The interdisciplinary Cognitive Science program at Cornell supports connections to Psychology, Computer Science, Linguistics, Human Development, Philosophy, Neurobiology, Information Science, Mathematics, computational vision, and computational linguistics.
Throughout the academic year the Cog Sci program offers undergraduate and graduate minors; an international lecture series; Sprocket, the Cog Sci Film Series held each spring in conjunction with COGST 1101: Introduction to Cognitive Science; graduate and undergraduate travel grants; and the year-end Grad Convo luncheon, held every May.
Students and faculty are encouraged to attend our extracurricular programs in order to facilitate interesting and intellectual discussions and to gain exposure to a variety of related fields.
In a study that shatters a cornerstone concept in linguistics, an analysis of nearly two-thirds of the world's languages shows that humans tend to use the same sounds for common objects and ideas, no matter what language they're speaking. Published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research demonstrates a robust statistical relationship between certain basic concepts - from body parts to familial relationships and aspects of the natural world - and the sounds humans around the world use to describe them. "These sound symbolic patterns show up again and again across the world, independent of the geographical dispersal of humans and independent of language lineage," said Morten H. Christiansen, professor of psychology and director of Cornell's Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. "There does seem to be something about the human condition that leads to these patterns. We don't know what it is, but we know it's there."
Coverage also here and here.
Apr 11, 2016: Morten Christiansen's newest book, Creating Language, co-authored with Nick Chater, is out and being talked about. [Morten is the co-director of Cognitive Science @ Cornell.] .
Nov 6, 2015:
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Tamar Kushnir as co-director of the Cognitive Science program, voted on by the steering committee at the end of October. Morten Christiansen will continue in his position as co-director.
New courses, Spring 2016
COGST 4712, Bilingualism & Cognition: Exploring the Bilingual Cognitive Advantage Across the Lifespan
C. Kang, B. Lust. (3 credits)
[Pre or corequisite: enrollment in an independent research course either in Cognitive Sciences (e.g, COGST 4700) or in a related department or in honors thesis research in one of the departments relevant to Cognitive Science; or permission of the instructors.]
Bilingualism, even multilingualism, is a prevalent phenomenon in today’s world, with more than half of the world’s population using more than one language on a daily basis. Previous negative stereotypes regarding bilingualism have now been proven wrong, and a growing body of behavioral and neuroimaging research has provided evidence for the positive effects of bilingualism on cognitive outcomes across the lifespan – from infants to elderly lifelong bilinguals. In this interdisciplinary course, we will debate common myths about bilingualism, and review and critique the cognitive advantages of bilingualism from perspectives of developmental psychology, linguistics, neuroscience and sociolinguistics. Students will critique and debate critical works in the field, and develop research proposals, applying interdisciplinary methods of design and methods in a peer group of other students involved in related research.
HD 6310, Advanced Topics in Cognitive Development
T. Kushnir (3 credits)
Designed to help students develop a broad understanding of the mechanisms, processes, and current issues in cognitive development and learn to do critical, in-depth analyses of developmental research. Discusses how children’s thinking changes over the course of development and evaluates psychological theories and research on various aspects of cognitive development. Topics include perception, representation and concepts, reasoning and problem solving, social cognition, memory, metacognition, language and thought, and academic skills.
LING 2264 (COGST 2264), Language, Mind, and Brain
J. Hale (3 credits)
[Recommended prerequisite: LING 1101]
An introduction to neurolinguistics, this course surveys topics such as aphasia, hemispheric lateralization and speech comprehension as they are studied via neuroimaging, intracranial recording and other methods. A key focus is the relationship between these data, linguistic theories, and more general conceptions of the mind. Appropriate for students from any major.