#### Definitions

Cocosci... wait, what did you just say? I was amazed to discover the field of Computational Cognitive Science exists, especially at such an exciting time in its development. Cocosci is a new and growing field that is heavily interdisciplinary. I'll leave it to a sampling of experts to describe!

** Josh Tenenbaum (Computational
Cognitive Science Group at MIT)**

* "We study the computational basis of human learning and inference.
Through a combination of mathematical modeling, computer simulation,
and behavioral experiments, we try to uncover the logic behind our
everyday inductive leaps: constructing perceptual representations,
separating “style” and “content” in perception, learning concepts
and words, judging similarity or representativeness, inferring
causal connections, noticing coincidences, predicting the future.*

* We approach these topics with a range of empirical methods —
primarily, behavioral testing of adults, children, and machines
— and formal tools — drawn chiefly from Bayesian statistics and
probability theory, but also from geometry, graph theory, and
linear algebra. Our work is driven by the complementary goals
of trying to achieve a better understanding of human learning
in computational terms and trying to build computational
systems that come closer to the capacities of human learners."*

** Tom Griffiths (Computational
Cognitive Science Lab at UC Berkeley)**

*"The basic goal of our research is understanding the
computational and statistical foundations of human
inductive inference, and using this understanding to
develop both better accounts of human behavior and
better automated systems for solving the challenging
computational problems that people solve effortlessly
in everyday life. We pursue this goal by analyzing
human cognition in terms of optimal or "rational"
solutions to computational problems. For inductive
problems, this usually means developing models based
on the principles of probability theory, and exploring
how ideas from artificial intelligence, machine
learning, and statistics (particularly Bayesian
statistics) connect to human cognition. We test
these models through experiments with human subjects,
looking at how people solve a wide range of inductive
problems, including learning causal relationships,
acquiring aspects of linguistic structure, and forming
categories of objects.*

* Probabilistic models provide a way to explore many
of the questions that are at the heart of cognitive
science. As rational solutions to a problem, they
can indicate how much information an "ideal observer"
might extract from the available data, and provide
information about the nature of the constraints that
are needed in order to guarantee good inductive
inferences. By making it possible to associate discrete
hypotheses with probabilistic predictions, they allow
us to explore how statistical learning can be combined
with structured representations. By enabling us to
define models of potentially unbounded complexity,
they can also be used to answer questions about how
well the complexity of these structured representations
is warranted by the data. Finally, the extensive
literature on schemes for constructing computationally
efficient approximations to probabilistic inference
provides a source of clues as to psychological and
neural mechanisms that could support inductive inference,
and new experimental methods for collecting information
about people's beliefs and inductive biases.*

* The working hypothesis that probability theory
gives a formal account of human inductive
inference establishes connections between
cognitive science and current research in machine
learning, artificial intelligence, and statistics. This
means that probabilistic models of cognition can establish
a route for ideas in these disciplines to be explored
as explanations for how people learn, and for our investigation
of human cognition to inform the development of new methods
for making automated systems that learn."*

** Noah Goodman (Computation and
Cognition Lab at Stanford)**

*"Our research aims to understand how richly structured knowledge about
the environment is acquired, and how this knowledge aids adaptive
behavior. We use a combination of behavioral, neuroimaging
and computational techniques to pursue these questions. *

*One prong of this research focuses on how humans and animals
discover the hidden states underlying their observations,
and how they represent these states. In some cases, these
states correspond to complex data structures, like graphs,
grammars or programs. These data structures strongly constrain
how agents infer which actions will lead to reward. A second prong
of our research is teasing apart the interactions between different
learning systems. Evidence suggests the existence of at least two
systems: a 'goal-directed' system that builds an explicit model of
the environment, and a 'habitual' system that learns state-action
response rules. These two systems are subserved by separate neural
pathways that compete for control of behavior, but the systems may
also cooperate with one another." *

Note: These professors do cocosci in the "inference" vein, which is the framework within which I encountered cocosci and am most familiar with. However, there are many other topics that can be considered computational cognitive science, so I urge you to check out the lab list below to see the breadth of the field!