Course Material

This is the Cognitive Systems Program’s capstone seminar course. This is a writing- and talking- intensive course. Students are expected to engage discursively with both mouth and pen (… keyboard). Since COGS 401 is intended to prepare students for COGS 402, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that students take COGS 401 BEFORE attempting COGS 402.

Course Materials | Term 1


Tentative Schedule

Assignment Information

Essay Deadlines:

Please send a PDF formatted essay to by midnight of the due date.

Sep 29: 1st Research Essay (Ward/Bateson)

Oct 27: 2nd Research Essay (Anderson/Ward)

Nov 15: 3rd Research Essay (Illes/Risen)

Dec 1: 4th Research Essay (Bialystok/Pritchard)

Research Essay Guideline


Research Proposal Deadlines:

Please email a PowerPoint or PDF formatted presentation to  by the morning of your presentation.

Oct 4: Presentation of Prelim Research Ideas (1 minute)

Oct 25/27, Nov 1: Presentation of Research Proposals: Background (3 minutes)

Background Presentation Sample

Nov 24/29, Dec 1: Presentational of Final Proposal (4/5 minutes)

Final Presentation Sample

Dec 9: Final Written Proposal (2500 words)

Research Proposal Guidelines

Final Proposal Sample


Lecture 1 (Sep 13) Ward


Binocular Rivalry


Binocular Rivalry Slides

Physics of Neural Synchronisation Mediated by Stochastic Resonance

Thalamic Dynamic Core Theory

The Thalamus: Gateway to the Mind

Lecture 2 (Sep 20) | Bateson


Auditory-Visual Speech Processing: Something Doesn't Add Up



What's Universal Grammar?

Sociable Machines

Foundations for a Theory of Mind for a Humanoid Robot

Lecture 3 (Sep 23) | Anderson (3:00; Buchanan A201)


Hermeneutical Impasses

Lecture 4 (Oct 6) | Ward



Can Musicians Track Two Different Beats Simultaneously?

Detecting Perturbations in Polyrhythms

Lecture 5 (Oct 18) | Illes


Operationalizing Neuroimaging for Disorders of Consciousness


fMRI in the Public Eye

Lecture 6 (Nov 3) | Risen (12:30; Woodward 6)


Believing What We Do Not Believe

Lecture 7 (Nov 10) | Bialystok (5:00; Jack Poole Hall, Lee Alumni Centre)


Bilingualism: Consequences for the Mind and Brain

Monolingual and Bilingual Children

Lecture 8 (Nov 15) | Pritchard

Materials can be found on his website rather than in papers or slides.

Pritchard's Website