What is
Cognitive Science?

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence, embracing philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology.

(Thagard, 2014)

This is a rather abstract definition, so let's be more concrete:

What happened between the moment this website was displayed and the moment you clicked on "Cognitive Science" in the menu? That is, between perception and action.

Try to reflect on your experience. What did you perceive? What was the first thing that grabbed your attention? Was it the logo, the image, or the slogan? Do you even remember what it was? Can you describe how you decided to click on "Cognitive Science" by categorising the site's elements to act upon them? Do you belief that you were consciously aware of your reasoning at that time?

Maybe you only had an overall impression or an emotional response, like surprise, confusion, or curiosity. You might just have thought: » nice! « or maybe wondered » what does this mean? « (You can click on the MEi:CogSci logo to display another background image *: Does this alter your impression?)

Perhaps you have already realised that the highlighted terms denote some of the puzzling phenomena studied by cognitive scientists. To investigate these phenomena, cognitive scientists draw from insights of multiple scientific disciplines.

A Challenge

Interdisciplinary work requires skillful management, as well as openness to and ample time for learning new fields through collaboration. It is fraught with, and builds on conflict and misunderstanding.

(Derry et al., 2005)

Advances in cognitive and social information technologies dramatically change the way we work and live, how we communicate, and how we do science. To adapt to these exciting developments, we need to deepen our understanding of their cognitive foundations. Studying complex cognitive phenomena comprehensively requires an interdisciplinary approach. Interdisciplinary research aims to integrate multiple theories, concepts, and methods due to their adequacy for investigating a phenomenon, regardless of their disciplinary origin. In practice, integrating insights from multiple disciplinary perspectives can be demanding and challenging. Communication and collaboration are key to successful interdisciplinary research.

Derry, Sharon J., Christian D. Schunn, and Morton Ann Gernsbacher, eds. Interdisciplinary Collaboration: An Emerging Cognitive Science. New York; East Sussex: Psychology Press, 2005.

Thagard, Paul, "Cognitive Science", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2014/entries/cognitive-science/.

* One out of five background images is randomly dispayed on the start page.

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