News

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.

Announcing the CogSci Study Abroad Travel Award Program

The Cognitive Science Program’s mission is to prepare students to tackle global and multicultural challenges. A study abroad experience is vital to this preparation. Yet students majoring in Cognitive Science and related-STEM fields are generally less likely to participate in study abroad programs than other students.

With this in mind, the Cognitive Science Program is excited to launch the Cognitive Science Study Abroad Travel Award Program. We will fund up to three, $2000 awards, to be used towards airfare costs associated with a UConn study abroad program.  Any travel costs in excess of the $2000 allotment would be responsibility of the recipient.

These awards are available to UConn undergraduate students majoring or minoring in Cognitive Science who have been accepted into a study abroad program. Priority will be given to students attending the Interdisciplinary Ethnography Field Summer School in Mauritius or the Neuroscience Study Abroad Summer Program in Salamanca, Spain. (Courses taken through these two summer programs can be counted towards the Cognitive Science degree).

This funding scheme operates with a rolling deadline. Once funds are exhausted, the application will close.

Priority consideration will be given to students who (1) are members of a group that is underrepresented at the University of Connecticut; or (2) have overcome obstacles such as socioeconomic, educational, or other societal disadvantages (arising, for example, through prejudice and/or discrimination); or (3) have worked with such groups to help overcome these or other obstacles.

The Cognitive Science program is willing to review other travel abroad scenarios on a case-by-case basis. Questions regarding the Cognitive Science Study Abroad Travel Award Program may be sent to the Cognitive Science Director, erika.skoe@uconn.edu.

Please visit the Study Abroad Travel Award webpage for more information, including eligibility requirements and how to apply. 

CogSci Major, Brandon Emerick, on curiosity and intrinsic motivation

Sophmore CogSci Major, Brandon Emerick, gave a TEDx talk entitled, “How the Science of Curiosity Can Crush Your Comfort Zone”

How can curiosity enhance our ability and drive to learn? In this talk, Brandon Emerick, a cognitive science student at the University of Connecticut, shares his research and personal journey into understanding the psychology behind curiosity, leaving us with ways we can all become life-long learners by improving our curiosity about the world around us. I am a Cognitive Science major at UConn, fascinated by how the mind works from multiple perspectives. It is extremely fun researching information about the brain, behavior, cognition, and emotion on Google Scholar. It is not only intrinsically fascinating, but also quite useful. Since Cognitive Science sweeps through neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, artificial intelligence, and anthropology, I am able to see education, relationships, business, health, and the self through a scholarly perspective. Rather than waiting until college is over to get a job, I founded my sole proprietor business Brain Spawners. To “brain spawn” (verb) means to create something using principles from Cognitive Science. Right now, I am working on a blog about productivity/motivation, mental health, learning, and more. After I graduate from UConn, I intend to get a PhD in Cognitive Science and do research in fields such as Autism, Self Determination Theory, and Artificial Intelligence. I really enjoy talking about my interests with other people and I believe that public speaking and debate are great ways of sharing and processing the newest insights. I am also interested in political satire, educational videos, hiking, health, and fine dining. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

 

Congratulations to Jon Sprouse!

The LSA is delighted to announce that Jon Sprouse (University of Connecticut) has been selected to receive the LSA’s inaugural C.L. Baker Award.  Established in 2019 through an endowment by the family of the late eponymous LSA member, the C.L Baker Award honors excellence for scholarship in syntax. It is to be awarded at least every other year to a mid-career linguist, with preference given to those who are 10-20 years post-PhD.  Read more about C.L. Baker and the endowment here.

The citation to accompany the award reads as follows:  “Jon Sprouse is an experimental syntactician whose work is characterized by imagination, innovation, care, and respect for the facts. He has made methodological contributions of central importance, enabling syntacticians to base their theoretical work on a much more secure empirical foundation. He has also made contributions of central importance to some of the core issues in syntax and linguistic theory more broadly – concerning the nature of island-hood and (in collaboration with Lisa Pearl) the theory of learnability.”

The award will be given during a ceremony on Saturday, January 4, 2020 during the LSA Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

https://www.linguisticsociety.org/news/2019/10/16/connecticut-scholar-receive-inaugural-cl-baker-award

Postdoctoral Scholar Position Available at FIU

Postdoctoral Scholar Position Available

The Project on Language and Spatial Development (https://plsd.fiu.edu,  PI: Dr. Shannon Pruden) and the Brain and Behavioral Development Lab (https://bbdl.fiu.edu,  PI: Dr. Bethany Reeb-Sutherland) in Florida International University’s Center for Children and Families (CCF) and Department of Psychology are seeking to hire one (1) talented post-doctoral scholar with excellent writing and analytic skills, interested in gaining training and publishing skills while collaborating on an exciting new NICHD-funded study examining the neuroscience of spatial development. Located within an international, multicultural urban setting, the Center for Children and Families, a Preeminent Program at FIU and the Department of Psychology, ranked 9th in the country for research funding, offers a stimulating research environment full of collaborative and networking opportunities.

The current project involves evaluating individual differences in the development of neural changes related to typically-developing children’s spatial abilities between the ages of 4 to 6 years. The position involves the collection and analysis of spatial navigation, eyeblink conditioning, and structural MRI data, managing data collection, and preparing manuscripts. This project will use state-of-the-art equipment and facilities at FIU’s Center for Imaging Science (https://cismri.fiu.edu), where a new 3T Siemens Magnetom Prisma MRI scanner is housed. Candidates with experience in working with child populations and having experience with, and/or interest in learning, MRI data collection and analysis are especially encouraged to apply. 

 The candidate will be mentored in leading independent research projects including grant applications and publishing with a highly productive research team. The close partnership and collaboration with experts in Developmental Science (Dr. Shannon Pruden, Dr. Bethany Reeb-Sutherland, Dr. Anthony Dick), Cognitive Neuroscience (Dr. Aaron Mattfeld, Dr. Anthony Dick, Dr. Bethany Reeb-Sutherland) and Quantitative Psychology (Dr. Timothy Hayes) allows for unique opportunities for professional development and interdisciplinary training. The breadth of training experiences will be useful for a variety of academic career paths. 

 Desired Qualifications:

Applicants must hold a doctoral degree in psychology, neuroscience, or a related field at the start of their appointment. 

The position is currently open and the initial position duration is for at least 2 years with possibility of renewal (based upon performance). Review of applications will be ongoing with an initial deadline for applications by November 30, 2019 and invitations for interviews made shortly thereafter with a targeted start date in January/February 2020 (start date is negotiable). Salary will be determined according to NIH pay scale.

 Interested applications should send a cover letter, CV, research statement, two representative published research articles, and contact information for three references, with postdoc application in subject line, to Dr. Shannon Pruden, sdick@fiu.edu

 FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

 

Postdoctoral Fellowships at Penn

Penn’s MindCORE Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
Penn’s MindCORE (Mind Center for Outreach, Research, and Education) seeks to recruit outstanding postdoctoral researchers for our Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Scholars. Housed within the School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania, MindCORE is an interdisciplinary effort to understand human intelligence and behavior. MindCORE officially launched January 2018 with the aim to unite researchers, programs, and initiatives involving human intelligence and behavior across the University, and with roots in the success of the former Institute for Research in Cognitive Science.
 
Designed for individuals who have recently obtained a PhD degree in psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy or other cognitive science discipline, the MindCORE Fellowship is a springboard for young researchers as they establish their own research program. Fellows are also encouraged to pursue collaborative research with faculty working across disciplines at Penn.
 
Fellows receive a competitive salary and health insurance plus a modest research budget. Fellows also benefit from access to the greater community of academics including visiting scholars plus leading research facilities equipped with cutting-edge instrumentation all on an urban campus in a vibrant city. Fellows are invited to join regular working group meetings within their field plus career development workshops aimed at young researchers, and will be provided with a mentoring committee. Funding is provided in one-year terms renewable for up to three years.
 
MindCORE seeks to award 2 post-doctoral Fellowships per year. Positions may start as early as July 1, 2020.
 
Applications will be reviewed beginning January 3, 2020, continuing until positions are filled. For eligibility and details, please visit:
 
https://mindcore.sas.upenn.edu/post-doctoral-research-fellowship/
 
For a list of faculty members and associates affiliated with MindCORE, please see:
 
https://mindcore.sas.upenn.edu/people/faculty-and-associates/
 
Penn Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships
The Penn Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships are competitive programs intended to increase the diversity of the academic research community at the University of Pennsylvania. The organization seeks to attract promising researchers and educators from different backgrounds, races, ethnic groups, and other diverse populations whose life experiences, research experiences and employment backgrounds will contribute significantly to its academic mission.
 
Fellows starting in July 2020 will receive a stipend of $54,000 a year in year 1 with $2,000 increases in years 2 and 3. Additionally, the fellow will receive annual allowances for travel ($2,000) and research ($5,000), and a one-time relocation expense of up to $5,000. The University also provides a medical, vision, dental and life insurance benefits package. Consistent with the University’s postdoc policy, appointments are for one year. Renewals to the second and third year of the program are made annually and will be based on satisfactory performance and mutual agreement between the fellow and the postdoc’s primary mentor.
 
Fellowships are available for postdoctoral training in all areas of study at Penn. STEM applications are encouraged. The program is designed to provide postdocs with time to focus on research and publishing activities that will enhance their career prospects for either a faculty appointment in an academic institution or in other sectors of the economy such as industry, government or nonprofit organizations.
Start dates will be arranged in consultation with the faculty mentor and will begin as early as July 2020.
Applications are due November 1, 2019 at 5pm. For eligibility and details, please visit:
https://research.upenn.edu/postdocs-and-students/postdoctoral-fellowships/
 
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Anna Papafragou
Professor
Department of Linguistics
University of Pennsylvania
https://www.langcoglab.com

Call for Postdoctoral Fellows

The Harvard University Data Science Initiative is seeking applications for its Harvard Data Science Initiative Postdoctoral Fellows Program for the 2020-2021 academic year. The duration of the Fellowship is two years. Fellows will receive a generous salary as well as an annual allocation for research and travel expenses.

We are looking for researchers whose interests are in data science, broadly construed, and including researchers with both a methodological and applications focus. Fellows will be provided with the opportunity to pursue their research agenda in an intellectually vibrant environment with ample mentorship. We are looking for independent researchers who will seek out collaborations with other fellows and with Harvard faculty.

The Harvard Data Science Initiative Postdoctoral Fellows Program is supported by the Harvard Data Science Initiative. The Harvard Data Science Initiative involves faculty from across the University.

Deadline: Applications must be submitted online by 5:00 p.m. on December 2nd, 2019.