Nils Dahlbäck

Professor emeritus in Cognitive Science

I am a member of the
Cognition and Interaction research group (COIN)
Division of Human Centered Systems (HCS)
Department of Computer and Information Science (IDA)
Linköping University.

Office Hours

 By appointment only

Seminars on Theoretical Issues In Cognitive Science (TIICS)

The seminars on Theoretical Issues In Cognitive Science (TIICS) meets bi-weekly. It is open to all faculty, ph d and masters students as well as advanced undergarduate students interested in theoretical issues in cognitive science.

Cognitive Science at Linköping University

For an overview of Cognitive Science research and education at Linköping University, please visit our Cognitive Science web pages.


My primary research interest is on the interface between cognition and communication, including similarities and differences in cognition and communication between natural and artificial agents, as well as, but to a lesser extent, similarities and differences between acting and communicating in real and virtual environments.

My work on various aspects of human-computer interaction has been motivated both by wanting to contribute to the development of new forms of human-computer interaction, including the use of natural language dialogue, and by using lessons learned from working with these often restricted forms of communication and cognition to gain a deeper understanding of human communication and cognition.

Over the years, I have been working in the following areas:
  • Distributed cognition in everyday environments. Parts of this was joint work with David Kirsh, Department of Cognitive Science, UCSD
  • Social and emotional responses to voice interfaces
  • Cultural differences in social responses to media. This was joint work with the late Cliff Nass at the Department of Communication, Stanford University.
  • Natural Language Processing, especially dialogue management for natural language interfaces. Most of this is joint work with Arne Jönsson.
  • Hypermedia navigation and individual differences cognitive styles and abilities.
  • Human Computer Interaction, especially intelligent interfaces. This work was done primarily during my period as a member of the PERSONA and PUSH projects at the HUMLE group at SICS, the Swedish Institute for Computer Science 1997-1999.
  • E-learning. The focus of my early work was on the interplay between variation in two areas, the pupil's or student's learning styles on the one hand, and on variation in content types or kinds of knowledge on the other, and how these influence the design and use of e-learning. A short literature review written in 2001 as part of this work can be found here. I now participate when time permits in the research in our lab on virtual pedagogical agents led by Agneta Gulz.


Here is a list of my publications. Most of them can be downloaded from there.

You can also find (most of) them on my pages on Google Scholar.

Work in progress

The manuscripts below are papers in progress, most of them personal pinion pieces on topics related to Cognitive Science and AI or Cognitive Science and society. The papers with titles in Swedish are written in Swedish.

Please note the restrictions on citing these manuscripts without permission in writing from the author.

En kognitionsvetenskaplig analys av varför marknader för välfärdstjänster inte fungerar. (November 2011/ revised December 2020)

Turingtestet är vetenskapligt ointressant. (September 2020)

Några teoretiska skäl till varför jag inte tror på snabba framsteg inom AI (May 2020)

Tvärvetenskapens kvalitetsproblem (January 2016)

Masterprogrammets designprinciper och implementering (Jauuary 2020 / revised August 2021)

Docentrollen skall utvecklas, inte avvecklas (Debattinlägg i Curie 2017)



Previous supervision as primary or secondary supervisor


Graduate courses

Undergraduate and Master's level courses

In recent years I was involved in the following undergraduate and master level courses

All these courses are parts of the Cognitive Science Master's Program or Cognitive Science Undergraduate Program, Linköping University.

The development of undergraduate and graduate education in cognitive science has always been an interest of mine. I participated in a session on Undergraduate Education in Cognitive Science at CogSci 2000. My talk was based on a paper called Cognitive Science as Three Methodological Cultures. Here are the slides for the talk.

Previous affiliations and professional services


I have become more an more concerned about the changes that currently take place at Swedish universities, both concerning the quality of research and teaching, and with a tendency to manage universities as if they were commercial companies. Some papers by others and me on this are collected here.

An interview with me in the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet on spatial cognition and our navigational ability (In Swedish).

An interview with me in the Swedish daily Östgöta Correspondenten (In Swedish).


For the Cognitive Science students' magazine På Tvären #2, 1999, I wrote a short article (in Swedish) on the early history of the Cognitive Science Master's program in Linköping. The entire issue of the magazine can be found here.

Contact information

Mail: Nils Dahlbäck, Dept. of Computer and Information Science,
Linköping University, SE-581 83 LINKÖPING, SWEDEN
Phone: +46 13 28 16 64
Fax: +46 13 14 22 31 (Att: Nils Dahlbäck)
Visitors: Room F.472, Department of Computer and Information Science,
Linköping University

Nils Dahlbäck

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Last updated: 2023-09-15