News

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/
 
****************
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.

NICHD funded post doctorates, Baby’s First Years Study

We are seeking one or more post-doctorate candidates to apply for postdoctoral funding to work with a principal investigator of the Baby’s First Years Study, through an NIH administrative supplement. The candidates must meet the NIH’s specified eligibility as a member of an under-represented group in the health-related sciences.

If approved for funding, the position will be a 2-year appointment at one of the PI universities (Duke; Teachers College Columbia University; University of California, Irvine; University of Wisconsin-Madison). Which university the position is housed in will depend on whether the successful applicant is best matched with one of the PIs in the social and behavioral sciences (Drs. Greg Duncan, Lisa Gennetian or Katherine Magnuson) or neuroscience (Dr. Kimberly Noble).

Once a candidate is identified, details about the position appointment and formal application with the named candidate will move forward to NICHD for review. This process can take up to a year.

Please submit a cover letter describing your interest and fit with the job and a CV to info@babysfirstyears.com. Applications will be reviewed as received. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews.

BFY Study description

The Baby’s First Years study is a pathbreaking random-assignment study of the impact of monthly unconditional cash gifts to low-income mothers of infants during the first three years of their child’s life. The aim is to understand the causal effects of poverty reduction on family life and early childhood development in order to inform policy. As of June 2019, 1,000 racially and ethnically diverse mothers have been recruited from hospitals shortly after giving birth in each of four metropolitan areas New York City, New Orleans, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Omaha, Nebraska. Forty percent of the mothers in each site were randomized to receive $333/month in cash and 60 percent receive $20/month in cash. More about the study, media coverage, and its motivation can be found here, here and here.

Data are being collected by the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center: mothers and children will be visited in their homes at child ages 12 and 24, and then will be brought to university labs at child age 36 months. Data collection includes surveys about economic and employment, child care, and other aspects of family life, mother’s mental and physical health, and well-being; maternal and children’s hair cortisol, epigenetics, child EEG measures of brain activity, and a full battery of child cognitive and behavioral assessments at 36 months.

This unique multi-institution, multi-site, and multi-year study is led by principal investigators Greg Duncan (University of California Irvine), Nathan Fox (University of Maryland), Lisa Gennetian (Duke University), Katherine Magnuson (Lead, social and behavioral science, University of Wisconsin Madison), Kimberly Noble (Lead, neuroscience, Teachers College, Columbia University), and Hirokazu Yoshikawa (New York University). The PIs are also collaborating with a team of neuroscientists at each site who will assist with measurement of children’s brain development at 36 months old. Finally, Sarah Halpern-Meeking (UW Madison) is also directing a longitudinal qualitative study with a random subset of families from two of the four sites.

BFY Post docotorate Qualifications

Qualifications

  • Within 5 years of a PhD in child development, economics, neuroscience, public policy, psychology, sociology, or related field.
  • Strong quantitative research skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Oral and written fluency in Spanish; fully bilingual/bicultural a plus
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Experience with experimental (randomized) study designs a plus
  • Meets NIH’s definition of a scholar from an under-represented group based on race/ethnicity, disability, or a disadvantaged background:
    • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27) and the
      report
      Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program. For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see NOT-OD-15-089.
    • Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. See NSF data
      at
      http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/pdf/tab7-5_updated_2014_10.pdf.
    • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as: 1) Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml. OR 2) Individuals who come from an educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that has demonstrably and directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

CogSci Colloquium: Mark S. Seidenberg

The Cognitive Science Colloquium Series is proud to present Mark S. Seidenberg, Vilas Research Professor and Donald O. Hebb Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Friday, April 26th, 4pm, Oak 117

Dr. Seidenberg will provide a talk entitled “The Science and Politics of Learning to Read”

Abstract: A remarkably high percentage of children and adults acquire only basic reading skills, causing innumerable problems for individuals and society. Low literacy has multiple causes, some of which seem intractable (e.g., poverty). I nonetheless think we could be doing much better than we are. Part of the problem is a disconnection between the cultures of science and education. Scientists know a great deal about how reading works and children learn, little of which has had any impact on teacher education or classroom practices. I’ll look at these cross-cultural differences, how they developed, and what might be done to overcome them.

If you are interested in meeting with Dr. Seidenberg, please contact Dr. Altmann: gerry.altmann@uconn.edu


Funded summer opportunity: Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute

From Erica Cartmill, Assistant Professor at UCLA:
I am writing to share the news about an exciting funded summer opportunity for graduate students, postdocs, and early career faculty. In 2018, I launched a new summer program, the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (DISI for short), with my colleague Jacob Foster, a computational sociologist at UCLA. You can find more details about last summer’s DISI, as well as a short video, at www.diverseintelligencessummer.com.
The basic idea behind DISI is simple: to bring together promising graduate students, postdocs, and early career faculty interested in the study of mind, cognition, and intelligence for several weeks of transdisciplinary exploration. The first year was a great success, and we are delighted to be expanding the scope of DISI in 2019! We are increasing the number of participants, welcoming back alumni, and broadening the topics offered by faculty. We are also introducing a new “storytellers” track to host artists-in-residence at DISI. We hope that this vibrant community will work together to develop new ways of engaging with big questions about intelligence, cognition, and the mind.
We are holding the 2019 Summer Institute at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, from June 30 to July 20. As you probably know, this is a beautiful seaside location, easily accessible from Edinburgh International Airport, and a picturesque train journey North from London. We’ve already assembled an outstanding international faculty (www.diverseintelligencessummer.com/faculty), and more are yet to be added. In addition to lectures and discussions, DISI offers participants the opportunity to develop collaborative interdisciplinary research projects with support from faculty and staff.
I’ve attached a flyer advertising the Institute, and included a link to our website below. I would be grateful if you could forward this announcement to talented graduate students, postdocs, and other early career researchers who might be interested. We are also hoping to reach writers and artists of all types for our storyteller track! In both the academic and storyteller tracks, we are looking for creative, open-minded participants who want to take intellectual risks and break down disciplinary barriers in the spirit of dialogue and discovery.
 
The main application deadline is February 15. Storyteller and alumni applications will be rolling. Application portals can be found at www.diverseintelligencessummer.com/apply
If potential applicants have any questions, they can reach out to our wonderful Associate Director, Dr. Kensy Cooperrider, at disi@ucla.edu.
Thanks so much for helping us build an exciting new intellectual community!

Job: Assistant Psychology Professor at Eastern Illinois University

Eastern Illinois University, Department of Psychology Position Announcement, Assistant Professor (2)

The Psychology Department at Eastern Illinois University has openings for two full-time (9-month) tenure-track faculty positions in (1) cognitive neuroscience and (2) biopsychology or behavioral neuroscience. Duties include teaching undergraduate courses in psychology (in areas of expertise, as well as areas of general need), maintaining an active research program, and participating in service to the department and university. Individuals should also demonstrate commitment to diversity an experience with promoting inclusive excellence. The anticipated start date is August 16, 2019. Individuals applying for the first position should hold a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience or a closely related area. Individuals applying for the second position should hold a Ph.D. in biopsychology, behavioral neuroscience, or closely related area. Candidates are expected to have a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) at the time of appointment. Other requirements include demonstrated evidence of teaching excellence at the college/university level and a commitment to research and scholarly activity. To apply, please submit the following: letter of application, vita, three confidential letters of reference, and available reprints. For position 1 (cognitive neuroscience), send application materials via Interfolio at https://apply.interfolio.com/54761. For position 2 (biopsychology/behavioral neuroscience), send application materials via Interfolio at https://apply.interfolio.com/54784. Review of applications will begin on January 7, 2019 and will continue until the positions are filled. For questions regarding this search, please contact Jeffrey Stowell, Screening Committee Chair, at jrstowell@eiu.edu. The Department of Psychology serves over 400 undergraduate and graduate students, having undergraduate programs in psychology (BA) and neuroscience (BS), as well as graduate programs in clinical psychology (MA) and school psychology (MA, SSP). The Department also has an undergraduate honors program, and serves approximately 200 minors in psychology and neuroscience. Eastern Illinois University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer – minority/female/disability/veteran – committed to achieving a diverse community.