosophy: Knowledge and assertion

12 Apr. 2 Student presentations None Various

Note: Students who want audit credit must complete the weekly 1-page essays.

Discussion questions for weeks 2-11

Previous COGSCI 600 seminars

COGSCI 600: 2001

COGSCI 600: 2002

COGSCI 600: 2003

COGSCI 600: 2005

COGSCI 600: 2006

COGSCI 600: 2007

COGSCI 600: 2008

COGSCI 600: 2009

COGSCI 600: 2012


Paul Thagard

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

This page updated Mar. 18, 2013