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11/10 COGS & SLHS Colloquium: Dr. Samuel Mathias

The Cognitive Science Program and the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Department are co-hosting a talk on 11/10!   

Speaker: Dr. Samuel Mathias, Professor of Psychology from the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School

Time & Location: 4PM, Friday November 10, 2023, in McHugh Hall Room 206

Talk Title: “Genetic and environmental influences on hearing, cocktail-party listening, and cognition

AbstractEveryday hearing requires solving the cocktail-party problem, or segregating and attending to the relevant parts of complex auditory scenes. There are huge individual differences in cocktail-party listening abilities. People with clinical hearing loss generally struggle with cocktail-party listening due to impaired basic auditory sensitivity; however, others experience similar difficulties despite having “normal” sensitivity. Conventional wisdom says that such individual differences are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, although the specific factors and their relative weights are poorly understood. This talk will describe preliminary work and future plans to identify specific genetic and environmental factors influencing hearing abilities, including basic auditory sensitivity and cocktail-party listening. We will also discuss how these abilities relate to cognition, with a view towards leveraging these relationships to better understand the distinct and shared etiologies of presbycusis, cognitive decline, and dementia.

Meetings: If you are interested in meeting with Dr. Mathias during the day before his talk or in dinner on Friday evening, please email Crystal: crystal.mills@uconn.edu. Thank you!

Two COGS Undergraduate Course Offerings in Fall 2023

We are pleased to announce TWO undergraduate course offerings from The Cognitive Science Program in Fall 2023. Seats are filling up quickly so sign up soon!  

Coding for Cognitive Science 

Course Name: COGS 2500Q: Coding for Cognitive Science  

Days and times: Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:30am – 10:45am   

Classroom: Oak 308  

Instructor: Dr. Stefan Kaufmann  

Instruction mode: Hybrid Limited  

Prerequisites: None  

Course overview: This course is an introduction to computer programming for students with little or no prior programming experience. Its goal is to familiarize students with core concepts and essential skills, with special emphasis on typical tasks and applications in the Cognitive Sciences. We use the Python programming language because it is both accessible to beginners and widely used in real-world scientific programming. However, the concepts and skills we cover are helpful in mastering other programming languages as well.  

 

Language & Racism  

Course Name: COGS 2345/AFRA 2345: Language and Racism  

Days and times: Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12:30pm – 1:45pm   

Classroom: Arjona 105  

Instructors: Drs. Letitia Naigles & Bede Agocha  

Instruction Mode: In-Person  

Prerequisites: Open to sophomores or higher. Recommended preparation: One course in AFRA or COGS.  

Description: This course examines the relationships between language use, both historically and across the lifespan, and the social construction of race, racism, and racial identity, with particular emphasis on racial politics in the United States.  

Course overview: LANGUAGE plays an immense, though often underrated role in nearly every domain of students’ lives, including where they live, who they love, what they learn, and whether and how they get and keep a job. Relatedly, then, language can also prevent all of the above. Language is a vehicle of racism because the language used by those in the majority or in power is artfully constructed to categorize people according to race and to place groups in deeply hierarchical relationships to one another.  

Our course on Language and Racism deploys tools of the cognitive and psychological sciences to both illuminate and illustrate potential interventions for language racism.  

  • We examine the linguistics and sociolinguistics of the language(s) used by Black communities in the U.S., including their origins, creolization, complex linguistic structure, and issues of stigma versus pride.  
  • We examine the language of racism, including the types of discourse that construct Whiteness as dominant over Color, the processes of language standardization, and the ideologies of language and their interaction with group identity at both the local and national community levels.  
  • We consider antiracism interventions that are language-based.  
  • The course is project-based, with students learning to understand how language is used in their various social contexts as well as in contexts they can access via stored content. Students will learn to analyze their own and others’, famous and commonplace, racist and antiracist linguistic output/texts, using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) computational tool, which analyzes texts as manifesting properties such as anger, authority, in-group, out-group, and fairness.  

Hot off the Press: IBACS 2022/2023 Brain Digest

The Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences is excited to share the recently finalized IBACS 22/23 Brain Digest that features the Cognitive Science Program. Thank you to all of the faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students who have contributed- especially our graduate student editors, Cynthia Boo and Lee Drown! We hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it. Please email the IBACS Coordinator, Crystal Mills, at crystal.mills@uconn.edu if you’d like physical copies mailed to you.

IBACS-Brain-Digest_FY2023

 

IBACS Summer 2023 Call for Seed Grant Applications

IBACS Summer 2023 Undergraduate Research Grant Program 

The application period for the summer research grant program opens TODAY, Monday February 20th, and the deadline for applications will be 11:59 pm on March 13th, 2023. 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, submit a relatively short research plan and a budget that explains in detail how the funds will be spent.

The budget should be constructed in the following manner:  The total award will be for up to $5,000. $3,500 should go to providing the student with a summer stipend, and it is expected that the student will spend at least 10 weeks of the summer working on this project at UConn.  Up to $1,500 can be allocated for any supplies or materials that contribute to the research, including software, participant costs and any animal expenses. 

Students who received a Fall 2022/Spring 2023 IBACS grant are eligible for the summer award. However, students cannot take the summer IBACS award in combination with any other major summer award (e.g. SURF). Thus, a student can apply for multiple awards, but can only accept one. The results of the grant review will be given to the student awardees in time for them to make a decision about which grant they will accept, in case they receive more than one. 

The IBACS undergraduate award 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.
 Please visit our website for more information, including important tax details.

Call for IBRAiN Applications

The Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) is inviting graduate students to apply for the IBACS-BIRC Research Assistantships in Neuroimaging (IBRAiN) Program. These graduate assistantships are for 10 hours per week during the Fall (2023) and Spring (2024) semesters at the Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC). During the first year, assistants will be trained in neuroimaging methods, data science, and reproducibility. Assistants will spend the remaining allocated hours at BIRC, supporting users of BIRC facilities. This could involve helping design and implement experimental procedures for fMRI, EEG, TMS etc., recruitment and prepping of participants, data analysis, or overseeing use of equipment by others. Applicants will be expected to commit to the full duration of the assistantship (Fall & Spring). Funds may be available during Summer 2024 to enable IBRAiN students to pursue their own research at BIRC. IBRAiN students also receive an allocation of 20 hours of resource time to be used at BIRC during the course of the fellowship. 

Up to three students will be supported in the 2023-2024 cycle. Students will participate in common training activities, but will primarily specialize in one ofthree roles at BIRC. Applicants should indicate which role(s) they wish to be considered for. 

1. Research software engineer. This role assists researchers in data analysis, particularly functional MRI, using existing software, and engineering and implementing new analytic tools when needed. Qualified candidates will have demonstrated proficiency in Python, MATLAB, or Julia, and Unix like computing environments. 

2. User support. This role assists researchers in using BIRC facilities, including experimental design and setup, equipment training, data management, and maintaining documentation resources. Qualified candidates will have prior experience in designing and running in-person experiments. Familiarity with Python or MATLAB is preferred. 

3. MR Operator. This role assists researchers in obtaining functional and structural MRI data by learning how to operate the Siemens Prisma 3T MRI Scanner to perform brain research studies. Qualified candidates will have demonstrated an understanding of MRI safety, a high level of reliability, and the ability to work with participants across the lifespan.

The deadline for receipt of applications will be midnight on Friday, February 24, 2023

Subject to funding constraints, these assistantships could be renewed for a further year. Please refer to the full details and access the application on ourIBRAiN webpage

If you have any questions, please contact the Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu.

Cog Sci Major Evan Zysman

A senior in the Cog Sci major, Mr. Evan Zysman, was first author on a poster presentation this month at the Boston University Conference on Language Development. BUCLD is widely considered the most prestigious (and selective) conference in the field of child language acquisition. Evan will now be first author on a paper to be published in the conference proceedings.

Cognitive Science Student Abroad Travel Award Program

The Cognitive Science Program is excited to announce that it will be continuing the Cognitive Science Study Abroad Travel Award Program for another year!  

  

Travel awards are available to UConn undergraduate students majoring or minoring in Cognitive Science. Priority will be given to students attending the Interdisciplinary Ethnography Field Summer School in Mauritius, the Neuroscience Study Abroad Summer Program in Salamanca, Spain, and UConn Brain & Behavior in Tel Aviv, Israel. Courses taken through these summer programs can be counted towards the Cognitive Science degree. The Cognitive Science program is willing to review other international travel scenarios on a case-by-case basis. 

 

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

 

Deadline:  Students may apply for the COGS travel award at any time. However, travel awards will be contingent on (a) applying and being accepted into a study abroad program and (b) sharing an official acceptance notification with us.  

 

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. 

 

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.  


Reminder: IBACS Summer Grad Fellowship Applications Due 12/2

The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (CT IBACS) is inviting applications to its Graduate Fellowship Program.

These summer fellowships are intended for graduate students working on topics with relevance (broadly construed) to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences. IBACS Graduate Fellows attend a short grant-writing workshop and will be expected to submit an application to the NSF GRFP, NRSA (pre- or post-doctoral fellowship), or equivalent.

Deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, December 2nd, 2022.

Graduate students who are not US citizens are eligible to apply and are expected to work with their advisor to develop an external research proposal if they are not eligible for graduate fellowships. Students who were fellows in summer 2021 may apply if they submitted the external grant proposal they developed last year and it was not funded, with the expectation that they will revise their previous grant or develop a new one.

Please refer to the full details here before you apply. If you have any questions, please contact Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu

Reminder: IBACS Publication Awards Available

A reminder that The Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) launched the new IBACS Publication Award this Fall for faculty, graduate students, and post-docs. This award will provide a lump-sum payment up to $1.5K to cover all publication costs, or, up to 50% of the costs with a $3K cap on IBACS contribution. 
 
We are aware that publication costs are sometimes very high and are only increasing. Our goal is to help get work published into journals that the PI would otherwise not be able to publish in. The Institute’s ability to offer these awards is not guaranteed and will be reviewed on an annual basis. Any costs over the award are the responsibility of the recipient. 
 

The application process is rolling and will close once funds are exhausted. Please visit our award page for more information, including eligibility requirements and the form to apply!

New undergraduate course offering: COGS Language and Racism

New undergraduate course offering from Cog Sci:  COGS Language and Racism
We invite you to register for “COGS 2345, Language and Racism”,  Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12:30-1:45pm, co-sponsored by the Cognitive Science Program and co-taught by Dr. Letty Naigles and Dr. Bede Agocha. This course examines the relationships between language use, both historically and across the lifespan, and the social construction of race, racism, and racial identity, with particular emphasis on racial politics in the United States.
Prerequisites: Open to sophomores or higher. Recommended preparation: One course in AFRA or COGS.
Course overview:  LANGUAGE plays an immense, though often underrated role in nearly every domain of students’ lives, including where they live, who they love, what they learn, and whether and how they get and keep a job. Relatedly, then, language can also prevent all of the above. Language is a vehicle of racism because the language used by those in the majority or in power is artfully constructed to categorize people according to race and to place groups in deeply hierarchical relationships to one another.
Our course on Language and Racism deploys tools of the cognitive and psychological sciences to both illuminate and illustrate potential interventions for language racism.
  • We examine the linguistics and sociolinguistics of the language(s) used by Black communities in the U.S., including their origins, creolization, complex linguistic structure, and issues of stigma versus pride.
  • We examine the language of racism, including the types of discourse that construct Whiteness as dominant over Color, the processes of language standardization, and the ideologies of language and their interaction with group identity at both the local and national community levels.
  • We consider antiracism interventions that are language-based.
  • The course is project-based, with students learning to understand how language is used in their various social contexts as well as in contexts they can access via stored content. Students will learn to analyze their own and others’, famous and commonplace, racist and antiracist linguistic output/texts, using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) computational tool, which analyzes texts as manifesting properties such as anger, authority, in-group, out-group, and fairness.