Senior Thesis

Every Cognitive Science major’s work culminates with a year-long original research project called a senior thesis. Senior theses can address a wide variety of different issues and are intended to incorporate and integrate the diverse methodologies of cognitive science.

Recent Examples

Examples of recent thesis topics include the following: memory for melody versus lyrics in popular songs; art perception as metaphorical interpretation; the syntactic abilities of five-year-olds; and brain mechanisms underlying ADHD.

Work on Faculty Research Projects

In addition to working on their own independent study and senior thesis research, Cognitive Science students often work on faculty research projects through such programs as work-study during the academic year and the Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) during the summer. Some students have co-authored conference presentations and publications with faculty. Here are several recent examples (the students’ names are asterisked):

  • Law, T., de Leeuw, J. and Long, J.H. How Movements of a Non-Humanoid Robot Affect Emotional Perceptions and Trust. Int J of Soc Robotics (2020).
  • Broude, G., Livingston, K., de Leeuw, J., Andrews, J., and Long, J. (2019). Rumors of our death…A commentary on Núñez et al. “What happened to cognitive science?” Topics in Cognitive Science, 11, 864-868.
  • de Leeuw, J. R., Andrews, J., Altman, Z.*, Andrews, R.*, Appleby, R.*, Bonanno, J.*, DeStefano, I.*, Doyle-Samay, E.*, Faruqui, A.*, Griesmer, C.*, Hwang, J.*, Lawson, K.*, Lee, R.*, Liang, Y.*, Mernacaj, J.*, Molina, H.*, Ng, H.*, Park, S.*, Possidente, T.*, and Shriver, A*. (2019). Similar event-related potentials to structural violations in music and language: A replication of Patel, Gibson, Ratner, Besson, & Holcomb (1998). Meta-Psychology, 3.
  • Andrews, J., de Leeuw, J., Andrews, R.*, Landolt, C.*, and Griesmer, C*. (2019). Distinguishing learned categorical perception from selective attention to a dimension: Preliminary evidence from a new method. In A. K. Goel, C. M. Seifert, and C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1342-1347). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Brawer, J.*, Hill, A.*, Livingston, K., Aaron, E., Bongard, J. and J.H. Long, Jr. (2017). Epigenetic operators and the evolution of physically embodied robots. Frontiers in Robotics and AI 4, 1.