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Cognitive Science: Areas of Study/Interest

Animal Behavior and Evolution
The animal behavior program is devoted to the study of animal behavior, its evolution, and its relation to human behavior and cognition. Students and faculty members conduct research on the communication systems and cognitive capacities of wild and domesticated animals. The program's laboratories are equipped with advanced video and audio recording equipment and analysis software. The program provides a comparative and evolutionary component to CS's cognitive neuroscience program. It maintains close ties with the Hampshire College Farm Center through its field studies of the farm animals and of the wild populations on the farm's lands. Some of the program's facilities are located at the farm. The program also maintains close relationships with those in biological and environmental science in the School of Natural Science.  

Computer Science
Hampshire's program in computer science is located in the School of Cognitive Science. It emphasizes the transformative potential of computers and other digital technologies for understanding and extending the human mind and brain. The curriculum is designed to give students foundational skills in programming and to provide them with opportunities to work on advanced projects. The program emphasizes artificial intelligence, evolutionary computation, artificial neural networks, artificial life, digital art, and other areas of research that explore the potential for computer intelligence and that provide the horizon for the ultimate development of computing technologies. The computer science curriculum is supported by an electronic classroom that also serves as a computing laboratory and by a high-performance, remotely accessible computer.  

Education
CS's education program focuses on the nature of learning and its implications for the design of curriculum and instruction for kindergarten through college. It also includes courses in educational research and assessment. Students in the program are involved in classroom observations, curriculum design projects, educational technology design, teaching internships, and research on learning motivation. The program is closely linked to CS's curriculum in human cognition and cognitive development. It is part of the College-wide Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth, and Learning Program and contributes to the Five College Teacher Licensure Program.  

Human Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
Research on the mind and brain is one of the most exciting frontiers of sciences. Our understanding of ourselves is being profoundly altered by studies in many areas, such as brain imaging; the perceptual and mental abilities of infants and young children; theories of neural networks; the roots of conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD, and autism; the nature of learning and memory; the effects of psychiatric medications; and the roots of emotion and consciousness in the brain. Our faculty bring expertise in psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and child development (as well as other fields listed below) to these questions. Students and faculty conduct research in CS's electrophysiology (EEG/ERP) laboratory, cognitive psychology laboratory, cognitive development laboratory, and the Hampshire College Early Learning Center. The cognition and cognitive neuroscience program participates in the Five College Cognitive Neuroscience Certificate Program and is a central component of the College-wide Culture, Brain, and Development Program and the College-wide Critical Studies of Childhoon, Youth, and Learning Program, and shares responsibility with the School of Critical Social Inquiry for the discipline of psychology.

Linguistics
Students of linguistics study the cognitive acquisition, formation, and structure of language. The ways in which language interacts with psychology, sociology, biology, and neuroscience are key elements to a concentration in linguistics. Emphasis is placed on the development and completion of original research and scholarship in this field. Students may focus on language development, the structure of language, perform cross-cultural comparisons, or relate linguistics to another field of interest such as literature, child studies, or computer science.

Media Arts and Sciences
The media arts and sciences program is devoted to exploring the revolutionary potential of digital technologies for the arts and communication. The program emphasizes computer-based animation through introductory courses on animation techniques, individual production projects, and advanced group production projects. Students also explore other avenues in the digital arts in conjunction with the computer sciences program. The facilities include an electronic classroom/laboratory, the computer cluster, and a software-controlled render farm that processes digital content by making use of spare capacity in computers across the campus network.

Philosophy
Philosophy is a cross-school program at the College, with philosophy faculty members in the School of Critical Social Inquiry (CSI), Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies (HACU), and Cognitive Science (CS). The CS program in philosophy concentrates on philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and epistemology. These areas are richly tied to other areas of study in the school, such as cognitive neuroscience, animal behavior, and computer science. Students and faculty explore the philosophical dimensions of questions about, for example, consciousness, personhood, the emotions, knowledge, meaning, the implications of neuroscience for morality and the law, and the nature of the conflict between sciences and religion. The CS philosophy program also contributes significantly to the College-wide programs in Culture, Brain, and Development and Integrated Sciences and Humanities.  

Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Research on the mind and brain is one of the most exciting frontiers of science. Our understanding of ourselves is being profoundly altered by studies in many areas, such as the following: brain imaging; the perceptual and mental abilities of infants and young children; theories of neural networks; the roots of conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD, and autism; the nature of learning and memory; the effects of psychiatric medications; and the roots of emotion and consciousness in the brain. Our faculty brings expertise in psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and child development (as well as other fields mentioned below) to these questions. Students and faculty conduct research in CS's electrophysiology (EEG/ERP) laboratory, cognitive psychology laboratory, cognitive development laboratory, and the Hampshire College Early Learning Center. The cognition and cognitive neuroscience program participates in the Five-College Cognitive Neuroscience Certificate Program and is a central component of the College-wide Culture, Brain, and Development Program and the College-wide Childhood, Youth, and Learning Program, and the program shares responsibility with the School of Critical Social Inquiry for the discipline of psychology.


Sociology of Communication
This program explores the social implications of changes in communications technology in an international comparative context. The program benefits from its relationship with CS's computer sciences and media arts and sciences program, and has ties to the College-wide law program.

 

Contact Us

School of Cognitive Science
Adele Simmons Hall (ASH)
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
413.559.5502
Fax 413.559.5438
cognitivescience@hampshire.edu
 

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