COGS 100/3.0 (36L, 84P)

Introduction to Cognitive Science

Winter 2023 (Jan 9 - Apr 10)



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: farhana dot zulkernine 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?

Course 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!!!

Includes: Group/Individual assignments, one or two optional tutorial sessions

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
Monday 16:30pm - 17:30pm STIRLING  B Jan 9 - Apr 10
Wednesday 15:30pm - 16:30pm STIRLING  B Jan 9 - Apr 10
Friday 14:30pm - 15:30pm STIRLING  B Jan 9 - Apr 10

Course Details

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


Office Hours

 Times Room Meeting Dates
Based on request Virtual Classroom on MS Teams Group or in the office in person Jan 9 - Apr 10


Grade Distribution (Weekly Syllabus)


Grade Categories

% of Final Grade

Quizzes (3 online) 15%
Assignments (1 individual summary and mind map) and 1 group on logic and cognitive modelng) 20%

Midterm (in-class - must get 30% in the midterm to pass the course)


Final Exam


Text book ( )

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



Cognitive Science an Intro








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