• Course description: This course will give a broad overview of the fundamental assumptions driving Cognitive Science, the interdisciplinary study of the mind. We will start with an overview of the disciplines involved. Then we will proceed to the main ideas that have been driving the study of the human mind for the last fifty years. These will include a) the view that the mind functions like a digital computer, b) the view that the mind functions like a neural network, 3) the view that the mind should be conceived of as a dynamical system closely tied to the environment, and 4) the view that the mind is a hyper-social device that has evolved in order to enable flexible interactions with others.

  • Short course description: Experimental Research Methods Core Course

    This course will cover the basic topics of Experimental Statistics and Research Methods for Behavioral Sciences. It will comprise the subjects of scales, descriptive statistics, frequentist inferential statistics including independent and repeated measure t-tests, one- and two-way ANOVAs, effect sizes, correlational and regression analysis, and selected nonparametric methods. In addition, the basics of Bayesian statistics will be introduced and contrasted with frequentist statistics. The course will also survey the details of designing, conducting, analyzing, interpreting, and communicating scientific psychological research. Finally, students will learn how to use SPSS for statistical analysis.

    Instructor: József Fiser, Frankel 113

    Office Hours: by appt. (X5141 or e-mail [fiserj@ceu.hu])

    Class: Tuesday 13:30 – 15:10 Room Frankel 206

  • This course introduces students to the ongoing research at the Cognitive Development Center. It provides an overview of contemporary theories and research techniques of cognitive development of human infants below 2 years of age, focusing on the domain of social cognition. The course also involves laboratory practice to familiarize students with research techniques including behavioral, eye-tracking and neuroimaging methods.

  • Course description: This course will cover recent theories and empirical research addressing the human ability to perform actions together. We will review theories highlighting the role of thinking and planning ahead as well as theories focusing on basic perceptual and motor processes that allow people to perform highly coordinated actions such as dancing a tango together. Furthermore, we will discuss research articles reporting behavioral and neuroscience experiments in this rapidly growing field. Last but not least you will get to design and perform your own small experiment addressing a current issue in joint action research.

  • Visual Perception and Learning in the Brain

    This course will be built around the contemporary research of vision. First, it will cover the classical approaches of low and high-level vision, visual learning, the neural implementation of perception and learning in the brain, and computational models.  Next, it will critically evaluate the state-of-the-art and explore alternative approaches to the same issues.  Specifically, it will discuss the probabilistic view on vision, and how it changes the research questions in focus.  We will investigate how statistical learning, rule learning, perception and cue-combination as probabilistic inference can expand the range of interpretable phenomena in vision.  We will also cover the issue of possible neural embodiment of such computations and review evidence that supports such an interpretation.


  • On Thursdays, starting at 11.15 a.m., Frankel 30-34, room 103

    (Office hours of Anne Tamm: by appointment TammA_AT_ceu.hu)

    This introduction to language and cognition focuses on the cognitive underpinnings of language. The questions include: why does understanding the way language works matter for Cognitive Science? Are there primitives that are present in all languages and what are the ways of verifying them? How are the categories in a language formed, and what is the role of communication in the acquisition of language? How are the concepts behind words and grammar learned? Is language modular? How does language interact with other cognitive faculties? What are the cognitive origins of language? What makes human language special compared to other forms of communication?

  • Social Cognitive Neuroscience Elective

    Gergely Csibra & Natalie Sebanz

    Mondays 11am – 12.40pm



    Course description:In this course we will introduce and discuss key questions in the field of social cognitive neuroscience. The course focuses on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying 1) the perception of socially relevant information, ranging from body and motion processing to face perception and action observation, 2) perspective taking and attribution of mental states, 3) moral judgment, and 4) communication and cooperation. Considering the most recent developments as well as revisiting long-standing debates, the course aims to provide insights into the major theoretical problems associated with understanding the social mind, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of particular cognitive neuroscience methods.

  • Short Course Description for Mindreading & Joint Action: Philosophical Tools
    This course will introduce a variety of new and established philosophical ideas that might usefully inform experimental research on mindreading or on joint action (or both) but have so far been neglected or misunderstood by cognitive scientists.
    Starting from foundational questions like What is a mental state? and Which events are actions? we shall search for tools that might help us with two tasks. First, we need theoretically coherent and empirically motivated ways of distinguishing kinds of mindreading, and kinds of joint action. Second, we need ways of decomposing mindreading in something like the way that actual reading can be decomposed into orthographic, lexical, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic components.

    Questions arising include:
    • Does identifying an action as such necessarily involve representing an intention?
    • Could there be mindreaders who can identify intentions and knowledge states but not beliefs?
    • If mindreading is modular (or automatic), what can we infer about the representations and processes it involves?
    • What could someone represent that would enable her, perhaps within limits, to track another's mental states?
    • What evidence could in principle support the ascription of a particular belief to a given subject, and how does the evidence support the ascription?
    • Could there be mindreaders who are able to identify beliefs despite not understanding what it is for a belief to be true or false?
    • Does being a mindreader entail being able, sometimes, to identify one's own mental states and actions?
    • How is mindreading involved in joint action?
    • In what ways (if any) could mindreading, or its development or evolution, depend on abilities to engage in joint action?