COGS 100/3.0 (36L, 84P)

Introduction to Cognitive Science

Winter 2021



Farhana H. Zulkernine, PhD, PEng

Associate Professor

Coordinator, Cognitive Science Program
Director, Bigdata Analytics and Management (BAM) Laboratory
637 Goodwin Hall,
School of Computing, Queen's University

Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 2N8

E-mail: fhz at  queensu dot ca (

Tel: (613) 533-6426


Cognitive Science is a highly interdisciplinary program which focuses on the study of human mind. Scientists from different areas have been trying to explore the mystery of human mind starting with the philosophers who have been studying the mind-body problem and consciousness. The psychologists came next who have been trying to explore mind using strategic studies and experiments on human behaviour. Linguistics have been focusing on the unique ability of human mind to learn and communicate using languages. Anthropologists have been studying how evolution has shaped human thoughts and behaviours over the many decades. With the advent of modern equipments, neuroscientists are now able to peak into the very complex network of our brain neurons with a view to investigate human mind. Finally, cognitive scientists have joined the team with computers and are applying artificial intelligence techniques to analyze the data collected by scientists in various areas and create models to simulate the processes of mind namely perception, memory, learning, attention, imagery, reasoning, language and decision making. Therefore, the study of cognitive science encompasses the study of human mind from all the different perspectives with a view to better understanding the structure and the nature of mind which leads to the big question: can we ever create a mind?

Outline: The course will present some very interesting functionality and thought processes of human mind and how they are studied using theories from philosophy, psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, anthropology, and artificial intelligence to get an overview of the marvels of human mind. These mind processes work on some information. You will also study how information is perceived and represented in the mind on which the processes of the mind work - which resembles with how computers work. So can human mind be better explored and predicted by a computer? Can a computer be programmed to behave like a mind? The course introduces interesting theories and examples from multiple areas to and gives a peak into the fascinating study of the very complex human mind. By the end of the course, you should have gained new insights into how your mind works!!!


Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes:


Unit 1: Introduction to Cognitive Science - A multi-disciplinary area of study
Unit 2: Interdisciplinary Approaches - Theories, concepts and methodologies from relevant areas of Philosophy, Psychology, Linguistics, Neuroscience, Anthropology and Artificial Intelligence.
Unit 3: Mental Representations of Information - Logic, Rule, Concept, Analogy, Image, Connection, and Mental Model are some of the ways information is represented in the mind.
Unit 4: Overview of Cognitive Processes - Thoughts are merely the product of mental processes being applied to the information in the mind. Some of the processes that are discussed are memory, perception, attention, problem solving, planning, decision making, emotion, and consciousness.
Unit 5: Cognitive Modeling Approaches and Examples including Cognitive Architectures

Find the class

Class time and location
 Times Room Meeting Dates
Thursdays 5:30pm - 6:30pm Virtual Classroom Jan 11 - Apr 9

Course Details

Details about the course content can be found at the OnQ website.


TA Office Hours

 Times Room Meeting Dates
Tuesdays 12:00pm - 1:00pm Virtual Classroom Jan 11 - Apr 9


Grade Distribution

Grade Categories

% of Final Grade



Assignments (individual and group)




Final Exam



Text book

Cognitive Science : An Introduction to the Study of Mind (available at the book store

Authors: Jay Friedenberg and Gordon Silverman

3rd edition.

Available at the Campus Book Store

Cognitive Science ISBN: 9781483347417 Price: $162.95

More information or to order online. Click Here

From publisher site


Supplementary book

Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science by Paul Thagard MIT Press, 2005 second edition.  


Other Reading

Reading from the web - see course details on OnQ.


Teaching Assistants

***Note: The students are advised to use the discussion forum on the OnQ site for general inquiries before making an appointment to see the TA.