COGS Colloquium: Dr. Naselaris on 2/24
The Cognitive Science Program invites you to a talk on 2/24!
Speaker: Dr. Thomas Naselaris, an Associate Professor from Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota.
Time & Location: 4PM, Friday February 24th, 2023, in Oak Hall Room 117. Light refreshments will be provided.
Talk Title: “Why Do We Have Mental Images?”
Abstract: Everyone who experiences mental imagery is the world expert on the contents of their own mental images. We argue that this privileged perspective on one’s own mental images provides very limited understanding about the function of mental imagery, which can only be understood by proposing and testing hypotheses about the computational work that mental images do. We propose that mental imagery functions as a useful form of inference that is conditioned on visual beliefs. We implement this form of inference in a simple generative model of natural scenes, and show that it makes testable predictions about differences in tuning to seen and imagined features. We confirm these predictions with a large-scale fMRI experiment in which human brain activity was sampled while subjects generated hundreds of mental images. We speculate that ongoing mental imagery may impact the structure of noise correlations in the visual system, and present a preliminary analysis of the Natural Scenes Dataset that appears to be consistent with these speculations.
Bio:Thomas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota, and a member of the Medical Discovery Team on Optical Imaging and Brain Science at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research. He is co-founder and currently Executive Chair of the Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience.
COGS & SLAC Talk on 12/16: Jonathan Peelle
The Cognitive Science and SLAC programs invite you to a talk on 12/16!
Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Peelle, an Associate Professor from the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern University.
Time & Location: 4PM, Friday December 16th, 2022, in the Dodd Center Konover Auditorium. Light refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP so we can order accordingly.
Talk Title: “Cognitive consequences of acoustic challenge during spoken communication”
Abstract: Everyday communication is full of acoustic challenges, including background noise, competing talkers, or assistive devices. How do listeners understand speech in the midst of this noise? Evidence from multiple sources is consistent with a shared resource framework of speech comprehension in which domain-general cognitive processes supported by discrete regions of frontal cortex are required for successfully understanding speech. These increased cognitive demands can be captured using behavior, pupillometry, and functional brain imaging. Although frequently studied in the context of hearing loss, these principles have broader implications for our understanding of how auditory and cognitive factors interact during spoken language comprehension.
Bio: Jonathan is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies the neuroscience of human communication, aging, and hearing impairment at the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern University. He also has two podcasts: “The Brain Made Plain” where he interviews cognitive neuroscientists about their work, and “The Juice and the Squeeze” in which he and a co-host talk about different aspects of being in academia.
Meetings: If you are interested in meeting with Dr. Peelle during the day on Friday or joining the dinner, please email: email@example.com.
IBACS Meet & Speak 2022 update
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 Title: Ape Linguistics and the Chomsky/Norvig debate
Abstract: According 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
IBACS Meet & Speak 2022
COGS, IBACS & BIRC Colloquium: Dr. John Hale on 2/18
Speaker: John Hale, Department of Linguistics, University of Georgia
Time: 4pm, Friday, February 18, 2022
Talk Title: Grammar, Incrementality and fMRI Timecourse
Abstract: What is the physical basis of human language comprehension? What sort of computation makes a stream of words come together, one after another, to yield a communicative or literary experience? This question sets up a scientific challenge for the brain and cognitive sciences. With functional neuroimaging, it is possible to extract a timecourse of brain activity from particular regions and ask how well alternative (psycho)linguistic theories account for the measured signal. This can be done over prolonged periods of time, for instance during the spoken recitation of a literary text. On the basis of such timecourses, this talk argues that our conceptualization of grammar should go beyond simple word-sequences and naive phrase structure. It presents an incremental parsing strategy that is more consistent with neuroimaging data than the simple ones presented in books like Hale (2014). The overall methodology can serve as a positive example of how brain data, syntactic theory and parsing algorithms may productively co-constrain one another.
Bio: John Hale, the Arch Professor of World Languages and Cultures at the University of Georgia, is a professor in the Department of Linguistics at UGA. A computational linguist, he has made significant contributions to the theory of sentence processing over the past two decades and is the author of a valued textbook in the field (Automaton Theories of Human Sentence Comprehension, 2014). Strongly committed to cultivating the vital and also changing character of intellectual pursuit in current times, Professor Hale collaborates with DeepMind and has been active in promoting interaction between industry and academia as a way of getting to the bottom of questions about the nature of mind.
Zoom Registration Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvfuyrqDItG92U2pqStUoZe77wc0hO4owu
Meeting opportunities: John will be available during the day of his talk (Feb 18) and also during part of the preceding day for individual or small-group meetings on Zoom. Please contact email@example.com if you are interested in meeting with John.
Virtual IBACS Meet & Speak: October 10th, 2020
To view the recordings of this event, please visit: ibacs.uconn.edu/virtual-ibacs-meet-speak-october-10th-2020/
Colloqiua, Workshops and Lectures, etc.
HIGHLIGHTS from 2017/2018
- Cognitive Science hosted David Rand from Yale: The Cognitive Science of Fake News
- Psychology hosted Gary Lupyan, from The University of Wisconsin:From perception to symbolic thought: how language augments human cognition
- IBACS hosted Tim Miller from UConn's Digital Media and Design Dept: Science and Story: The role of narrative in communicating scientific research.
- SLHS hosted Julius Fredriksson, University of South Carolina with: "Using Electrical Brain Stimulation to Improve Aphasia Treatment Outcome"
- IBACS proudly co-sponsored: "How we make and understand drawings: A two day forum"
- BIRC hosted Evelina Fedorenko, PhD Assistant Professor Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General with a talk on: The cognitive and neural architecture of Human Language
- BIRC hosted Stephen M. Wilson from Vanderbilt with a talk on: Imaging the language network in vascular and neurodegenerative aphasias
UConn Logic Group
The UConn Logic Group meets every other week for the Logic Colloquium, to hear talks by local and visiting speakers on topics in logical studies. Check out their schedule on the Logic Group Website