Title Instructor Credit
Academic Writing for Cognitive Science

This course aims at improving oral and written presentation skills that are vital for Cognitive Scientists. How does one write an abstract, a methods section, or a results section for an empirical paper? How can experimental results be presented most effectively? What are good strategies for dealing with reviewers’ comments when revising a paper? How does one write a review? What is important to keep in mind when writing a research proposal? What makes for a good oral presentation?

Natalie Sebanz 2.0
Bayesian Data Analysis

This course will provide an introduction to practical methods for making inferences from data using probabilistic models for observed and missing data.  This approach is an alternative to frequentist statistics, the presently dominant inference technique in sciences, and it supports a common-sense interpretation of statistical conclusions by using probabilities explicitly to quantify uncertainty of inferences. The course will introduce Bayesian inference starting from first principles using basic probability and statistics, elementary calculus and linear algebra. 

József Fiser 2.0
Behavioural Game Theory

What decisions do we take when they involve others' choices and welfare?
Studies show that people do take into consideration the consequences that
their decisions will have on others. They also predict what others will do and
decide accordingly.
We will read and discuss papers about the psychological factors that underpin
decision-making when interacting with others. We will see that these
decisions depend on social or “other-regarding” preferences and we look at
different attempts to specify what these preferences are. The decisions taken

Christophe Heintz 2.0
Communicative and cultural knowledge transmission
György Gergely 2.0
Development of Perception and Action

Claes von Hofsten and Kerstin Rosander

Claes von Hofsten 2.0
Empirical and philosophical issues in the study of human cooperation and communication

The importance, diversity, and richness of the forms of cooperation and communication human engage in are without par among animal species. These interactions are in a relationship of mutual enhancement with four factors: evolved psychological capacities, protracted cognitive development, complex sociality, and culture.

Dan Sperber 2.0
Engines of Development

We will examine a number of fundamental questions, issues, and findings in the study of infant and preschool cognition over the last 35 years and suggest some current prospects. We will pose, refine, and begin to answer some of the big questions about the nature of the human mind and its capacities. 

Alan Leslie 2.0
Evolutionary Psychology

If brains and minds are products of evolution, how have evolutionary processes shaped them to do what they do? In this course we will investigate how evolutionary theory and methods can be combined with the study of development, genetics, cognition, and neuroscience to attempt to deconstruct the mind’s functional structures and understand how they evolved.

Prof. Clark Barrett 2.0
Experimental Research Methods

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.

József Fiser 2.0
How to design good experiments in Cognitive Science

The aim of the course is to enhance the participants’ understanding of how research questions in Cognitive Science can be addressed with experimental designs. The course will enable participants to turn well-formulated questions about the mind and brain into experiments that produce interpretable results. The course also aims at improving participants’ ability to judge whether experiments do or do not support the conclusions drawn from them.

Guenther Knoblich 2.0
Infant Cognition

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.

Gergely Csibra
György Gergely
Ágnes Melinda Kovács
Mikołaj Hernik
Introduction to Cognitive Science

This course will give a broad overview of the fundamental assumptions and findings in Cognitive Science, the interdisciplinary study of the mind. The lectures in the first half of the course will cover the main ideas that have been driving the study of the human mind for the last fifty years. These will include the view that the mind functions like a digital computer, the view that the mind functions like a neural network, and the view that the mind should be conceived of as a dynamical system closely tied to the environment.

Guenther Knoblich 2.0
Introduction to language and social cognition

Humans are special in having a communication system that employs complex language(s) and advanced social cognition. This course offers an introduction to current research on how these advanced human capacities interact. Language is discussed as a cognitive ability as well as a central feature of human social interaction. During the meetings we discuss how the prominent models and theories of language explain linguistic phenomena that relate to social cognition. What is universal, what is language or culture specific?

Anne Tamm 2.0
Joint Action

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. We will discuss research articles reporting behavioral and neuroscience experiments in this rapidly growing field. The course will also provide an overview of the different research methods that have been used in joint action research.

Natalie Sebanz
Guenther Knoblich
Matlab for Experiments and Data Analysis

This course will provide a hands-on introduction to programming in Matlab with a special focus on applying it to create psychological experiments and to analyze human behavioral data. After a general introduction to the basic ingredients of programming (variables, loops, good programming styles etc.), we will use Matlab to write little experiments and to collect, analyze and plot real data. This will involve simple reaction time experiments but the course will also offer an introduction to collecting and analyzing 3D human movement data with the Polhemus motion tracking system.

Guenther Knoblich
Cordula Vesper
Political Philosophy 2.: Cognitive science and policy making Christophe Heintz 4.0
Social and cognitive sciences approaches to religion

Explaining religion has been a main goal of the social sciences and in particular of anthropology. It has now become an important goal for naturalistic approaches to culture (cognitive and evolutionary). This course will explore both the tensions and the potential complementarities between social-scientific and naturalistic approaches by looking at the way they frame and try to answer central questions in the study of religion and in particular of beliefs and ritual (NB: the specific topics and readings will be different from last year).



Dan Sperber 2.0
Social Cognition

From social cognition to social phenomena

Course description

What are the psychological bases of the rich social interactions and cultural life that characterise human societies? This course will review some of the answers provided by recent studies in cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology and social anthropology. It will cover a wide range of topics related to social cognition and human sociality, including:

Christophe Heintz 2.0
Statistical Models of Perception, Action, Cognition

Biological organisms make choices and often the possible outcomes of their choices are uncertain.  Several different fields focus on how organisms cope with uncertainty: decision making in psychology, micro-economics, foraging theory in biology, motor planning in psychology, and perceptual judgment in psychology. The foci of research in all of these areas overlap considerably but the terminologies an differ considerably. What these areas share is a common statistical framework, Bayesian decision theory.

Laurence T Maloney 2.0
The Origin of Concepts

The course provides an introduction into current-day philosophically inspired cognitive developmental theory and evolutionary perspectives of the nature of human concepts and their origins. The core reading for the course will be the book by Susan Carey entitled `The Origin of Concepts` (OUP, 2009).

György Gergely
Mikołaj Hernik
Topics in the Philosophy of Psychology

In this course we will discuss the interpretation of certain concepts that are used as explanatory constructs by empirical psychological and neuroscientific research. Arguably, the use of concepts like ‘free will’, ‘embodied cognition’, ‘intention’, ‘essence’ and others sometimes involves controversial, and often hidden, assumptions, which might misguide empirical research or lead to misinterpretation of its results.

Gergely Csibra
Hanoch Ben-Yami
Understanding and Misunderstanding

We can achieve understanding at many different levels – from sensing that someone sitting next to us is cold to knowing that we agree or disagree with someone on, say, a certain environmental policy. This course will explore the individual level processes that can lead to understanding in human interaction and discuss how the nature of these processes influences the way in which misunderstandings arise.

Guenther Knoblich
Natalie Sebanz
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.

József Fiser 2.0
What makes us social

Human brains have mechanisms for interacting with other agents that evolution has fashioned over millions of years. They are largely hidden in the manner of built-in instincts. In the first five seminars we will survey a variety of mechanisms for learning from others that are shared across many species. In seminars 5 to 8 we will consider mentalising, a mechanism that works particularly well in the niche created by human beings. In the last 4 seminars we will consider how social learning allows humans to built up culture.

Chris Frith
Uta Frith
`Mind reading` through the lens of Cognitive Science

Course description:

How do we infer other people’s mental states? The course will provide the opportunity to make an in-depth analysis of the cognitive processes underlying “mind reading” on the basis of a selected review of classic and state of the art empirical findings and theoretical models.

Dr. Dana Samson 2.0