COMPSCI 765 : Modelling Minds


2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

How can researchers of artificial intelligence effectively model subjective aspects of minds, such as emotional states, desires, perceptual experience and intrinsic goals? This course draws upon interdisciplinary methods and considers classic and emerging approaches to try to answer this question. Recommended preparation: COMPSCI 367.

Course Overview

The computationalist approach to AI includes formalisms for representing models of others' mental states, mechanisms for reasoning about these formalisms, and techniques for altering them. The first portion of this course examines the role of knowledge and search in these contexts, covering topics such as collaborative problem solving; interactive dialogue; social, emotional and moral cognition; and personality. The strengths and weaknesses of this 'computationalist/cognivist' approach are brought to light in the later portions of the course via comparison to alternative, emerging perspectives in cognitive science, philosophy of mind and AI that emphasize the dynamical, embodied and situated nature of natural intelligence.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: Approval of the Academic Head or nominee

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Characterise the "Interactive Cognitive Systems" and the "Situated, Embodied, and Dynamical" movements in AI research, providing examples and descriptions of strengths and weaknesses of each. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  2. Analyse and prototype software that employs "Interactive Cognitive Systems" and/or "Situated, Embodied, and Dynamical" methods. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Critically evaluate claims made about AI research and research literature in the field of AI. (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Coursework 50% Group & Individual Coursework
Test 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3
Final Exam


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Special Requirements

A pass in both practical (the assignments) and theory (weighted mean of test and exam) is required to pass this paper.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of class time per week including a mixture of lectures, student-led reading-based seminars. The remaining 7 hours per week will be spent reading academic articles, and working on assignments and/or test preparation. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including workshops & student-led discussion seminars to receive credit for components of the course. 

Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars and workshops may not be available as recordings.

The course will include live online events including group discussions.

Attendance on campus is required for the test & exam.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Our reading list will include a variety of academic papers and a few book chapters. Links to these papers will be provided via the "Talis" reading list page on Canvas. 

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

In response to student feedback, we have reduced the number of student-led seminars, replacing them with more interactive sesions (in-class debates) and teacher-led discussion and lectures. Students are expected to come to class having read the assigned reading and ready to participate in discussion.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2022 09:29 a.m.