Cognitive Sciences

The Cognitive Sciences (CGS) Program encompasses much of what was once called “experimental psychology” but also reflects new interdisciplinary interests in neuroscience, philosophy, computer science, and translational science. With cognition as its unifying thread, the program provides opportunities to specialize in research and training in basic or applied cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, social cognition, cognitive development, and comparative cognition. The program deals with a wide range of topics within human and animal cognition. Specific faculty interests include learning and memory; language acquisition and use, including the roles of experience, gesture, and specific brain structures and processes; economic decision making; attention and executive functioning (e.g., metacognition, planning, cognitive control); false memories and eyewitness accuracy; decision making, including speeded judgments, economic decision making, and reasoning; inequity perception and response; comparative cognition; individual and group (e.g., species, race, gender, diagnostic category, age) differences; cooperation and prosocial behavior; and brain-behavior relations that underlie various cognitive competencies. The research conducted utilizes a variety of apparatus and techniques, including psychophysiology, eye-tracking, implicit association testing, sound analysis and synthesis, electroencephalography (EEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI and fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); psychometric methods, transcranial Doppler (TCD) sonography, virtual reality/virtual environment testing, noninvasive testing with animal models, and a host of others.

The CGS program typically accepts 2 to 4 students per year and prospective applicants should contact individual faculty for more information about opportunities for admission. The CGS program specifically seeks students who wish to pursue careers in cognitive psychology; evolution of behavior; cognitive, social, and affective neuroscience; comparative cognition; social cognition; cognitive development; applied cognition/human factors; and general experimental psychology. Each CGS student importantly shapes their own program of study in consultation with their doctoral advisor. Program-specific coursework includes core classes in cognitive psychology and three electives in areas most relevant to student interests. A principal aim is to help students develop an integrative view of cognitive science, often addressing issues that bridge traditional areas of psychology. Recent graduates have become faculty in college and university psychology departments, taken up postdoctoral positions within research laboratories, or entered human-factors positions in industry.

Stipends and Financial Assistance

 Students receive an annual stipend of at least $15,000 including a full tuition waiver; depending on year-in-program and source of funding, students can receive up to $31,500 annually. Some CGS students are funded through departmental research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and instructor positions. Others receive funding through ongoing grants and research contracts, fellowships from NSF, the Fulbright Program, GSU’s Brains and Behavior, Language and Literacy (RCALL), and Second Century Initiative programs, as well as through human-factors internships in local business.

Hard Data Café

A colloquium series called the Hard Data Café (HDC) provides a venue for students and faculty to present and discuss their research and to hear invited speakers. CGS students in their first and second years in the program are required to present their research to the HDC audience, as well as when approaching completion of their doctoral dissertation. Other speakers include CGS faculty, researchers from other programs within the department, across the university, and from neighboring institutions such as Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the University of Georgia. The HDC also features nationally recognized scholars with research interests in cognitive sciences whenever possible.

Faculty and Faculty Interests

Faculty members include Sarah Brosnan, Chris Conway, Kim Darnell, Gwen Frishkoff, Yuki Fujioka, Bill Hopkins, Heather Kleider, Marika Lamoreaux, Şeyda Özçalışkan, Kevin Swartout, David Washburn, and Rebecca Williamson---plus Emeritus faculty. For further information about the interests of the program faculty, see Faculty Interests (Cognitive Sciences).

Resources, Laboratories, and Centers

Brain Electrophysiology of Language & Literacy Systems Lab (BELLS)
Brain, Language & Evolution Laboratory (BLE)
Center for Advanced Brain Imaging (CABI)
CGS Virtual Reality Laboratory (CGS/VR)
Comparative Economics and Behavioral Studies Laboratory (CEBUS)
Gesture and Language Laboratory
Individual Differences in Executive Attention (IDEA) Laboratory
Language Research Center (LRC)
The Learning and Development Lab
Memory and Eye-Witness Accuracy Laboratory
PSCEB Laboratory Suite
Sonny Carter Life Sciences Laboratory