30463 - MIND AND SOCIETY: INTRO TO COGNITIVE SCIENCES
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 13
Class 13: SALVATORE NUNNARI
While there are no formal requirements for the course, students should be comfortable with basic economic principles such as utility functions, choice under risk, intertemporal choice and Nash equilibrium.
This course integrates insights from cognitive science into models of economic behavior. It discusses the limitations of standard economic models and surveys the ways in which psychological experiments have been used to learn about cognition, preferences, and behavior. The first part of the course provides an introduction to major theories in cognitive science, with emphasis on the information-processing mechanisms of the mind. The second part of the course presents experimental evidence on behavior which is puzzling from the perspective of standard microeconomic theories, and explores how cognitive science can help us to build richer, more realistic models of economic decision making.
Part 1: Introduction to Cognitive Science:
- Neural Processing.
- Attention and Perception.
- Intelligence and Knowledge.
- Similarity and Categorization.
Part 2: Cognitive Science and Economic Decision-Making:
- Choice under Risk and Uncertainty.
- Choice over Time.
- Framing Effects and Preference Reversals.
- Endowment Effects.
- Social Comparisons and Fairness.
- Search for Information and Learning.
- Describe well established theories in cognitive science.
- Recognize the complexity of cognitive processes underlying decision-making.
- Summarize major findings on decision making from experimental economics.
- Identify strengths as well as limitations of standard microeconomic theories.
- Connect research and theories of cognition and behavior from diverse fields of the social sciences, including psychology, neuroscience, and economics.
- Develop novel theories of economic decision-making which take into account the biological and neuroscientific foundations of cognition.
- Apply research in cognitive science and behavioral economics to everyday events and challenges.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Individual assignments
The learning experience of this course includes, in addition to face-to-face lectures, the assignment of written reports on scientific journal articles. These reports are used for students’ assessment as well as a basis for the discussion of the scientific articles in class. During this discussion, students are encouraged to bring their own views and to share their insights. This learning tool creates a strong engagement with the course material and enhances students’ participation to in-class discussion.
|Continuous assessment||Partial exams||General exam|
In order to evaluate the acquisition of the aforementioned learning outcomes, the assessment is based on two main components: 1) written exam, 2) individual assignments (written reports).
- The written exams (which can be taken in the partial + final format, or in the general format) contribute to 30/31 of the final grade and are based on a mix of multiple-choice and open questions. Multiple choice questions are designed to test the students’ knowledge of the basic concepts and notions introduced in the course. Open-ended questions are aimed at evaluating the students’ ability to establish connections between cognitive science and microeconomics and to use these connections to explain decision-making behavior which is puzzling from the perspective of standard microeconomic theories. The partial exam focuses on the material covered in the first part of the course. The final exam focuses on the material covered in the second part of the course. The general exam is on the material covered in the whole course.
- Individual assignments contribute to 1/31 of the final grade and are based on the critical discussion of 6 scientific articles assigned throughout the course. For each of these articles, students are asked to submit a 1-page "Discussion Sheet" which summarizes what they learnt from the article, reports any questions they had on the methodology or conclusions, and suggesting interesting implications for economic decision-making. Reports are graded with a Pass/Fail mark. Students getting a Pass grade in at least 5 reports are awarded 1 point.
Teaching materials are announced before the start of the course and indicated or uploaded to the Bboard platform.