Information Science student
Tehran ,25th May 2009
In this session we will cover
Introduction about Cognitive
Today Cognitive science
Historical reviews of cognitive science
How do minds work?
What would an answer to this question look like?
What is a mind?
What is intelligence?
How do brains work?
What’s the difference between the brain and the
Cognition – from Latin base cognitio – “know
The collection of mental processes and activities
used in perceiving, learning, remembering,
thinking, and understanding
and the act of using those processes
Learning and Memory
Thinking and Reasoning (Planning, Decision Making,
Problem Solving ...)
Dreaming and Consciousness
So What IS Cognitive Science?
Some possible definitions:
“The interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence”
“Study of cognitive processes involved in the acquisition,
representation and use of human knowledge”
“Scientific study of the mind, the brain, and intelligent
behaviour, whether in humans, animals, machines or the
The study of human life and culture.
How people live? What they think? What they produce? How they
interact with their environment?
The development of artifacts that perform similar functions as
Focuses on improving methods of human learning and
The scientific study of language.
Origins of language. Acquisition of language. Relationships between
languages. Language change over time.
2 June 2009 10
Studies the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of
The brain and the nervous system.
“love of knowledge” from Greek philosophia.
Metaphysics: the investigation of reality.
Epistemology: study of the origins, validity, and limits of
The scientific study of behavior and the mind.
2 June 2009 11
Schools of Thought
Aristotle and Tabula Rasa
Wundt and Introspection
Titchener/ Wundt and Structuralism
James and Functionalism
Ebbinghaus and human memory research.
Watson/ Skinner and Behaviorism
2 June 2009 13
Notion of tabula rasa
Mind as “clean slate”
which experience writes
2 June 2009 14
Background in medicine
Leipzig, around 1879
2 June 2009 15
A method in which one looks carefully inward
reporting on inner situations and experiences.
2 June 2009 16
Wundt’s criteria for introspection
1. The observer must know when the experience
begins and ends.
Observer is master of situation
2. The observer must maintain quot;strained
Mind does not wander
3. The phenomenon must bear repetition.
4. The phenomenon must be capable of variation
Useful for descriptions and experimentation.
2 June 2009 17
Born in England.
Studied in Germany
Head of psychological
lab Cornell University in
*Photo courtesy of http://vlp.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de
2 June 2009 18
The study of the structure of the conscious
Focus on the sensations, images, and feelings
that are elements of consciousness.
2 June 2009 19
Psychology as a counter-part to biology
Classifying structures of the conscious mind similar in
approach to classifying species in biology.
2 June 2009 20
Difficulties with Structuralism
Observers were highly trained, but self-
reports were not consistent across people.
Contents of reports were not observable and
thus hard to study scientifically.
2 June 2009 22
Born in U.S.
Studied in U.S. and
psychology lab (U.S.)
around 1875, Harvard
2 June 2009 23
Focused on the functions of mental and
physical capabilities of humans.
Influenced by Darwin’s notion of survival of the
Emphasized techniques such as intelligence
and aptitude tests.
Use controlled environments to test learning
and problem solving abilities.
2 June 2009 24
Studied memory in his
2 June 2009 25
Ebbinghaus’ studies of memory
Memorized lists of nonsense syllables
Example: cvc mhj plk wqf bnd khk
Examined memory over time
Many of his methods are still used today.
Due to simplicity and reproducibility
2 June 2009 26
John B. Watson
2 June 2009 28
2 June 2009 29
A response to Wundt’s introspection
The scientific study of observable behavior
Behaviorism is “antimentalistic”
Since mental processes can’t be seen, they have
no place in psychology
Reinforcement and operant conditioning
2 June 2009 30
A stimulus that strengthens or weakens a
2 June 2009 31
The frequency of a behavior is modified by
the consequences of the behavior
Individuals “operate” in the environment and
Operates on… Consequences
(i.e. behavior) reinforce…
2 June 2009 32
Challenges to Behaviorism
Learning (i.e. operant conditioning) could not
Ex. Pigs learning to put coins into a piggy bank
“The Misbehavior of Organisms”
World War II
Focus more on human performance less on learning.
Timing and accuracy of behavior important.
Concepts of attention, vigilance, and signal detection theory
2 June 2009 33
Challenges to Behaviorism
Ebbinghaus’ memory studies
Observable, rigorous methods allowed the study of
Measure time and accuracy
Atheoretical methods showed that an overarching
theory was not always necessary.
Linguistics-- Chomsky versus Skinner
Skinner: language is the result of reinforced learning.
Chomsky: emphasized novelty and rules of grammar
Generative grammar: use rules of language to generate novel
2 June 2009 34
Professor of Linguistics
2 June 2009 35
Allen Newell and Herbert Simon
1927-1992 • 1916-2001
Computer Science, • Economics,
Artificial Intelligence Mathematics,
• Nobel Prize
– decision making
Image courtesy of turing.acm.org
2 June 2009 Image courtesy of www.post-gazette.com
Sequence of mental operations
Metaphor of the mind as a computer
2 June 2009 37
Images courtesy of www.dell.com
Timeline-Cognitive Science History
2 June 2009 38