This course is part of the interdisciplinary minor “Brain, mind and consciousness” and offers an in depth and interdisciplinary study of consciousness and the cognitive functions that makes us human. After completion of the course, the student should be able to discuss and evaluate current hypotheses on consciousness and several higher cognitive functions, including learning and memory, anticipation, decision making, language, creativity, emotion regulation, from a multidisciplinary perspective.|
The content of this course is taught in the context of the development of humanized robots. The field of artificial intelligence tries to develop humanized robots. Would it be possible to develop robots that have the same cognitive skills as humans and that can function autonomously, without the interference of humans? To answer this question, we will first focus on how different fields define consciousness and what processes are involved in cognitive functioning. We will address these issues from the fields of philosophy, psychology neurobiology and pharmacology. Students will look into several aspects of human brain function from a multidisciplinary perspective to answer questions like ‘What makes us human?’, ‘What is consciousness?’ and how is it imbedded in our brains? ‘What constitutes our mind? What is known about the regulation of consciousness? These multidisciplinary insights will be applied in a group project that focuses on different cognitive functions. In the second part of the course, student will discuss how neuronal function can be simulated and how, and to what extent, these cognitive functions are currently translated into computational models in the field of artificial intelligence.|
(requirements for) active participation|
Attendance and active participation during class is necessary for effectively performing in the (group) assignments. If absence of a student severely hampers the progress and/or quality of the group projects, the student can be exempted from addition testing, which means the student is not allowed to improve the assignments that did not meet the minimum score (5.5).