Directors: Per Aage Brandt and Todd Oakley

The Center for Cognition and Culture (CCC) is a research facility sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences of Case Western Reserve University and hosted by the Department of Cognitive Science. It is dedicated to the cognitive study of cultures as higher order creations of the human mind: of cultural manifestations, cultural differentiations and contrasts, and also of the important amount of expressive or semantic universals across cultures. The center houses interdisciplinary research projects and aims at encouraging collaboration across disciplines. It welcomes donations and endowments specifically targeting this new area of humanistic and scientific activity.

The center in this endeavor studies art, design, music, language – both as grammar, as text, as literature, and as speech and discourse – sign structures and communicative meaning production in general, differentiated and variable within the unifying potential of the human mind – and applies to this effect a comparative methodology that can be characterized as semiotic in a cognitive perspective: as a cognitive semiotics.

The relatively regular, accessible, and therefore comparable cognitive and semiotic processes implied in individual, social and cultural creativity, including art, religion, science, philosophy, jurisdiction, historiography, and theoretical activities in general, may indicate the existence of an underlying mental architecture, a format for higher order cognition in humans, the understanding of which may help reveal the principles of consciousness, intentionality, attention, awareness – and the basic, natural logic of the human culture-generating mind. This perspective is an underlying, motivating and orienting vision of the center.

The center’s orientation is international and – as mentioned above – interdisciplinary.  It creates and hosts shared, collective research projects, including as well junior as senior scholars, and it organizes activities including workshops, conferences, publications, and educational training in the field of semio-cognitive cultural studies.

The center collaborates with the Laboratory for Applied Research in Cognitive Semiotics (LARCS) whose mission focuses on information structure analysis for generation of synthetic prosodic contours and on development of semio-linguistic syntactic models for applications to automatic speech processing and to semantic parsing for data mining. The center host research groups in the cognitive study of narratives, cognitive media studies, the cognitive study of affects (especially: emotions), the semiotic study of diagrams and technical thinking, etc. Visiting scholars are welcome (please note that the academic procedure can be time-consuming; early applications preferred).

The Center for Cognition and Culture is in itself a unique creation, and it offers a unique opportunity for scholars of different fields who wish to take part in the shaping of a new Human Science, envisioned as a comprehensive science of the complex human being.