Authored by: Andreas Gregersen

The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533324
eBook ISBN: 9780203114261
Adobe ISBN: 9781136290510


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Cognition is that which is studied scientifically by cognitive science, defined succinctly as “the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence” (Thagard, 2012). The word “interdisciplinary” hints at the plausible assertion that, instead of a single cognitive science, there are in fact a range of cognitive sciences (emphasis on the plural). The title of the MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS) signals this, and it refers to “the various disciplines that contribute to the cognitive sciences, including psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology and the social sciences more generally, evolutionary biology, education, computer science, artificial intelligence, and ethology” (Wilson & Keil, 1999, p. xiii). The word “contribute” is used because the disciplines mentioned are not at the outset defined as cognitive disciplines. Rather, the idea is that work conducted within all the mentioned disciplines can contribute to the overall endeavor of a science of cognition. MITECS uses the terms “cognitive science approaches” to designate such work, and concrete examples can be found in the way the adjective “cognitive” is used as a prefix, as in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive linguistics, cognitive sociology, and so on. Beyond a preoccupation with questions of mind and intelligence, it might not be entirely clear what the criteria are for a disciplinary approach to qualify as cognitive, but we will proceed by introducing some fundamental topics and discussions in cognitive science. We will then move on to some concrete instances of work that identifies itself as cognitivist and relate this body of work to video games on both general and more specific levels.

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