9.63 | Fall 2002 | Undergraduate

Laboratory in Cognitive Science


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 session / week, 1.5 hours / session


The goal of this course is to prepare you for conducting and critiquing research in cognitive science. To achieve this goal, the course will cover the following five topics.

  1. Basic research methodologies. A series of lectures and case studies (many of them deliberately flawed) will introduce you to fundamental issues of experimental design, sample collection and ethics.

  2. Data analysis. How can one summarize experimental data and make intelligent inferences from them? You will learn about important statistical analysis techniques in a ‘hands-on’ fashion - by examining how these techniques have been used in several real research papers.

  3. Writing research papers and presenting your work. No matter how good a scientist you are, if you cannot communicate your ideas effectively in your papers and talks, the impact of your research will likely be greatly diminished. The course will provide some pointers about good writing and presenting style.

  4. Studying and critiquing past experiments. A necessary part of being a scientist is reading past and ongoing work from other laboratories and understanding the strengths and limitations of their findings. Through example case studies, we shall try to indicate how to develop a discerning attitude when reading papers.

  5. Conducting independent experiments. To reinforce your learning of research methodologies and writing style, you will design, run and writeup several experiments in various areas of cognitive science including (but not limited to) human attention, vision, memory, imagery and reasoning. Not only will this exercise help bring together all the topics touched upon in the course, it may also allow you to produce a publishable paper.


Your grade in class will be determined as follows.

Activities Percentages
In-class participation 5%
Mid-term examination 20%
3 write-ups and presentations of team experiments 45%
1 write-up of an independently conducted experiment 30%
Satisfaction of learning priceless

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2002
Learning Resource Types
Presentation Assignments
Written Assignments