Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science

Cognitive science is the study of thought processes, mental representations, and how to process information.

The goal of cognitive science is to understand the nature of cognition, with respect to its methods, origins, development, and use. At Oberlin, our Cognitive Science Concentration integrates the perspectives and methodologies of a variety of such parent disciplines as psychology, neuroscience, computer science, philosophy, anthropology, and linguistics.

Our program is cross-disciplinary and fits well into the liberal arts philosophy. We take advantage of Oberlin’s strengths in many academic areas—from neuroscience to music theory, and more.

Our Cognitive Science Concentration shows how different fields of study approach thinking. We examine thinking at many levels of analysis ranging from the study of single neurons in the brain, to the investigation of the cognitive process of the individual, to the complex decision making in social groups. Given its broad scope, cognitive science tackles a host of significant issues such as the nature of human consciousness, the nature of knowledge representation in the mind/brain, the possibility and ways that computers might think, and the link between mental and physical processes.

Curriculum Overview

Our concentration focuses on the study of human cognition from many perspectives. You will become familiar with the different practical approaches used to investigate human knowledge. Given the concentration's cross-disciplinary structure, you must take relevant courses from several fields of inquiry.

Requirements include two core courses in psychology and neuroscience, and four elective courses from participating departments within the concentration: psychology, neuroscience, computer science, economics, philosophy, and anthropology. In addition to the identified courses, you may take an appropriate full course private reading or other course offering that may count as one of the electives. You will need prior approval from the program chair of cognitive sciences that the course meets the concentration’s expectations.

This concentration is open to any student, irrespective of major. However, the concentration does not substitute for a major or minor. Consult with your advisor and complete the Declaration of Cognitive Science Concentration form if you wish to pursue this course of study.

A group of faculty members, the Curricular Committee on Cognitive Science, approves and supervises the curriculum and concentration. The present chair of the Cognitive Sciences Curricular Committee is Michael Loose , professor of neuroscience.