January 21, 2013

#NewToCogSci: Resources for the Curious

Interested in cognitive science? Lots of us are, and I get questions from readers (thanks!!) asking for resources to this interdisciplinary field, which comprises the "...study of mind and intelligence, embracing philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology" (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

I'm including three sets of resources, and omitting two. This is due to my own professional and learning biases. I'm a text-based learner and like to read my cognitive science in short bursts (reference material, Twitter, or blogs) or listen to interviews with cognitive scientists. So these biases give me great familiarity with:
  • Twitter & Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Books & Magazines
I'm not including popular or scholarly non-fiction, partly because there is so much out there and partly because I don't typically read non-fiction (shhh, that's a secret!), so I can't list my favorite cognitive science books here. I'm also not including videos, because I don't have the patience to sit through a video.

Twitter & Blogs
These are in addition to the Twitter feeds mentioned elsewhere in this post (like @SciAmMind and @AllintheMind).
  • @mocost (Mo Costandi) writes the Neurophilosophy blog for the Guardian and describes himself as a "Neuroscientist turned writer."
  • @neuroconscience (Micah Allen) is a PhD in cognitive neuroscience; meta/social cognition, neural plasticity, connectivity, & mental training. Solid news about all of the above.
  • @TheNeuroScience (Stanford) tweets lots of news about neuro- and cognitive science.
  • @PsychScience (Association for Psychological Science) tweets news and scholarly articles about all aspects of psychology.
  • @TheSocialBrain (Dr. SunWolf) tweets about "neuroscience, social behaviors, and the science of happiness."
  • @VaughanBell tweets news & articles about all aspects of cognitive science and science more broadly. He also blogs at MindHacks (which is also on Twitter @mindhacksblog).

Podcasts (oh my!) 
Books & Magazines

As a librarian, I'm very familiar with reference resources such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, and there are some wonderful reference sources for cognitive science -- and if you're new to cognitive science as a whole,

Books are linked to WorldCat, so you can see if a nearby library owns the title. You can also easily get from WorldCat to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to order the title for your collection.
  • Scientific American Mind is a wonderful magazine with articles written for a scientifically knowledgeable lay audience; topics cover all areas of cognitive science and neuroscience. Recent articles include "How Video Games Change the Brain", "Schools Add Workouts for Attention, Grit and Emotional Control," and Christof Koch usually has a column on Consciousness in each issue.

    The website offers a few paragraphs of each article for free, but to read the full article, you need a subscription (through your library or on your own). Each major article offers citations for more reading on the article's topic. Check out @SciAmMind on Twitter, too.

    They have a section of Reviews and Recommendations (20122013) which is a good way to find popular non-fiction in cognitive science.
  • The open access Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy includes several entries containing the word "cognitive" which include cognitive scienceembodied cognition, and evolutionary psychology. They also cover topics like emotion and consciousness as well as biographical entries on folks ranging from Socrates to Descartes to Sartre.

    The SEP's goal is to provide "the philosophical profession and the general public alike with high-quality scholarship on a variety of topics relevant to the human condition," writes Edward Zalta ("The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A university/library partnership in support of scholarly communication and open access," College & Research Library News, Sept. 2006 (pdf))
  • A great dictionary for understanding psychology terms is Raymond Corsini's 1999 Dictionary of Psychology. The images are terrific (my favorite is the one for pilomotor response) and the definitions are clear and concise. Citation: Corsini, R. J. (1999). The dictionary of psychology. Philadelphia, PA: Brunner/Mazel.
  • A great encyclopedia is Michael Gazzaniga's The Cognitive Neurosciences, the fourth edition of which came out in 2009. The academic library review magazine Choice calls it a "benchmark resource for the cognitive neurosciences" (May 2010); sections include Development and Evolution; Plasticity; Attention; Sensation and Perception; Memory; Language; The Emotional and Social Brain; Consciousness and several more. Citation: Gazzaniga, M. S. (2009). The cognitive neurosciences. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
all icons from Iconfinder (from the 'Nuvola' icon set)

What's your favorite Cognitive Science resource? Feel free to add yours in the comments!


tom firth-jones said...

I'm a Philosophy grad thinking about making the switch to a Cognitive Science Msc this autumn. I can't begin to tell you how helpful a resource is for the uninitiated!

tom firth-jones said...

I'm a Philosophy grad planning on taking up an Msc in Cognitive Science somewhere in Europe this autumn. I can't being to tell you how helpful this resource is for the uninitiated! Thank you.