Events

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. 

RSVP Form 

Talk Title: “Why Do We Have Mental Images?”

 

AbstractEveryone 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. JonathanPeelle, an Associate Professor from theCenter for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern University.

Time & Location: The talk will begin at 4PM, Friday December 16th, 2022, in the Dodd Center Konover AuditoriumLight refreshments will be available at 3:15PM. Please RSVP in advance. Virtual Attendance options are provided in the form. 

Talk Title:Cognitive consequences of acoustic challenge during spoken communication”

AbstractEveryday 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.

 

 

NEUROSCIENCE at STORRS: CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

Dear Colleagues,

You are cordially invited to the 25th annual Neuroscience at Storrs event, which will be held on Tuesday November 8th and Wednesday November 9th 2022.  This event is hosted by the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, and it is the oldest cross-discipline neuroscience event on campus.  Please forward this message to any interested people.

DAY I. Tuesday November 8th 4:00 pm, Dodd Center Konover Auditorium  

Amanda Lauer Ph.D., Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Johns Hopkins University  

Title: “Role of the auditory brain-to-ear efferent feedback system in hearing across the lifespan”  

  

DAY II. Wednesday November 9th

Dodd Center Konover Auditorium  

3:00-3:45 Grad Student/Postdoc Data Blitz  

3:45-4:30 Trainee Career Panel  

4:30-5:30 Amy Newman Ph.D., Scientific Director, NIDA Intramural Research Program  

Title: “Novel and atypical dopamine transport inhibitors for the treatment of psychostimulant use disorders”  

Bousfield PSYC Atrium   

6:00-8:30 Poster Session and Reception  

 

CALL FOR POSTERS AND DATA BLITZ PRESENTATIONS: 

We will be hosting short-format podium presentations (data blitz) from grad students and postdocs (up to 8 possible 5-minute talks), and a poster session from grad students, postdocs, and undergrads. Students and postdoctoral fellows FROM ALL AREAS OF NEUROSCIENCE are enthusiastically encouraged to participate in the poster or data blitz presentations. Please sign up at: 

https://nam10.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fneuroscience.uconn.edu%2Fneuroscience-at-storrs-rsvp%2F&data=05%7C01%7C%7Cb19e263ac50f4cca8f1d08dab2cfbde1%7C17f1a87e2a254eaab9df9d439034b080%7C0%7C0%7C638018902554103725%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=j4Ucn2eD7ATqzQqAvmXY%2FxOWom9k1OzmJJhN177dFDk%3D&reserved=0

INSTRUCTIONS: 

The website lists information about the event, and below that there are menus for entering information if you are either a) attending only b) presenting a poster, and c) presenting at the data blitz (limited numbers only). Please follow the link, scroll through the menu and enter the relevant information by Thursday November 3rd.  

Oct 21/22: Workshop “Conditional Thought and Talk”

Dear all:

We are pleased to announce our workshop

Conditional Thought and Talk: Semantic, Pragmatic, and Cross-linguistic Perspectives

held at the Heritage Room (Homer Babbidge Library, Room 4118) on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22.

organized by Mitch Green (Philosophy) and Magdalena and Stefan Kaufmann (Linguistics) as part of theSuppositional Thought and Talk project. The project explores conditional sentences and related expressions from different perspectives at the intersection between Linguistics, Philosophy and Psychology: their form and meaning across languages, their logical properties, and the reasoning behind their use and interpretation. We have assembled a group of top international experts on these topics for what we expect will be two stimulating days of presentations and discussions. For details on the program, as well as more background on the project, please check the workshop webpage, and keep checking back for updates.

The workshop will be in-person and open to all (subject to seating availability). Do drop us a line if you plan to attend. Let us know if you have any questions.

We gratefully acknowledge support for this event from UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the UConn Humanities Institute; the UConn Cognitive Science Program; and the National Science Foundation.

Best regards,

Stefan, Magda, and Mitch

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.

COGS Colloquium: Dr. Hady Ba on 4/22

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.

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

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.

COGS & ECOM: Ani Patel 2/11

Please mark your calendars for our next talk as we will be hosting Prof. Aniruddh Patel (Dept. of Psychology, Tufts Univ.) on Feb 11 (Friday) between 4-5:30 pm (EST) via Zoom as part of our ECOM Speaker Series. The title of his talk is “The speech-to-song illusion: acoustic foundations and individual differences.” Prof. Patel’s talk is co-sponsored by The Cognitive Science Program. Below, you can find the abstract of his talk, along with the event link.
Prof. Patel told us he’d be happy to meet virtually to discuss issues related to his research. There are a couple of slots available to meet with him on Feb 11, Friday, between 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm, and on Feb 14, Monday, between 10:30 am – 11:30 am, and 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm. If you’d like to meet with him, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to make the necessary arrangements. 
Abstract: Music often has salient acoustic differences from spoken and environmental sounds, especially with respect to patterns of pitch and timing. Research has shown humans can discriminate spoken and musical sounds within a fraction of second, and neuroimaging research has found distinct neural populations that respond to speech and music. These findings support the notion that music is a kind of sound, with distinct acoustic features and modes of neural processing. In this presentation I explore a phenomenon which challenges this view, and which suggests that music is a kind of perceptual experience, not a kind of sound. In the “speech to song illusion” certain spoken phrases, when played repeatedly, begin to vividly sound like song. Crucially, not all phrases transform in this way, and there are substantial individual differences in how strongly people experience the illusion. I will present research addressing why certain phrases transform more than others and why some listeners hear the illusion more strongly than others. While we have made some progress in answering these questions, much about this illusion remains mysterious, raising questions about why certain sounds are experienced as music.

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.