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Welcome to….
Psychology 85
Introduction to Cognitive Science
Summer 2015
Instructor: Sean McAuliffe
T.A.: Carolyn Bufford
Reasons this class is sometimes
different from most psych classes
“I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions.”
Kung Fu (TV Show in 1970s)
Instructor will not always have a definitive answer
(e.g. “DO we have free will”)
We will consider what is theoretically possible which is very
different from what is practically possible
More interactive than typical psychology course
Students tend to be more intelligent and more motivated
Course Syllabus
• A rock
• A virus
• An amoeba
• A dog
• A chimpanzee
• Professor McAuliffe
• Yourself
Does it have
a mind?
Why or
Why Not?
Cognitive Science:
The scientific study of the mind.
How do we recognize a mind?
Cognitive Science:
The scientific study of the mind.
How do we recognize a mind?
• Perception / Response
• Learning / Memory
• Abstract Reasoning
• Language
… Experience / Consciousness
A Brief History of Cognitive Science
1. The Philosophy Stage
How do we know we have a mind?
Because we have experiences!
2. Introspectionism Stage
What is the structure of our experiences?
Problems?
3. Behaviorism Stage
What is the structure of our behavior?
Lets look at associations between stimuli
and responses, and how they are learned!
Problems?
The Cognitive Revolution
1. Noam Chomsky
Language and language learning cannot
be explained in terms of simple
Stimulus-Response associations!
2. Hubel and Wiesel
There are neurons in the brain that
respond selectively to specific kinds of
stimuli in the environment!
3. Alan Turing
Any pattern of responses to any input at
all can be understood in terms of a program
that is carried out by a general computing
machine.