• Cognition and Computation.
    Cognitive Science 330 (undergraduate) & 430 (graduate);(cross-listed as DSCI 330/340).
  • In development for Spring 2025: Human and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Futurology. Cognitive Science 301 (undergraduate) & 401 (graduate). Fall 2023. M 5:30-8pm, 618 Crawford.
  • Human Cognition in Evolution and Development.
    Cognitive Science 201. Fall 2023. MW 12:45-2pm. Wickenden Building 321. See the university bulletin for a description.
  • The Cognitive Science of Learning.
    Cognitive Science 301 (undergraduate) & 401 (graduate).
  • Decision-Making.
    Cognitive Science 316 (undergraduate) & 416 (graduate).
  • SAGES First Seminar: Imagining Our Futures.
  • Mind and Media.
    Cognitive Science 311 (undergraduate) & 411 (graduate).
  • Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience.
    Cognitive Science 102 (undergraduate).
  • Theory of Cognitive Linguistics, I.
    Cognitive Science 206 (undergraduate) & 406 (graduate).
  • Theory of Cognitive Linguistics, II.
    Cognitive Science 307 (undergraduate) & 407 (graduate).
    Note that 206 & 307 can be taken in either order. They cover complementary material. 206 is not a prerequisite for 307.
  • Conceptual Integration.
    Cognitive Science 304 (undergraduate) & 404 (graduate).
  • Mental Space Theory.
    Cognitive Science 315 (undergraduate) & 415 (graduate).
  • The Artful Mind.
    Cognitive Science 301 (undergraduate) & 401 (graduate).
  • Workshop in Cognitive Linguistics, I.
    Cognitive Science 408.
  • Workshop in Cognitive Linguistics, II.
    Cognitive Science 409.
  • The Life of the Mind.

Cognition & Computation (COGS 330/430; cross-listed as DSCI 330/430). Spring 2023. MW 12:45-2pm. 09A Crawford Hall

No prerequisites.  This course is an introduction to (1) theories of the relationship between cognition and computation; (2) computational models of human cognition (e.g. models of decision-making or concept creation); and (3) computational tools for the study of human cognition. All three dimensions involve data science: theories are tested against archives of brain imaging data; models are derived from and tested against datasets of e.g., financial decisions (markets), legal rulings and findings (juries, judges, courts), legislative actions, and healthcare decisions; computational tools aggregate data and operate upon it analytically, for search, recognition, tagging, machine learning, statistical description, and hypothesis testing. Mark Turner will approve this course to count as the fifth foundation course for the COGS major.

Human and Artificial Intelligence. In development for Spring 2025

No prerequisites. Relative to other species, human beings are off the charts in intelligence: visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, musical-rhythmic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, naturalistic, and bodily-kinesthetic. Astounding human intelligence lies behind art, music, religion, language, gesture, dance, fashion, mathematical insight, scientific discovery, advanced social cognition, refined tool use, art, science, religion, dance, . . . What does it consist of? What are the mental operations that account for human intelligence? Since the middle of the 20th century, scarcely 75 years ago, various lines of research and development have been established to study whether computational systems might mimic or model human intelligence, or achieve performances that seem to signal kinds of intelligence that are non-human. These approaches have been combined under the label "Artificial Intelligence," or AI. This course surveys theories of human intelligence, artificial intelligence, and their potential relationships. It includes hands-on work with AI systems and apps. No previous coding experience is required.   

Futurology. (COGS 301/401) Fall 2023.  M 5:30-8:00pm

      Human beings are exceptional at imagining futures—including futures that are distant, large, and complicated. We can imagine eating the fruit we see on the tree, or imagine that the sun will once again rise 1,000 years from now, and such imagining is already impressive, but the scope of our imagination stretches to much more astonishing feats than these: how do human beings imagine creating a government that has never existed, imagine working in a job in a country they have never visited and with co-workers they do not know, imagine moving from cash-based transactions to digital transactions, imagine a future war in space that is not only currently impossible but also unlike anything anyone has ever experienced? Science does not know how we manage to imagine such things. Indeed, research methods suitable for studying this key scientific question mostly do not exist. By what mechanisms do human beings jointly imagine distant, large, complicated futures? Discoveries about the mental operations human beings use to imagine our futures could transform our systems of invention, decision-making, negotiation, cooperation, education, diplomacy, and politics.
     It seems to us relatively straightforward and uncomplicated to imagine futures; they simply “come to mind.” How could we not imagine them? We will go to college, or retire, or move our residence to another country, or visit a foreign capital—all things we have never done before. We will get married or not. It seems inevitable, straightforward. But, in fact, nearly all the cognitive work performed to conceive these futures occurs in backstage cognition in ways much too complicated for consciousness to hold or view, and although other species have instincts with long-range consequences—lust leads to great-grand-offspring; hunger leads to bodily growth and nutrition—none of those species has anything remotely like the everyday indispensable human power to imagine and weigh futures. When we think about these futures, we think about people, actions, and landscapes that stretch across vast ranges of time, space, causation, and agency. What will happen to the US dollar? Geopolitics in Southeast Asia? Our grandchildren? Higher education? Artificial Intelligence? Automation? Population? The Global South? Air travel? Space travel? Automobile travel? Health care? Our own mobility? What legacy will I leave? What guilt will I bear? Is there a chance? What are the odds? What’s my future? What’s your future? What’s their future? What’s our future?
     In this class, each student, and teams of students, will pick specific projects for forecasting, and work up a forecast for that specific part of the future. But at the same time, and more important, they will try to study how their minds are working: what are the basic mental operations involved in imagining our futures, and how do they work, exactly? We will learn by doing. More important, we will learn by studying not just the products of thinking about the future but the mental processes of thinking about the future.

The Cognitive Science of Learning. (COGS 301/401) Spring 2023.  M 5:30-8:00pm.

Over the last few hundred years, pervasive systems for fostering learning have proliferated: curricula, degrees, lectures, classrooms, exams, dyadic relationships between the professor as hub and each student as at the opposite end of an individual spoke, time-boxed assignments, textbooks. . . . The list is long. The justification for these systems is largely intuitive and conservative—we use them because they are in place. In our time, reconsideration of learning environments has been accelerated by the circumstances of a pandemic, from vast simultaneous electronic connectivity unimaginable even a generation ago, from globalization, from the proliferation of fora outside the university, and from pressures of many kinds on universities—quickly changing patterns of enrollment demand, finance, philanthropy, prospects for student employment, parental expectations. If, in our time, reviewing these changes, we wanted to design optimal learning systems from scratch, what would we take as foundational? One obvious place to begin would be cognitive science. Over the last fifty years, cognitive science and its many related and contributory disciplines have built up bodies of knowledge about mental operations involved in learning: learning in teams, learning in the flow of work, distributed cognition in networks large and small, evolutionary psychology, and so on. If we were designing a learning activity now, informed by this work in cognitive science, what would it look like? What learning environments and practices can be designed that have the best chance of succeeding? The instructor of this course has conducted scores of interviews (thanks mostly to videoconferencing) with innovators worldwide who have asked themselves exactly that question and come up with innovative learning designs, which they have put into practice. Some of these interviewees are faculty at CWRU. These interviews, and affiliated publications, might serve as resources for students. One dimension of the course will be a focus on the design of learning in classes. The second dimension is learning by doing, that is, working on a project in a team, and learning about learning as one goes.

SAGES First Seminar: Imagining Our Futures

Human beings are exceptional at imagining distant, large, complicated futures. This is what human minds, working jointly, do, hourly. Imagining our futures is not limited to how we imagine eating the fruit we see on the tree in front of us, or how we imagine that the sun will once again rise 1,000 years from now. Imagining such future events is, to be sure, already complicated. But our theme stretches to how human beings imagine creating a government that has never existed, imagine working in a job in a country they have never visited and with co-workers they do not know, imagine moving from cash-based transactions to digital transactions, imagine a future war in space that is not only currently impossible in every regard but also utterly unlike anything anyone has ever experienced. How do they imagine such things? This course will review the universal basic cognitive operations that all human beings over at least the last 50,000 years seem to possess for imagining the future. Nonhuman animals can do many things that human beings cannot (e.g. fly, navigate by instinct to a breeding ground they have never experienced, etc. etc. etc.). But human beings are off the chart on the ability to imagine possibilities that arch across time, space, causation, and agency. All people in all cultures have these abilities, but of course, have produced extraordinarily different products: we all create conceptual structures using these advanced human cognitive operations, but different cultures use them to produce quite different concepts and frames for thinking about the future. This course reviews the common, shared, exceptional human capacity for considering the future, and the different cultural concepts that have been produced for how to do so. Writing text: Writing text: Thomas, Francis-Noël and Mark Turner. 2011. Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose. Second edition. Princeton University Press. And supporting materials at https://classicprose.com. Readings: All reading assignments (aside from the writing textbook) will consist of articles and other short pieces freely available to students through (1) Kelvin Smith Library internet links (which the professor will provide); (2) publicly available online links (which the professor will provide); (3) Google Drive pdfs (which the professor will assemble and to which students will be given access). A beginning example is: Seligman, M.E., Railton, P., Baumeister, R.F., & Sripada, C. 2013. "Navigating Into the Future or Driven by the Past." Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, 8:2, 119-41.

Mind and Media (COGS 311/411)

No prerequisites. Requires consent of instructor, which can be requested through SIS. Can be counted as a SAGES Departmental Seminar. An introduction to the study of mind and media, including the study of multimodal communication. This course investigates patterns of human cognition that are ancient to human beings and upon which media have converged for powerful, immersive effect. The cognitive processes studied include perception, sensation, imagination, joint attention, narrative conception, simulation, dreaming, identity construction, imaginative play, and implicit learning. Students engage in hands-on media analysis to study how basic human menal operations are used in media to achieve a variety of effects. Students will be given access to a private website of instructions, readings, and materials for the course, and will be introduced to a range of vast, rich, searchable databases of media. Students will have ample opportunity to do research inside such databases. For example, one focus of research in the class has historically been to explore whether media techniques can be used to improve learning and instruction. Students have turned such research into capstone projects and explored whether the capstone products might be marketed to providers of online education and instruction, or even to teachers in traditional classrooms eager to use supplementary instructional materials. All the readings for this course consist of files that can be downloaded by students. They will be available via links on a Google Site dedicated to the course. Students who wish to begin reading early are invited to email Professor Turner at turner@case.edu. Background: Modern human beings today live and thrive surrounded by media, despite the fact that archeological evidence for robust mediation seems to be relatively recent, reaching back to only 50,000 or perhaps 100,000 years ago. How does the mind work to invent and understand media even though mediation is—unlike vision, hearing, motion, force, and so on—not a robust part of human operation before about the Upper Paleolithic Age? Our class will emphasize the world-wide phenomenon of broadcast network news and introduce students to a vast, rich, searchable database (the Distributed Little Red Hen Lab, called “Red Hen” for short) of over 220,000 hours of such recorded news, a database that ingests another 100 or so hours of broadcast network news daily. (See https://sites.google.com/site/distributedlittleredhen/ for details, presentations, introductions.) Students will have ample opportunity to do research inside Red Hen. But broadcast network news draws on all the antecedent and parallel forms of media—film, graphics, music, comics, manga, painting, sculpture, dance—and students may work equally on these forms of mediation, as well as video games and other interactive forms.

Decision-Making (COGS 316/416). Fall 2022. MW, 3:20-4:35pm. A09 Crawford.

No prerequisites. Requires consent of instructor, which can be requested through SIS. Can be counted as a SAGES Departmental Seminar. This course introduces the student to the outlines and substance of the recent sharp spike in research into the cognitive science of economics, law, political science, business, and related fields, with emphasis on decision-making and judgments. Topics include interdependent decision-making, framing, bounded rationality, mechanisms of choice such as heuristics and rational calculation, and so on. The Cognitive Science Network offers an Abstracting eJournal for Cognitive Social Science which will be distributed free to the class. The Cognitive Science Society held a special workshop on "Grounding the Social Sciences in Cognitive Science" at its annual meeting, in Portland, Oregon, 17 August 2010. MIT published a reference work, Grounding Social Science in Cognition. The course will be based on original articles, which will be made available through a private electronic archive. It includes a module on designing and conducting behavioral experiments.

Theory of Cognitive Linguistics, I. (COGS 206/406)

Introduction to the study of language, grounded in the study of the mind. Requires consent of instructor, which can be requested through SIS. There are no other prerequisites except an interest in language and the mind. This introductory course serves as part of any undergraduate education or as a gateway to further study in cognitive science. Students will be given access to a private website of instructions, readings, and materials for the course. Students who wish to begin reading early are invited to email Professor Turner at turner@case.edu.

Theory of Cognitive Linguistics, II. (COGS 307/407)

What is language? What does it mean to know a language? An ancient and current view is this: to know a language is to know a range of form-meaning pairs, called “constructions,” and how those constructions can be combined to make expressions. The most obvious constructions are words: the form “dog,” spoken or written, prompts for some meaning potential in the mind of the language-user. But form is marvelously supple: When spoken, “Are we ready?” differs from “We are ready” in having the subjects and verbs in opposite places, and we know that this placement of subject and verb indicates something about whether a question is being asked. To know a language is to know a relational network of such constructions and to know, too, the operations according to which they blend to make an expression, and the constraints on that blending. It turns out that blending constructions to make expressions is interesting and complicated: the meaning of an expression is not, for example, a linear sum of the “meanings” of its “words” or even the meanings of the various constructions it blends. It is much more interesting than that. One feels that one understands an expression when one has located a network of constructions that blend to create that particular expression. “Constructionist” approaches to understanding language have enjoyed a great resurgence in the last several decades. This course is dedicated to these approaches. It will also present a branch of cognitive science known as “cognitive grammar,” which is in important ways a constructionist approach. Why study constructionist approaches to language? Because they view language as a window on the mind and usually spend as much effort investigating meaning and mind as they do language and form; because they provide guidance in teaching and learning languages; because they give us tools for improving communication situations; because they say a lot about persuasion and argument and ideology; because they are useful for computational approaches that deploy or model language; because they tell you a surprising amount about who you are and how you operate whenever you speak or listen; and because they provide fascinating insight into the way we think and the origin of ideas.

Requires consent of instructor, which can be requested through SIS. COGS 307 can be used to satisfy the requirement for a SAGES Departmental Seminar. 307/407 is self-contained and independent of 206/406. 307/407 & 206/406 can be taken in either order. This course includes guided tutorials on how to do research in cognitive linguistics, including the use of databases such as those available within the Red Hen laboratory. Students will also be given access to a private website of instructions, readings, and materials for the course. Students who wish to begin reading early are invited to email Professor Turner at turner@case.edu.