How do minds work? What, for that matter, is a mind; and how is it different from a brain?
Cognitive science grapples with these questions, and more. It looks at the relationship between the physical processes of the brain and the processes of thought and consciousness, through an interdisciplinary lens, combining elements of neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and computer science.
In this introductory course geared to high school students, we’ll explore some of the basic principles of cognitive science and explore the nature of cognitive processes such as perception, formation of the Self construct, attention, memory, reasoning, language, decision making, emotion, motor control, and problem solving. We’ll begin with a basic overview of neuroscience: How does the brain work, and what are some of the anatomical structures that underlay brain function. We’ll then move into elements of psychology and philosophy, asking questions like “what is perception” and how does the brain integrate multisensory inputs to create a picture of the self and reality?
This high school-level course in cognitive science is meant to be wide-ranging and exploratory, introducing the student to a cutting edge field. The beauty of cognitive science is that it blends the computational rigor of the hard sciences with the advanced reasoning skills of the social sciences and humanities, and thus sets up a young student with some very powerful core skills for college.