Cognitive science, a term that brings a blank and perplexed look on a lot of people, in simple terms, is the study of mental processes. It is, therefore, a branch of science that is trying to unravel the mysteries of the black box, commonly known as the ‘brain’. Cognitive Science is one of the emerging fields of study that incorporates, but is not restricted to, areas like neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, anthropology and philosophy. There is a general consensus among researches worldwide that brain and its processes can be understood only with an inter-disciplinary approach. Based on this viewpoint, a technology and engineering institute, IIT Gandhinagar started a PhD program in Cognitive Science back in 2010. The institute also started a Masters program in 2013.
Well, it is quite paradoxical to see a technological institute engaging in a discourse like Cognitive Science. But the institute takes pride in its endeavor to indulge in an area that has tremendous applications ranging from machine learning to developing novel tools for various behavioral & neurological disorders. And, as of now, IIT Gandhinagar is the only IIT that offers a Masters program in Cognitive Science.
The program in Cognitive Science started at IIT Gandhinagar with some highly thought-provoking and dedicated efforts of a few people. Prof. Jaison Manjaly, who is known for laying the foundation stones of Cognitive Science at this institute, had put forth the proposal for commencing this program. The institute happily gave a nod to this and recruited some highly experienced researchers. Currently, there are five faculty-in-residence who are part of this discipline- Prof. Jaison Manjaly, Prof. Krishna Prasad Miyapuram, Prof. Meera Sunny, Prof. Uttama Lahiri and Prof. Pratik Mutha. Apart from these faculties, there are some visiting faculties as well that are associated with this program- Prof. Frederick Coolidge, Prof. Manuel Ramos, Prof. Angus McBlane and Prof. Bipin Indurkhya. Each of these faculties is specialized in different areas of cognitive science, thereby giving an inter-disciplinary flavour to this program in a true sense. Some of the broad research interests of these faculty are: consciousness, sense of agency, privacy, brain imaging, consumer behaviour, visual attention, embodied cognition, artificial intelligence and affective computing, cognitive archaeology, symbolism, sensorimotor control & movement disorders.
Early in 2015 the discipline of Cognitive Science at IIT Gandhinagar became a centre and is now known as Centre for Cognitive Science. This one-year old centre is expanding itself both in terms of the number of researchers and highly advance & sophisticated research facilities in order to carry out cutting-edge research in so called “one of the four pillars of knowledge of the 21st century”- Cognitive Science.
P.S- Visit the official page of the Centre for Cognitive Science, IIT Gandhinagar here to know more about your mental processes!!!
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