Cognitive science refers to the study of mental information processing, including areas commonly referred to as perception, attention, learning, memory, thinking, and language. In general terms, cognitive science aims at an understanding of the functional architecture of the mind by identifying (representational) structures and (computational) operations as well as their neural implementations. As a multidisciplinary approach, cognitive science is based on contributions from various fields, such as computer science, psychology, biology, linguistics, engineering, and philosophy and includes various levels of analysis, ranging from conceptual to neurophysiological examinations.
The units of study range from basic processes, such as sensory encoding or forming simple associations, to high-level functions of decision making or coordination and monitoring of mental activity to achieve coherent, goal-directed behavior in dynamically changing environments. Methodological approaches involve the observation of overt behavior and physiological processes in both laboratory and field situations as well as formal modeling and computer simulations.
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