COGSCI 301 - Special Topics for Cognitive Science
Winter 2021, Section 001 - Cognitive Science and Psychopathology
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Cognitive Science (COGSCI)
Department: LSA Linguistics
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
Waitlist Notes:
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:


In recent years, cognitive scientists have increasingly sought to model various forms of psychopathology, in part because an examination of the deficits in cognitive and/or affective processing associated with such disorders seems like a promising way to better understand the nature of “normal” cognitive functioning and the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms.

In the course, we will examine a number of psychopathologies, including delusions, schizophrenia, psychopathy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, dementia, scrupulosity (a form of OCD), and depression. We will consider whether the explanatory strategies of cognitive science – such as Marr’s three levels of analysis, and the method of dissociation - can be fruitfully applied to these disorders, and to the search for the existence of distinct neurocognitive mechanisms. We will also consider some philosophical questions that are raised by various kinds of psychopathology and our attempts to understand them, such as (but not limited to): what is a mental disorder? What might delusions and other belief disorders tell us about the nature of belief/knowledge and the structure of the mind? How should we understand the relationship between the mind and the brain? What affective and/or cognitive capacities are necessary for competent moral judgment, and for the morally responsible agency?

Course Requirements:

This class meets for 80 minutes via Zoom, twice a week. It is not primarily a lecture course, so active participation from all students is expected at every class meeting. We will discuss (and collaboratively develop) Zoom norms at the start of the semester and as the course goes on in order to discover and maintain a learning environment that works for all of us. Class activities may include small and large group discussions, games, reading/writing/annotation exercises, and more.

Course readings will include a mix of philosophical readings and contemporary empirical work in cognitive science.

Intended Audience:

Students will find it especially helpful to have completed COGSCI 200 before taking this class.

Class Format:

Instruction Mode
As a DC (Distance due to COVID) course, all aspects of this course will be fully compatible with online learning.

Learning Mode
The weekly meetings for this course will be conducted synchronously at the times listed.

Course Assessment
All course assignments will be submitted asynchronously, with deadlines advertised in advanced.

Synchronous Expectations
For the synchronous components of this course, students are expected to be virtually present at the listed time. Students who need to miss a meeting due to technical issues, illness, caregiving obligations, etc., will have access to missed materials on Canvas (which may include worksheets, slides, and/or video recordings.)


COGSCI 301 - Special Topics for Cognitive Science
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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