Cognitive science is the study of how knowledge is acquired, stored, represented, and used by intelligent systems, both natural and artificial. Over the past 50 years, the study of cognition has developed into an interdisciplinary science by synthesizing aspects of computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology, and is concerned with topics such as memory, decision-making, problem solving, and language comprehension. More recently, the field has developed strong links to neuroscience, behavioral economics, and other disciplines. Because the field developed as an interdisciplinary science, it represents the best aspects of the Liberal Arts and requires students to utilize concepts and techniques that emerge from a broad knowledge base of a variety of related fields.
The Cognitive Science concentration at Macalester exposes students to scientific studies of (the) mind and other intelligent systems from a variety of academic disciplines. The core of the concentration consists of rigorous coursework on the nature of such systems from the perspective of Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science, Linguistics and Economics.