Introduction to Cognitive Science

Course: Psych 5612, CSE 5531, Ling 5612, and Philos 5830
Instructor: Dr. Alexander Petrov
Prerequisites: Graduate standing or at least 12 credits hours from at least 2 of the following five areas: computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology
Credits: 3
Undergraduate syllabus: syllabus5612ug.pdf
Graduate syllabus: syllabus5612gr.pdf
Course website:
Carmen website:

Course Overview

What is cognition and how does it emerge from the brain? This course introduces you to the exciting interdisciplinary field of cognitive science. Researchers in philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, and linguistics realized that they were asking many of the same questions about the nature of the human mind/brain, that they had developed complementary and synergistic methods of investigation, and that the evidence led them to compatible answers to their questions. This course introduces cognitive science through a representative sample of such questions, methods, and answers. It is not a special-topic course for students who seek detailed knowledge in a specific area of cognitive science. We will try not to lose sight of the forest for the trees but we will take a closer look at a few trees too because science is in the details. Along the way we will introduce the constituent disciplines and their respective contributions to the study of cognition. We will discuss the foundational concepts of computation and representation from multiple points of view. Three unifying themes are emphasized throughout: 1. Information processing: The mind/brain is viewed as a complex system that receives, stores, retrieves, transforms, and transmits information. 2. Neurological grounding: Explicit effort is made to show how mental phenomena emerge from the interactions of networks of neurons in the brain. 3. Cognitive architecture: The emphasis is on functionally complete systems rather than disjoint empirical phenomena

This course is a required course in the Cognitive Science minor at OSU.

Intended Audience. Prerequisites

This course is cross-listed in the Departments of Computer Science and Engineering, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology. It is intended for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in these departments. Interested students from related areas are welcome too. The formal prerequisites for taking the course are: graduate standing in any of these departments or permission of the instructor or at least 12 undergraduate-level credit hours from at least two of the four disciplines. The informal prerequisites are: willingness to step outside the confines of one's area of specialization, willingness to read the professional literature (as opposed to textbooks) with help from the instructor and one's peers, willingness to participate in open discussions, and the ability to write clearly and concisely about topics outside one's area of specialization.

The undergraduate and graduate syllabi are available in pdf format. Check the validity of this page's XHTML Check the validity of this site's Cascading Style Sheet Page maintained by Alex Petrov
Created 2007-09-17, last updated 2017-08-29.