Cognitive Science – Nature of Intelligence


            Many people reading this article may not be familiar with the term ‘Cognitive Science’. But the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ may sound familiar, as its often heard term and its a booming research area. ‘Cognitive Science’ may be considered as opposite of ‘Artificial Intelligence’, as former deals with study of intelligence in human ,where as  later deals with intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science which aims to create it.

            Cognitive science, the term was coined by Christopeher Longuet – Higgins in 1973. It is an interdisciplinary field. The interdisciplines are Psychology, Neuro science, Linguistics, Philosophy of mind, Computer Science, Anthropology, Biology and Physics. The objective of Cognitive Science is to attain a complete understanding of the mind/brain and its processes.

            Attaining the complete understanding of the mind/brain is not possible by single level analysis.  As the field is highly interdisciplinary, research often draws research methods from different fields such as Psychology , Neuro Science , Computer Science etc., Any of the research methods on their own would not fully explain the process of brain. The relational study of the outcomes of the researches can give a clear picture of process of brain, but to its limits.

            Consider the problem of remembering a phone number and recalling it later. The problem can be approached in many ways. Two of the ways are explained here. One approach is to study the behavior through direct observation i.e. accuracy of the response could be measured when the phone number is recalled by the person. Another approach is to study the working of individual neurons while the person is recalling the phone number. Neither of the approach on their own would solve the problem completely, as discussed before.

            Cognitive Science has yielded a multitude of practical applications. The area of Robotics has seen the development of new and more sophisticated robots capable of executing complex tasks, thus making a positive economic impact. Advances in Neuro science often result in new treatments for disorders such as Autism, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Cognitive theories in Psychology have provided new therapies for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Cognitive insights have also created an impact in education having led to new methods in the teaching of reading, writing and other subjects.

           Thus concentrating more on this field of research can yield much better outcomes to improve our society both economically and psychologically.


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