COGNITIVE SCIENCE COLLOQUIUM

 

The Fall 2018 Cognitive Science Colloquium Series schedule is shown below.  Details will be posted as soon as they are available.  As usual, the colloquium will be held on Fridays, from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Building, Room 205. Recordings of these talks are available on Panopto, which can be accessed with a UA NetID.

Since 2012, an annual feature of the colloquium series is a special talk given by the Roger N. Shepard Distinguished Visiting Speaker. Please follow the link for a list of past speakers.

If you would like to receive email announcements about these and other events, please contact Program Coordinator Sandra Kimball at skimball@email.arizona.edu to be added to the colloquium listserv.

Information about previous talks during this academic year can be found at the bottom of this list. Other past talks can be found at COGNITIVE SCIENCE COLLOQUIUMS ARCHIVE.

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FALL 2018 COGNITIVE SCIENCE COLLOQUIUM SERIES

 

 

September 21

KAREN SCHLOSS, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, University of Wisconsin at Madison

TITLE: Color inference for visual communication

ABSTRACT: Visual reasoning allows people to translate visual input into conceptual understanding. The visual reasoning system presumably evolved so organisms could quickly and flexibly interpret visual input in their natural environment. Now, humans leverage this system for visual communication by creating synthetic environments, or visualizations, for others to interpret. These visualizations include the graphs, maps, and diagrams that are central to science communication. Interpreting visualizations is easier when the encoded mappings between concepts and visual features match people’s expectations, or inferred mappings. To harness this principle in visualization design, it is necessary to understand what determines people’s inferred mappings. In this talk, I will present the Color Inference Framework for how people make conceptual inferences from color, and how those inferences influence judgments about the world. I will then discuss studies on color-coding systems for recycling and for colormap data visualizations. The results of these studies demonstrate that inferred mappings are context dependent and flexible, influenced by perceptual relations among colors in visual displays and relative activation of concepts in people’s minds. The results have implications for designing effective and efficient media for visual communication.

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September 28

LINDA RESTIFO, Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Cellular & Molecular Medicine, UA Department of Neurology

TITLE: Size matters: Heads, brains, and neurons in genetic intellectual disabilities

ABSTRACT: Nearly one thousand human genes are known to be essential for the development of neurotypical cognitive function. Conversely, deleterious mutations in any one of these genes cause intellectual disability (ID), either in isolation or as part of a syndrome. For a substantial fraction of these disorders, small head size (microcephaly), due to impaired brain growth, is detectable during the first few years of life. Almost all of the genes involved are very highly conserved, meaning that they are present and control brain development in simpler organisms, such as the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.  Members of my research team have investigated mutants of several ID-and-microcephaly genes in Drosophila. We discovered that their brain neurons extend small arbors of branches when cultured in vitro, but each one has a distinct abnormality.  We have also used cultured neurons to identify drugs that reverse defects caused by mutations. I will present the key data in support of a strategy to develop safe and effective drugs for improving brain development in children with microcephaly-associated ID.

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October 5

JANE M CARRINGTON, Associate Professor, UA Nursing

TITLE:  Nurse-to-Nurse communication using the Electronic Health Record with implications for decision-making and patient outcomes

ABSTRACT:  Nearly 100,000 patients die each year in our nation’s hospitals due to miscommunication. Unfortunately, the implementation of the current electronic health record (EHR) has done little to improve this statistic.  The EHR has increased legibility of the health record, supports data entry, and has made the record available through the network to all members of the health care team.  Nurses have also reported, however, that retrieval of patient information is difficult.  Furthermore, the patient data collected in the current EHR is not considered valuable towards continuing care of patients. These attributes threaten the effectiveness of the current EHR as a communication system. Nurses have stated their primary source of patient information is the change of shift hand-off.  Unfortunately, the hand-off is also an ineffective communication system. The hand-off is often plagued with errors. Interestingly, for the same patient, the EHR and the hand-off rarely align due to missing and inconsistent patient information. In addition, the current EHR and hand-off pose a threat to effective nurse-to-nurse communication and decision-making for patients who experience a change in status. Of particular interest are patients who experience a clinical event (CE) or pain, fever, bleeding, changes in output, respiratory status or level of consciousness. The hypothesis of my research is that effective nurse-to-nurse communication can reduce unexpected deaths for patients who experience a clinical event.  My research has focused on language used by nurses to describe CEs in the EHR and hand-off, nurse-EHR interaction and decision-making.  My team is working towards solutions to improving the EHR using strategies that include natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence Here I will present an overview of my research exploring nurse-to-nurse communication of CEs and decision-making and their impact on patient outcomes.

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October 12

ARNE DAVID EKSTROM, Associate Professor, UA Department of Psychology

TITLE:  Decoding how we represent space when we navigate

ABSTRACT:  While the field has made significant progress in understanding how other species navigate, many fundamental questions remain regarding how humans accomplish this important everyday function.  Here, we present studies that attempt to understand our unique and flexible code for space.  We present experiments investigating the interface between cartographic maps and spatial representation, cued recall and spatial representation, and verbal/linguistic codes and spatial representation.  Together, these findings will explore key differences in our navigational code compared to other species, suggesting that cognitive representations for cartographic maps and language are dynamically integrated with space to a greater extent than suggested previously.

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October 19

GARY LUPYAN, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin at Madison

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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October 26

CHANGXU WU, Professor, UA Department of Systems & Industrial Engineering

TITLE:  Human performance modeling and its applications in systems engineering

ABSTRACT:  This research seminar introduces the major research activities at the Cognitive System at University of Arizona, focusing on human cognition/performance modeling with its applications in systems engineering (e.g., human-in-the-loop transportation systems and human-machine interaction). Human performance modeling is a growing and challenging area in human factors and cognitive systems engineering. It builds computational models based on the fundamental mechanisms of human cognition and human-system interaction, employs both mathematical and discrete event simulation methods in industrial engineering, and predicts human performance and workload in real-world systems. It can be used to design, improve, and evaluate systems with human in the loop. Current and future research topics will also be introduced.

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November 2

CHARLES NOUSSAIR, Professor of Economics, UA Eller Department of Economics

TITLE:  Emotions and economic decision making

ABSTRACT:  This talk describes a number of studies relating emotional state and economic decision making. Two technologies that are new to economics are described. These are (1) the use of facereading software to measure and track emotional state, and (2) the use of 360 degree videos shown in virtual reality to induce emotions, The talk describes some results regarding the relationship between emotions and risk taking, honesty, cooperation, charitable giving, and reciprocity.

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November 9

ELIZABETH L GLISKY, Professor, UA Department of Psychology

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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November 16

MASSIMO PIATTELLI-PALMARINI, Professor, UA Departments of Linguistics & Psychology

TITLE:  Normal language in abnormal brains

ABSTRACT:  There is little doubt that, in the adult, specific brain lesions cause specific language deficits. Yet, brain localizations of linguistic functions are made problematic by several reported cases of normal language in spite of major brain anomalies, mostly, but not exclusively, occurring early in life. The signal cases are hydrocephaly, spina bifida and hemispherectomy. Many patients have normal syntax and lexicon, but suffer from grave problems in the use of language (they are linguistically dyspraxic), showing that the interface is affected. These cases are discussed and possible solutions are suggested: namely a vast redundancy of neurons and/or the role of microtubules as neuron-internal processors and key factors in signaling and guiding the growth and reconfiguration of the brain.

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November 30

LAURA WAGNER, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology; Director, Language Sciences Research Lab, The Ohio State University

TITLE:  Performance factors influencing competence with linguistic aspect

ABSTRACT:  It is frequently argued that children are competent with some dimension of language, but their knowledge is being masked by performance limitations.  However, in most cases, the evidence for these performance factors is indirect and the specific links between cognitive skills and linguistic forms is vague.  The current work examines a well-documented under-extension in children’s language and the cognitive skills that predict children’s performance of it.  The linguistic phenomenon involves aspect: children prefer to say (and better comprehend) predicates describing bounded events with perfective rather than imperfective morphology and the reverse for unbounded events.  That is, despite the fact that all four of the following sentences are grammatical, children prefer “The girl closed the door” over “The girl was closing the door” and “The girl was listening to music” over “The girl listened to music”.  Children and adults were tested on their ability to understand a range of aspectual combinations (both preferred and non-preferred) and were also tested on a series of independent cognitive assessments.  The results showed specific links between inhibitory control and vocabulary size with different non-preferred combinations that were consistent with formal semantic accounts of those linguistic forms.  More generally, the results show how it is possible to use performance to illuminate the nature of competence.

 

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SPRING 2019 COGNITIVE SCIENCE COLLOQUIUM SERIES

 

January 18, 2019

SUZANNA HERCULANO-HOUZEL, Associate Professor, Psychological Sciences; Associate Director for Communications, Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Vanderbilt University

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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January 25

MELANIE SEKERES, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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February 1

MANDY J. MAGUIRE, Associate Professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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February 8

DONNA ADDIS, Professor, School of Psychology, University of Auckland

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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February 15

ZOE DRAYSON, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of California at Davis

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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February 22

JAY NUNAMAKER, Regents' Professor and Director, UA Center for the Management of Information

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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March 1

GERRY ALTMANN, Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut; Director, Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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March 15

JACKIE GOTTLIEB, Professor of Neuroscience; Principal Investigator, Zuckerman Institute, Columbia University

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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March 29

CATE HARTLEY, Assistant Professor of Psychology, New York University

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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April 5

NICK CHATER, Professor of Behavioral Science, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick

2018-2019 Roger N. Shepard Distinguished Visiting Scholar

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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April 12

LOGAN T. TRUJILLO, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Texas State University

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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April 19

YEJIN CHOI, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington

TITLE:  TBA

ABSTRACT:  TBA

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April 26

Cognitive Science Graduate Student Showcase

 

 

 

PAST 2018-19 TALKS

 

August 31, 2018

KOBUS BARNARD, Professor of Computer Science, UA Department of Computer Science

TITLE: Multiple-gaze geometry: Inferring novel 3D locations from gazes observed in monocular video

ABSTRACT:  I will briefly discuss the current success of black box classifiers and how they can be less less suitable for explanatory and/or mechanistic models that need to use restricted (domain specific) representations.  I will then present work on inferring what is going on videos of people using strong natural representations within a Bayesian framework. More specifically, this framework treats observed image data as being evidence for underlying models that explain it, and going from data to model is achieved using Bayesian inference executed using MCMC sampling. Using this approach, we are able to track the 3D location of people using a single, uncalibrated video camera (e.g., we do not know, in advance, things like the focal length of its lens, which we infer as part of the process).

I will then discuss recently published work on including the gaze directions of the participants, and how our approach for explicitly representing the scene in 3D naturally provides for inferring who is locking at whom or what. Finally, as suggested by the title, I will discuss how our approach can discover 3D locations of what people tend to look at, including locations not visible to the camera. This emerges from our approach rather intuitively, as the intersection of gaze angles rooted in different points in space provides evidence for 3D locations. Finally, I will mention a few possible extensions that we are considering.

While the nuts and bolts of our approach are quite technical, I will attempt to provide a largely non-mathematical understanding of such models and the associated inference engines.

This work is in collaboration with former UA CS PhD students Ernesto Brau, Jinyan Guan, and Tanya Jeffries.

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September 7, 2018

TERRY REGIER, Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science Program, University of California at Berkeley

TITLE: Semantic typology and the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in computational perspective

ABSTRACT: Why do languages have the semantic categories they do, and what do those categories reveal about cognition and communication?  Word meanings vary widely across languages, but this variation is constrained.  I will argue that this pattern reflects a range of language-specific solutions to a universal functional challenge: that of communicating precisely while using minimal cognitive resources. I will present a general computational framework that instantiates this idea, and will show how that framework accounts for cross-language variation in several semantic domains. I will then address the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis - the claim that such language-specific categories in turn shape cognition. I will argue that viewing this hypothesis through the lens of probabilistic inference has the potential to resolve two sources of controversy: the challenge this hypothesis apparently poses to the widespread assumption of a universal groundwork for cognition, and the fact that some findings supporting the hypothesis do not always replicate reliably.  

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September 14

STEPHEN COWEN, Assistant Professor, UA Department of Psychology

TITLE: How ketamine alters brain activity and potential mechanisms for its therapeutic and dissociative effects

ABSTRACT: Although ketamine was developed in the 1960s as an anesthetic, the potential therapeutic applications for the drug have expanded considerably in the last decade. For example, hour to days-long exposure can provide weeks-to-month reduction of treatment-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesias associated with the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Ketamine is also a popular recreational drug due to its powerful dissociative and perceptual effects that include feelings of disembodiment and vivid perceptual hallucinations. Despite its widespread use and its potential for abuse, little is understood about the neural mechanisms that underlie ketamine’s therapeutic or dissociative effects. In this talk, we will review our research investigating ketamine’s capacity to produce profound changes in neuronal synchrony throughout the brain. We will also discuss how changes in synchrony may contribute to ketamine's effects on perception and its use as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesias.

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