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Please read this page fully and carefully. It contains the necessary guidelines for the required elements in COGSCI 600


  • invited lecture summaries

    You will submit nine (9) 300-400 word summaries of the weekly readings. For each piece you read, you should identify the principal research question, thesis, supporting evidence, and any acknowledged limitations. Try to be critical but make sure your critique is based on evidence and understanding.
    • Due date: a summary is due by 3am the day of the meeting it applies to.
    • Submission: post to the instructor via direct message on the Slack group.
    • Evaluation: summaries will be graded pass (full credit: 1) or fail (no credit: 0). A serious, good-faith effort will pass.
    • Notes:
      • Late summaries will not be accepted.
      • Anyone who misses more than three summaries will fail the course
  • student project summaries

    You will submit two (2) 300-400 word summaries of two other student's project draft reports.
    • Due on the day before the associated presentation (Nov 23rd or 30th)
    • Post in the appropriate #week channel on Slack
    • You can also reply to posts about your own presentation but this does not count as a summary
    • Try to select a proposal that fewer than 2 people have already commented on
    • Your summary will be visible to the whole class, so please be polite and respectful!


This is a seminar so attending and participating in each meeting is essential. The seminar forms a research community so failing these expectations is a breach of trust and a form of disrespect. Group discussion is an essential part of the course content and will take place both in class after each invited seminar, and on the weekly channel on the Slack group.
  • Due date: weekly (in class and online).
  • Evaluation: participation will be evaluated out of 5 points. Attending every session and participating regularly will receive 5 points. Participation should be both in class and on the Slack channel for the week in question. Attending every session but never participating (either online or in class) will receive 3 points.
  • Notes:
    • anyone with more than three unexcused absences from seminar meetings will fail the course


Each student is required to present their project to the class in the last two sessions. Your project does not need to be complete at the time of your presentation, but you need to have a draft of your report ready a week before the presentation time. The draft report is meant to ensure you are on schedule and gives the other students background material to aid with discussion.
  • Due date: Draft submission by Nov 16th (AOE). Your presentation date and time will be either November 23th or 30th, 2022.
  • Submission:
    1. no later than November 16 (AOE), upload a draft of your paper to the appropriate public channel on the Slack site (so the other students will see your draft report, but not your final paper). Do not exceed 3000 words. Formatting is free but the paper must be a PDF.
    2. Deliver your presentation in your assigned slot. Aim for 8-10 minutes. Do not exceed 12 minutes. This may be adjusted depending on the number of students registered in the class.
  • Evaluation: presentations will be evaluated out of 10 points. If the draft paper is not submitted on time, then the presentation will be cancelled and receive 0 points. If the draft paper is submitted on time, then an accurate, complete, clear, and articulate presentation will receive 8 points. Presentations exceeding those criteria will receive more than 8 points. Presentations that don't meet the criteria will receive fewer than 8 points.
  • Notes:
    • The draft paper is not graded but it is a prerequisite to delivering, and thus receiving points for, a presentation
    • The draft paper is a non-negotiable requirement for delivering your presentation.


General Information

  • Students must complete an individual course project. Small groups (2-3 people) must be approved first, and are expected to be proportionally more involved, and must have a clear delineation of work responsibilities amongst the group members at proposal time and then re-iterated in the final report. One clear reason to form a group is in the case of a project requiring ethical approval see below. One student lead this process while the other(s) develop, etc.
  • Simple descriptive literature reviews will not be accepted.
  • A written project proposal (in PDF ONLY) must be submitted as an attachment to a direct message on Slack to the instructor on or before October 19th (AOE). However, if you are planning a project involving human subjects, you need to start much earlier - see below under Ethical Approval.
  • Your proposal must specify a research question in cognitive science, provisional thesis and methodology (approach to gathering and evaluating evidence), explain how more than one area of cognitive science is relevant to answering the question, and include an initial bibliography for the final paper. The bibliography should be properly formatted as it would be for a sicentific paper (not just web links). Areas of cognitive science include, but are not limited to, anthropology, artificial intelligence and machine learning, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, sociology, economics, and psychology. Describe the purpose and motivation of your idea, as well as a basic outline of how you plan to approach it. If you need ethical approval, describe the steps to plan to take to get it. If you will use some external datasets, provide links. See topics below for more information.
  • Project proposals should be about a page long (300 words) and include 5-10 references. Formatting is free but the paper must be a PDF.
  • A draft of your final report forms a prerequisite for the presentation (see above for details).
  • A final written report must be submitted on or before Dec. 6th8th (AOE)
  • The entire project is worth 55% of the final mark: (proposal=10%, final report=45%).
  • Project reports must be at most 6 pages long (not including references), and formatted according to the templates used for the cognitive science conference (see here )
  • Project reports less than 6 pages long are not recommended
  • Group project reports should be proportionally longer and clearly delineate which parts were done by which student
  • Final projects must be submitted as attachments in a direct message to the instructor on the Slack group.
  • Final submissions must be a single PDF ONLY attachment entitled <STUDENTNAME>_<STUDENTNUMBER>.pdf
  • Materials submitted in anything other than PDF, or with any incorrect formatting, with the incorrect filename, or that contravene any of the integrity and citation guidelines below, will be rejected without evaluation and receive a grade of 0.


Topics may be selected from any area of cognitive science. Many students pick something they are already working on and write a project based on that. For example, someone who works in sustainability may be researching the way that people respond to messaging or nudges about EVs. From a cogntive science perspective, this in itself could take on many forms. An artificial intelligence researcher might think of how to automatically deliver messages that had a desired emotional impact on a particular set of people. A public policy researcher might look at the outcomes from various existing nudges, and someone studying neuroscience might study how some hormone promotes long term thinking in the brain. The invited speakers come from a range of disciplines in order to present students with the breadth of research in cognitive science. The invited talks give students the resources and methods for doing research in a diversity of disciplines while studying cognitive science. The key strength of interdisciplinary research is precisely this: to bring ideas from one discipline into another. So maybe the AI researcher might hear about the policy documents and decide these might make useful training data for an AI system, or maybe the neuroscientist might hear about a new kind of artificial neural network from the AI scientist and realize this might provide a computational model for the hormonal interactions on reward.

Ethical Approval

Important: If your plan to involve human participants in your project (e.g. do a survey, test an instrument), you must get ethical approval, and you must start this process immediately as it can take six weeks or more. See Office of Research Ethics. I don't have a blanket ethics procedure for the course, as projects are too varied to allow for that, so each student or group is responsible for their own ethics applications if needed.


The project reports will be evaluated on four main criteria, with weights as shown. These are used as guidelines for the instructor when evaluating the work.

Academic Integrity

All submitted work (assignments and project reports) should be the submitting student's own work, and should bear his/her name as author. Any evidence of writing from a different person or source will be considered plagiarism and will be dealt with as such (see University policy below). A few simple rules may help you here:
  1. ALWAYS write your own submitted work.
  2. CLEARLY indicate contributions from anyone else: enclose the text in "quotations" and CLEARLY indicate the source right next to the text. Just citing the work that you are quoting from at the end in the bibliography is NOT sufficient. Rule 2 must be applied IMMEDIATELY upon putting any text or image that is not your own into your document. Don't wait, you'll regret it later when you submit your work but have forgotten to go back and put in the citation.
  3. DON'T cut and paste.
  4. If you do cut and paste (remember: don't cut and paste - see rule 3), then apply rule 2 IMMEDIATELY.
  5. DON'T cite Wikipedia or other publicly generated web content. Read about citing Wikipedia or other web content.
  6. IF you use a figure from someone else's paper, citing the reference in the figure caption is not good enough: you need to say explicitly that you copied it (i.e. "reprinted without permission from XYZ, 2019").


Citations are an important part of any scientific writing. They put your work in context, and show its relationship to other work. A big part of the power of a citation comes from its trustworthiness: the source is such that you have good reason to believe that a group of professional scientists has read and evaluated the paper, and so it contains mostly valid scientific results (although they may have made a mistake, but then it is up to you to find it!).

If you are talking about someone else's work, then you put a reference (properly formatted) to the work in a bibliographic section at the end of your paper, and cite the reference after you have discussed the work:

Carroll's use of poetry is an important part of his work, as it contextualizes and motivates the compositional aspects of the work (Carroll, 1871).
However, if you are directly quoting someone else's work (do this sparingly), then you need to enclose the text you are quoting in quotation marks, and put the reference, with a page number, immediately after the text you are quoting.
The poem opens with the line: "The sun was shining on the sea" (Carroll, 1871, p.72).
And, then, at the end of the document, you list the full reference. You do this also for any figures or pictures that are lifted directly from another work (see above under Academic Integrity).
Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. MacMillan, 1871.

Finally, if you are quoting a quote in a reference, you can either find the original source and cite that, or you can write:

The Walrus said: "I weep for you" (quoted in Carroll, 1871, p.73).

The actual format of the references will change depending on the journal or conference you are writing for. If you are using LaTeX, then you can simply change the bibliography style, see here for a guide to LaTeX sytles. If you're using Word™, then I question your sanity but nevertheless wish you the best of luck.

Wikipedia (or other publicly generated web content) is not a trustworthy source of information. Wikipedia entries can be generated by anyone, and may be left un-checked for months or years. Any references to Wikipedia in your submitted coursework for COGSCI600 will not be considered valid, and significant marks will be deducted. However, you may use Wikipedia to seek the original references, and cite those instead.

The only exception to the "don't cite Wikipedia" rule is if the content you are citing is specifically about Wikipedia itself. e.g. "In my research on the trustworthiness of Wikipedia, I found that there was a significant error on the page about cognitive science (reference to webpage and date of access)". In such cases, you must include the date that you accessed the content on and the exact URL.

Citations to works that are online only (not in print) are perfectly fine, but must include a journal name, volume number, and other relevant citation material, and/or a digital object identifier (DOI). You can also cite a web page from a well-established organisation, but you should include as much reference material as possible, e.g. an ISBN number or DOI, as well as the date of access

Wikipedia itself has a good page about citing Wikipedia.