Since the 1971s the cognitive sciences have offered multidisciplinary ways of understanding the mind and cognition. The MIT Encyclopedia of the represents Sciences(MITECS)is a landmark,comprehensive reference work that represents the methodological and theoretical diversity of this changing field. For both students and researchers,MITCS will be an indispensable guide to the current state of the cognitive sciences. “The cognitive sciences emerged in recognition of the fact that scholars and scientists in many different fields shared common problems and needed to collaborate. Now at last The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences has provided a forum large enough for that interaction to occur——a forum that will not only facilitate cooperation but will educate a new generation of cognitive scientists.”——George Miller,Professor of Psychology Emeritus,Princeton University “At last,a thorough,authoritative source for work in the cognitive sciences. Take the most important topics in the study of cognition,ask the worlds top authorities to summarize the state of the art,and you have it:The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. I have already used it to learn,to browse,to inform,to teach,and to update my own understanding.It doesnt matter which end you seek:the book will frequently be in use.” ——Donald A. Norman. The Nielsen Norman Group;Professor Emeritus,Department of Cognitive Science,University of California,San Diego;and author The Invisible Computer “Among the human minds proudest accomplishments is the invention of a science dedicated to understanding itself:cognitive science. In less than fifty years,deep mysteries of antiquity have been brought into the lab and captured in rigorous theories. This volume is an authoritative guide to this exhilarating new body of knowledge,written by the experts,edited with skill and good judgment.If we were to leave a time capsule for the next millennium with records of the great achievements of civilization,this volume would have to be in it.” ——Steven Pinker,Professor of Psychology,Massachusetts Institute of Technology;and author of How the Mind Works and The Language Instinct.
PrefaceThe MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS to its friends) has beenfour years in the making from conception to publication. It consists of 471 concise articles, nearly all of which include useful lists of references and further readings, preceded by six longer introductory essays written by the volume's advisory editors. We see MITECS as being of use to students and scholars across the various disciplines that contribute to the cognitive sciences, including psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology and the social sciences more generally, evolutionary biology, education, computer science, artificial intelligence, and ethology. Although we prefer to let the volume speak largely for itself, it may help to provide some brief details about the aims and development of the project. One of the chief motivations for this undertaking was the sense that, despite a number of excellent works that overlapped with the ambit of cognitive science as it was traditionally conceived, there was no single work that adequately represented the full range of concepts, methods, and results derived and deployed in cognitive science over the last twenty-five years. Second, each of the various cognitive sciences differs in its focus and orientation;in addition, these have changed over time and will continue to do so in the future. We see MITECS as aiming to represent the scope of this diversity, and as conveying a sense of both the history and future of the cognitive sciences. Finally, we wanted, through discussions with authors and as a result of editorial review, to highlight links across the various cognitive sciences so that readers from one discipline might gain a greater insight into relewmt work in other fields. MITECS represents far more than an alphabetic list of topics in the cognitive sciences; it captures a good deal of the structure of the whole enterprise at this point in time, the ways in which ideas are linked together across topics and disciplines, as well as the ways in which authors from very different disciplines converge and diverge in their approaches to very similar topics. As one looks through the encyclopedia as a whole, one takes a journey through a rich and multidimensional landscape of interconnected ideas. Categorization is rarely just that, especially in the sciences. Ideas and patternsare related to one another, and the grounds for categorizations are often embedded in complex theoretical and empirical patterns. MITECS illustrates the richness and intricacy of this process and the immense value of cognitive science approaches to many questions about the mind. ……
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