The goal of this course is to gain a further understanding of the basic research questions and methodologies of cognitive science. The course will consist of a set of selected topics in the domain of cognitive science, broadly construed. Topics may include both experimental and theoretical work in psychology, artificial intelligence, computer science and philosophy.

In this specialized course within the USE sequence “Human in Technology” we focus on insights from psychology and sociology. The first part of the course covers the basic areas of psychology and their applications to designing technology. These include: an introduction to psychological science, person perception, emotion, social learning, concepts, emotions social cognition and social influences. The focus in this course is on the importance of this fundamental knowledge for applications in the area of technological innovation and human-technology interaction. The lectures provide a scientific basis for more specific applications in the domain of human-technology interaction and technological innovation. In groups, students will write a report (report 1) in which they analyze how social persuasion can be used in novel technologies to influence human behavior. In the second half of the course, students will focus on insights from sociology and social network analysis and apply them to the design, diffusion, and use of technologies. Students learn how the social context affects the adoption and diffusion of innovations and how it affects the way humans utilize technologies. We devote attention to the application of sociological theories for studying social media. Moreover, students learn how the social consequences of new technologies can be analyzed. Topics include: How do you get individuals to accept new ideas or technologies? How do you get people to cooperate on the internet and especially in social media? While introducing classical sociological theories and concepts, we focus on the relation between offline and online behavior and examine topics such as how trust can be created in online communities. In groups, students will write a report (report 2) in which they apply sociological theory to provide recommendations on the design of a new technology.

In this course, we will study how to design technological artifacts, systems, and environments in such a way that they support and enable the human brain to do what it does best. Students will learn about the principles and processes that govern the ways in which humans interact with technological products, systems and services. The role of fundamental technical interactive components, e.g., displays or controls, and of complex processes and interfaces, e.g., in medical environments, transportation, or advanced human-computer interaction (HCI), are highlighted based on properties of human perception and action, models of cognition and communication, and empirical performance data. In addition, in two group assignments, you will become acquainted with the design processes by which both simple and more complicated technological systems and artifacts can be constructed to optimally address the capabilities, limitation, needs, and expectations of their users.

This course provides an introduction to quantitative research methods, and consists of lectures, an individual assignment and a group assignment. You will get acquainted with different quantitative research methods, reflect on earlier scientific research, and learn how to conduct a quantitative scientific study that tests psychological theories in technical applications.