The goal of Cognitive Science is to explain mental competence, as demonstrated in our capacity for language acquisition, perception, decision making, creativity and consciousness. The study of cognition is anchored, accordingly, in a variety of fields, including psychology, linguistics, philosophy, brain science and logic and computation. The academic program in cognitive science is unique in its integration of these disciplines, an integration which focuses on revealing the processes underlying mental phenomena. To take a representative example from the field of language acquisition, logic and linguistics formulate constraints based on the formal study of language; psychology studies the class of processes which satisfy these constraints; neurology locates the brain structures which realize the psychological processes; and finally, computational models provide a theoretical and conceptual perspective from which to approach these processes.
The undergraduate program was founded in 2001 as an addition to the already existing graduate and minor programs. The goal of the program is to introduce students to the content, research methods, and reasoning in the field, as well as to promote the kind of interdisciplinary skills and intellectual flexibility leading to a variety of occupational options. Graduates can expect to be prepared, among other things, for graduate level research in the various disciplines of cognitive science, and for specialization in specific industry-related fields such as computational linguistics, logic and linguistics, neural computation and computation and music.
The program is run jointly by the faculties of Humanities, Social Science, Science and School of Education. It offers a full undergraduate program (B.A.), an undergraduate minor, and a graduate masters program (M.A.), and is supervised by a committee of senior academic staff members at the Hebrew University: Prof. Oron Shagrir (Philosophy), Prof. Merav Ahissar (Psychology), Prof. Edit Doron (English Linguistics), Prof. Naftali Tishby (Computer Science), Prof. Eli Shamir (Computer Science), Prof. Idan Segev (Neurobiology), Prof. Asher Cohen (Psychology), Prof. Benny Shanon (Psychology).