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Cognitive Science


Cognitive Science studies the nature and organization of the human mind, drawing on the insights of linguistics, psychology and philosophy. It also researches artificial cognitive systems that store and process information, namely computers of all sorts. As a discipline in its own right, it developed around 1950.

The main areas of research are neural science, cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence and philosophy of mind. Neural science studies the brain on a purely physiological level -- synapses, neurons and grey matter. Cognitive psychology focuses on the processes of human learning, language and skill acquisition and memory -- functions of the human mind, not brain. Artificial Intelligence studies artificial cognitive processes -- how to make a machine operate as though it had a soul or consciouness. Finally, the philosophy of mind asks questions such as "how does the mind interact with the body"? "What is the difference between soul, mind and brain?" "What does it mean to be conscious?"

Since "representation" is a necessary concept of cognitive science discourse, the discipline also benefits from semiotic perspectives that have proven quite useful for human-computer interaction.

Cognitive science takes the human mind/ brain to be a sophisticated manipulator of symbols and information much like a computer. This is known as the "information processing" or "functionalist" view. Some philosophers and scientists see the mind/computer analogy as an inherently dangerous and problematic model. For the future, cognitive science is seeking its own methods of inquiry that are independent of models borrowed from psychology and computer science.

Congnitive Science Resources

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