The Cognitive Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group brings together scholars who are interested in the systematic exploration of ways in which empirical research in the cognitive sciences can inform, and be informed by, research in the humanities. We see a natural fit between the humanities and the cognitive sciences: the central focus of the humanities is the thinking, feeling, experiencing human being, and it is precisely these processes of thinking, feeling and experiencing that the cognitive sciences seek to understand. Some examples of the kind of work our group is interested in: designing studies in cognitive psychology to understand the kinds of moral reasoning we engage in, treating religious texts as data for studying cross-cultural and cross-temporal differences in cognition, exploring neuroscience research that sheds light on the role of empathy and perspective-taking in our engagement with fiction, and the use of cross-linguistic data to uncover the ways language shapes thought and culture.

The short- and long-term goals of our group are as follows:

•  To meet regularly to exchange research and foster dialogue between the humanities and the cognitive sciences, with the aim of developing long-term interdisciplinary research collaborations;

•  To raise awareness of cognitive studies as an active and exciting area of research in the broader university community, by organizing guest lectures and other events;

•  To create new opportunities for students interested in cognitive studies, including a special concentration and degree programs in cognitive studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

How To Get Involved

If you are interested in participating in our meetings, or would like to be added to the UM Cognitive Studies Network mailing list, please contact Brendan Balcerak Jackson (



thumbnail headshot of Professor Brendan Balcerak Jackson (Philosophy) for Cognitive Studies

Brendan Balcerak Jackson

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Dexter Callender

Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Michael McCullough

Professor of Psychology