The focus of cognitive science is to connect mental function – memory, perception, language, reasoning – with underlying psychological mechanisms and genetic and neural phenomena. The Front-Cog EUR (graduate school) project is helping to define and showcase the discipline of cognitive science, with help from the Department of Cognitive Studies (DEC) at ENS. The DEC is an interdisciplinary department that combines the humanities and social sciences, life sciences, engineering and information technology to frame its examination of human cognition in all its diversity, backed by a wide range of research tools.

The PSL Front-Cog research project is drawing international attention to the DEC’s activities, thanks to a five-year scholarship program and a curriculum that includes training in data science and applied research in conjunction with the project’s industrial partners.  The project includes international partnerships that promote student mobility and collaboration with high-level research centers around the world.

Front-Cog draws on the Master’s program in cognitive science, which includes both scientific training and multiple internships that offer an immersion in cutting-edge research, as well as the PSL Doctoral College. The project is also enhanced by synergies with other departments at ENS and PSL’s partner institutions. Firmly focused on the future, Front-Cog is a major hub for education and research for an area of interdisciplinary research at the forefront of innovation.

Front-Cog is exploring the frontiers of cognitive science, capitalizing on the wide range of expertise within PSL (data science, physics, life science, engineering, the humanities, the arts, social science). It offers a career-developing academic path with a focus on both fundamental research and business applications.

The LabEx Institut d'Etude de la Cognition (IEC) created in 2011 has been incorporated in Frontiers in Cognition in 2018.


Research focuses on four strategic research programs:

  1. Language and Communication
  2. Social and Collective cognition
  3. Perception, Attention and Consciousness
  4. Decision making and Rationality

Each program is represented in at least three of the six research units.

Since 2011, these programs have been supported by some of the following means:

  • Start-up grants for new Faculty
  • Creation of nine thematic programs, "New ideas in Cognitive Science". They serve among other things to organize international events (conferences, workshops, thematic schools) and seminar series with invited researchers from foreign institutions. 
  • Post-doctoral fellowships

New Ideas program

Front-Cog supports several projects aiming to develop international cooperations with prestigious research centers in Cognitive Science.

The common aim of these cooperations is to exchange students and to permit extended research visits between the two groups. Yearly bi- or multi-lateral workshops or meetings are be organized between the institute and the various foreign research centers.

These programs are:

New Ideas in Computational and Systems Neuroscience (Y. Boubenec – LSP & S. Ostojic –LNC2)
New Ideas in Feelings and Emotions (J. Dokic – IJN & E. Pacherie – IJN)
New Ideas in Hearing and Seeing (D. Pressnitzer – LSP & P. Neri – LSP)
New Ideas in Language Sciences (C. Geraci – IJN & D. Nicolas – IJN)
New Ideas in Learning and Decision-Making (S. Palminteri – LNC2 & V. Wyart – LNC2)
New Ideas in Logic and Reasoning (P. Egré – IJN & S. Mascarenhas – IJN)
New ideas in Neuropsychology (A.-C. Bachoud-Lévi – NPI & C. Jacquemot – NPI)
New Ideas in Social Cognition and Evolution (J. Grèzes – LNC2 & H. Mercier – IJN)


DEC offers a unique training opportunity in Cognitive Science through two integrative, inter-disciplinary research teaching programs in Cognitive Science at the master level, i.e. the «Cogmaster» (master de sciences cognitives) of ENS, EHESS and University Paris Descartes, and the “Philmaster” (master de philosophie contemporaine) of ENS and EHESS. 


The Compas group's work finds itself somewhere between cognitive science, education, and new technology.

It provides scientific and technological supervision, communication within the educational sphere, expertise and consultation for national and international organizations, and, thanks to its many partnerships, the development of educational tools.  

It also works to establish concrete links with non-academic sectors, to influence public policy, and to diversify job opportunities for young cognitive scientists.  Finally, it endeavors to boost visibility through concrete projects it does with its partners.  

Compas website