INT 200A Foundations of Cognitive Science (Fall 2008)

Instructors: Drs. Yukari Okamoto and Gregory Jarrett
Time: F 3:30-5:00 pm
Place: Psychology 1314 (SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind)
Units: 2

The purpose of this Cognitive Science Seminar is to familiarize students with the main ideas and topics in the multidisciplinary field of cognitive science. The two primary themes of this seminar are language and thought, and theories of mind. We will read seminal works as well as contemporary accounts surrounding these topics.

The seminar consists mainly of in-class discussions of selected readings. Students enrolled in the class will be expected to attend all sessions, participate in discussions and lead the discussion on two of the assigned readings.

All members of the UCSB cognitive science community (faculty and students) are welcome (encouraged!) to attend any of the sessions. The seminar will meet on Friday afternoon from 3:30-5:00 in the Sage Center conference room (Psychology, Room 1314).

As part of the Cognitive Science Seminar, we strongly encourage you to attend the presentations by special speakers invited by the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind. The goal of this speaker series is build an intellectual community of graduate students and faculty who are interested in studying aspects of how the human mind works. The Sage Center lectures will be held at the Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall, 2nd floor from 4-6 PM on Thursdays. No prior experience in cognitive science is required.


Friday, September 26 - Orientation

Friday, October 3 - Computational Theories
Guest Speaker: Michael Rescorla (Philosophy, UCSB)

  • Dawson: "Classical Information Processing"
  • Dawson: "Connectionist Information Processing"

Thursday, October 9 - Sage Talk
Sandy Pentland (Professor, MIT)
Title: “Honest Signals”

Friday, October 10 - Language of Thought

  • Pinker, The Stuff of Thought, Ch. 2 "Down the Rabbit Hole"
  • Pinker, The Stuff of Thought, Ch. 3 "50,000 Innate Concepts?"

Friday, October 17 - Language and Thought

  • Hespos & Spelke, "Perceptual Precursors to Language"
  • Valery: "Aphasic Language, Aphasic Thought"

Friday, October 24 - Theories of Mind: Developmental Perspectives

  • Wellman, "From Three to Six: From Copies & Imaginings to Interpretations."
  • Wimmer & Perner, "Beliefs about Beliefs: Representation and Constraining Function of Wrong Beliefs in Young Children’s Understanding of Deception."

Friday, October 31 – Sage Talk
Hal Varian (Professor, UC Berkeley)
Title: "Computer mediated economic transactions"

Friday, November 7 – Theories of Mind: Theory-Theory vs. Simulation Theory

  • Gordon: "'Radical' Simulationism"
  • Carruthers, "Simulation and Self-Knowledge: A Defence of Theory-Theory."

Friday, November 14 – No class meeting

Friday, November 21 – Theories of Mind: Primates

  • Premack, D., & Woodruff, G. (1978). "Does the Chimpanzee have a Theory of Mind?"
  • Hare, Call & Tomasello: "Chimps Deceive Human Competitor by Hiding"

December 4, 2008 – Sage Talk
Alex Martin (Senior Scientist, National Institute of Health)
Title: "Concepts in Mind: Neural Organization and Tuning"

Friday, December 5 – Theories of Mind: Neurological Perspectives

  • Iacoboni, "Understanding Others: Imitation, Language, Empathy"
  • Baron-Cohen, Leslie & Frith: "Does the Autistic Child have a 'Theory of Mind'?"