COGNITIVE SCIENCE COLLOQUIUM

**In-person seminars are cancelled effective March 13, 2020.  Zoom links will be provided for the talks listed below and to those on the mailing list.

The Fall 2019/Spring 2020 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 (unless otherwise noted), from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Building, Room 205, 1131 E Second Street. 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 Kirsten Cloutier Grabo at kirstencg@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 COLLOQUIUM ARCHIVE.

 

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2019/20 COGNITIVE SCIENCE COLLOQUIUM SERIES

SPRING 2020

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May 1, 2020

STUDENT SHOWCASE 
 

KATIE ESTERLINE, M.A.
Ph.D.. Candidate
Cognitive and Neural Systems
Department of Psychology
University of Arizona

"Word learning and sleep in habitually and non-habitually napping children"
ABSTRACT: Daytime napping contributes to memory in young children. Importantly, children transition out of regular daytime napping between ages 3-5 years, and the impact of this transition on learning and memory is unclear. In this talk I will present research that examines word learning performance of habitually napping and  non-habitually napping children after a delay including sleep or wakefulness. The implications of this research for understanding the relationship between sleep and memory in development will be discussed.

 

VALERIA PFEIFER, M.A.
Ph.D.. Candidate
Cognitive and Neural Systems
Department of Psychology
University of Arizona

“Emojis and Text: An ERP study”
ABSTRACT: Emojis are a popular tool to express non-verbal cues used in face-to-face communication digitally. In this study, we investigate how facial emojis are processed using event-related potentials (ERPs). Specifically, we tested how the placement of emojis in an emotionally ambiguous text message impacts processing. Our data showed that emojis sent before a text message are processed at a perceptual-emotional level, as indexed by an increased N170 for happy emojis compared to upset emojis. The very same emojis sent after a text message are processed differently at a conceptual level, as indexed by an increased P200 for upset emojis compared to happy emojis. Our data provide further evidence for the differential disambiguation effects of happy/upset emojis on text messages. Overall, this study contributes to the understanding of processing at the emoji-text interface. 

ZOOM link:
Join URL: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/115920813

 

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COLLOQUIUM SPEAKERS who have already visited 2019/20

September 6, 2019

VLADIMIR V. PRAVOSUDOV, Professor of Zoology, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, unr.edu/biology/people/vladimir-pravosudov
TITLE:  Environmental variation and the evolution of spatial cognition in food-caching birds
ABSTRACT:
Animals show large variation in cognitive abilities, both across and within species, and an important question is why such variation exists. Food-caching birds are well known to store extremely large numbers of individual food caches and to rely on these food caches to survive the winter and they rely on spatial memory to find their caches. Food-caching parids (chickadees and tits) make more food caches than any other bird species – some parids have been reported to store hundreds of thousands of individual caches every year. Compared to non-caching species, food-caching species appear to have better spatial memory and a larger hippocampus, a brain region associated with spatial learning and it is hypothesized that such differences have evolved because of extreme dependence on food caches. We have been investigating variation in spatial ability within two chickadee species by comparing birds living in environments with large differences in winter climate severity. More severe and longer winters should be associated with more dependence on food caching and hence on spatial memory for survival. Our work indeed confirms that populations from harsher winter environments have better spatial memory and a larger hippocampus, across latitudinal, longitudinal and elevation gradients of climate. Our data also show that spatial cognition is under natural selection and that selection is likely to produce differences in cognition associated with different environments.

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September 13, 2019

MARTIN M. MONTI, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology & Department of Neurology, Brain Injury Research Center, University of California at Los Angeles, www.psych.ucla.edu/faculty/page/monti
TITLE:  Disappearing into nothingness: Disorders of consciousness
ABSTRACT:
The neural mechanisms that give rise to the subjective feeling of consciousness remain debated and controversial. In this presentation I will focus on conditions typically acquired after severe brain injury, such as coma, the vegetative state, and the minimally conscious state, as a model to understand the neural mechanisms accompanying the loss and recovery of consciousness. Specifically, I will try to trace an arc through the main revolutions that have occurred in this field, from pinpointing the limits of our ability to understand who is conscious and who is not, to the functional and structural phenotype of patients with/without consciousness, to how this knowledge is helping us devise novel interventions to help restore consciousness and cognition in these patients. 

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September 20, 2019

ADELE E. GOLDBERG, Professor of Psychology, Princeton University, psych.princeton.edu/person/adele-goldberg

TITLE:  Meaning and metaphor*
ABSTRACT:
Words typically convey a rich and varied array of related meanings.  A common way that word meaning is extended is via conceptual metaphors. For instance, we can talk about experiences as if they were food (a bitter pill; a treat). Such metaphorically extended words and phrases are regularly used even when literal paraphrases exist, which raises the question as to why metaphorical language is so common.  fMRI work has found that literal meanings remain active even when words are used metaphorically, which may imply that metaphorical uses of words have richer semantic representations.  Moreover, recent work has found that metaphorical statements and short stories activate the amygdala more than carefully matched literal paraphrases, indicating that conceptual metaphors may be more emotionally engaging than their literal counterparts. 
*Much of the work discussed was done in collaboration with Francesca Citron of Lancaster University.

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September 27, 2019

GIORGIO CORICELLI, Professor of Economics & Psychology, University of Southern California, dornsife.usc.edu/coricelli

TITLE:  Brain, emotion and decision-making: Regret and envy learning
ABSTRACT:
In decision-making when we choose among alternatives, we may have the opportunity to compare the consequences of our choices with the consequences of foregone options, or with the consequences of choices other people made. In a private context, the unfavorable counterfactual comparison between obtained and foregone outcomes (what might have been) can generate regret. In a social environment, unfavorable social comparison might generate interpersonal negative counterfactuals and elicit envy. In my talk, I will discuss how private and social counterfactual emotions may be useful to improve our decision.

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October 4, 2019

JOSEPH L. SANGUINETTI, Associate Director, Center for Consciousness Studies, University of Arizona; Research Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico, www.jaysanguinetti.com

TITLE:  Sonication-enhanced mindful awareness: A new research direction
ABSTRACT:
The brain changes and adapts as a result of experience.  Learning to play the piano, for example, leads to structural and functional neuroplastic changes in the brain.  The same is true for mindfulness meditation, an attention-based practice that requires effortfully focusing on present-moment experience.  The neuroplastic changes induced by mindfulness correlate with enhanced physiological health, cognitive performance, emotional stability, and overall well-being.  Mindfulness-based interventions are growing in popularity as they help to ameliorate mental, physical, and emotional symptoms and facilitate positive behavior change.  However, mindfulness practice is difficult and time-consuming for most patients, creating a significant barrier to therapeutic effects.  Thus, a technology that accelerates mindfulness training would be clinically valuable because the benefits would be more accessible to patients.  In this talk, I present an overview of our recent work combining a novel form of brain stimulation, transcranial ultrasound, with mindfulness training.  Transcranial ultrasound is a form of noninvasive neuromodulation with millimeter precision where researchers sonicate the brain with non-thermal, low-intensity ultrasound.  By sonicating select brain networks during mindfulness training, we seek to promote neuroplasticity and facilitate the acquisition of the core attention skills at the heart of mindfulness.  The goal is to enhance the effectiveness of mindfulness training, thereby making mindfulness-based interventions and their benefits more widely accessible.  Specifically, we will discuss the efforts of our laboratory to create a sonication-enhanced mindfulness intervention that addresses pain management and addiction treatment.

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October 11, 2019

FRANCESCA FRASSINETTI, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, unibo.it/sitoweb/francesc.frassinetti

TITLE:  The link between spatial attention and time: Evidence in brain damaged patients
ABSTRACT:
Prism adaptation is a procedure used for studying visuomotor plasticity in healthy individuals, as well as for alleviating spatial attentional deficit in right brain damaged patients with neglect. The adaptation is achieved by performing goal-directed movements while wearing prismatic lenses that induce a lateral displacement of visual information. This results in an initial movement error that is compensated by a recalibration of sensory-motor coordinates; consequently, a lateral perceptual, motor and attentional bias occurs in the opposite direction after prism removal.
   Recent empirical studies demonstrated the modulatory effects of a shift of spatial attention induced by prismatic adaptation on different aspects of time, such as the abilities to estimate time duration and to mentally travel in the future and in the past.

   In young healthy participants, leftward and rightward shifts of spatial attentional through prismatic adaptation lead to an underestimation and overestimation of time duration, respectively. Right brain damaged patients present time underestimation deficits that are significantly greater when associated with neglect syndrome. This evidence highlights the role of a right hemispheric network in time perception, in addition to its control of spatial attention engaged in spatial representation of time. On the other hand, left posterior parietal cortex mediates the prismatic adaptation effects on time and the left middle frontal gyrus plays a key role in the maintenance of such effects over time.
   Recently, prismatic adaptation has proven effective in modulating  “conceptual” aspects of time, such as humans’ ability to travel mentally back and forward in time (mental time travel, MTT). In healthy participants, leftward and rightward shifts of spatial attention facilitates recognition of past and future events, respectively. Right brain damaged patients with neglect show a deficit in processing events that are yet to happen (relative-future) and this difficulty is correlated with their spatial deficit. Relevantly, leftward-prismatic adaptation, ameliorating spatial deficits, also reduces temporal impairment concerning the abilities to both correctly estimate time and travel in time. For this reason, the impact of a brain lesion and the prismatic adaptation effects on time processing can have relevant implication for rehabilitation.

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October 16, 2019, WEDNESDAY, 10AM, EDUCATION 351 - SPECIAL COLLOQUIUM
***PLEASE NOTE DAY/TIME/LOCATION***
 

MARTIN PICKERING, Director of Research, School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, www.ed.ac.uk/profile/martin-pickering

TITLE:  Language use and social interaction
ABSTRACT:

We present a theory of dialogue as a form of cooperative joint activity.  Dialogue is treated as a system involving two interlocutors and a shared workspace that contains their contributions and relevant non-linguistic context.  The interlocutors construct shared plans and use them to “post” contributions to the workspace, to comprehend joint contributions, and to distribute control of the dialogue between them.  A fundamental part of this process is to simulate their partner’s contributions and to use it to predict the upcoming state of the shared workspace.  As a consequence, they align their linguistic representations and their representations of the situation and of the “games” underlying successful communication.  The shared workspace is a highly limited resource, and the interlocutors use their aligned representations to say just enough and to speak in good time.  We end by applying the account beyond the “minimal dyad” to augmented dialogue, multi-party dialogue, and monologue.  (This talk is based on my forthcoming CUP book with the same title, with Simon Garrod.)

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October 18, 2019

NO COLLOQUIUM SCHEDULED. Arizona State University will be holding a symposium on Predictive Coding to which members of the UA Cognitive Science community are invited. Information forthcoming. 

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October 25, 2019

BENJAMIN CLARK, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, psych.unm.edu/people/faculty/profile/benjamin-clark
TITLE:  Neurobiology of spatial disorientation: Insights from neurodegenerative and developmental disorders
ABSTRACT: 
The seminar will cover recent research from our laboratory investigating the neural mechanisms of spatial orientation with specific emphasis on a class of limbic system neurons called "head direction" cells. I will describe our work investigating the loss of this spatial capacity in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and in neurodevelopment disorders such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

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November 1, 2019
 

DONNA ROSE ADDIS, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, psych.auckland.ac.nz/people/d-addis
TITLE:  Episodic memory and episodic simulation: One and the same?
ABSTRACT: 
Over the past decade, episodic memory has been reconceptualised as future-oriented. Relevant psychological theories have started from the premise that remembering and imagining are distinct neurocognitive processes, and thus have to account for the overlapping cognitive and neural substrates. For instance, in our 2007 ‘constructive episodic simulation hypothesis’, Schacter and I argued that details from episodic memories of past events provides the content for simulating future events. Here, I draw on contemporary philosophical and psychological perspectives to update and refine this theoretical position. I will argue that, fundamentally, remembering and imagining are instantiations of the same neurocognitive process – constructive episodic simulation – and that differences between past and future events arise from differences in representational content.

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November 8, 2019

ANDREAS BLUME, McClelland Professor of Economics, Head, Department of Economics, University of Arizona, eller.arizona.edu/people/andreas-blume

TITLE:  Mediated talk: An experiment
ABSTRACT: 
Theory suggests that mediation has the potential to improve information sharing. This paper experimentally investigates whether and how this potential can be realized. It is the first such study in a cheap-talk environment. We find that mediation encourages players to use separating strategies. Behavior gravitates toward pooling with direct talk and toward separation with mediated talk. This difference in behavior translates into a moderate payoff advantage of mediated over direct talk. There are systematic departures from the equilibrium prediction, characterized by over-communication by senders in the initial rounds of direct talk, stable under-communication by senders under mediated talk, and over-interpretation (attributing too much information to messages) by receivers under both direct and mediated talk.

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November 22, 2019

MARTIN DUFWENBERG, Karl and Stevie Eller Professor of Economics, Director, Institute of Behavioral Economics, University of Arizona, u.arizona.edu/~martind1
TITLE:  Lies, peers & honest submissions
ABSTRACT: 

I present and combine three papers about graft & honesty. First, I introduce the notion of “perceived cheating aversion.” Second, I extend and apply this idea to “peer evaluation tournaments.” Third, in relation to the experimental results of that study, I make a proposal for how to best evaluate research papers submitted for publication.

[The three papers are “Lies in Disguise – A Theoretical Analysis of Cheating” which is joint with Martin A. Dufwenberg; “Peer Evaluation Tournaments” which is joint with Christina Gravert & Katja Görlitz; and “Sealed Envelope Submissions Foster Research Integrity” which is joint with Peter Martinsson.]

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December 3, 2019, 3-430pm, Student Union North Ballroom

2019 ANNUAL GIDP STUDENT RESEARCH SHOWCASE.
The showcase will include students representing each of the 18 GIDPs who will present a research poster at the event. Katie Esterline and Valeria Pfeifer will represent Cognitive Science. Refreshments will be provided as well as a raffle for all attendees. 

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January 24, 2020

HEIDI HARLEY, Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona
https://linguistics.arizona.edu/user/heidi-harley

TITLE:  Lexical semantics and the self (joint work with Shaun Nichols)
ABSTRACT: Prevailing philosophical accounts of persons attempt to analyze the notion of self or person in terms of other familiar notions.  On one prominent account, the person is the mind. On another prominent view, the person is the body or the brain. A third view is that the person is the soul. We argue that none of these views of the self is consistent with the lexical semantics of the terms mind, body, and soul, for these terms are all instances of intrinsically relational nouns which presuppose a possessor. The relational character of these nouns is revealed by their behavior in various grammatical contexts.
   Prototypical nouns like flower, man, and toy are nonrelational. The extension of non-relational nouns consists of a set of individuals. For example, Mark is a man just in case m ϵ [[man]]. In addition to nonrelational nouns, there are also several well-documented classes of relation-denoting nouns. Nouns like friend, child, and tail necessarily express a relation between two arguments and are hence relational nouns.  In the case of a relational term like friend, the extension of the noun is a set of ordered pairs. Mark is the friend of Joan just in case <m,j> ϵ [[friend (of)]]. In addition, with relational nouns, since the relation is specified in the lexicon, the relation expressed in a phrase like Susan’s friend can be identified based entirely on the lexical semantics of the head noun – it’s the friend relation. By contrast, with Susan’s flower, the relation being expressed can’t be read off of the head noun.  It could be that Susan grew the flower, bought the flower, picked the flower, etc.  This is because flower is not an intrinsically relational noun, so we can’t infer from the word itself what the relation is between Susan and the flower.
   There are syntactic distinctions that can differentiate relational and non-relational nouns (see, e.g. Barker 2011: 1111). In English, non-relational nouns cannot take a postnominal genitive of (N of X):

(1)  #the toy of Lassie

but relational nouns can:

(2)  the tail of Lassie

With this postnominal genitive test in hand, we can check our nouns of interest:

(3)  a. #the person of Einstein 

b. the mind of Einstein     

c. the body of Einstein     

d. the soul of Einstein

We see here that person patterns with nonrelational nouns but mind, body, and soul pattern with relational nouns.
   The test with postnominal genitives is English-specific. We introduce a new test for relational nouns that is not specific to English. Roughly speaking, existential sentences quantify over entities (or entity correlates of properties) (see, e.g., McNally 2011). Nonrelational nouns like dog denote entities, but with relational nouns the denotation is, as we’ve seen, more complex. Thus, we might expect that relational nouns behave differently in existential constructions than non-relational nouns. And that’s exactly what we find:

(4)  a. There is a dog in the room.

b. #There is a tail in the room.

c. There are 2 chairs in the room.

d. #There are 8 legs in the room.

If mind, body, and soul are relational nouns, then we should also find infelicities in the relevant existential constructions, and indeed we do:

(5)  a. There is a person in the room.

b. #There is a mind in the room.

c. #There is a body in the room.

d. #There is a soul in the room.

(There are, of course cases in which we might accept strings like (5b-d). In a morgue it might be appropriate to say (5c), but this is because the body has effectively become dispossessed from the self. In a similar way, (4b) is acceptable if the room contains a tail that has been docked from a dog.)
   One advantage of this test is that existential constructions are found in all languages. So we can apply the test more broadly. We provide evidence from four genetically unrelated languages: Hindi (Indo-Iranian), Tagalog (Austronesian) and Korean (Koreanic) and the isolate Basque. In each case, we find the same kind of pattern as in (5a-d).
   Thus, the evidence from lexical semantics indicates that mind, body and soul encode a relation between a property and something else. Presumably that something else is the self – the person whose mind, body or soul they are. We conclude that considerations from lexical semantics show that, absent a substantially revisionist view, the self can’t be identified with mind, body, or soul.

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January 31, 2020

LINDA B. SMITH, Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, and The Program in Cognitive Science, Indiana University, Bloomington
https://psych.indiana.edu/directory/faculty/smith-linda.html

TITLE:  Learning from the infants' point of view
ABSTRACT: Learning depends on both the learning mechanism and the regularities in the training material, yet most research on human and machine learning focus on the discovering the mechanisms that underlie powerful learning. I will present evidence from our research focusing on the statistical structure of infant visual learning environments. The findings suggest that the statistical structure of those learning environments are not like those used in laboratory experiments on visual learning, in machine learning, or in our adult assumptions about how teach visual categories.  The data derive from our use of head cameras and head-mounted eye trackers capturing FOV experiences in the home as well as in simulated home environments in the laboratory. The participants range from 1 month of age to 24 months.  The observed statistical structure offers new insights into visual object recognition and object name learning.  The observed statistics also suggests we may need to rethink our ideas about the properties of learning environments that make learning easier or harder.  

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February 7, 2020

EVE ISHAM, Assistant Professor, Cognition and Neural Systems, Director, Consciousness-Action-Time Lab, Department of Pscyhology, University of Arizona
https://psychology.arizona.edu/users/eve-isham

TITLE:  Timing of intent in consciousness research
ABSTRACT:  How are timing and the passage of time integrated within consciousness?  The subjective experience of when and how long an event lasted play an important role in our daily activities.  We have a sense of how long we have mourned a loss and a sense of the moment when we decided to pull a trigger on a gun.  However, due to their subjective nature and difficulty verifying, such internal temporal experiences are difficult to pin down and investigate in an objective fashion.  In the current presentation, I will discuss the timing of intent in decision making – ranging from the theoretical concept to methodological concerns and empirical quantification.  Subsequently, I will discuss how the timing of intent is integrated within consciousness research, serving an important role in influencing future thoughts and behaviors. 

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February 14, 2020

KEVIN L LIN, Associate Professor, STEM Instruction, Department of Mathematics, University of Arizona
https://www.math.arizona.edu/~klin/index.php

TITLE:  Information-bearing degrees of freedom in neural circuitry: A mathematical perspective
ABSTRACT: How does neuronal activity represent information and enable nontrivial computations?  Given its observed complexity and variability, what aspects of neuronal dynamics can be used to reliably encode and process information?  In this talk, I will report on an effort to formulate this question mathematically, focusing specifically on the use of spike timing for encoding information, and discuss what one can learn from such an exercise.  Time permitting, I will also survey recent progress in the literature on correlated spiking events in balanced neural circuitry, and what implications this may have for the question at hand.  A broader purpose of this talk is to convince the auidence that mathematical modeling and thinking (beyond statistics!) can be useful for understanding neuronal dynamics, and to that end I will try to make this talk as accessible as possible to those without a background in computational neuroscience or mathematical modeling.

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February 21, 2020

JOEL LAWRENCE VOSS, Associate Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Neurology--Ken & Ruth Davee Department, and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University
https://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/faculty-profiles/az/profile.html?xid=24019

TITLE:  Stimulating the hippocampal network to test episodic mechanisms
ABSTRACT: Episodic memory depends on the hippocampus and its coordination with a distributed network of interconnected structures. Recent findings indicate that this hippocampal network can be modulated using network-targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation. This offers the powerful opportunity to directly test hypothesized functional properties of the hippocampal network by measuring the memory changes that occur in response to stimulation. I will describe the progress that has been made in this area to date. Increases in fMRI activity correlation due to stimulation predict corresponding increases in episodic memory ability, indicating that successful performance relies on the interregional coordination of hippocampal network activity. Furthermore, distinct hypothesized posterior-medial and anterior-temporal functional network components are differentially modulated by stimulation, thereby demonstrating their functional independence. The prominent hypothesis that hippocampal network coordination for memory occurs via the synchronization of activity in the theta-frequency band has also been supported by network-targeted stimulation, which more robustly influences hippocampal network activity and memory when delivered using theta patterns versus non-theta patterns. Finally, I will describe our recent work using theta-patterned stimulation during simultaneous fMRI scanning to measure the immediate impact of stimulation on the hippocampus and its role in the network-wide effects of stimulation. Collectively, these findings suggest that it is possible to cause highly specific changes in episodic memory by appropriately targeting portions of the hippocampal network with noninvasive stimulation, yielding new insights regarding brain mechanisms of memory.

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February 28, 2020

BARBARA LANDAU, Dick and Lydia Todd Professor of Cognitive Science, Department of Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University
https://cogsci.jhu.edu/directory/barbara-landau/

TITLE:  Genes, brains, and spatial representation: Evidence from Williams syndrome
ABSTRACT: One of the holy grails for developmental cognitive neuroscience is to understand the complex causal chain from gene to mind throughout development.  At present, we are far from understanding this chain in detail.   In this talk, I will argue that developmental timing can serve as a unifying mechanism to explain atypical cognitive profiles resulting from genetic impairment along with their relationship to typical developmental profiles. To illustrate, I will use the case of Williams syndrome—a genetic syndrome that gives rise to an unusual profile of severely impaired spatial representation together with spared language.  A first-pass hypothesis about the cognitive phenotype emphasized the apparent dissociation of these two cognitive systems, suggesting that the genetic deficit targets one system while leaving the other intact.  However, detailed studies of spatial representation in people with Williams syndrome, along with comparative studies of typically developing children, reveal a very different picture-- one which suggests a mechanistic explanation using the lens of developmental timing.  This picture radically changes the conversation about how and why genetic deficits result in atypical cognitive profiles. 

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March 27, 2020    

LILA BOZGEYIKLI, Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of Arizona
https://ischool.arizona.edu/people/lila-bozgeyikli

TITLE:  Towards Better User Experiences in Extended Reality
ABSTRACT: As the interactive technology rapidly evolves, so do their implications on user experience in the field of human-computer interaction. Improving user experience yields increased benefits from interactive systems in various domains, such as education, training and well-being. My talk will include the discussion of experiments that were driven by this motivation and explore the effects of novel interaction methods and systems on user experience and performance in extended (i.e., virtual and augmented) reality. I will discuss the results of recently completed experiments and their implications for future extended reality systems, in-progress experiments with partial results, and future work.

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April 17, 2020

LEAH KAPA, Assistant Professor, Department of Speech Language & Hearing Sciences, University of Arizona
https://slhs.arizona.edu/person/leah-kapa-phd

TITLE:  The role of private speech in executive function deficits among children with developmental language disorder
ABSTRACT:  Many children with developmental language disorder (DLD) have executive function deficits in addition to their language impairment. Establishing how language and executive function may be related in these children is important for understanding the nature of DLD, for informing approaches to improve executive functioning in this population, and for our broader understanding of the interface between language and cognition. One possibility is that children with DLD have executive function deficits because, unlike peers with typical language abilities, they are less successful in utilizing self-directed or private speech to control their behaviors while completing difficult tasks. I will summarize the current state of knowledge about the development of private speech in children with DLD relative to typical peers. I will also present recent data from preschoolers with DLD showing how private speech production during a nonverbal sustained attention task relates to their task performance and the effects of encouraging or preventing private speech on children’s Tower of Hanoi and card sorting scores. The implications of these findings for explaining executive function deficits in DLD and for the treatment of DLD will be discussed. 

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April 24, 2020

GUS HAHN-POWELL, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona
https://linguistics.arizona.edu/user/gus-hahn-powell

TITLE:  Generating scientific hypotheses through machine reading
ABSTRACT: Machine reading is a research program in artificial intelligence centered on teaching computers to read and comprehend natural language text. Through large-scale machine reading of the scientific literature, we can greatly advance our understanding of the natural world. In this talk, I will introduce a method for extracting causal statements from the full text of biomedical publications to assemble a network of millions of relations (X increases/decreases Y). By aligning this graph with a large-scale venue-level citation network (journal A cites journal B), we can estimate the degree of communication taking place between fields and generate novel hypotheses through Swanson linking (Stegmann and Grohmann, 2003) that bridge isolated communities engaged in complementary research.

Youtube link: https://youtu.be/jjWxdNFgqKY