NSF seeks proposals using computational models to study human cognition, perception and communication

Graphic showing a brain lit up at the center of a circuitboard.

Computational cognition holds immense potential benefits for our society and our everyday lives.


June 6, 2022

The U.S. National Science Foundation supports research at the intersection of cognitive science and computer science. Multidisciplinary research proposals to explore computational models of human cognition, perception, development and communication can be submitted to several existing programs in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate or the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate.

“The scientific frontiers of computational cognition hold immense potential benefits for our society and our everyday lives,” says NSF Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division Director Marc Sebrechts.  “Fundamental research in this growing field has the capacity to uncover entirely new ways for science to serve society. Computational modeling could lead to more effective techniques for enhancing human cognitive processes, such as learning, decision making and memory, while emphasizing how new technologies can be used ethically and equitably. We want to amplify the scientific and societal impact of the entire field by encouraging an active dialogue across the cognitive and computational communities and supporting the cross-fertilization of new ideas and emerging areas of multidisciplinary research.”

Projects previously supported by NSF under the umbrella of computational cognition have included computer modeling of a variety of human cognitive abilities and behaviors, including memory, learning and teaching, visual processing, and intuition about the physical environment. Other projects have compared human and computer processing of difficult or confusing sentences and used artificial intelligence and gamification to incentivize good habits and productive behaviors.

For details, including a list of participating NSF programs, see Dear Colleague Letter: Stimulating Integrative Research in Computational Cognition (CompCog).

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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