CogSci Colloquium: Joseph Henrich & Barbara Rogoff on 2/26

WEIRD problems and potential solutions 


Since its inception, psychology’s Western-centric bias has been an impediment to a deeper understanding of human cognition. Our speakers argue that it is time for a radical transformation of social scientific research, and our understanding of human nature as a whole. 


The Cognitive Science Colloquium Series is proud to jointly present Joseph Henrich and Barbara Rogoff 


Friday, February 26th, from 2pm – 4:30pm, virtually via Zoom  



Meeting ID: 436 158 7368 

Passcode: CogSci 

2.00 pm 

W.E.I.R.D. Minds 

Joseph Henrich, Professor and Chair of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard 


Over the last few decades, a growing body of research has revealed not only substantial global variation along several important psychological dimensions, but also that people from societies that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) are particularly unusual, often anchoring the ends of global psychological distributions. To explain these patterns, I’ll first show how the most fundamental of human institutions—those governing marriage and the family—influence our motivations, perceptions, intuitions and emotions. Then, to explain the peculiar trajectory of European societies over the last two millennia, I lay out how one particular branch of Christianity systematically dismantled the intensive kin-based institutions in much of Latin Christendom, thereby altering people’s psychology and opening the door to the proliferation of new institutional forms, including voluntary associations (charter towns, universities and guilds), impersonal markets, individualistic religions and representative governments. In light of these findings, I close by arguing that the anthropological, psychological and economic sciences should transform into a unified evolutionary approach that considers not only how human nature influences our behavior and societies but also how the resulting institutions, technologies and languages subsequently shape our minds.  


3.15 pm 

What is learning? Cultural perspectives 

Barbara Rogoff, UCSC Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California in Santa Cruz 


Many people who have spent decades in Western schools take for granted a particular way of thinking of learning — as either receiving transmitted bits of information or acquiring it from an external world. In this presentation, I will argue for a paradigm shift, to seeing learning as a process of growth, as people transform their ways of participating in ongoing endeavors to become more competent and helpful contributors to the collective good of all, across time. My perspective is inspired and informed by research observations of a prevalent way of learning in many Indigenous-heritage communities of the Americas — Learning by Observing and Pitching In to family and community endeavors (LOPI). I will discuss some implications of these ways of conceiving of learning, based in studies of how Indigenous American communities often organize children’s learning, with associated distinctions in children’s helpfulness, ways of collaborating, and ways of learning. 

Both speakers will join us in a GatherTown social following the event. Spots are limited to 10 graduate students and 10 faculty on a first come, first serve basis. Please email Dimitris Xygalatas, xygalatas@uconn.edu, if you are interested. 

If you’d like to meet individually with Dr. Henrich during the day on 2/26, please email Dimitris Xygalatas, xygalatas@uconn.edu. If you’d like to meet with Dr. Rogoff, please email Letty Naigles, letitia.naigles@uconn.edu

Responses for both GatherTown and one-on-ones are needed by Friday, 2/19

Postdoctoral position at Harvard University

A Post-doctoral position is available for a collaborative ongoing project on Machine Commonsense Reasoning, focusing on the origins of human common sense and core knowledge in early development. We are looking to fill the position in the Fall (note the relatively short deadline). The project involves a collaboration between Harvard, MIT, IBM, and Stanford. The position will primarily be supervised by Drs. Tomer Ullman and Elizabeth Spelke at Harvard, as well as Josh Tenenbaum at MIT.

This funded position will include building models of cognitive development related to intuitive physics, intuitive psychology, and theory acquisition. We are particularly interested in candidates with an expertise in computational cognitive modeling, or research in cognitive development, with an interest in strengthening both. 

Post-docs will have an opportunity to lead projects as well as to interact with a diverse group of experts, as well as access to computational resources, online testing, and administrative support. 

Required qualifications:

·  Ph.D. in Cognitive Science, Psychology, Computer Science, or a related field

·  Experience with computational modeling / cognitive models, preferably in areas related to common sense reasoning

·  Experience gathering and analyzing data 

·  Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills

To apply, please submit an application and CV to John Muchovej [jmuchovej@g.harvard.edu]. Reviews of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.  


Harvard is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

 The Department of Psychology sits within the Division of Social Science, which is strongly committed to creating and supporting a diverse workforce. Respect and fairness, kindness and collegiality, and trust and transparency are among the values we espouse and promote in our workplace culture. We work hard to ensure a healthy, inclusive and positive environment where everyone does their best work in support of Harvard’s mission.

Postdoc at Nanyang Technological University Singapore

Applications are invited for a fully funded post-doctoral research fellow position in the lab under the direction of Dr. Setoh Peipei (Nanyang Technological University, Psychology Program). Our research focuses on social cognitive development in infants and young children. The current research area of focus is on Singaporean children and adults’ intelligence stereotypes of different gender and racial groups. Information about the lab’s research is available at https://blogs.ntu.edu.sg/babylab


The research fellow will be expected to participate at all levels of the projects. The responsibilities include:

·       Conducting studies with children and adults in the laboratory, as well as offsite (e.g., schools, afterschool care, libraries, science centre in Singapore)

·       Recruiting, training and supervising undergraduate research assistants and graduate students

·       Performing various research duties (e.g., stimuli design and creation, managing the lab’s IRB protocol, database management, data processing)

·       Academic activities (manuscript preparation, presentation of findings in national and international conferences, grant writing)

·       Working with local partners (e.g., schools, afterschool care, science centre) to recruit participants and organize offsite data collection

·       Providing general support to researchers in the lab

Required qualifications:

·       Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, Education, or a related field

·       Experience working with young children in research/school settings

·       Research experience in early cognitive development/ stereotypes/ education pedagogies

·       Proficiency with Stata, and/or R

·       Ability to work independently, keen attention to detail

·       Strong organizational, managerial, and problem-solving skills

·       Candidate should be willing to make a 2-3-year commitment


Preferred qualifications:

·       Experience with eye-tracking

·       Ability to interact with a diverse population of participants


About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.


Young and research-intensive, NTU is the fastest-rising university in the world’s Top 50 and ranked 11th globally. NTU is also placed 1st amongst the world’s best young universities. The University’s main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and it has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) building projects, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s healthcare district.

For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg.


If you are interested, please email psetoh@ntu.edu.sg with the following documents:

·       A cover letter describing your research experience, relevant skills, and career goals

·       A current curriculum vitae with complete list of publications


Please arrange for three referees to submit a confidential report on academic standing and research directly to psetoh@ntu.edu.sg. In the subject line of the email please state Research Fellowship Application. For best consideration, please apply by 1st October 2020. Early January 2021 start date preferred. A two-year commitment is also preferred.


I will be happy to discuss further by email or via zoom.


Peipei Setoh, PhD

Assistant Professor

Psychology Program, Nanyang Technological University

Postdoctoral Fellow, BU Child Cognition Lab

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Boston University Child Cognition Lab


The Boston University Child Cognition Lab, directed by Deb Kelemen, has an opening for a full-time Post-Doctoral Research Fellow funded by the National Science Foundation Award “Evolving Minds: Promoting Causal-Explanatory Teaching and Learning of Biological Evolution in Elementary School.” This inter-disciplinary project explores children’s learning of counterintuitive concepts in context of a novel guided inquiry life science curriculum. Applicants should have particular interest in children’s and adults’ knowledge acquisition (especially biological knowledge), inquiry learning, development of scientific and religious cognition, conceptual change, and the application of basic cognitive developmental research to STEM education.


Postdoctoral fellows participate deeply in the life of Child Cognition Lab, the BU Developmental Science Program (http://www.bu.edu/psych/graduate/devscience/) and the Boston area’s vibrant intellectual atmosphere. The successful candidate will receive substantive career mentoring and opportunities for independent research and professional development.


Responsibilities include: Conducting research and supervising multi-site data collections in elementary school classrooms with teachers and students; conducting lab and online studies with children and adults; engaging with a cross-site multi-disciplinary team of cognitive developmentalists and education researchers; quantitative and qualitative data analyses (experience with Design-Based Research approaches is desirable but not required); supervision of an undergraduate research team; co-writing reports for funding agencies; presentations at conferences and workshops; authorship of publications in peer-reviewed journals.


Job requirements: Graduate training in cognitive and/or developmental psychology, cognitive science or (science) education; background in experimental and intervention research design, quantitative and qualitative data analytic methods; excellent capacity for independent, creative scholarship and strong authorship /writing skills, evidence of productivity in peer-reviewed journals. This postdoc position is for 2 years with possibility of further renewal. BU Postdoctoral Fellows are evaluated each year for renewal.


Applications:  Please email in one PDF document: a cover letter including a 1-2 page statement of research interests and explanation of suitability for the position, a CV, and contact details for 3 referees who will be contacted for short-listed candidates. Include a link to, or attach, up to 3 representative publications or manuscripts. Place CCL Postdoctoral Position 2020 in the subject line of your email application and send to: Deb Kelemen (childlab@bu.edu). Please familiarize yourself with our research before applying by exploring www.evolvingmindsproject.org and www.bu.edu/childcognition. Review of applications will begin immediately with priority given to applicants who submit by June 30.

Deborah Kelemen, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Boston University
Email: dkelemen@bu.edu or childlab@bu.edu
Child Cognition Lab Phone: (617) 358-1738
Lab: http://www.bu.edu/cdl/ccl/
Evolving Minds Project: https://www.evolvingmindsproject.org/

Postdoctoral Project Coordinator with Children and Screens


I am writing on behalf of Pam Hurst-Della Pietra and Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development. We would be grateful for your help finding the ideal candidate for a new postdoctoral project coordinator position. Please circulate the information below.
Children and Screens, an international independent research organization to advance and support interdisciplinary scientific research on the cognitive, psychological, and physical impacts of digital media on toddlers, children, and adolescents, is looking for an excellent postdoctoral project coordinator to join our team. We are based on Long Island, New York. 

This position is open to candidates in the fields of cognitive development, psychiatry, pediatrics, neuroscience, psychology, and related fields. Detailed information about the position, requirements, and application process can be found in the attached document. 
As a current Postdoc with Children and Screens, have the opportunity to connect with researchers across disciplines and around the world. In addition, I am working on projects to improve the lives of children and families and to advance research into critical aspects of development. I would be pleased to speak with any interested scholars about the position and my experience, and can be reached at gabrielle@childrenandscreens.com.
Thank you for your assistance, and I look forward to our continued partnership.
Best Wishes,
Gabrielle McHarg
Postdoctoral Project Coordinator
Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development
(252) 292-7699
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Virtual AI/Computational Modeling Meet & Speak on 5/6

Dear Research Community, 

Leslie Shor (Associate Dean, Engineering) and Gerry Altmann (Director, Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences) have organized aMeet & Speakthat will bring together researchers from CLAS and Engineering with an interest in computational modeling / machine learning / and AI. The aim is for the different communities across the colleges to better understand the research that we are each engaged in. The meeting will offer an opportunity to foster greater cross-college discourse and collaboration, and may serve as a foundation for greater university investment in computational modeling. The Meet & Speak is scheduled for May 6th, 12pm-3pm on Zoom. You will be able to join the meeting by visiting this webpage.

Attendees will be able to submit questions during each talk using the Q&A feature. Our hosts will select questions during/after the talk. If your question is selected, the host will temporarily turn on your microphone and call on you to ask your question directly. 

There will be 12 speakers, each taking up a 12-minute slot including questions (speakers have been asked to limit their talks to 8-9 minutes).
 These speakers are a sample of faculty with interests in computational modeling. We could not include all the faculty with such interests and our apologies if we did not include you – one purpose of this meeting is to use this as a starting point for identifying researchers at UConn who share these computational interests.

 (and relevant research interests):

Gerry Altmann (Director, IBACS; Psychological Sciences): Language and event comprehension in Recurrent Neural Networks.

Jim Magnuson (Psychological Sciences): Bridging the gaps between automatic speech recognition and human speech recognition.

3. Whit Tabor (Psychological Sciences): Language processing within a Dynamical Systems approach to Cognition.

Jay Rueckl (Psychological Sciences): Connectionist modeling of literacy development.

Ed Large (Psychological Sciences): Oscillator models of rhythm and music perception.

Ian Stevenson (Psychology): Modeling neural dynamics and information encoding within the human brain.

Monty Escabi (Biomedical Engineering): Algorithms for modeling how neurons process complex sounds.

Sabato Santaniello (Biomedical Engineering): Biophysically-principled modeling for brain disorders and neuromodulation

9. Derek Aguiar (Computer Science & Engineering): Probabilistic machine learning models to better understand genomics and genetics data applied to complex disease.

Jinbo Bi (Associate Head, Computer Science & Engineering): Machine learning and Data mining for Bioinformatics, Medical informatics, and Drug discovery

Ranjan Srivastava (Head of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering): Mathematical models of biological systems. 

Caiwen Ding (Computer Science & Engineering): Machine Learning & Deep Neural Networks

Further details (including schedule of talks, with titles and abstracts when available) can be found at ibacs.uconn.edu/events-may6/

Best Wishes,
Crystal Mastrangelo
Institute Coordinator, IBACS

Call for IBACS Graduate Fellowship Applications

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 at the start of the summer period, and will be expected to submit an application to the NSF GRFP, NRSA (pre- or post-doctoral fellowship), or equivalent, in the Fall.

Deadline for receipt of applications is December 13, 2019.

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 2019 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.

Post-doctoral fellowships at Georgia State University

Post-doctoral fellowships are available as part of the Center for Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language & Literacy (RCALL) at Georgia State University

RCALL is an innovative collaborative effort crossing colleges and departments. Our research is conducted by faculty and students from two colleges (Arts & Sciences and Education & Human Development) and ten departments including the departments of Applied Linguistics, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Learning Sciences, and Psychology.

We have a distinctive interdisciplinary postdoctoral training program focused on the acquisition of language and literacy in children and adults. Our research programs address not only basic conceptual and methodological issues in the area of language and literacy acquisition, but also the design and evaluation of interventions that may help individuals overcome challenges in the acquisition of language and literacy. Fellows will work with interdisciplinary teams on one or more funded research projects.

As part of the university’s Next Generation initiative, the two-year fellowship will provide trainees with intensive training in intervention research with special populations, analyses of existing databases using advanced statistical techniques, and in professional development, including grant writing and professional presentations and publication. We are seeking individuals who bring cutting edge skills (e.g., in adaptive technologies, virtual reality, neuroimaging, complex methods of analyses) to their own programs of research.

Competitive two year fellowships are currently available. To apply, please submit your cv, research statement, examples of publications, and three letters of recommendation either electronically to Keneé Stephens at kstephens@gsu.edu, with the subject line “RCALL Post-Doctoral Search” or mail to Attn. Ms. Keneé Stephens, Georgia State University, Language & Literacy Initiative, P.O. Box 5010, Atlanta, GA 30302-5010, USA. The review of applications will continue until the positionisfilledwithreviewtostartonOctober15th. Formoreinformation,viewourwebpage:www.researchlanglit.gsu.edu or contact Program Co-Directors, Dr. Rose A. Sevcik (rsevcik@gsu.edu) or Dr. Julie Washington (jwashington@gsu.edu).

An offer of employment will be conditional on background verification. Georgia State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against applicants due to race, ethnicity, gender, veteran status, or on the basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

Postdoctoral Position in Neuroscience of Bilingualism

Postdoctoral Position in Neuroscience of Bilingualism Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
Applications are invited for a full-time post-doctoral position in the Psychology of Language and Bilingualism Lab at the Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. The position is funded by the Polish National Science Centre grant Mechanisms of language control underlying bilingual speech production: fMRI investigation (PI: Dr. Zofia Wodniecka; the Co-Investigators are:  Dr. Marcin Szwed(UJ) and Dr. Jakub Szewczyk (University of Illinois) and Dr. Michele Diaz (Penn State University, USA).
The project investigates neural bases of language production in bilinguals and its primary methodology is fMRI. The focus will be on Polish-English bilinguals; some knowledge of Polish will be an asset, but is not essential. Most importantly, we are looking for an innovative postdoctoral candidate with a strong background in cognitive neuroscience, computer science or related fields. The length of the appointment will depend on the start date of employment, but at least 2 year commitment is required.  
Requirements: Candidates must have a Ph.D in Psychology, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Computer Science or a related field, or they must have completed the Ph.D by the time of appointment. Other requirements include: prior experience in fMRI and sMRI data acquisition and analyses, strong scientific record (including high quality dissertation, publications in peer-reviewed journals), research interests in neurobiology of cognitive functions,  advanced statistical knowledge, extensive experience in planning and conducting experiments in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, fluency in English, and a documented ability to work well both independently and in a team. Prior experience in fMRI technique is strongly preferred. Strong statistical and programming skills (including knowledge of Unix commands) is a plus.

Applications should include: 1) a CV (with min. 3 reference contacts and a publication record); 2) a cover letter with a statement of research experience, interests and the motivation to contribute to the project; 3) a copy of the diploma or statement about the dissertation progress and a planned date of its completion (signed by the Ph.D. supervisor); 4) pdfs of two most important publications.  

All applications should be sent by October 7th, 2019 to Dr. Zofia Wodniecka at zofia.wodniecka@uj.edu.pl.
The start date: AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Interviews with selected candidates will be held either at the Institute of Psychology or via Skype. For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Zofia Wodniecka.
IMPORTANT: An official call for this post can be found under the link. Please note that apart from the documents mentioned above, the candidate will be required to fill in Polish application forms (see the university HR website for details; download and sign the documents that have “Plik doc PL/EN” in the title).