CogSci Mind Challenge

The Cognitive Science Society announces the 2024 question

This initiative challenges Cognitive Scientists to create a five-minute video addressing a key question within Cognitive Science but for an audience of non-experts, particularly high school and early college students. The first-place winner will receive $1000, the second-place winner will receive $500, and the third-place winner will receive $250.

The 2024 question is “Why do our memories sometimes fade or fail?

2023 Mind Challenge Winners
Why are there so many languages in the world?

First place Ilina Bhaya-Grossman, YouTube link
Second place – John Hollander, YouTube link
Third placeAlex Carstensen, YouTube link
Honorable mentionQi Guo, YouTube link

2022 Mind Challenge Winners
Can Machines Think?

First place – Ariadne Letrou and Asher Liftin, YouTube link
Second place – Dr. Ryan Rhodes, YouTube link
Third place – Dr. Kristyn Sommer and Dr. William Bingley, YouTube link


  • The person submitting their video must be 18 years or older.
  • The video adheres to the submission requirements (see section below) and everyone appearing in the video signs a video release form.
  • The video must be your original creation and not published elsewhere, including published on the internet.
  • If a group submits, a single person must be indicated as the lead for communication purposes. In the event the submission wins, the award would be sent to the lead person.
  • Video answers the question: Why are there so many languages in the world?

Deadline: September 16th at 11:59 pm EST

There is no fee to enter the contest.

Submission requirements

  • Submission of a video that is 5-minutes or less, answering the question “Why are there so many languages in the world?”
  • Video content should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of Cognitive Science (which spans Artificial Intelligence, Linguistics, Anthropology, Psychology, Education, Neuroscience, and Philosophy) and not be limited to a single discipline.
  • The video should be appropriate for students unfamiliar with cognitive science and should be understandable by people who are in high school or early college. 
  • Videos should provide content that is both educational and engaging.
  • The video style can take any form, such as animation, a series of images, live-action, speaking to the viewer, a skit, etc.
  • Videos may be in any language, but all videos must have English subtitles and captions. Subtitles and captions in other languages are encouraged.
  • Video content should be viewable by general audiences with language, visual content, and themes appropriate for people of all ages.
  • Content that is accessible to people with auditory or visual impairments (such as deafness or blindness) is encouraged. See accessibility resources section below.
  • Content should be inclusive of a diverse audience. Content should not contain hateful or discriminatory content based on race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, disability, age, or contain harm against any group or individual.
  • Video format should be acceptable for YouTube (mp4, 1080p, 16:9 aspect ratio)
  • The person submitting a video must submit a video release form.
  • People under 18 years old are allowed to appear in the video but must have a guardian sign the video release form.
  • Videos must be original and not published elsewhere, such as on a public website.
  • Content in the videos, such as music or images, must be owned or lawfully used by the video creator and must not violate copyright or trademark laws.
  • Video content must not infringe on the rights or privacy of others. People appearing in the video must sign a video release form(s), and you must have permission to shoot footage at the filming location.


Failure to comply with these requirements will result in disqualification.

The Cognitive Science Society retains the right, in its sole discretion, to review all videos and to disqualify videos that violate the contest’s guidelines or are in some way unlawful or otherwise improper. Video submitters are solely responsible for determining if any content used in their video is in violation of copyright, trademark, or right of privacy, and submitters hold sole liability for any damages or harm resulting from their video.

    Accessibility Resources

    Subtitles are useful for many reasons. Assistance for the hearing impaired, people whose first language is not English, and viewers in a noisy environment or no sound environment who must turn off their sound.

    Videos in a language other than English are encouraged to have subtitles and captions in that language, to improve accessibility, in addition to the English subtitles and captions.

    We encourage you to also include closed captions for relevant non-spoken content where possible. Closed captions can indicate who is speaking if there are multiple speakers. Closed captions can also indicate certain kinds of sounds or music playing with descriptions like [soft piano plays music], or [birds chirping], etc.

    How to add subtitles to YouTube videos

    Audio Descriptions are useful for people who are visually impaired and when multi-tasking. Notice the difference between these two types of videos. Which one would you be able to follow if your eyes were closed or busy?

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    Color blindness

    When creating visualizations be considerate of people who have difficulties distinguishing some colors from each other.

    Resource on color blindness friendly design.

      Judgment Criteria and Prizes

      Expert judges (university faculty and advanced graduate students) will assess video submissions on appropriateness and scientific accuracy. Top-rated videos will then be judged by students (high school and undergraduate level) based on the educational content (how much they learned and could understand) and level of engagement (how entertaining the video was). The winning video and any potential honorable mentions will be showcased on the CogSci YouTube channel. The Cognitive Science Society will determine, in its sole discretion, the winning video based on input from judges. The Society’s determination will be final.



      The first place winner will be awarded $1000 (USD), the second-place winner will receive $500, and the third-place winner will receive $250. The winner’s names and their video will be featured on the Cognitive Science Society website and approved Cognitive Science Society websites such as on our youtube channel.


      By entering the CogSci Mind Challenge, the submitter accepts that any liabilities, claims, damages, or expenses of any sort resulting or relating to their video submission or acceptance of the contest prize are the sole responsibility of the person submitting the video.

      The award is non-transferable and will be given to the primary author of the video. If the same video is submitted multiple times the first submission will be counted as the primary author. 

      The Cognitive Science Society reserves the right to present any submitted videos to the general public via our YouTube channel.

      By submitting your video, you agree to provide the Cognitive Science Society the right to publish or distribute your video, in whole or in part, online or in a public or private setting without restriction and incorporate it, royalty-free, in other Cognitive Science Society works. By submitting your video, you grant the Cognitive Science Society the right to use your name in relation to the CogSci Mind Challenge or for promotional purposes, and your name will also be used to acknowledge authorship of your video, but the Cognitive Science Society will not be required to consult or compensate you for the use or reuse of your name or video.

      Application package submission

      To submit, you will complete a Qualtrics form where you will provide the following information

      • YouTube link to the video
      • Video release form
      • Demographic information

      Uploading to YouTube:

      • Create a YouTube account and upload your video on your YouTube page
      • Make sure your video’s privacy is set to “unlisted,” and comments are disabled
      • Tag your video with the keywords: Cognitive Science, CogSciMindChallenge.

      The video submitter is solely responsible if the content they create violates YouTube’s guidelines and regulations. Cognitive Science Society is not responsible for any technical difficulties resulting in delay, damage, or loss of the submitter’s video through YouTube. Videos set as public or private will not be considered for the competition. “YouTube” is a registered trademark of Google LLC; neither YouTube nor Google LLC are affiliated with the Cognitive Science Society or the CogSci Mind Challenge.

      Deadline: September 16th at 11:59 pm EST

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