Cognitive science

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is anyone here majoring in cognitive science or know a little about it? i know it's a new area of study. it is my second choice in a major (following astrophysics), so i have a few questions to those who know about it.
 

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  • #2
Math Is Hard
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I'm a cognitive science major at UCLA.
 
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I follow research in cognitive science, do you have a question about the field?
 
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sorry late response but yeah i got a few questions
how are you liking the major at ucla? (tough/easy/not bad if you love the subject) cause i applied to ucla and ucsd. they both have pretty good cog sci programs i heard.
what is it generally about? i looked at all the course descriptions but they don't tell me much.
and also i've been watching some videos on a psychologist (?) named derren brown. but if you don't know too much about him you can just check out a couple of his videos on youtube. is all that he does basically cognitive science?
otherwise i can't remember all my questions for now. thanks.
 
  • #5
Math Is Hard
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sorry late response but yeah i got a few questions
how are you liking the major at ucla? (tough/easy/not bad if you love the subject) cause i applied to ucla and ucsd. they both have pretty good cog sci programs i heard.
what is it generally about? i looked at all the course descriptions but they don't tell me much.
and also i've been watching some videos on a psychologist (?) named derren brown. but if you don't know too much about him you can just check out a couple of his videos on youtube. is all that he does basically cognitive science?
otherwise i can't remember all my questions for now. thanks.

Isn't Derren Brown basically a magician? I have no doubt that he understands psychology very well because from what I understand he uses people's suggestibility to produce his "tricks". I'm not super familiar with his work and background though.

What cognitive science is *generally about* is mental representations and processes in intelligent systems. The intelligent system might be a person, an animal, or a machine model. To get you started, go poke around here:
http://www.mindhacks.com/
and you'll see some of the cool things that cognitive scientists and cognitive psychologists are actively exploring.

UCLA is a great place to study cognitive science, especially if you are geared toward cognitive psychology or cognitive neuroscience. We have some real heavy hitters in that area. I often feel very humbled to be studying "at the feet of the masters". There are also a lot of collaborative efforts between departments, and that's something I really, really love about the school. UCLA also has an option of a cog sci minor that may interest you. Pairing that up with astrophysics might work out very well. I know a few people at JPL who are designing intelligent sytems for spacecraft.

That said, I think that UCSD is probably the best place overall for a pure cognitive science major undergrad. Their program is more structured than UCLA's and appears to be a bit more rigorous. UCLA offers more of a flexible "build your own" type of major, so it's really up to you to figure out what you want to do with it. You can veer off into AI, computational modeling, philosophy, neuroscience - whatever floats your boat.

Anyway, I love the major, and the reason I chose it was because if I wasn't studying it in school, I'd be reading about it on my own time. That way, it doesn't feel like work! (Which is important, because I have a 35 hour a week job and burnout risk is high.) I don't think it's a tough major if you're into it.

The list of requirements for the cog sci major is here:

http://www.psych.ucla.edu/Undergrads/advising/maj_min/majors_cogsci_fresh.php [Broken]

I've taken many of them (I'm almost done!), so if you have specific questions about courses let me know. I may even have an old syllabus lying around for some.
 
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  • #6
Congrats! Good luck... :-)
 

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