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Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN)

Area Chair: Thad Polk, Samuel D. Epstein Collegiate Professor of Psychology,
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor

Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Area 2017

The Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience program represents a diverse group of faculty and students with research interests in all areas of cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience, including performance, sensation, perception, language, thinking, and problem solving, decision making, and judgment, categorization, learning and memory, attention, and motor control. These research efforts emphasize the creation of fundamental new basic knowledge. However, some effort is also devoted to devising innovative applications of such knowledge to important practical problems, e.g., human-computer interaction, decision aiding, and medical training. The Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience program is especially geared toward students who wish to develop skills in mathematics, statistics, neuroscience, or artificial intelligence as well as in psychology. Our program's curriculum offers several specializations that foster these technical skills for use in Formal Modeling, Mathematical Psychology, and other rigorous approaches to research on Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience.

Many faculty members in the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience program have close ties with at least one other program, particularly the Biopsychology, Social, and Developmental areas. Some also have extensive interactions with other departments in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the Medical School (particularly in Nuclear Medicine and Radiology Department), the College of Engineering, the Business School, and the Institute of Gerontology. Because of these faculty associations, Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience students may easily elect to pursue programs of study involving close relations with other areas in the Psychology Department or other departments. For example, a student with strong interests in the cognitive neuroscience of memory may interact extensively with the PET (Position Emissions Tomograph) Center of the Nuclear Medicine Department of the Medical School or the FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) Center of Radiology Department of the Medical School; one attracted to problems in social cognition might work with members of the Social Psychology program, and an individual who wished to model problem solving behavior may study with artificial intelligence specialists in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. A recent, growing trend has been toward emphasis on neural aspects of various cognitive processes, with students studying jointly in Experimental and Clinical Neuropsychology, as well as taking advantage of Michigan's impressive neuroimaging facilities.