Workshop on Cognitive Social Sciences: Grounding the Social Sciences in the Cognitive Sciences?

(to be held at CogSci 2010 in Portland, Oregon, on August 11, 2010; see: regarding CogSci 2010 )

Chair: Ron Sun

Confirmed keynote speakers: Pascal Boyer, Paul Thagard, Mark Turner.

Workshop Program

Workshop Proceedings

Workshop Description
This workshop is aimed at exploring the cognitive (psychological) basis of the social sciences and the possibilities of grounding the social sciences in cognition (psychology).

The cognitive sciences have made tremendous strides in recent decades. In particular, computational cognitive modeling (i.e., computational psychology; Sun, 2008; Thagard, 1996) has changed the ways in which cognition/psychology is explored and understood in many profound respects. There have been many models of cognition/psychology proposed in the cognitive sciences (broadly defined), leading to detailed understanding of many cognitive/psychological domains and functionalities. Empirical psychological research has also progressed to provide us with much better understanding of many psychological phenomena.

Given the advances in the cognitive sciences, can we leverage the successes for the sake of better understanding social processes and phenomena? More fundamentally, can the cognitive sciences (including experimental cognitive psychology, computational psychology, social-personality psychology, developmental psychology, cultural psychology, psycholinguistics, philosophy of mind, cognitive neuroscience, and so on) provide a better foundation for important disciplines of the social sciences (sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, ethics, as well as some "humanity" fields: religious studies, history, legal studies, literary studies, communication, and so on)?

Thus far, although very much a neglected topic, there nevertheless have been various efforts at exploring this topic. Some of the efforts were computationally motivated (see, e.g., Sun, 2006: "Cognition and multi-agent interaction", published by Cambridge University Press). Some other efforts are more empirical or theoretical in nature (see, e.g, Turner, 2001: "Cognitive Dimensions of Social Science", published by Oxford University Press).

There are both theoretical and practical rationales for developing "cognitive social sciences" (see Turner, 2001; Sun, 2006; DiMaggio, 1997; Camerer, 2003; Tetlock and Goldgeier, 2000). We contend that the social sciences may find their future in the cognitive sciences (at least in part), which may well lead to a powerful and productive combined intellectual enterprise. This combination or grounding may provide the social sciences with imaginative scientific research programs, hybridization/integration, new syntheses, novel paradigms/frameworks, and so on, beside providing the cognitive sciences with new data sources and problems to address.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Pascal Boyer

Paul Thagard

Mark Turner

Workshop Chair:

Ron Sun

Workshop Program Committee:

Ron Sun

Philip Tetlock

Paul Thagard

Jun Zhang

Paul Bello




Camerer, C. (2003). Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments on Strategic Interaction. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

DiMaggio, P. (1997). Culture and cognition. Annual Review of Sociology 23, 263-288.

Sun, R. (2006). Cognition and Multi-Agent Interaction: From Cognitive Mdoeling to Social Simulation. Cambridge University Press, New York. 2006.

Sun, R. (ed.), (2008). The Cambridge Handbook of Computational Psychology. Cambridge University Press, New York. 2008.

Tetlock, P. and Goldgeier, J. (2000). Human nature and world politics: Cognition, identity, and influence. International Journal of Psychology. 35 (2), 87-96.

Thagard, P. (1996). Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 1996.

Thagard, P. (2006). Hot thought: Mechanisms and Applications of Emotional Cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Turner, M. (2001). Cognitive Dimensions of Social Science. Oxford University Press. 

Types of Submissions

All submissions must be made through email (to: rsun at rpi dot edu), with PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files.

Submission Format
All submissions must be in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files. These files must be readable by the standard Acrobat Reader and editable by people other than the author. The details of the required format are described in the sample documents below. For your convenience, there are files for Microsoft Word and LaTeX that you can use as templates. With a few exceptions (especially length) the formatting details are the same for all types of submissions. Please do not edit the margins or font settings of these files.

To see what these look like, here are PDF versions of the paper format and the abstract format. If you need instructions on converting files to PDF, please look here.

All submissions must be made through email (to: rsun at rpi dot edu), with PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files.


Registration and Travel/Accommodation Arrangements

See the CogSci2010 Website:

Frequently Asked Questions about Submissions

  1. Q: Does appearing in the workshop preclude the same work from appearing in a journal or another conference?
    A: This is not considered an archival publication, so the same work can indeed be submitted to a journal or another conference.

  2. Q: Do I have to be a member of the Society to submit a paper?
    A: You do not have to be a member of the Society to submit a paper.

  3. Q: What help is available for people whose native language is not English in polishing up the English of their papers?
    A: Check out various editing services: for example, International Science Editing (ISE) (, Asian Science Editing (ASE) (, SPI Publisher Services (, and so on. We are not responsible for the quality of their work. You will have to pay for their services yourself.