Month: January 2017

CUNY:Language processing and language evolution and Cognitive universals

The CUNY conference this year (held at MIT) has a special session on “Language processing and language evolution” (

In addition, there will be a pre-conference workshop on cognitive universals (see below) that may be of interest.

Pre-CUNY Workshop at MIT
Searching for cognitive universals: evidence from remote societies

March 29, 2017, 9am – 6pm

Humans are endowed with a rich arsenal of cognitive abilities. Some of these have been argued to be universal (present across cultures), while others appear to be affected by cultural factors. Research from non-industrialized societies is critical to our understanding of what constitutes the core of the human nature (e.g., Henrich et al., 2010). This workshop brings together some of the world’s leading scientists conducting research with remote tribes/societies across diverse cognitive domains, including language, color, numerical cognition, and music, to highlight some of the latest results that shed new light on what makes us human.

1. Language, syntax: Dan Everett, Bentley University
2. Language, syntax: Ray Jackendoff. Tufts University
3. Language, words: Lera Boroditsky, UC San Diego
4. Color: Bevil Conway, NIH
5. Color: Terry Regier, UC Berkeley
6. Number: Barbara Sarnecka, UC Irvine
7. Number: Julian Jara-Ettinger, Yale
8. Number: Liz Spelke, Harvard
9. Music: Josh McDermott, MIT

BME Seminar:“Why Random Patterns of Deep Brain Stimulation Less Effectively Treat Parkinson’s Disease: Insights from In Vivo Studies”

BME Seminar
Friday, January 27, 2017
ITE 336 at Storrs & Videoconferenced to UCHC CG-079B
12:00-12:50 pm

“Why Random Patterns of Deep Brain Stimulation Less Effectively Treat Parkinson’s Disease: Insights from In Vivo Studies”

Presented By: Dr. George McConnell, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology

Abstract: Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus effectively treats several motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), however, the mechanisms of action of DBS are unknown. Random temporal patterns of DBS are less effective than regular DBS, but the neural basis for this dependence on temporal pattern of stimulation is unclear. We quantified behavior and single-unit neuronal activity in parkinsonian rats to test the hypothesis that the ineffectiveness of irregular DBS is caused by a failure to mask low-frequency oscillatory activity. Irregular DBS relieved symptoms less effectively than regular DBS, even when delivered at a high average rate. The reduced effectiveness of random DBS paralleled a failure to suppress low-frequency oscillatory activity and suggest that long pauses during random DBS are responsible for the reduced effectiveness, because these pauses enable the propagation of low-frequency oscillatory activity. These results demonstrate a correlation between efficacy of DBS, temporal regularity of stimulus trains, and changes in neuronal oscillatory activity in the basal ganglia, highlighting the importance of considering temporal patterns – as opposed to simply the rate – of both stimulation and neuronal firing in studying the mechanisms of DBS for neurological disorders.

Biography: Prof. McConnell earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Drexel University and his Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering from Georgia Institute of Technology (with Ravi Bellamkonda) in 2008. He was a Research Scientist in Warren Grill’s lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University prior to joining the faculty at Stevens Institute of Technology in 2015. Prof. McConnell’s research interests lie in Neural Engineering. Specifically, he is interested in designing reliable brain-machine interfaces and developing neural stimulation strategies that minimize side effects and enhance therapeutic benefit. Prof. McConnell’s research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NINDS), the Branfman Family Foundation, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

First speaker for the spring 2017 Cog Sci series

First speaker for the spring 2017 Cog Sci series is Dorit Bar-On of the Dept. of Philosophy on Friday, Feb. 3. in Laurel Hall, room 201 at 4pm.

Crude Meaning, Brute Thought (or: What Are They Thinking?!)

Can there be thought before language? Two influential philosophers – Paul Grice and Donald Davidson – have famously endorsed conflicting theses on this matter, despite sharing a broadly rationalist perspective on the relation between thought and language. Roughly, for Grice, thought of an especially complex sort is a precondition of linguistic meaning, whereas for Davidson, there can be no thought without language. I argue that, transposed into an evolutionary key, both views present us with unpalatable alternatives concerning the natural origins of objective thought and meaningful language. I use insights from Grice and Davidson to lay out some broad desiderata for a viable intermediate position on the relation between language and thought, indicating why several extant anti-rationalist proposals fail to meet these desiderata. In the final section, I turn to certain forms of nonlinguistic communication of which both prelinguistic children and languageless animals are capable – viz., expressive communication. I propose that a proper appreciation of the character and function of expressive communication can help us mark the contours of the relevant space for the desired intermediate position.

IBACS Graduate Fellowship Opportunities

The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (CT IBACS), funded by the University’s Academic Plan, is inviting applications to its Graduate Fellowship Program.

These 3-month fully funded summer fellowships are intended for graduate students working on topics with relevance (broadly construed) to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences. IBACS Graduate Fellows attend a short grant-writing workshop at the start of the summer period, and will be expected to submit an application to the NSF GRFP, NRSA (pre- or post-doctoral fellowship), or equivalent, in the Fall.

Deadline for receipt of applications is January 30th.

Graduate students who are not US citizens are eligible to apply, and are expected to work with their advisor to develop an external research proposal if they are not eligible for graduate fellowships. Students who were fellows in 2016 may apply if they submitted the external grant proposal they developed last year and it was not funded, with the expectation that they will revise their previous grant or develop a new one.

Please refer to the full details here.

Postdoc Position in Experimental Research on Language: Norwegian University

Norwegian University of Science and Technology – Department of Language and Literature

Location: Trondheim
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Contract / Temporary
Closes: 10th March 2017
Job Ref: HF17-004

The Language Acquisition and Language Processing Lab, Department of Language and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology invites applications from qualified individuals for a 3.5-year postdoc position.
The Department of Language and Literature (ISL) is part of the Faculty of Humanities, situated at Dragvoll campus in Trondheim. The Department has more than 80 permanent academic staff and approximately 25 PhD candidates who teach and conduct research in the language sciences, literature and culture studies. The Department of Language and Literature offers studies on all levels from BA to Ph.D., and we are responsible for the MA in Language Studies with Teacher Education. The department has a vital research environment and is responsible for several large-scale research projects. Further information concerning the academic profile of the department, management and staff can be found at

The position is affiliated with the Language Acquisition and Language Processing Lab. Research at the Lab focuses on investigating language skills and competences in children and adults, including developmental disorders. The Lab is primarily dedicated to basic research involving experimental research on language acquisition (both first and second language acquisition), as well as on language processing (for instance comprehension and categorisation). The Lab operates advanced research equipment (an SR Research EyeLink 1000 remote eye-tracker, a Tobii T120 eye-tracker and a T60 XL wide screen eye-tracker; state-of-the art 64 channel EEG). The research group at the Lab has attracted a number of large-scale research grants from the EU 7th FP, Horizon2020 and the Norwegian Research Council and Nordic funding sources. More information can be found here:

The position involves research and supervision within the field of experimental research on language. You will be responsible for conducting research in on-going collaborative projects at the Lab, involving advanced experimental techniques (eye-tracking, EEG/ERPs), analyzing data, teaching and supervision of graduate students and research grant application preparation.

The Research Goup includes 1 Professor, 1 Associate professor, 1 Senior Research Fellow, 1 Research Fellow, 1 postdoc, 5 PhD fellows, and on average 10 master students at any time.

Main tasks
The successful applicant must

  • be prepared to design and conduct experiments
  • analyse data
  • participate in teaching and co-supervise master theses together with senior research staff
  • give hands-on lab seminars for students
  • work on grant applications

The successful applicant must

  • hold a PhD degree in psychology, cognitive science, linguistics or equivalent
  • possess expertise in experimental research on language (eye-tracking, EEG/ERPs)
  • possess expertise in advanced methods for statistical analyses
  • possess relevant academic competence and supervision experience at college or university level
  • expertise in developmental deficits will weigh positively
  • possess academic skills in research communication (writing/conference presentation) in English
  • in making the appointment, emphasis will be placed on candidates with an active research portfolio.
  • preference will be given to applicants with previous experience of teaching and supervision at university level.

The application must be sent electronically through the website Jobbnorge (, and be marked with the file number for the position HF17-004.

The application must contain information about education, exams and previous employment. The application must further include:

  • Motivation letter
  • CV
  • a list of all relevant publications
  • certified copies of certificates and testimonials
  • details of their pedagogical qualifications in accordance with the relevant guidelines (“Documentation of an applicant’s pedagogical qualifications”) which can be downloaded from the following Internet address:
  • Applicants that are considered for the position, will be asked for references and called in for an interview. Please notice that applications sent by e-mail will not be considered.

Please note: Applications that are not sent through Jobbnorge and/or are sent after the application deadline will not be taken into consideration.

Terms of appointment
The position of postdoc is placed within code 1198 of the State salary regulations, and is remunerated according to salary level 57 in the national salary scheme, gross NOK 488.900 – per year. Two percent of the gross salary is deducted and paid into the State Pension scheme.

Preferred start up is early autumn 2017. Work place is NTNU Dragvoll, Trondheim.

The appointment will be made in accordance with regulations for fellowship appointments at universities, and with regulations concerning State Employees and Civil Servants. A contract will be drawn up detailing the period of appointment and required duties.

It is a major political objective to achieve a balance of age and gender in the national labor force and to recruit persons with a diverse background. Candidates who fit the latter description are encouraged to apply.

You may request to have your name withheld from public access. If you wish to do so, you must explain why your application should be treated as confidential. If you request that your name be withheld from public access, your request will be considered in relation to the Open File Act § 25. If your request to have your name kept from public access is denied, you will be so informed and you will be given the opportunity to withdraw your application.

For further information:
Department Head Professor Annlaug Bjørsnøs (email: or Director of the LALP Lab, Prof. Mila Vulchanova (email:

Questions about the application process can be directed to administrative consultant Hege Tverå Nilsson (email:

The application deadline is March, 10th, 2017

Internship Opportunity: Stanford Center for the Study of Language and Information

Stanford CSLI 2017 Summer Internship Application
Ends on March 1, 2017
In the Stanford CSLI Internship program, interns work closely with a faculty, postdoc, or grad student mentor on an original cognitive science research project. They will gain experience developing the project, collecting data, and analyzing the results. In addition to their individual projects, interns will attend a weekly seminar with such topics as reading a scientific paper, introduction to the R data analysis platform, statistics and visualization, and presentation skills. The program will culminate with each intern presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience.

Program details
To be eligible, you must be a documented U.S. citizen, a permanent resident in possession of an alien registration card (I-555), or an international student enrolled in a U.S. undergraduate institution.
The program is intended for rising college Juniors and Seniors from outside Stanford University, but we will consider all applicants for the program.
The program aims to expand undergraduate access to research, and as such past research experience is NOT a prerequisite. Applications will be evaluated on the basis of academic foundations that lead to successful research experience, whether or not applicants have had such experience already.
The program is 8 weeks, from 6/19/2017 – 8/11/2017. Students should plan to be available for the entirety of the summer program in order to attend trainings at the beginning of the program and final presentations at the end.
The internship should be considered a full-time position. In general, interns are expected to be in the lab 40 hours/week, from 9AM – 5PM, Monday – Friday.
Application details
This application will close at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on 3/1. This means that All APPLICATIONS must be submitted by that time.
Reference letters can be submitted after the application closes. We will accept reference letters until 3/8.
All supplementary documents must be in PDF format.
This application does not have to be completed in one sitting.
Decision notifications will be sent out in mid-March.

Apply here




NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award

Dear Colleagues

We want to bring to your attention an exciting new FOA designed to facilitate advancement of promising graduate students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented into neuroscience research. Please consider if you or your colleagues have eligible students who could benefit from this new initiative, and spread the news.

NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award (F99/K00)

The purpose of the NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award is to support a defined pathway across career stages for outstanding graduate students who are from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in neuroscience research. This two-phase award will facilitate completion of the doctoral dissertation and transition of talented graduate students to strong neuroscience research postdoctoral positions, and will provide career development opportunities relevant to their long-term career goal of becoming independent neuroscience researchers. Learn more at RFA-NS-17-009.

Webinar Information

Informational Webinar on the NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award (F99/K00)

January 18, 2017, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time

This webinar will take you through the process of putting together an application for the NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award. The webinar will go through each part of the application, including eligibility, specific aims and research strategy, sponsor and co-sponsor information, letters of reference and support, and the certification letter. The second half of the webinar will be a question and answer session for attendees.

To register for the webinar, please follow the following link: A registration link is available at the bottom of the link’s page.

NICHD CDBB Program Directors
( Child Development and Behavior Branch (CDBB)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
6710B Rockledge Dr, MSC 7002
Bethesda, MD 20892