What Even Is Cognitive Science?

What is Cognitive Science? 

In a world that favors depth over breadth, choosing where to start digging is daunting. Countless roadmaps exist for those embarking to become specialists. The map for cognitive science, however, is far less straightforward. The field is defined as “the study of thought, learning, and mental organization, which draws on aspects of psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and computer modeling”. To understand its interdisciplinary nature, imagine voyaging through the roadmaps of these unique fields with the task to identify points of intersection. These overlapping points cultivate the new field of cognitive science. 

Why Not Just Computer Science?

Studying computer science enables the creation of powerful machinery and fosters development as an efficient problem solver. However, when designing products intended for people, it is equally important to understand human cognition. The rise of automation raises the question of how people and machines should coexist. The other fields within cognitive science exist to consider this relationship. An ability to create speedy algorithms and beautiful user interfaces is only as impressive as it is beneficial to humanity. Considering ideas from philosophy ensures the development of ethical technology. Moreover, understanding human psychology mitigates the risk of developing harmful products. Considerations such as these impassion my decision to study cognitive science every day.

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Why am I Studying It? 

There came a point in time when I realized saving the world is not an individual project. Nonetheless, I still ruminate for hours over how I can make my contribution to humanity. By studying cognitive science, I aim to learn how we can improve the efficiency and creativity of our minds by understanding factors that propel and hinder cognition. Thinking is like a sport, and how well we play determines how well we engineer ideas and build intuition. The problems we face on a global level are up to us, as a collective, to solve. In learning how to optimize the quality and efficiency of our thinking, we become more equipped to assimilate, innovate, and thrive in both our professional fields and daily lives. In the great words of John Milton, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” 

Image Source: ElisaRiva