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The Cognitive Science Movie Index (henceforth CSMI) is a broad list of movies that showcase various themes in the Cognitive Sciences, compiled for entertainment and reference purposes. Additionally, in such an esoteric field as Cognitive Science, some may find it useful to use movies to help describe our interests to those who aren't cognitive scientists, or as an educational aid within our field.

In the films listed, the role of Cognitive Science varies to some degree. Some of our visitors might wonder what our criterion was for including and excluding particular films. Simply put, for a film to be included on CSMI, its Cognitive Science theme had to be central to the plot. In other words, for a particular movie to be included, it would have to be a significantly different movie if the Cognitive Science were removed. For this reason movies such as "Star Wars" were excluded-- where not much would change without the robots, for example.

We do not believe that CSMI is an exhaustive index. On the contrary, we see this as a work in progress. If you feel that a film has been wrongly excluded, overlooked, or otherwise omitted, please tell us by recommending a movie. We do not guarantee that your suggestions will be added, but we will certainly consider them.

For more about the Cognitive Science Movie index, check out the recent article in Trends in Cognitive Science::
Motz, B.A. (2013). Cognitive science in popular film: the Cognitive Science Movie Index.Trends in Cognitive Science:, 17(10), 483-485. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.08.002

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Rating the Movies

In order to provide some ranking of this diverse group of movies, we've implemented online rating systems. We have instituted three useful metrics: Quality, Accuracy, and Relevance. If you've seen any of the movies on CSMI, help us by rating these three aspects of them. Click the star rating corresponding to the aspect of your choice next to each movie, and when you're ready, click "Submit" to record your ratings.

Each user rating is on a 5-point scale, ranging from 1 (worst) to 5 (best). The standard deviation of user ratings is shown in parentheses.

Similar Lists

CSMI is not the first of its kind. Below are links to similar lists. If you know of any others, please tell us by emailing cogfilms(a)

History of the Cognitive Science Movie Index

CSMI was first created in 2005 in the Department of Cognitive Science at UCSD. It was originally a feature of CogSci-Online, a free online peer-reviewed Cognitive Science journal operated entirely by graduate students. CSMI's original authors were Ben Motz, Arielle Borovsky, and James Cavanaugh, with contributions from the UCSD Cognitive Science community. Over the next four years, CSMI was maintained by Doug Yovanovich, Arielle Borovsky, Flavia Filimon, and Zack Weinberg.

In Fall 2009, a spectacular catastrophic hard drive failure brought CogSci-Online, and its contents, offline. At that time, Ben Motz (one of the lists original authors) decided to readopt the index, with centralized-server hosting at Indiana University, and this snazzy art deco look/feel. The list was reborn in Spring 2010 (with help from Lawrence McAlpin, Jason Gold, and Rob Goldstone), and is currently associated with IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Cognitive Science Program.