The Department of Computer Science & Engineering
CSE/LIN/PHI/PSY 575 & APY 526:
(Fall 2001)


(Available on the Web at: )

Last Modified: 28 November 2001

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Index: Other Relevant Links:
  • Topics
  • 575 homepage
  • Prerequisites
  • Directory of Documents
  • Staff
  • Class Meetings
  • Texts
  • Important Dates & Tentative Schedule
  • Reading
  • Attendance, Project, Newsgroup, CCS Colloquia, etc.
  • Term Project
  • How to Study
  • Grading
  • Incompletes
  • Academic Integrity
  • Classroom Disruptions


    Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of cognition. Cognition includes mental states and processes such as thinking, reasoning, remembering, language understanding and generation, visual perception, learning, consciousness, emotions, etc. Some cognitive scientists limit their study to human cognition; others consider cognition independently of its implementation in humans or computers. Some cognitive scientists study cognition independently of the cognitive agent's environment; others study it within the context of the agent, the society, the culture. Cognitive science can also be defined as, roughly, the (hopefully non-empty) intersection of the disciplines of computer science (especially artificial intelligence), linguistics, philosophy (especially philosophy of mind and philosophy of language), and psychology (especially cognitive psychology). Some writers on cognitive science add cognitive anthropology to this list, and most would add the cognitive neurosciences. The former deals in part with the societal and cultural context mentioned above. The latter is concerned with the "implementation" of mind in human physiology.

    We will review the history, nature, major findings, and philosophical implications of cognitive science. We will also discuss interdisciplinary cognitive-science research projects conducted by members of the UB Center for Cognitive Science.



    Dr. William J. Rapaport, 214 Bell Hall, 645-3180 x 112,
    Office Hours: Mondays, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon; Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.; and by appointment.


    CSE 575Rapaport207214TTh11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Natural Sciences 220
    LIN 575 001Rapaport010977TTh11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Natural Sciences 220
    PHI 575Rapaport144514TTh11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Natural Sciences 220
    PSY 575Rapaport293047TTh11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Natural Sciences 220
    APY 526 RRapaport079729TTh11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Natural Sciences 220




    1. There will be several guest lectures by faculty members of the UB Center for Cognitive Science. As these are arranged, they will be added to the schedule below.

    2. As new CCS colloquia are announced, they will also be added to this schedule.

    3. For the record, I have adjusted some of the dates below to reflect what we actually did in class, rather than on what I had hoped to do :-)
      Aug 28-Sep 4 What is cognitive science? Rapaport, William J. (2000), "Cognitive Science", in Anthony Ralston, Edwin D. Reilly, & David Hemmendinger (eds.), Encyclopedia of Computer Science, 4th edition (New York: Grove's Dictionaries): 227-233.

    Companion, Part I: 1-104.

    Cummins, Preface: viii-x.

    Wed Aug 29 CCS Colloquium Francisco Gil-White, "Cognitively Speaking, What Is an Ethnic Category?"
      Sep 6-20 Philosophy Wilson, Robert A. (1999), "Philosophy", MITECS: xv-xxxvii.

    MITECS, various articles on philosophy.

    Companion, Chs. 9, 11, 39, 43, 47, 50, 52, 55.

    Cummins, Chs. 2-4, 9-10, 12, 16, 22, 29, 32-33.

    Wed Sep 12 CCS Colloquium Ezra Zubrow, Anthropology, "The Origin of Music"
    Tue Sep 18 no class: Rosh Hashana  
    Wed Sep 19 CCS Colloquium Len Talmy
      Sep 20- Oct 16 Psychology Holyoak, Keith J. (1999), "Psychology", MITECS: xxxix-xlix.

    MITECS, various articles on psychology.

    Companion, Chs. 1-3, 7-8, 10, 12, 17-21, 23, 27-29, 31, 33, 45-46, 53, 59-60.

    Cummins, Chs. 1, 5, 8, 11-13, 15, 17, 19-20, 31, 35.

    Wed Sep 26 CCS Colloquium Kristin Tjaden (CDS), "Acoustic-Perceptual Distinctiveness and Coarticulatory Patterns in Dysarthria"
    Thu Sep 27 no class: Yom Kippur  
    Tue Oct 2 Guest Lecture:
    David Smith
    "Toward a Comparative Psychology of Uncertainty Monitoring and Metacognition"
    Wed Oct 3 CCS Colloquium Harry Heft (Psychology, Denison U), "From `Thing and Medium' to Ecological Psychology: A Tale of Two Research Programs"
    Tue Oct 9 Guest Lecture:
    David Mark
    "Human Cognition in the Geographic Domain"
    Wed Oct 10 CCS Colloquium Robert Van Gulick (Philosophy, Syracuse U), "Maps, Gaps and Traps: Metaphors for Understanding Consciousness"
    Thu Oct 11 term-project proposals due  
    Wed Oct 17 CCS Colloquium Tamar Gendler (Philosophy, Syracuse U)
      Oct 18 Neuroscience Albright, Thomas D., & Neville, Helen J. (1999), "Neurosciences", MITECS: li-lxxii.

    MITECS, various articles on neuroscience.

    Companion, Chs. 4, 13, 32, 34, 41, 43.

    Cummins, Chs. 11, 12, 13, 21, 23-27.

    Thu Oct 18 Guest Lecture:
    Susan Udin
    "From Spots to Thoughts: Receptive Field Properties in the Visual System"
    A discussion of changes in receptive field properties of visual system cells from the eye to the premotor cortex.
    Fri Oct 19 *** Last day to withdraw with a grade of R ***  
      Oct 16-30 AI Jordan, Michael I., & Russell, Stuart (1999), "Computational Intelligence", MITECS: lxxiii-xc.

    MITECS, various articles on AI.

    Companion, Chs. 16, 26, 38, 42.

    Cummins, Chs. 2-3, 5-7.

    Wed Oct 24 CCS Colloquium Suzanne MacDonald (Psychology, York U), "Studying Memory and Cognition in Zoo Primates: Rewards and Challenges"
    Wed Oct 31 CCS Colloquium K. Nicholas Leibovic, Physiology and Biophysics, UB;
    "Brain and Vision"
      Nov 1-13 Linguistics Chierchia, Gennaro (1999), "Linguistics and Language", MITECS: xci-cix.

    MITECS, various articles on linguistics.

    Companion, Chs. 6, 13-15, 24-25, 35, 37.

    Cummins, Chs. 18, 28-30.

    Thu Nov 1 Guest Lecture:
    Len Talmy
    "How Language Structures Concepts"
    Thu Nov 8 Guest Lecture:
    Jeff Higginbotham
    Communicative Disorders & Sciences
    "Performance Issues in Augmented Communication"
      Nov 15 Anthropology Sperber, Dan, & Hirschfeld, Lawrence (1999), "Culture, Cognition, and Evolution", MITECS: cxi-cxxxii.

    MITECS, various articles on anthropology, etc.

    Companion, Chs. 5, 22, 30.

    Cummins, Chs. 34-35.

    Wed Nov 14 CCS Colloquium Keith Oatley, Applied Psychology, U/Toronto, "Emotions and the Psychology of Fiction"
    Thu Nov 15 Guest Lecture:
    Charles O. Frake
    "Cognition at Sea: How stone-age, non-literate peoples descovered and settled the islands of the Pacific."
      Nov 13-27 Interdisciplinary, cognitive-science research programs Rapaport, William J.; Segal, Erwin M.; Shapiro, Stuart C.; Zubin, David A.; Bruder, Gail A.; Duchan, Judith F.; Almeida, Michael J.; Daniels, Joyce H.; Galbraith, Mary M.; Wiebe, Janyce M.; & Yuhan, Albert Hanyong (1989), "Deictic Centers and the Cognitive Structure of Narrative Comprehension", Technical Report 89-01 (Buffalo: SUNY Buffalo Department of Computer Science).

    Rapaport, William J., & Kibby, Michael W. (2000), "Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition: Development of a Computational Theory and Educational Curriculum", NSF grant proposal.

    Rapaport, William J., & Ehrlich, Karen (2000b), "A Computational Theory of Vocabulary Acquisition", in Lucja M. Iwanska, & Stuart C. Shapiro (eds.), Natural Language Processing and Knowledge Representation: Language for Knowledge and Knowledge for Language (Menlo Park, CA/Cambridge, MA: AAAI Press/MIT Press): 347-375.

    Wed-Fri Nov 21-23 no classes (Thanksgiving)  
    Wed Nov 28 CCS Colloquium Shaun Gallagher (Cog Sci & Philosophy, Canisius College), NEW "Expressive Movement in a Deafferented Subject"
      Nov 29-Dec 4 Turing Test and Chinese-Room Argument Cummins, Chs. 10, 9

    MITECS, "Turing, Alan Mathison" (pp. 847-849)

    MITECS, "Chinese Room Argument" (pp. 115-116)

    Companion, Ch. 47

    NEW Wed NEW Dec 5 NEW CCS Colloquium NEW Allison Sekuler, Psychology, McMaster University, "Visual Completion: A Case Study in Grouping and Perceptual Organization"
    Thu Dec 6 last class  
    Mon Dec 10 term-project reports due  


    There are 3 levels at which you can keep up with the reading assignments:

    1. Minimal: Just read the overview chapters in MITECS.

    2. Medium: Read at the minimal level, plus read the other items listed in this syllabus.

    3. Maximal: Read at the medium level, plus read some or all of the other readings that I will suggest in lecture or post to the course website, and/or that are listed in the bibliographies of any of these readings.

    See "How to Read (a Computer Science Text)".


    1. You will be expected to attend all lectures, and to complete all readings and assignments on time. There will be a term project.

    2. You should make every effort to attend the colloquia sponsored by the Center for Cognitive Science. These meet Wednesdays, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 280 Park Hall.

    3. You should subscribe to, and regularly monitor, the newsgroup sunyab.cse.575. You may post questions and comments there that are of general interest to the entire class. From time to time, announcements and information will be posted to the newsgroup. This newsgroup will be archived in the 575 Newsgroup Archive.

    4. Students should notify Prof. Rapaport within the first two weeks of class if they have a disability which would make it difficult to carry out course work as outlined (requiring note-takers, readers, extended test time).


    The term project may be either a programming project or a research report.

    A proposal for your term project, consisting of an extended abstract and bibliography, is due no later than Thursday, October 11; no late proposals will be accepted, and no term projects will be accepted without an approved proposal. The final term project is due no later than Monday, December 10.


    For general advice on how to study for any course, see my web page, "How to Study".


    Your final course grade will be a weighted average (probably 50-50) of (1) your class attendance and participation, and (2) your grade on the project.


    It is University policy that a grade of Incomplete is to be given only when a small amount of work or a single exam is missed due to circumstances beyond the student's control, and that student is otherwise doing passing work. I will follow this policy strictly! Thus, you should assume that I will not give incompletes :-) Any incompletes that I might give, in a lapse of judgment :-), will have to be made up by the end of the Spring 2002 semester. Note that this supersedes the more lenient make-up date published in the university catalog! For more information on Incomplete policies, see the web page,


    While it is acceptable to discuss general approaches with your fellow students, the work you turn in must be your own. It is the policy of this department that any violation of academic integrity will result in an F for the course, that all departmental financial support including teaching assistanceship, research assistanceship, or scholarships be terminated, that notification of this action be placed in the student's confidential departmental record, and that the student be permanently ineligible for future departmental financial support. If you have any problems doing the homeworks or projects, consult Prof. Rapaport. Please be sure to read the webpage,
    "Academic Integrity: Policies and Procedures", which spells out all the details of this, and related, policies.


    Students have been known to be disruptive, either to the instructor or to fellow students. The university's policies on this topic, both how the instructor should respond and how students should behave, may be found in the document
    "Obstruction or Disruption in the Classroom - Policies"

    William J. Rapaport (
    file: 575/F01/syl.28nv01.html