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Cognitive Science Software

In conjunction with The Mind Project, and with support from the National Science Foundation, we've put together a large collection of web-based applications that can be used to illustrate basic principles of human and non-human cognition. These are presented with tutorials, sample classroom activities, and movies that illustrate possible uses. Best of all, these are absolutely free.

The modules are listed below, with screenshots and brief descriptions of each. We then list the links to each downloadable file. Many of these applications require Java, found here.



Apparent Motion
Change Blindness
Categorization
Complex Adaptive Systems
Evolution
Face Creator
Linguistics

Lateralizer
Memory
Reinforcement Learning
Robotics
Signal Detection Theory
Virtual EEG
Visual Search

 



Apparent Motion
This program lets students explore apparent motion phenomenon and test models of mapping between objects. In the applet, apparent motion occurs when a dot disappears from one location and reappears in another location.

Main page (or use quick links below)
Applet (doesn't allow loading and saving)
Windows executable (virus checked, double-click to run)
Application download
(right-click to download to disk)
Introductory Movie (requires Quicktime)
Modeling Introduction Movie (requires Quicktime)
Instructor Resources

Principle Designers

Tom Busey
Principle Programmers

Rupali Parab
Dean Wyatte


Change Blindness
Change Blindness occurs when a brief flash comes between two versions of a scene. This flash prevents the change from rising to the level of consciousness unless the person is actively attending to the object. The interesting aspect is that once the change is noticed, it seems so obvious. This program lets users trace out the pattern that the adopt when scanning through a blurred or low-contrast scene. Move the mouse to guide the circle and then click when you've found the change.

Main Page (or use quick links below)
Applet Examples (link to list)
Application Download (zipped .jar file)
Introductory Movie (requires Quicktime)
Online Examples
Selected Publications (pdf)

Principle Designers
Tom Busey
Principle Programmers

Rupali Parab
Dean Wyatte


Categorization
We form categories as part of everyday life. Sometimes this is good (these foods are all high in fat) while sometimes they can lead to societal problems (as in stereotypes and racism). This program allow students to explore how categories are created and how they affect our perception and judgments of images.

Main Page (or use quick links below)
Applet
Application Download (right-click to download to disk)
Application Download in zip file with targets
Sample Images (for use with application)

Principle Designers

Tom Busey
Principle Programmers

Dean Wyatte


Complex Adaptive Systems
We use the physics-based simulator Breve to demonstrate the optimization strategy known as simulated annealing.

Main Page (or use quick links below)
"Ball Dropper"
"Pathfinder"
Breve (link to simulator home page)

Principle Designer
Tom Busey
Principle Programmers
Dean Wyatte

Face Creation
This java applet and application allow students to create lifelike artificial faces for use in memory and visual search experiments.
Applet
Application for Windows (zipped)
Application (zipped .jar file)
Source code (zipped)

Principle Designers

Tom Busey
Principle Programmers

Dean Wyatte


Lateralizer
The Lateralizer is a tool for stimulus presentation and response recording in a divided visual field (DVF) paradigm, enabling students to investigate theories of asymmetries between the two cerebral hemispheres.

Main Page (or use quick links below)
Application download in zip file with targets

Principle Designer

Benjamin Motz

Principle Programmers

Benjamin Motz
Dean Wyatte


Linguistics
This project challenges the way students think about language, and invites them to consider alternative views concerning the structure of language and the nature of its components. Familiar concepts such as words and sentences are replaced by abstract objects that contain the same informational content as more familiar symbols such as words, but are novel and therefore introduce new ways of thinking about semantic, phonemic and orthographic structure.

"MiniLing" website

demo page 1
demo page 2

Principle Designers

Mike Gasser

Principle Programmers

Shakiya Shayan


Memory
Students are introduced to an empirical approach to the study of intelligent systems and memory. In this demonstration, students experiment on their own working memories to test various models that describe how the contents of memory are matched to a test item.

Main Page (or click the quick link below)
Memory Scanning Applet

Principle Designers

Ruth Eberle
Karen Hull

Principle Programmers

 


Reinforcement Learning
Through reinforcement learning, demonstrates how an organism can learn from its environment, and how learning depends critically on the composition of the environment and its rewards and punishments.

Main Page (or use quick links below)
Application
Tutorial (.doc)
(see also: Robotics)

Principle Designers
Tom Busey
Mike Gasser
Principle Programmers
Matthew Farrellee
Dean Wyatte

Demonstrates how reinforcement learning can solve the problem of backward induction.

Main Page (or use quick links below)
Application
Instructions

Principle Designers
Tom Busey
Principle Programmers
Rupali Parab
Dean Wyatte

Robotics (LEGO)
This project allows students to explore evolution using simple robots that attempt to solve problems such as staying alive the longest or traveling the farthest.

Main Page for Robotics (or use quick links below)
Reinforcement Learning (.doc file)
Appendix for Hardware and Software Setup (.doc file)
(see also: Reinforcement Learning)

Principle Designers
Mike Gasser
Tom Busey
Teresa Pegors
Principle Programmers
 
The reinforcement learning project contrasts analytic and reinforcement learning solutions to solving the problem of balancing a disk on a moving seesaw.

Main Page for Robotics (or use quick links below)
Evolutionary Algorithm Curriculum (pdf)

Principle Designers
Linda Smith
Geoff Bingham
Teresa Pegors
Principle Programmers
 

Signal Detection Theory
Many decisions in life surround one of two possible alternatives (e.g. the object on the x-ray is a tumor or it is not) and two possible choices (e.g. have the painful surgery or do chemotherapy). In this experiment students explore the tradeoffs that can occur when trying to detect a known signal.

Main Page (or use quick link below)
Signal Detection Applet

Principle Designers

Ruth Eberle
Karen Hull
Principle Programmers

Dean Wyatte


Virtual EEG
This program lets students explore apparent motion phenomenon and test models of mapping between objects. In the applet, apparent motion occurs when a dot disappears from one location and reappears in another location.

Main Page (or use quick links below)
Virtual EEG you must use Internet Explorer. Don't use Netscape, Firefox, Safari or Mozilla
Safe Virtual EEG - safe version (excludes the more disturbing or graphic pictures)
Instructor Resources

Principle Designers

Tom Busey
Principle Programmers

 


Visual Search
Looking for a friend in a crowd, searching for a four-leaf clover and finding an off-ramp exit sign are all examples of visual search in the real world. This program allows students to create their own visual search experiments to explore visual perception and memory phenomenon. Students have used this to explore effects of familiarity, search asymmetries, top-down influences on perception and the role of arousal on visual search.
Main Page (or use the quick links below)
Visual Search Applet
Tutorial/Instructions (.doc)

Principle Designers

Tom Busey
Principle Programmers