Cognitive Science Overview

Relationship of AI to Psychology and Neuroscience

"AI can have two purposes. One is to use the power of computers to augment human thinking, just as we use motors to augment human or horse power. Robotics and expert systems are major branches of that. The other is to use a computer's artificial intelligence to understand how humans think. In a humanoid way. If you test your programs not merely by what they can accomplish, but how they accomplish it, then you're really doing cognitive science; you're using AI to understand the human mind."

Herbert Simon: Thinking Machines, from Doug Stewart's Interview, June 1994, Omni Magazine

"From its inception, the cognitive revolution was guided by a metaphor: the mind is like a computer. We are a set of software programs running on 3 pounds of neural hardware. And cognitive psychologists were interested in the software. The computer metaphor helped stimulate some crucial scientific breakthroughs. It led to the birth of artificial intelligence and helped make our inner life a subject suitable for science. ... For the first time, cognitive psychologists were able to simulate aspects of human thought. At the seminal MIT symposium, held on Sept. 11, 1956, Herbert Simon and Allen Newell announced that they had invented a 'thinking machine' --- basically a room full of vacuum tubes --- capable of solving difficult logical problems. "

Jonah Lehrer, "Hearts & Minds," The Boston Globe

Definition of the Area

What is Cognitive Science. From Cognitive Science Major at UC Berkeley. "Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary field that has arisen during the past decade at the intersection of a number of existing disciplines, including psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, and physiology. The shared interest that has produced this coalition is understanding the nature of the mind. This quest is an old one, dating back to antiquity in the case of philosophy, but new ideas are emerging from the fresh approach of Cognitive Science."

Cognitive Science entry in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. By Paul Thagard. A solid overview plus links for further study: "Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence, embracing philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. Its intellectual origins are in the mid-1950s when researchers in several fields began to develop theories of mind based on complex representations and computational procedures."


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