Meet Trenton Mercadel

INDS B.S.: Cognitive Science

An informal portrait of a young student

Spring 2023 Capstone


My INDS Degree

With this degree, I will learn about how cognitive processes work in the brain and the techniques necessary to study those behaviors. My fascination began with a role-playing game called Persona 5 that I had been playing in high school. I have been playing the series for several years, and I was ecstatic that the 5th game was finally released. A new gameplay element was added where I could step into the headspace of characters. This mechanic enthralled me because I could see how the characters were arriving at the decisions they were making based on their thoughts, fears, and goals. I could step out of the mundanity of talking to characters from only the outside and could now investigate their inner voice that revealed much more about their character. I was inspired to investigate the real field where scientists investigate these issues.

Post Graduation Plans

My immediate post-graduation plan is to apply to graduate schools that have a program in cognitive science, especially that of Johns Hopkins University. In the event that I could not apply to graduate school successfully, I will look for a post-baccalaureate opportunity in neuroscience or psychology.

Courses In My Degree Plan

Psychological Bases of Cognition: Cognitive Psychology was established to better understand how existing psychological phenomena could be understood through information storage, retrieval, and manipulation by the mind. Courses in this section focus on how gathering and processing information by the mind leads to the psychological effects that people experience perceiving the world around them. (PSYC 210, 211, 317, 370)

Neural Bases of Cognition: Cognition is implemented in the brain through complex neuron interactions between different parts of the brain. Courses in this area create a fundamental understanding of the characteristics and role of neurons in cognitive function and how they integrate with the rest of the body to demonstrate cognitive behaviors.  (PSYC 370, 375 / Additional Courses: BSEP 105: 080.321, BSEP 105: 050.203  at Johns Hopkins University)

Computational Methods: Computers and their systems play an integral role in studying cognition as the brain is thought to be an information processing unit akin to a computer. These classes are used to learn how to actualize neural models by understanding how computers can be used to organize and process information and convert abstract ideas into computational output. (CMSC 201, 202, 341, 478, 499)

Research Methods: For research design in Cognitive Science, a deep understanding of statistics and mathematical models is necessary to analyze various forms of data related to cognition. These classes inform me of commonplace methods in data analysis and research design that are necessary for conducting experiments and interpreting brain signals related to cognition. (MATH 221 / STAT 350 / PSYC 311, 312)

Interdisciplinary Coursework: The field of cognitive science is interdisciplinary by nature as it implements work in psychology, neuroscience, computer science, and philosophy. Courses in this section will help me better understand how to combine different disciplines in such a way that creates a transformative understanding of an area that could not be achieved by independently studying multiple disciplines. This is also the section where the capstone project will be developed for my concentration in cognitive science. (INDS 330,  410, 430, 480, 490)