Course at Nordic Spring School in Logic, May 27-31, 2013
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Lecture 1: Logic & Cognition. Introduction and Some Examples

SLIDES

In the first lecture we will discuss philosophical issues surrounding the project of applying modern logic and computability theory in cognitive science. We will start with the brief historical overview of the divide between logic and psychology. Then, we will present a modern information processing approach to cognitive task that links nicely with logic and computability theory.

In the second part we will present some examples of how logic can be used to analyze the structure and difficulty of cognitive tasks. The general strategy here is to assign a logical representation to a relevant domain of reasoning, and to associate a logical proof with each strategic reasoning leading to a solution. By comparing the `complexity’ of the proofs we can estimate and test the cognitive difficulty of various tasks. We will focus on 2 examples: syllogistic reasoning and playing Master Mind game.

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Lecture 2: Cognition & Computability

SLIDES

This lecture will review the ties between cognition and  computability theory via the psychological version of Church-Turing Thesis and P-Cognition Thesis. On the one hand, we will focus on some cognitive processes of complexity reaching beyond Turing boundary, like language acquisition, learning or belief revision. On the other hand, we explore how computational complexity theory may help to delimit cognitively tractable functions within computable range. Time permitting, we will show some experiments suggesting that people avoid intractability.

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Lecture 3: Semantics & Cognition

SLIDES

In this lecture we will show how automata theory can be used to link formal semantics of natural language with human processing. In particular, formal results on complexity allow us to predict cognitive load of subjects involved in sentence comprehension

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Lecture 4:  Logic & Social Cognition

SLIDES

In this lecture we will focus on logical approaches to social cognition. In particular, we will analyze cognitive tasks demanding higher-order reasoning of the form ‘I believe that Ann knows that Peter thinks…’ . In the psychological research on the Theory of Mind there are two dominating experimental paradigms: turn-based games and false-belief task. We show how to formalize those tasks and use some structural properties to predict participants’ behaviors when solving the experimental trials.

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