This book introduces the concept of cognitive modeling, providing readers with tangible explanations of what it is, why it is relevant to cognitive scientists and psychologists, and advantages it offers beyond other types of theory testing. It also provides real world examples describing how cognitive modeling brought to light new understanding about human behavior that more traditional approaches left hidden. Several extremely useful practical examples -- with related matlab code -- are given, demonstrating how to actually fit cognitive models to data.
The authors, Busemeyer and Diederich, both have published extensively using just such an approach, enabling them to pass on insights that others would not have gleaned. Moreover, they are painfully aware of pitfalls and errors, as well as delightfully aware of scientific examples of relevance. An interesting example is given showing how our intuition concerning the necessity of a two system solution for certain psychological phenomena can be perfectly explained using a one system approach that has been properly specified (pp. 31-33). Also, there's a good example demonstrating the importance of actually obtaining the best fitting parameters to data (p. 131), as well as an example of how using models to make a priori predictions implored scientists to take theories from Newton and later, Einstein, seriously (p. 158).
The book does not require knowledge of cognitive science or psychology but such knowledge or interest would certainly aid in understanding the examples. The text does assume some familiarity with mathematical concepts, resulting in rather technical language at times (the subject matter naturally requires it). That being said, the text is well-written enough to help you become familiar with the concept of cognitive modeling even if you have very little mathematical background and want to skip all of the formulas. However, to actually begin using the techniques, understanding the math becomes necessary. As a consequence, the book may not be ideal for study on your own (unless you are technically advanced) but ideal for use in a course or a small study group. There really is no other book out there like this, one that explains all you need to know about cognitive modeling and how to actually do it!
Highly recommended for anyone interested in (1) learning about cognitive modeling, (2) actively analyzing data using cognitive modeling methods, or (3) teaching a course on cognitive methods.