Events

9/2/21: 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.

9/2/21: 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. 

      CogSci Colloquium: Dr. Lewis Gordon on 4/2/21

      The Cognitive Science Colloquium Series is proud to present Dr. Lewis Gordon, Ph.D.

      Department Head of Philosophy at UConn

      Photo of Dr. Lewis Gordon

      Friday, April 2nd, 4pm, virtually on Zoom

      REGISTER HERE (required)

      Talk Title: “The Colonization and Decolonization of Disciplines, Especially in the Human Sciences”

      Bio: Lewis R. Gordon is Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy at UCONN-Storrs; Honorary President of the Global Center for Advanced Studies; Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa; and Honorary Professor in the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University, South Africa. He previously taught at Brown University, where he founded the Department of Africana Studies, and Temple University, where was the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy and founder of the Center for Afro-Jewish Studies and the Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought. He co-edits with Jane Anna Gordon the journal Philosophy and Global Affairs, the Rowman & Littlefield book series Global Critical Caribbean Thought, and, with Rozena Maart, Epifania Amoo-Adare, and Sayan Dey, the Routledge-India book series Academics, Politics and Society in the Post-Covid World. He is the author of many books, including Freedom, Justice, and Decolonization (Routledge, 2021) and the forthcoming 论哲学、去殖民化与种族 (“On Philosophy, Decolonization, and Race”), trans. Li Beilei (Wuhan, China: Wuhan University Press, fall 2021) and Fear of Black Consciousness (Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the USA and Penguin Book in the UK; German translation, Ullstein Verlag in Germany; Portuguese translation, Todavia in Brazil,  forthcoming 2022).

      CogSci Colloquium: Iris Berent on 9/25

      The Cognitive Science Colloquium Series is proud to present Iris Berent, Ph.D.

       Professor in the Department of Psychology at Northeastern University

      Friday, September 25th, 4pm, virtually via Zoom 

      Meeting ID: 952 8581 2000
      Passcode: R9EXuC
       

      Dr. Berent will provide a talk entitled How we reason about innateness”

      Abstract: Few questions in science are as controversial as the origins of knowledge.  Whether ideas (propositional attitudes, e.g., “objects are cohesive”) are innate or acquired has been debated for centuries. Here, I ask whether our difficulties with innate ideas could be grounded in human cognition itself. 

      I first demonstrate that people are systematically biased against the possibility that ideas are innate. They consider epistemic traits (specifically, ideas, as opposed to horizontal faculties, such as attention) as less likely to be innate compared to non-epistemic traits (sensorimotor or emotive)— those of humans, birds and aliens, and they maintain this belief despite explicit evidence suggesting that the traits in question are in fact innate. 

      I next move to trace this bias to the collision between two principles of core cognition—Dualism and Essentialism. Dualism (Bloom, 2004) renders ideas immaterial; per Essentialism, the innate essence of living things must be material (Newman & Keil, 2008). It thus follows that epistemic traits cannot be innate. A second series of experiments tests these predictions. 

      These results show for the first time that people are selectively biased in reasoning about the origins of innate ideas. While these findings from adults cannot ascertain the origins of these biases, they do open up the possibility that our resistance to innate ideas could be in our nature. 

      I conclude by briefly considering how the dissonance between Dualism and Essentialism can further account for a wide range of other phenomena, from why we are seduced by neuroscience to why we fear the takeover of humanity by AI, and what we think happens when we die. 

       

      Please join Iris for a virtual happy hour (open to all) @ 6 PM via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/8587400098?pwd=YmszU2h2UmxNZGJpM1ZMMGZ2c1cvQT09

      Open meeting w/ all graduate students @1:30 – 2:00 PM via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/8587400098?pwd=YmszU2h2UmxNZGJpM1ZMMGZ2c1cvQT09

      CogSci Colloquium Series: Iris Berent on 9/25

      The Cognitive Science Colloquium Series is proud to present Iris Berent, Ph.D.

       Professor in the Department of Psychology at Northeastern University

      Friday, September 25th, 4pm, virtually on Zoom (details to come)

      Dr. Berent will provide a talk entitled How we reason about innateness”

      Abstract: Few questions in science are as controversial as the origins of knowledge.  Whether ideas (propositional attitudes, e.g., “objects are cohesive”) are innate or acquired has been debated for centuries. Here, I ask whether our difficulties with innate ideas could be grounded in human cognition itself. 

      I first demonstrate that people are systematically biased against the possibility that ideas are innate. They consider epistemic traits (specifically, ideas, as opposed to horizontal faculties, such as attention) as less likely to be innate compared to non-epistemic traits (sensorimotor or emotive)— those of humans, birds and aliens, and they maintain this belief despite explicit evidence suggesting that the traits in question are in fact innate. 

      I next move to trace this bias to the collision between two principles of core cognition—Dualism and Essentialism. Dualism (Bloom, 2004) renders ideas immaterial; per Essentialism, the innate essence of living things must be material (Newman & Keil, 2008). It thus follows that epistemic traits cannot be innate. A second series of experiments tests these predictions. 

      These results show for the first time that people are selectively biased in reasoning about the origins of innate ideas. While these findings from adults cannot ascertain the origins of these biases, they do open up the possibility that our resistance to innate ideas could be in our nature. 

      I conclude by briefly considering how the dissonance between Dualism and Essentialism can further account for a wide range of other phenomena, from why we are seduced by neuroscience to why we fear the takeover of humanity by AI, and what we think happens when we die. 

       If you are interested in meeting virtually with Dr. Berent during the day on Friday, please contact Dr. Theodore: rachel.theodore@uconn.edu 

      IBACS Meet & Speak Registration

      Dear Research Community,

      The CT Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) invites you to our annual Meet and Speak” event on Saturday, March 28th. This year, we hope to showcase more of the interdisciplinary work that our affiliates do, so in addition to having our recent seed recipients to speak, we have asked some specific faculty affiliates from various disciplines to speak as well. These faculty will give up to 10-minute presentations describing, in accessible language, the research they have carried out, or propose carrying out in relation to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Graduate students affiliated with the Institute will be providing short “datablitz” style presentations about their involvement in IBACS seed-funded or fellowship-supported research. Following the graduate student blitz, there will be a panel discussion to commemorate our 5-year anniversary. The panel will discuss questions such as the following: What does brain science/cognitive science mean to you? What are the challenges to progress that particularly excite you? What are the opportunities for progress? Where is brain science/cognitive science heading, or where should it head?  
       
      We are excited to announce that following the panel discussion, we shall have a keynote by Dr. John Gabrieli, MIT. According to Google Scholar, he is in the top 10 most cited individuals in Cognitive Neuroscience. His talk is entitled “Environmental Influences on Human Brain Development”. More information about Dr. Gabrieli is below.
      All sessions will be held in Oak Hall 101 from 9:00am until about 4:00pm. The full program is available on our website

      This event 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. Light breakfast, lunch and afternoon refreshments will be provided.
       
      We hope you can join us on March 28th to celebrate our 5-year anniversary!


      If you are interested in attending all or part of this event, please register by Friday, March 20th
       
      About John Gabrieli:

      Bio: John Gabrieli is the director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the McGovern Institute. He is an investigator at the McGovern Institute, with faculty appointments in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science, where he holds the Grover Hermann Professorship. He also has appointments in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is the director of the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative. Prior to joining MIT in 2005, he spent 14 years at Stanford University in the Department of Psychology and Neurosciences Program. He received a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a BA in English from Yale University.
      Talk title: Environmental Influences on Human Brain Development
       
      Abstract: Neuroimaging provides new views on how environmental factors influence human brain development.  I will review findings about associations (1) among family socioeconomic status (SES), brain anatomy, and academic performance; (2) between early language experience and brain function and structure; and (3) between stress and brain function and how those can be altered by mindfulness training.

      Expression, Language, and Music (ELM) Conference, May 13-15, 2020

      Dear All,

      We’re very pleased to announce a Call for Papers for ECOM’s new biennial conference Expression, Language, and Music (ELM) Conference, May 13-15, 2020 (to be held at the Lyceum Center, HartfordCT). The abstract submission deadline is December 9, 2019.

       

      The conference will bring together researchers from linguistics, philosophy, cognitive science, music theory, dance theory, anthropology, and neurobiology with the aim of integrating recent findings and insights from diverse perspectives concerning the significance of expression in music, dance, and language, the importance of systematic structure in these domains, and the interrelations between expressive, musical, and communicative capacities and their relevance for understanding the emergence of language (in ontogeny and phylogeny). 

       

      Our invited speakers are:

      ·         Tecumseh Fitch (Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna)

      ·         Kathleen Higgins (Philosophy, University of Texas, Austin)

      ·         Ray Jackendoff (Linguistics, Tufts University)

      ·         Jerrold Levinson (Philosophy, University of Maryland)

      ·         Elizabeth Margulis (Music Cognition, Princeton University) 

      ·         Isabelle Peretz (Psychology, University of Montreal)

      ·         David Poeppel (Neuroscience, NYU)

      ·         Ljiljana Progovac (Linguistics, Wayne State University)

       

      Both the Poster and Call for Papers/Posters are attached. Please pass on/post as appropriate. And please save the dates! 

      The conference website: https://elm.clas.uconn.edu

      The conference email: elm@uconn.edu

       

      Sincerely,

      Dorit Bar-On, ECOM Director 

      Aliyar Ozercan, ECOM Coordinator

       

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      CogSci Colloquium: Aaron Shield

      Friday, November 1st

      Time: 4:00pm

      Room: Oak Hall 117

      The Cognitive Science Colloquium Series is proud to present Aaron Shield, Professor in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at Miami University of Ohio.

      Dr. Shield will provide a talk entitled Insights into cognitive and linguistic processes from research on autism and sign language

      Abstract: In this talk, I will discuss how research into the signed languages of the deaf has the power to illuminate big questions about human language. By comparing spoken and signed languages, we gain a better understanding of what language is, how children learn languages, and how to best characterize and treat language disorders. In particular, I will show how research into the acquisition of American Sign Language (ASL) by deaf children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) sheds new light on various questions about acquisition, such as how children imitate linguistic forms, how children use pronouns and other words that refer to self and other, and how language exposure may affect other aspects of cognition.

      Contact Inge-Marie Eigsti (inge-marie.eigsti@uconn.edu) to schedule a meeting with Prof. Shield.

      Learn more about Aaron Shield.

      CogSci Colloquium: Richard Wilson

      The Cognitive Science Colloquium Series is proud to present Richard Ashby Wilson, Professor of Law and Anthropology and Gladstein Chair of Human Rights at UConn.

       

      Friday, February 22nd, 4pm, Oak 117

      The Psychology of Incitement and Hate Speech: A Dialogue Between Law and Social Science

       

      We live in an era of nativist populism, characterized by speech that incites violence on social media, and an escalation in hate crimes. Recent social science research has identified a correlation between online incitement and offline hate crimes in the United States and Europe. What kinds of speech are the most likely to instigate acts of violence? The current research identifies revenge propaganda as the most likely type to instigate atrocities. We coded 242 speeches by a Serbian politician for references to revenge, nationalism, stereotyping, dehumanization, justice, victimization, past atrocities, political institutions and direct threats. After reading one speech or a control, participants answered questions about empathy, intentionality, and whether violence is morally justifiable. Only speeches focusing on revenge and past atrocities intensified justifications of violence. Only revenge speech increased overall negative attitudes towards the out-group. On the level of personality, those who are more politically conservative, feel the world is unjust, engage more in violent media and are male are more likely to justify violence. These findings have implications for the elusive goal of preventing atrocities. The regulatory framework established fifty years ago in the United States is showing signs of severe strain, and this research draws upon behavioral research to construct a systematic evidence-based framework for analyzing the risk that inciting speech will result in imminent lawless action.

       

      If you are interested in meeting with Professor Wilson on 2/22, please contact Dr. Xygalatas:  dimitris.xygalatas@uconn.edu