Saturday, September 13, 2008


Cognitive Science Directed Study

Fall 2008

Syllabus and Reading List

Text: Thagard, P. (2008). Hot Thought: Mechanisms and applications of emotional cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Link here to TOC:


Discussion of readings due each week as an electronic posting to a website (e.g., blog) created for this purpose using a service like wordpress or blogspot. The student, Kristen Ellard, will summarize the reading, provide a comment, and note what questions remain unanswered, and pose some questions for readers to the blog that can relate to their personal experience. Kristen will advertize the blog to science/psychology sites and will respond to comments by readers. [Note: we do not expect many readers; but if there are, then her responses can be selective.] Grading will be based on quality of Kristen’s blog postings (40%) and final paper (60%)

Term paper due at the end of the semester on a topic related to cognitive science and approved by instructor.

Week 1: Contemporary cognitive science: New directions

Eliasmith, C. (2003). Moving beyond metaphors: Understanding the mind for what it is. Journal of Philosophy, 10, 493-520.

Treat, T.A., & Dirks, M.A. (2007). Bridging clinical and cognitive science. In T.A. Treat, R.R. Bootzin, and T.B. Baker (Eds), Psychological clinical science: Papers in honor of Richard McFall. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.

Thagard, P. (2005). Being interdisciplinary: Trading zones in cognitive science. In S.J. Derry, C.D. Schunn & M. A. Gernsbacher (Eds.), Interdisciplinary collaboration: An emerging cognitive science (pp. 317-339). Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Week 2: Basic research on Cognition and emotion

Text Ch 4, Ch 10

Duncan, S., & Barrett, L.F. (2007). Affect is a form of cognition: A neurobiological analysis. Cognition and Emotion, 21, 1184-1211.

Pessoa, L. (2008). On the relationship between emotion and cognition.

Thagard, P. (2008). How cognition meets emotion: Beliefs, desires, and feelings as neural activity. In G. Brun, U. Doguoglu & D. Kuenzle (Eds.), Epistemology and emotions. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Week 3: Culture, language, cognition and affect

Text Ch 10, Ch 12

Potter, S. (1988). The cultural construction of emotion in rural Chinese social life. Ethos, 16, 181–208.

Tsai, JL, Knutson, B., & Fung, HH (2006). Cultural variation in affect valuation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 288-307.

Wilkins, R., & Gareirs, E. (2006). Emotion expression and the locution “I love you”: A cross cultural study. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30, 51-75.

Week 4: Special Topic: Affect and language

Harris, C.L., Gleason, J.B.,& Aycicegi, A. (2006). When is a first language more emotional? Psychophysiological evidence from bilingual speakers. In A. Pavlenko (Ed.), Bilingual minds: Emotional experience, expression, and representation. Clevedon, United Kingdom: Mulilingual Matters.

Readings TBD

Week 5: Language Acquisition and Processing

Hernandez, A.E., & Li, P. (2007). Age of acquisition: It’s neural and computational mechanisms. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 638-650.

Christiansen, M.H., & Chater, N. (in press). Constituency and recursion in language.

Jia, G., Aaronson, D., Wu, Y. (2002). Long-term language attainment of bilingual immigrants: Predictive variables and language group differences. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23, 599-621.

Additional text readings TBD

Week 6: Computational models of cognition and affect

Text Ch 1, Ch 7

Thagard, P. (2005). Representation and computation. In P. Thagard (Ed). Mind, 2nd Ed. (pp. 3-22). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Wagar, B. M., & Thagard, P. (2004). Spiking Phineas Gage: A neurocomputational theory of cognitive-affective integration in decision making. Psychological Review, 111, 67-79.

Week 7: Consciousness

Thagard, P., & Aubie, B. (in press). Emotional consciousness: A neural model of how cognitive appraisal and somatic perception interact to produce qualitative experience. Consciousness and Cognition.

Srinivasan, N. (2008). Interdependence of attention and consciousness. Progress in Brain Research, 168, 65-75.

Week 8& 9: Reasoning and problem solving

Text Ch 2, Ch 15

Litt, A., Eliasmith, C., & Thagard, P. (forthcoming). Neural affective decision theory: Choices, brains, and emotions. Cognitive Systems Research.

Evans, J.S.T.B. (2003). In two minds: Dual process accounts of reasoning. Trends in Cognitive Science, 7, 454-459.

Thagard, P. (2007). Abductive inference: From philosophical analysis to neural mechanisms. In A. Feeney & E. Heit (Eds.), Inductive reasoning: Experimental, developmental, and computational approaches (pp. 226-247). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Additional readings TBD: Neural correlates of deficits in decision making

Week 10: Social cognition

Text Ch. 5

Jackendoff, R. (2003). An agenda for a theory of social cognition. In R. Jackendoff (Author), Language, consciousness, culture: Essays on mental structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Beer, J.S., Shimamura, A. P., & Knight, R. T. (2004). Frontal lobe contributions to executive control of cognitive and social behavior. In Gazzaniga, M.S. (Ed.), The cognitive neurosciences III (pp. 1091-1104). Cambridge, MA : MIT Press.

Ochsner, K. N. (2007). Social Cognitive Neuroscience: Historical Development, Core Principles, and Future Promise. In Kruglanksi, A., & Higgins, E. T. (Eds.). Social Psychology: A Handbook of Basic Principles (pp. 39-66). 2nd Ed. New York: Guilford Press.

Week 11: Implications of basic research for clinical pscyhology

Treat, T. & Dirks, M. (2007). Integrating clinical and cognitive science.

Ochsner, K. (2008). The social-emotional processing stream: Five core constructs and their translational potential for schizophrenia and beyond.

Ochsner, K. & Gross, J.J. (2008). Cognitive emotion regulation.

Additional readings TBD – Further readings on cognition in psychopathology

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