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Cognitive Models of Empowerment

FDA179, 2005VT

Status Archive
School Computer and Information Science (CIS)
Division HCS
Owner Kevin McGee

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Course plan

No of lectures

8 (16 hours)

Recommended for

Doctoral and master-level students in cognitive and computer science.

The course was last given

New course


To explore, understand, and develop cognitive models of "empowerment."


Programming experience


The course is organized as a series of discussions, and small,
weekly "deliverables." The course will meet once a week for 8 weeks
-- and once at the end of the quarter for final presentations of
student projects.


This is a project-oriented course for cognitive scientists
interested in exploring, understanding, and developing models of "cognitive
empowerment." There is much discussion and research about
developing "empowering technoloqies and techniques." And, to be
sure, there are many tools and techniques that do empower people
to do more by leveraging their cognitive abilities. However,
there is much less cognitive research and theory about possible
cognitive mechanisms of such empowerment, even in the field of
"applied cognitive science." So, there are many open questions:
what are the cognitive mechanisms of empowerment? HOW do effective
empowering technologies leverage cognitive structure and function?
How can cognitive insights help us to develop more (or better)
empowering technologies? etc.

This course will look at a variety of mechanistic models of
cognition -- as well as what such models suggest about the nature of
empowerment. We will also explore research that attempts to
explicitly base the design of tools, media, and technology on
cognitive models.

Students will be asked to form teams and develop working
implementations demonstrating some cognitive mechanism of


Readings will be short and distributed as needed. They will include
introductory material that outlines major, mechanistic cognitive
models; describes possible models of cognitive empowerment; and
suggests possible ways of leveraging cognitive models in actual
technology-design. Note that "readings" for this course may also
include "using a number of illustrative software systems."


Kevin McGee


Sture Hägglund


Active participation, weekly deliverables, and a public presentation of a completed final project.


5 points


Course size is limited to 16 participants. Course language is
English. (For implementations, students are free to choose any
programming language -- Java, Scheme, Lisp, etc. -- but a final
project must implement an idea that works "for real" in some
significant sense. It cannot be a "mock up" or "powerpoint

Page responsible: Director of Graduate Studies
Last updated: 2012-05-03