COGS-201/3.0 Cognition and Computation

Original author: Brian Butler
Last Revised: November 03, 2009

Calendar Description

An introduction to the role of computation in theories of the mind and thought. Surveys the major models developed to account for human perception and recognition, attention, memory storage and retrieval, skill acquisition, problem-solving, logic and decision making, discourse comprehension, and consciousness. Unitary models of cognitive processes are also examined.

Prerequisites PSYC 221/3.0 or PSYC-100/6.0 or COGS 100/3.0.
Recommended: Some programming experience (such as CISC 101/3.0 or CISC 110/3.0)

  • Introduction to Information Theory. Information and Structure as Psychological Concepts.

  • Cognitive Architectures and Physical Symbol Systems. Connectionist and Neural Network Models.

  • Word Recognition as a prototypical Top-Down Processing. Interactive-Activation Model of Word Processing.

  • The Interactive Activation Model within Coltheart's Dual Route Cascade Model of Word Recognition. Extension of the Interactive Activation Model to Face Recognition and Object Recognition.

  • A Parallel Distributed Processing­Attractor Model of Word Recognition. Visual attention: The Selective Attention for Identification Model.

  • Visual attention: Easy Reader plus Parallel Distributed Processing and Adaptive Control of Thought (ACT) models of Subitization.

  • Working Memory (WM): Modeling the Phonological Loop. Computational Models of the Executive (prefrontal cortex) System.

  • Kintsch and van Dijk Model of Text Comprehension. ACT-R 5.0 and declarative/procedural memory.

  • Computational/mathematical models of memory. Models of Skill Acquisition.

  • Problem-solving: General Problem Solver and Deep Blue. Simulations of Deductive Reasoning using Mental Models.

  • Three frameworks for Computational Linguistics. Models of Discourse Comprehension and Production.

  • Computational consciousness: Global workspace and Intelligent Distribution of Activities models. Current State of Computational Modeling.
Possible Textbook

John R. Anderson (2007) How can the human mind occur in the physical universe? Oxford University Press (Volume 3 of Oxford series on cognitive models and architectures)

  • Claude Shannon (1948) A mathematical theory of communication, Bell Systems Technical Journal

  • Duncan Luce (2003) What happened to information theory in psychology? Review of General Psychology

  • Allen Newell (1980) Physical symbol systems, Cognitive Science

  • Michael Thomas and James McClelland (2008) Connectionist models of cognition, in Ron Sun, ed. Cambridge Handbook of Computational Psychology

  • John R. Anderson (1996) ACT: A simple model of complex cognition. American Psychologist.

  • McClelland, J. L. and Rumelhart, D. E. (1981). An interactive activation model of context effects in letter perception: Part 1. An account of Basic Findings. Psychological Review, 88, 375-407.

  • Kintsch W and van Dijk T A. Toward a model of text comprehension and production. Psychological Review, 85:363-94,1978.

  • Ericsson, K. A., and Kintsch, W. (1995). Long-term working memory. Psychological Review, 102, 211-245.