What Can Cognitive Science Do for People?

Richard W. Prather, Viridiana L. Benitez, Lauren Kendall Brooks, Christopher L. Dancy, Janean Dilworth-Bart, Natalia B. Dutra, M. Omar Faison, Megan Figueroa, La Tasha R. Holden, Cameron Johnson, Josh Medrano, Dana Miller-Cotto, Percival G. Matthews, Jennifer J. Manly, Ayanna K. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The critical question for cognitive scientists is what does cognitive science do, if anything, for people? Cognitive science is primarily concerned with human cognition but has fallen short in continuously and critically assessing the who in human cognition. This complacency in a world where white supremacist and patriarchal structures leave cognitive science in the unfortunate position of potentially supporting those structures. We take it that many cognitive scientists operate on the assumption that the study of human cognition is both interesting and important. We want to invoke that importance to note that cognitive scientists must continue to work to show how the field is useful to all of humanity and reflects a humanity that is not white by default. We wonder how much the field has done, and can do, to show that it is useful not only in the sense that we might make connections with researchers in other fields, win grants and write papers, even of the highest quality, but useful in some material way to the billions of non-cognitive scientists across the globe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13167
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Cognition
  • Meta-science
  • Racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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