Q&A with Roger Stanton – The Study of Cognitive Science

Roger StantonQ: What is cognitive science?

Roger Stanton: Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary scientific study of the brain. Its origins can be traced back to the mid-1950s, a time when researchers in a number of fields began to formulate theories based on computational procedures and complex representations. In the 1970s, the Cognitive Science Society was developed and the industry journal Cognitive Science was first published. Since then, more than 70 colleges and universities in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia have established courses in the field of cognitive science.

Q: Is cognitive science regularly studied in the academic community?

Roger Stanton: Even though many institutions of higher learning present courses related to cognitive science, it’s really not a well-known research area. As a general area of study with various research aspects, cognitive science was a perfect subject for my own research projects. Overall, the mind can typically be characterized as a distinct set of complex associations, which are then represented as a complex and layered network. It’s truly fascinating to study.

Q: What are the chief components of cognitive science?

Roger Stanton: Cognitive science includes several traditional fields, including psychology, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, neuroscience, computer science and mathematics. A guiding principle of cognitive science is Marr’s tri-level hypothesis. The three parts of Marr’s tri-level hypothesis are computation, representation and algorithm, and implementation. Most research in cognitive science assumes that a person’s mind contains various mental representations similar to that of computer data structures.

Q: Do you have a particular focus in the field of cognitive science?

Roger Stanton: My concentration is concept learning through the research methods of behavioral experiments and computational modeling.

Q: How will research in cognitive science be approached in the near future?

Roger Stanton: The implementation level of Marr’s hypothesis has seen a lot of advancement in recent years with brain imaging and other neuroscience research, and more cognitive models are being developed around biologically plausible mechanisms.  I think we will see more computational models with a biological influence.