The goal of Cognitive Science is to explain mental competence, as demonstrated in our capacity for language acquisition, perception, decision making, creativity and consciousness. The study of cognition is anchored, accordingly, in a variety of fields, including psychology, linguistics, philosophy, brain science and logic and computation. The academic program in cognitive science is unique in its integration of these disciplines, an integration which focuses on revealing the processes underlying mental phenomena. To take a representative example from the field of language acquisition, logic and linguistics formulate constraints based on the formal study of language; psychology studies the class of processes which satisfy these constraints; neurology locates the brain structures which realize the psychological processes; and finally, computational models provide a theoretical and conceptual perspective from which to approach these processes.
The undergraduate program was founded in 2001 as an addition to the already existing graduate and minor programs. The goal of the program is to introduce students to the content, research methods, and reasoning in the field, as well as to promote the kind of interdisciplinary skills and intellectual flexibility leading to a variety of occupational options. Graduates can expect to be prepared, among other things, for graduate level research in the various disciplines of cognitive science, and for specialization in specific industry-related fields such as computational linguistics, logic and linguistics, neural computation and computation and music.
The program is run jointly by the faculties of Humanities, Social Science, Science and School of Education. It offers a full undergraduate program (B.A.), an undergraduate minor, and a graduate masters program (M.A.), and is supervised by a committee of senior academic staff members at the Hebrew University: Prof. Oron Shagrir (Philosophy), Prof. Merav Ahissar (Psychology), Prof. Edit Doron (English Linguistics), Prof. Naftali Tishby (Computer Science), Prof. Eli Shamir (Computer Science), Prof. Idan Segev (Neurobiology), Prof. Asher Cohen (Psychology), Prof. Benny Shanon (Psychology).
Our three year undergraduate major is designed as one component in a double major, to be accompanied by another major related to cognitive science. The second major will be selected from the following list of departments at Hebrew University: Psychology, Philosophy, Linguistics and language programs, Computer Science, Communications, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Musicology, Statistics, Economics, Law, or Amirim.
The academic curriculum includes breadth and depth studies, based on the following principles:
|a.||Comprehensive breadth studies in each of the major cognitive fields, including Psychology, Linguistics, Philosophy and Logic, Computation and Cognition, and Brain and Cognition.|
|b.||Specialized studies in one field corresponding to the student's accompanying major.|
|c.||Interdisciplinary studies emphasizing the integration of disciplinary methods, reasoning, and argumentation in the study of cognition, in courses such as Language and Thought, Thought and Computers, Neural Computation, and Musical Cognition.|
Graduate studies in Cognitive Science are based on an individual interdisciplinary program, to be designed by the student based on a main theme or field of their choice. Graduate students may choose between the research track, culminating in an M.A. thesis, and a non-research track. Areas in which our graduates specialize and conduct research include, among others, language and thought, thought and computers, computational linguistics, music and cognition, rationality and game theory