About iCog


iCog seeks to facil­it­ate col­lab­or­a­tion across con­stitu­ent dis­cip­lines and to raise the pro­file of cog­nit­ive sci­ence.

The pro­ject of cog­nit­ive sci­ence is, in the broad­est terms, to under­stand the work­ings of the mind. Researchers in its con­stitu­ent dis­cip­lines — anthro­po­logy, psy­cho­logy, philo­sophy, com­pu­ta­tion­al intel­li­gence, neur­os­cience, lin­guist­ics — attempt to answer such ques­tions as:

  • What is the struc­ture of the mind? Which parts of the mind are innate and which are learned?
  • How do we come to per­ceive the world? What is con­scious­ness, and how is it pro­duced?
  • What are emo­tions and oth­er affect­ive phe­nom­ena and how do they work?
  • What is the adapt­ive func­tion of vari­ous beha­viours and psy­cho­lo­gic­al capa­cit­ies?
  • What aspects of cog­ni­tion are uniquely human, and which do we share with oth­er anim­als?
  • How are we able to under­stand the minds of oth­ers?
  • How are con­cepts formed? How do we acquire lan­guage? Does lan­guage struc­ture thought, and if so, how?
  • What capa­cit­ies are involved in vari­ous kinds of decision-making and exec­ut­ive func­tion?
  • What is mor­al cog­ni­tion and how does it work?
  • How much vari­ation is there in beha­viours, beliefs and psy­cho­lo­gic­al capa­cit­ies cross-culturally?

Despite a good deal of pro­gress on these and oth­er issues in recent dec­ades, cur­rent dis­cip­lin­ary bound­ar­ies in the major­ity of British uni­ver­sit­ies, fund­ing agen­cies, and learned soci­et­ies make it dif­fi­cult for those work­ing in one dis­cip­line of cog­nit­ive sci­ence to receive train­ing in the meth­ods of oth­er dis­cip­lines, and meet with research­ers work­ing on sim­il­ar issues in oth­er dis­cip­line areas. This can be par­tic­u­larly dis­cour­aging for post­gradu­ates and early-career research­ers whose research does not fit neatly with­in dis­cip­lin­ary bound­ar­ies. Even where inter­dis­cip­lin­ary work exists, bal­anced and reflect­ive col­lab­or­a­tion can be dif­fi­cult to achieve. iCog aims to pro­mote dia­logue and col­lab­or­a­tion between dis­cip­lines, rather than one-sided con­ver­sa­tions.

iCog organ­izes reg­u­lar con­fer­ences and work­shops.

Get in touch | Meet the iCog com­mit­tees