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Minor Culture and Cognition

Have you ever wondered what it is that allows the human brain to create (a) culture? Or in what respect human cognition and culture might be different from those of other mammals and primates? This minor unveils the cognitive aspects of human culture, and follows the evolution of human cognition from its earliest forms to the modern mind.

The study of culture from a cognitive point of view is an evolving field in the modern academic world. There are many ways of studying this; the Groningen minor is unique in combining the neurological aspect with courses that are focused on diverse cultural fields.

The courses are taught by a team of teachers who are professionals in either the study of culture or cognition.

The program consists of the following courses:

The Evolution of Human Culture (10 EC, semester 1a) LBA017B10
An obligatory introductory course, based on the solid and comprehensive work of the neuroscientist Merlin Donald.

Biology of Cognition (5 EC, semester 1a) LBA029B05
An obligatory course about the biological basis of human cognition, and the evolution of the nervous system and the human brain.

Knowledge, Signs, and Meaning (5 EC, semester 1b)
Drawing from scholarship in linguistics, philosophy, and semiotics, this course is a deep dive into the relationships between the things that we know, the languages we employ, and the non-linguistic signs and artefacts that we use when we make meaning. Using different case studies we will develop a richly interdisciplinary picture of human communication and its relationship(s) with symbolic, material, and theoretical culture. This course will then conclude with a student-led creative project related to the course readings and content.

Narratives We Live By (5 EC, semester 1b) LBA020B05
The course focuses on ancient cultures and studies the narratives that constructed these societies and how they differ from ours.

Art and Cognition (5 EC, semester 1b) LBA026B05
This course offers an introduction into the cognitive perspective on the study of art. It focuses on the evolution of cognitive processes underlying the artistic experience, on the development of this human capacity, and on its possible functions.

The courses in the first block can be followed separately (15 ECTS), the courses in the second block build on the first block (30 ECTS). Students taking the whole minor have precedence when enrolling.

Students have to register for the whole minor (between 18 May and 8 July) as well as for the course units of their choice within the minor (between 20 June and 8 July) via Progress.

For more information please contact dr. Ronit Nikolsky, Minor Coordinator.

Last modified:13 May 2022 2.15 p.m.