Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science Department brings together the research and teaching of academicians in computer science, psychology, philosophy and linguistics. It aims to extend its interdisciplinary links to as many parts of METU as possible, as well as to other universities in Turkey and abroad. It aims to develop a collaborative atmosphere that attracts researchers and postgraduate students interested in all aspects of cognition.

From the Head of the Department

How do natural cognitive systems (humans, animals) work? How can we design artificial cognitive systems (intelligent agents, robots) that are able to communicate with natural cognitive systems? What are the tools that may have the potential to make artificial systems make decisions by conducting reasoning and perform actions that manipulate the environment? What are the underlying mechanisms of perceptual and cognitive processes, such as vision, language acquisition, comprehension, and production, memory, and learning? These are high-level questions that Cognitive Science researchers and the researchers in the relevant domains have been interested in since the past several decades.

METU Cognitive Science graduate program aims to contribute to cogsci research from an interdisciplinary perspective. We believe that it is virtually impossible to understand the mind by solely thinking and discussing about it, nor by solely collecting and reporting human behavior data, nor by engineering methods in isolation.  We provide a curriculum that covers a broad range of disciplines, or “tracks” in our terminology. We have courses in the computer science track, the philosophy track, the linguistics track, and the psychology track. These courses cover the body of knowledge in cognitive science.

If you’d like to be part of this endeavor, please check the application criteria and apply to our graduate program. We also welcome exchange students (e.g., Erasmus students) and exchange faculty members.

Cem Bozşahin

What is Cognitive Science?

Cognitive Science is defined as the scientific study of mind from an interdisciplinary perspective. The main contributing disciplines across universities all over the world are computer science, psychology, linguistics, philosophy and neuroscience. Its origins can be traced back to the mid-1950s when theories of mind were developed based on representations and computational procedures. In 1977, the first organization, Cognitive Science Society was formed and its journal Cognitive Science was published.
Cognitive Science is not a simple sum of the contributing disciplines. With the cooperation of related disciplines, it exhibits theoretical and methodological variety in the study of mind.
It is an interdisciplinary field which aims to study processes of the natural and artificial minds, and self-organizing behavior of natural and artificial agents and their community. It builds experimental and theoretical models to test several hypotheses about perception, action,  reasoning, memory, planning and emotion of living things (humans, animals) and the artificial (e.g. computers, robots).
Today, there are more than sixty universities in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia that have established cognitive science programs. However, the number of international conferences on cognitive science and related disciplines is much higher. Considering the list of disciplines in Cognitive Science, namely anthropology, artificial intelligence, education, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology, 21 possible two-discipline multidisciplinary combinations exist. Among these combinations, 11 have standard labels (e.g. “psycholinguistics” as a combination of psychology and linguistics, or “computational neuroscience” as a combination of artificial intelligence and neuroscience) and 15 have associated journals.

Cognitive Science at METU

The Cognitive Science program at Middle East Technical University was established in 1997 as a graduate program within the Informatics Institute. It is the first and the only cognitive science program in Turkey to offer both MS and PhD degrees. (see Graduate Curriculum)
The field spans artificial intelligence, computer science, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, education and anthropology. The courses and the theses are similarly diverse. We are open to applicants with BS, BA, MSc or MA from any field, and offer our students study programs to satisfy core requirements of cognitive science, in modeling of structure, theory of computing, programming, logic and statistics. Some overlapping aspects of cognition are expected to be studied  in a thesis (for example linguistics and computing, philosophy and psychology, psychology and computing, etc).
Research areas of the department currently include experiments on child development and language acquisition, cooperative problem solving, visual reasoning and perception, computation and language processes (morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse, communication), fMRI studies and neural basis of cognition.

The department houses or cooperates with the following labs:


Cognitive Science Related Links

Cognitive Science Societies


Reference Links

Selected Cognitive Science Departments

Discussion Groups

  • To promote discussions on Cognitive Science topics and mediate news, "Cogslist" is started on YahooGroups. Everybody can follow this forum. To join this forum, please send an email to with your name and surname mentioned. You will receive a confirmation email. To follow threads, please connect to "Cogslist".
  • Cognitive Science Discussion List
  • Usenet groups sci.cognitive and sci.psychology.journals.psycoloquy can be accessed from here.