Description of the Cognitive Science Society

The Society is a non-profit professional organization, and its main activities are sponsoring an annual conference, publishing the journal Cognitive Science, and promoting research interactions across traditional disciplinary boundaries. The Society was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional organization in Massachusetts in 1979. The organizing committee included Roger Schank, Allan Collins, Donald Norman, and a number of other scholars from psychology, linguistics, computer science, and philosophy. The by-laws are listed at: Society By-Laws

The first conference on cognitive science was held at LaJolla, California in August, 1979, and has occurred annually since then. The proceedings of each conference are published, and those from most years are available through Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. The annual proceedings of the Cognitive Science Conference represent a major source of information on new work and new ideas in the scientific study of thinking. In 1990, the Society, with help from an anonymous donor, established the David Marr Prize for the best student paper at each annual meeting.

The Journal, Cognitive Science, began publication in 1976, and is now published by Wiley-Blackwell. The Executive Editor is currently Arthur Markman of The University of Texas at Austin, and there are 12 Associate Editors and a 30-member editorial board. It serves as the premier outlet for research reports that intersect two or more disciplines. Membership in the Society includes a subscription to Cognitive Science. Copyrights for articles published in the journal are held by the Society.

The Society has a 12-member Board of Governors elected by the membership, and the board annually elects a Chair. Its affairs are managed by an Executive Officer, currently Susan Trickett. Previous executive officers since 1979 were Donald Norman, Kurt VanLehn, Alan Lesgold, Colleen Seifert, Arthur Markman and Thomas Ward. The Society is also a member of the Federation of Associations in Brain & Behavioral Sciences. This group of professional scientific organizations promotes research and funding in cognitive science. Further information is available at their web site: Federation of Associations in Brain & Behavioral Sciences

The society currently has over 1,500 members, including a significant number from other countries. To be eligible for membership, one must be qualified to conduct research in Cognitive Science beyond the dissertation (or have equivalent experience). First-time applicants should provide a short curriculum vitae including publications and experience. Current graduate students are eligible for a special student membership rate. Applicants for student membership must include proof of current enrollment in a graduate or undergraduate program, or a letter from a faculty member.

In the United States, membership dues or other donations to the society may be allowable tax deductions as contributions to non-profit organizations. In the United Kingdom, the society has been approved by the Board of Inland Revenue under Section 201 Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988, with effect from 6 April 1998, for income tax relief in respect of annual membership subscriptions.

The Society maintains a web site with information on its activities, the annual meeting, other conferences in the cognitive sciences, graduate programs in cognitive science, and research and employment notices accessible through the menu at left. For further information, contact: e-mail