COMP 20090: Introduction to Cognitive Science (2016/17)

Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary effort to uncover the relationships between brains, minds, and behaviour. This 12 week module will provide a selective look into a number of topics which are central to Cognitive Science. Starting with a historical overview of these relationships, the module will go on to look at topics in the study of language, learning, perception, action, and thought. Each topic will be addressed from a variety of theoretical standpoints.

In 2017, as in previous years, each lecture will be given twice, and you are free to attend either the earlier or the later class on each day. Lectures will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesday's lecture will be at 10:00 in AG G-15, repeated at 11 in the Computer Science Lecture Theatre (B0.04), and Thursday's lecture will be at 10:00 (Science Hub H2.22), and repeated at 12:00 (also in H2.22).


To do well in this module, you must attend the lectures. Although notes are available, they are no substitute for being in the lectures. For revision purposes, study notes for most topics are available in the Readings and Resources page.

Texts and Readings:

There is no set textbook. Mandatory readings for each lecture will be made available through the website in the Readings and Resources page.

For each topic, there is a small set of mandatory readings. You are required to read these. There is also a larger set of further reading. This is all entirely optional, and there is far more there than you could hope to read. Let your interest guide you here. It is recommended that you read some of this material, at your own discretion.


There will be two exams, one in-class at week 7 (Thursday, March 9th, 2017), and one at the end of the semester. Exams will assume that you have attended all lectures and that you have read some additional material. Attendance will not be monitored in lectures, but satisfactory performance in exams will demand that you actually attend lectures. Merely perusing the lecture notes after the fact will not suffice.

Midterm exam: Thursday, 9th March, in class. This exam counts for 40% of the total. Sample past paper here. Note: the set of topics covered in this module changes slightly from year to year, so past papers are only an approximate guide.

Final exam: May. This exam counts for 60% of the total. Sample past paper here.

PDF versions of the study notes will be listed along with each topic in the Readings and Resources page. Online notes will not be authorative until the lectures have been held. Notes from lectures not yet held are from previous years, and may be subject to change.

[1] The History of Cognitive Science Notes: Intro 1
Notes: Intro 2
Notes: Intro 3
Readings and Resources
[2] Language: Innateness and Modularity Notes: Language 1
Notes: Language 2
Notes: Language 3
Readings and Resources
[3] Learning and Development
Notes: Learning & Development Readings and Resources
[4] Movement Lecture notes Readings and Resources
[5] Vision Lecture notes 1
Lecture notes 2
Readings and Resources
[6] Reasoning Lecture notes Readings and Resources
[7] Representations Lecture notes Readings and Resources
[8] Studying Human Brains Lecture notes Readings and Resources
[9] Social Cognition Lecture notes Readings and Resources
[10] On Time and Space Lecture Notes Readings and Resources
[11] Consciousness Lecture notes Readings and Resources