jump to navigation


CS/ISYE/PST/PSY 3790: Introduction to Cognitive Science

Instructor: Ron Ferguson
Klaus 1447
MWF 11:05-11:55

CogSci 3790 covers a broad range of topics that are tied together by Cognitive Science’s central metaphor — the mind as information processor. During the term, you will explore the basics of cognitive science, covering aspects of philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, and other areas.

Logistically, 3790 will be like many other lecture-based courses. There will be readings on the basics of cognitive science, which will be combined with lectures that go in depth on selected topics from the text (you will be expected to learn and understand the material in both the lectures and the book). You will also develop your own understanding of a single aspect of cognitive science through work on a final paper.

Class communication

For most class communication, we’ll be using the 3790 class blog (cogsci3790.wordpress.com). You can either read this page directly or use an RSS aggregator to read either the main entries or the main entries plus comments. All non-urgent class announcements will be on the blog. Urgent announcements (e.g., if class is cancelled) will be handled via email.

Grades will be handled via WebCT. In the past we’ve had some problems with grades being visible to students, so if grades do not appear after a homework is handed back, please let me or the TAs know.

Office Hours

Ron Ferguson [rwf AT cc]: Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00 in the open area outside the classroom.

Justin Jang [jang AT cc]: Fridays 10-11am in the open area outside the classroom or in the classroom.

Neil Cutshaw [amator AT cc]: Monday 10:00-11:00 am in the classroom or the open area outside the classroom.



There will be approximately 10 homeworks or in-class exercises over the course of the term. There may also be quizzes.


There will be two exams in this class — one near the middle of the term, and another the week before dead week. These exams will not be cumulative. There will not be a final exam.


A 8-12 page final paper will be required on one of a set of given topics.


Re-grading requests: If you feel that an assignment or test has been graded incorrectly, please return the assignment to the grading TA with a written description of the problem within 1 week of the return date.

Group assignments
: Group assignments will be held by the grading TA so that all group members have access to it

Plagiarism. Instances of plagiarism will result in a zero for the assignment and possible referral to the Dean of Students. If you are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism, see this helpful brochure from Indiana University.

Excused absences

A makeup exercise, worth approximately two quizzes or one homework, will be offered at the end of the term. This will cover any missed quizzes or exercises. If you have a situation, such as illness, that causes you to miss more than a few classes, contact one of the teaching assistants.

Late assignments

Assignments due in class are due at the beginning of class (to minimize disruptions). Late assignments will be assessed a 10% penalty per day. Assignments turned in after the beginning of class will be assessed a 5% penalty. For example, an assignment 1 day late with a grade of 80% would recieve a penalty of 8% (10% of 80%).  Sorry, but no assignments will be accepted more than 48 hours late.



1. Ron - May 3, 2006

If you have comments or questions about the syllabus, please leave them here.

2. Bryan Popka - May 16, 2006

What is the name of the textbook? I see that it is by David Marr but can’t find the name of it

3. John Testrake - May 16, 2006

It’s by Jay Friedenberg and Gordon Silverman. The name is Cognitive Science An Introduction to the study of mind.

4. Che - May 18, 2006

For those who wish not to fill the coffers of the B&N evil empire, Engineer’s Bookstore has 30 copies on backorder that are arriving soon.

5. Ron - May 18, 2006

I’ve added the textbook to the readings page.

6. Krishna - May 22, 2006

Half.com has the book for about $30 including shipping.

By the way, is the syllabus that is now posted a finalized version for the class?

7. Tatyana - May 23, 2006

Midterms=> I think having two midterms would be a much better idea. I am very uneasy with the idea of having just one midterm that will be worth more then a final. Dr. Ferguson expressed some concerns that if he will give out a test that would only last half a period the other period will be very poorly attended. I agree that it might happen if he waits until the second period of the day to give the test. If, however, test is giving during the first period, I think that people who usually come to class will stay and even people who only come to take a test might stay (hey, I am already here, might as well stay for the second lecture).

Office hours=> Does anyone know when are Dr. Ferguson’s office hours?

8. junxiao - May 23, 2006

My TA office hour is 10-12 Monday and 11:45-12 Tuesday at CCB commom area.

Jun Xiao

9. vanhorn - May 23, 2006

My TA office hours are: 10-11:30 Wednesdays (TSRB 318) and Thursdays 11:45-12:00 in the classroom. The hours on Thursdays is extendable if you show up during that time. If you cannot meet during the times listed for Jun or myself, e-mail me and we will try to set something up for Friday.


10. Lawrence - May 24, 2006

My TA office hours are 10-11 Wednesdays at TSRB 321, any it is common to find me there any time on either Mondays or Fridays also.

11. Darryl D. Prince - May 25, 2006

is there a test/homework schedule for this class or just the reading schedule and in-class anouncements?

12. Ron - May 28, 2006

The tests are included in the reading schedule. There is (now) a separate homeworks page.

13. LaToya - June 5, 2006

I missed the end of class on Thursday, but thought I heard you mention a homework during the middle of lecture. Do we have a homework assignment due this week? Also, do you have any practice exams or study guides you can post for us to study?

14. Ron - June 6, 2006

Just got the homeworks posted. I'll be posting some midterm review notes by the end of the week. There are no available old exams, unfortunately.

15. Jimmy M. Espana - November 10, 2006

The very helpful textbook web site: http://www.sagepub.com/CSstudy/

16. Jimmy M. Espana - November 11, 2006

Dr. Ferguson…. What have you decided about getting Extra-Credit for doing experiments on Psychology Experiment Scheduling ( https://experimetrix2.com/GATech/ ) ?

17. Jimmy M. Espana - November 29, 2006

Please, ignore the above comment….. The answer to that question is NO.

18. Nicole - January 22, 2007

Where can I find the lecture slides??

19. Ron - January 22, 2007

Click on the titles for each week on the Reading Schedule page. They’re in PDF format.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: