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Spring Course: Blogging about Cognitive Science

This spring, Prof. Seana Coulson & grad student Rose Hendricks will lead a seminar on Cognitive Science blogging. (more)

Cooperrider, K., Marghetis, T., and Núñez, R. (2017). Where does the Ordered Line Come From? Evidence From a Culture of Papua New Guinea. Psychological Science.
Number lines, calendars, and measuring sticks all represent order along some dimension (e.g., magnitude) as position on a line. In high-literacy, industrialized societies, this principle of spatial organization—linear order—is a fixture of visual culture and everyday cognition. But what are the principle’s origins, and how did it become such a fixture? Three studies investigated intuitions about linear order in the Yupno, members of a culture of Papua New Guinea that lacks conventional representations involving ordered lines, and in U.S. undergraduates. Presented with cards representing differing sizes and numerosities, both groups arranged them using linear order or sometimes spatial grouping, a competing principle. But whereas the U.S. participants produced ordered lines in all tasks, strongly favoring a left-to-right format, the Yupno produced them less consistently, and with variable orientations. Conventional linear representations are thus not necessary to spark the intuition of linear order—which may have other experiential sources—but they nonetheless regiment when and how the principle is used.

Featured Classes
Fall 2017:
  • COGS181: Neural Networks/Deep Learning
  • DSGN90: Understanding/Designers Search
    In this one week course, the research goal will be to answer the question: How do designers (in many different fields) solve design problems with search engines? We know (from earlier work) that search is actually fairly important in the day-to-day for designers. Do they use search engines to find inspiration? Do they use them to help solve prosaic problems that are a pain to solve otherwise? Do they use them to find services that they need to help solve tough problems? Instructor will be in touch with when the course will meet. Questions about the course details can be directed to Daniel Russell <>; for administrative questions about the course to contact

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Philip Guo featured in MIT EECS Connector

Computer science alum Philip Guo aims to lower the barriers to learning programming and data science. MIT EECS Alumni Magazine

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