Author: Rodriguez, Atziri

Reminder: Register for the IBACS Meet & Speak on 4/29

A reminder that registration is open for the IBACS Meet & Speak on 4/29! Details can be found below, including the talk title and abstract for our keynote talk by Dr. Takao Hensch at Harvard University. We hope you can join us!

Dear IBACS community,

We are excited to officially invite you to attend the IBACS 2022 Meet and Speak event on Friday, April 29th from 2-6pm.This event will be in-person in Bousfield A106.

Affiliated faculty will give 10-minute talks, most of which are on the research they have carried out, or propose carrying out, with seed funding previously awarded by IBACS. Affiliated graduate students who have received IBACS funding will be presenting 5-minute “datablitz” style talks.

The IBACS Meet & Speak will provide an opportunity to learn more about the diverse research that IBACS affiliates are engaged in, and will provide a forum for cross-disciplinary networking. We hope you can join us, please register here for all or part of the event.

Schedule

2:00PM – Introduction

2:10PM – Faculty Talks (10 minutes each)

3:00PM – Graduate Student Data Blitz (5 minutes each)

3:30PM – Keynote Speaker: Dr. Takao Hensch, Harvard University

Talk Title: Balancing Brain Plasticity/Stability

Abstract: Brain function is largely shaped by experience in early life, creating windows of both great opportunity and vulnerability. Our work has focused on the biological basis for such critical periods, identifying both “triggers” and “brakes” on plasticity. Strikingly, the maturation of particular inhibitory circuits is pivotal for the onset timing of these windows. Manipulations of their emergence can either accelerate or delay developmental trajectories regardless of chronological age. Notably, many neurodevelopmental disorders are linked to alterations in excitatory-inhibitory balance, suggesting shifted critical period timing as part of their etiology. Closure of critical periods in turn reflects an active process, rather than a purely passive loss of plasticity factors. Lifting these brakes allows the reopening of plastic windows later in life, but may also underlie instability in disease states. Thus, understanding how brain plasticity and stability are balanced throughout life offers new insight into mental illness and novel therapeutic strategies for recovery of function in adulthood.

4:30PM – Panel Discussion: Featuring Takao Hensch, Erika Skoe, and Natale Sciolino

Innovations and the intersections of technology in Neuro/Cognitive Science

5:00PM – Wine and Cheese Social in Atrium

A more detailed program including speaker names and talk titles will be shared soon.

Best,

Holly Fitch, IBACS Director

Crystal Mills, IBACS Coordinator

Join us for COGS Colloquium: Dr. Hady Ba

Please join the Cognitive Science Program on 4/22 for our next Colloquium!
 
Image of Hady Ba

Speaker: Dr. Hady Ba, Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Visiting Fullbright Scholar  

Time & Location: 4pm, Friday, April 22, 2022 in Oak 117. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Talk TitleApe Linguistics and the Chomsky/Norvig debate 

AbstractAccording to Chomsky, statistical models of language, even though pragmatically successful can’t teach us anything about the nature of language which is rule based. Norvig disagree. According to him science goes from accumulation of data to explanation and back. In this talk, I’ll first show that despite advances in the statistical treatment of language, what happens is that the most successful algorithms for translation, completion and dialogue seem to mimic our brains treatment of language but have some limitations that we don’t know yet how to get rid of. Does this mean that we need better linguistic theories to get to the next step? To respond to this question, I will use data from animal linguistic cognition. I’ll argue that our experiments in teaching language to monkeys and the use by some researchers of tools from linguistics to analyze natural communicative production of apes show that there is a very specific, probably innate, component in humans’ ability to not only produce but also understand language. I will argue that contrary to what Chomsky think, this component goes beyond universal grammar and is probably due to the very peculiar nature of human sociability.  

Bio: An Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Hady BA is a Fulbright Scholar from Senegal. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from The Jean Nicod Institute in Paris. Before coming back to Dakar, Hady Ba has worked on the development of Natural Language Processing tools that uses open-source resources like the web to detect and anticipate security threats. He’s currently writing a book on the epistemology of the Global South and has an ongoing project on animal cognition comparing human and non-human cognition.  

Meeting opportunities: Dr. Ba will be available during the day of his talk for individual or small-group meetings on Zoom or in-person. Please contact Crystal at crystal.mills@uconn.edu if you are interested.

Two Postdoctoral Research Positions

The Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in
Leipzig is an internationally recognized research institute of the Max
Planck Society and is dedicated to the study of human cognitive
abilities and brain processes. The Department of Neurology offers PhD
positions for

Deadline: 1 May 2022
**Two Doctoral Candidates (TVöD E13, 65%, 3 years)** in cognitive
neuroscience and neurophysiology.

The general topic of the position is the physiology of perception,
cognition, and emotion. The positions involve the acquisition and
particularly the analysis of behavioural (e.g., movement parameters,
task performance), subjective (e.g., questionnaires, ratings), and
neuroimaging / electrophysiological (e.g., EEG, ECG) data. The positions
are part of a collaboration between neuroscience and computer graphics.
We will investigate the neurocognition of perceiving (virtual) humans by
acquiring multimodal (mind-brain-body) data using immersive technologies
(e.g., immersive VR). The precise research topic will be adapted to the
interests and specific qualifications of the candidate.

Prerequisites are an outstanding record in a relevant area of
neurocognitive research. Educational background could be from cognitive
(neuro-) science, psychology, medicine, neuroscience, computer science,
engineering, data science, physics, or mathematics. Excellent
programming and statistical skills (Python, Matlab, R) are required. One
position requires excellent prior experience with EEG/MEG signal
processing relating to neural oscillations and evoked responses. We are
looking for scientifically ambitious people willing to work in a highly
cooperative team.

You will have an opportunity to join the Institute’s International Max
Planck Research School (IMPRS CoNI) and to participate in graduate
training programs. You will receive continuous supervision.

The candidates will be part of an enthusiastic team embedded in a
world-leading research environment with outstanding facilities and
research infrastructure (four 3T MR scanners, one of them in a clinical
setting, a Siemens Connectom MR scanner, a 7T MR scanner, MEG, EEG,
fNIRS, TMS, TDCS, focused ultrasound, VR labs, eye tracking and
psychophysics labs). All facilities are supported by experienced IT and
physics staff. In addition to strong co-operations within the Department
of Neurology and with the Clinic of Cognitive Neurology at the
University Hospital Leipzig, there are also strong interactions among
all departments and research groups at the MPI-CBS.

We look forward to receiving your complete online application (reference
number “PhD 09/22”) at:https://www.cbs.mpg.de/vacancies/open-positions.
The application should include a cover letter, personal statement, CV,
list of publications (if available), and two letters of recommendations.
The closing date for applications is **May 1, 2022**. The starting date
is June 1, 2022, or later, and the duration is three years. Salary is
based on regulations of the Max Planck Society (typically 65% TVöD level
13). The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of
individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages
applications from such individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society
strives for gender equity and welcomes applications from all backgrounds.

Further information with regard to the research can be found on the
website of the Department of Neurology (particularly the groups “Neural
interactions and Dynamics” and “Mind-Body-Emotion”):
https://www.cbs.mpg.de/departments/neurology. For questions, please
contact Dr. Vadim Nikulin (nikulin@cbs.mpg.de) or Dr. Michael Gaebler
(gaebler@cbs.mpg.de).

Join the Cognitive Sci Program on 4/22 for our next Colloquium!

Image of Hady Ba

Speaker: Dr. Hady Ba, Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Visiting Fullbright Scholar  

Time & Location: 4pm, Friday, April 22, 2022 in Oak 117. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Talk TitleApe Linguistics and the Chomsky/Norvig debate 

AbstractAccording to Chomsky, statistical models of language, even though pragmatically successful can’t teach us anything about the nature of language which is rule based. Norvig disagree. According to him science goes from accumulation of data to explanation and back. In this talk, I’ll first show that despite advances in the statistical treatment of language, what happens is that the most successful algorithms for translation, completion and dialogue seem to mimic our brains treatment of language but have some limitations that we don’t know yet how to get rid of. Does this mean that we need better linguistic theories to get to the next step? To respond to this question, I will use data from animal linguistic cognition. I’ll argue that our experiments in teaching language to monkeys and the use by some researchers of tools from linguistics to analyze natural communicative production of apes show that there is a very specific, probably innate, component in humans’ ability to not only produce but also understand language. I will argue that contrary to what Chomsky think, this component goes beyond universal grammar and is probably due to the very peculiar nature of human sociability.  

Bio: An Associate-Professor of Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Hady BA is a Fulbright Scholar from Senegal. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Science from The Jean Nicod Institute in Paris. Before coming back to Dakar, Hady Ba has worked on the development of Natural Language Processing tools that uses open-source resources like the web to detect and anticipate security threats. He’s currently writing a book on the epistemology of the Global South and has an ongoing project on animal cognition comparing human and non-human cognition.  

Meeting opportunities: Dr. Ba will be available during the day of his talk for individual or small-group meetings on Zoom or in-person. Please contact Crystal at crystal.mills@uconn.edu if you are interested.

Join us at the IBACS Meet & Speak on 4/29

Dear IBACS community, 
We are excited to officially invite you to attend the IBACS 2022 Meet and Speak event on Friday, April 29th from 2-6pm. This event will be in-person in Bousfield A106. 
 
Affiliated faculty will give 10-minute talks, most of which are on the research they have carried out, or propose carrying out, with seed funding previously awarded by IBACS. Affiliated graduate students who have received IBACS funding will be presenting 5-minute “datablitz” style talks. 
 
The IBACS Meet & Speak will provide an opportunity to learn more about the diverse research that IBACS affiliates are engaged in, and will provide a forum for cross-disciplinary networking. We hope you can join us, please register here for all or part of the event

Schedule 

2:00PM – Introduction
2:10PM – Faculty Talks (10 minutes each)
3:00PM – Graduate Student Data Blitz (5 minutes each)
3:30PM – Keynote Speaker: Dr. Takao Hensch, Harvard University
4:30PM – Panel Discussion: Featuring Takao Hensch, Erika Skoe, and Natale Sciolino
5:00PM – Wine and Cheese Social in Atrium
A more detailed program including speaker names, talk titles, and the panel discussion topic will be shared soon.

Now Accepting IBACS Spring Seed Grant Applications

The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (CT IBACS) is pleased to announce a new call for applications to its seed grant fund. 

 

The seed fund is intended to fund activities in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (broadly construed) that are likely to lead to applications for external funding, or which otherwise contribute to the mission of the Institute. Note that funding is primarily intended to cover direct research costs such as supplies, participant fees, or per diems, as well as student support. The review criteria promote innovative, novel, and collaborative projects in the field of brain and cognitive sciences that require expertise across laboratories and traditional disciplinary boundaries. Postdocs can also apply, with a faculty mentor as co-PI. We have further expanded this year’s seed grant solicitation to include COVID recovery. This addition in scope is intended to provide funds to recover or restart relevant projects that were interrupted due to COVID-19. Full details on the seed grant program, including applications (letter of intent and full seed app) and allowable costs, please check our website.

Applications for small grants (less than $10,000) can be submitted at any time; applications in excess of $10,000 (but no more than $25,000) should be submitted by April 1st 

Please submit letters of intent as soon as possible, but at least 2 weeks prior to the seed grant application deadline (by 3/18/22), to allow time for review and feedback. 

The Institute also invites applications for affiliate memberships. 

Any questions should be directed to the Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu.

9/1: IBACS Large Seed Grant Application Now Open!

The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (CT IBACS) is pleased to announce a new call for applications to its seed grant fund. 

 

The seed fund is intended to fund activities in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (broadly construed) that are likely to lead to applications for external funding, or which otherwise contribute to the mission of the Institute. Note that funding is primarily intended to cover direct research costs such as supplies, participant fees, or per diems, as well as student support. The review criteria promote innovative, novel, and collaborative projects in the field of brain and cognitive sciences that require expertise across laboratories and traditional disciplinary boundaries. Postdocs can also apply, with a faculty mentor as co-PI. We have further expanded this year’s seed grant solicitation to include COVID recovery. This addition in scope is intended to provide funds to recover or restart relevant projects that were interrupted due to COVID-19. Full details on the seed grant program, including applications (letter of intent and full seed app), allowable costs, please check our website.

Applications for small grants (less than $10,000) can be submitted at any time; applications in excess of $10,000 (but no more than $25,000) should be submitted by October 1st 

Please submit letters of intent as soon as possible, but at least 2 weeks prior to the seed grant application deadline (by 9/17/21), to allow time for review and feedback. 

The Institute also invites applications for affiliate memberships. 

Any questions should be directed to the Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu or (860) 486-4937.

9/1: IBACS Undergrad Award Application Now Open!

IBACS is happy to announce another year of the undergraduate research grant program!

The application period for the Fall 2021/Spring 2022 research grant program opens today, September 1st, 2021, and the deadline for applications will be 11:59 pm on Monday, February 21st, 2022Note that the academic year applications will now be reviewed on a rolling basis and awards will be made until funds are exhausted, or up until the application deadline. In other words, apply early! 

It is expected that applicants will be conducting research with IBACS faculty members, focusing on any research area associated with the IBACS mission.  Faculty sponsors will need to supply a letter of recommendation. Once the applicant lists the faculty advisor of the project in the form, an email will be sent to the faculty member with directions for how to submit the letter.  Applicants must fill out the online application, and also submit via the online application, a relatively short research plan (maximum of 6,000 characters, approximately 3 pages) and a budget that explains in detail how the funds will be spent. The application link is listed below. It is recommended that the student first compose the research plan and budget using a word processing program, and then upload the final versions on to the website.

THIS PROGRAM IS NOT MEANT TO PROVIDE DIRECT FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO STUDENTS. Instead, it is meant to provide support for the research. The account will be set up with the faculty sponsor after the award is given. The funding is meant to defray the research-related costs such as materials & supplies, minor equipment, software, animal or participant-related costs. The budget should reflect these expenditures.

 Recipients cannot apply for another grant within the same academic year, however, are eligible for the summer research grant program, provided that they are still a UConn student at the time. Please note that the application period for the summer research grant program will open on February 21st, 2022, and the deadline for applications will be 11:59 pm on March 14th, 2022

 

The IBACS undergraduate award academic year applications are reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • The project description is well written and clearly explains the project.
  • The project clearly focuses on a research area associated with the IBACS mission.
  • The budget is itemized, appropriate to the project described, and reports the total cost of the project (even if it exceeds the funding requested).
  • The advisor is familiar with the student’s project and rates the student’s work to date highly. 
  • Where project applications are equally meritorious, the reviewers will take note of how the student’s project will contribute to the advisor’s research goals.
  • The student and his/her project meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The student has secured research compliance approval(s) if necessary for the project. No award will be issued until documentation of approval(s) is received.

       

      IBACS Fall 2021/Spring 2022 Application: https://quest.uconn.edu/prog/ibacs_undergraduate_research_grant_-_fall_2021spring_2022

       

      Please visit our website for more information and contact our Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu or (860) 486-4937 if you have any questions. 

      2/17:Postdoctoral Research Position

      Postdoctoral Research Position

      Overview

      Prof. Adele Goldberg invites applications for a postdoctoral research position to work on the role of generalization in language learning among individuals on the autism spectrum. The lab conducts research using a variety of methods, including lab-based experiments, online surveys, pupillometry, ERP and fMRI to study factors that influence the learning and use of language in neurotypical and atypical children and adults. The successful candidate will focus on autism research and will assist in other projects that range from conventional metaphor processing to diachronic change.

       

      This is a one-year term position with the possibility of renewal contingent upon continued funding and satisfactory performance. Start date is negotiable. Please submit a CV, a cover letter describing research goals, and technical and research skills. Please also submit contact information for three references. Contact Adele Goldberg (adele@princeton.edu) for additional questions.

       

      Qualifications

      • A recent Ph.D. in psychology, linguistics or related discipline
      • Experience designing and publishing experimental work
      • Expertise in statistics for language work (using R)
      • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills
      • Experience or strong interest in working with populations on the autism spectrum
      • Detail-oriented, motivated, efficient, and able to work independently
      • Strong writing skill

       

      This position is subject to the University’s background check policy. Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

      CogSci Colloquium: Joseph Henrich & Barbara Rogoff on 2/26

      WEIRD problems and potential solutions 

       

      Since its inception, psychology’s Western-centric bias has been an impediment to a deeper understanding of human cognition. Our speakers argue that it is time for a radical transformation of social scientific research, and our understanding of human nature as a whole. 

       

      The Cognitive Science Colloquium Series is proud to jointly present Joseph Henrich and Barbara Rogoff 

       

      Friday, February 26th, from 2pm – 4:30pm, virtually via Zoom  

       

      https://zoom.us/j/4361587368?pwd=NGova2g2RGlKUC9iRXRLQkxoOW1Mdz09 

      Meeting ID: 436 158 7368 

      Passcode: CogSci 

      2.00 pm 

      W.E.I.R.D. Minds 

      Joseph Henrich, Professor and Chair of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard 

       

      Over the last few decades, a growing body of research has revealed not only substantial global variation along several important psychological dimensions, but also that people from societies that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) are particularly unusual, often anchoring the ends of global psychological distributions. To explain these patterns, I’ll first show how the most fundamental of human institutions—those governing marriage and the family—influence our motivations, perceptions, intuitions and emotions. Then, to explain the peculiar trajectory of European societies over the last two millennia, I lay out how one particular branch of Christianity systematically dismantled the intensive kin-based institutions in much of Latin Christendom, thereby altering people’s psychology and opening the door to the proliferation of new institutional forms, including voluntary associations (charter towns, universities and guilds), impersonal markets, individualistic religions and representative governments. In light of these findings, I close by arguing that the anthropological, psychological and economic sciences should transform into a unified evolutionary approach that considers not only how human nature influences our behavior and societies but also how the resulting institutions, technologies and languages subsequently shape our minds.  

       

      3.15 pm 

      What is learning? Cultural perspectives 

      Barbara Rogoff, UCSC Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California in Santa Cruz 

       

      Many people who have spent decades in Western schools take for granted a particular way of thinking of learning — as either receiving transmitted bits of information or acquiring it from an external world. In this presentation, I will argue for a paradigm shift, to seeing learning as a process of growth, as people transform their ways of participating in ongoing endeavors to become more competent and helpful contributors to the collective good of all, across time. My perspective is inspired and informed by research observations of a prevalent way of learning in many Indigenous-heritage communities of the Americas — Learning by Observing and Pitching In to family and community endeavors (LOPI). I will discuss some implications of these ways of conceiving of learning, based in studies of how Indigenous American communities often organize children’s learning, with associated distinctions in children’s helpfulness, ways of collaborating, and ways of learning. 

      Both speakers will join us in a GatherTown social following the event. Spots are limited to 10 graduate students and 10 faculty on a first come, first serve basis. Please email Dimitris Xygalatas, xygalatas@uconn.edu, if you are interested. 

      If you’d like to meet individually with Dr. Henrich during the day on 2/26, please email Dimitris Xygalatas, xygalatas@uconn.edu. If you’d like to meet with Dr. Rogoff, please email Letty Naigles, letitia.naigles@uconn.edu

      Responses for both GatherTown and one-on-ones are needed by Friday, 2/19