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Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences

University of California at Berkeley
3210 Tolman Hall MC 1650
Berkeley, CA 94720-1650

Administration support for the Institute is provided by the staff of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. See the administration page for help and information.


All talks are in 5101 Tolman Hall, 11am-12:30pm.

February 6

Presenter: Marjorie Rhodes, New York University

Title: Intuitive theories of the social world

Abstract: Social categorization provides a valuable mechanism for explaining and predicting human behavior, yet also contributes to the development of social stereotyping and prejudice. Thus, understanding how social categorization develops is a critical issue for cognitive and social sciences. In this talk, I will present a theoretical perspective on the development of social categorization - that children map intuitive theories about the structure of the social world onto categories they encounter in their environment. I will then describe empirical work demonstrating that two intuitive theories - that social categories are natural kinds and that social categories mark people who are obligated to one another - shape the acquisition of social categories. Implications for how children explain, predict, and interact with their environment will be discussed.

February 13

Presenter: Tony Ro, CUNY

Title: Neural mechanisms for unconscious and conscious vision

Abstract: Our visual systems are typically bombarded with massive amounts of information. However, we are subjectively aware of only a small proportion of this incoming visual information at any given time. Do our visual systems represent some of this information unconsciously, and how and why do we become aware of only certain visual percepts and not others? In the first half of this talk, I will describe studies using TMS over primary visual cortex (V1) that reveal unconscious representations of visual information through visual pathways that bypass V1. The second half of the talk will focus on a series of studies using EEG, ECoG, and TMS that demonstrate the importance of recurrent and phasic processing in V1 for visual awareness. Together, these results suggest that the primary visual cortex is essential for experiencing consciousness of visual events.

February 20

Presenter: Barbara Dancygier, University of British Columbia

Title: Viewpoint: What can we learn from linguistic and visual data

Abstract: Viewpoint is the central, but also the least thoroughly studied, of the conceptual components of meaning. Recent research on perspective-taking has departed from its traditional focus on narrative construals in fiction and now addresses viewpoint phenomena in a broad range of communicative contexts (such as ASL, gesture, linguistic choices, etc.). This talk will argue that viewpoint phenomena are best addressed from a multimodal perspective, so that expressions of viewpoint can be compared across various communicative modalities and a range of artifacts. I will address two broad questions: 1. how multimodal artifacts represent complex viewpoint configurations, and 2. how comparing linguistic and visual examples helps uncover general viewpoint structures. My data will come from linguistic constructions, political discourse, and a range of visual artifacts (such as street art or internet memes). I consider viewpoint in a range of configurations: low level spatial concepts versus complex political frames, opposing frames signaled visually and constructionally, manipulation of opposites such as large/small, visible/invisible, human/inanimate, or cause/result. I also consider instances of complex viewpointed construals emerging from multiple lower-level components. The examples suggest that starting with basic spatial and embodied concepts as well as primary scenes of interaction with objects can help build a foundation for an effective approach to multimodality and viewpoint within linguistics and cognitive science.

March 6

Presenter: Nora Newcombe, Temple University

Title: Remembering spatial location: Extending the category adjustment model to the real world

Initially, the Category Adjustment Model (CAM) of spatial location coding proposed by Huttenlocher, Hedges and Duncan (1991) was tested primarily with highly constrained stimuli, often the location of a dot in a circle. While these studies supported the idea of a Bayesian model of location coding, they did not address real-world coding. In this talk, I will present CAM, along with a recent series of studies showing that CAM extends to coding of location with more natural stimuli. I will also discuss how expertise and language may affect the categories people use. Lastly, I will speculate on how this approach may help us think about the language-thought debate.

April 24

Presenter: Ilya Sutskever, Google

Title: Sequence to Sequence Learning with Neural Networks

Supervised learning with deep neural network has achieved spectacular success in a wide variety of perceptual problems. Most of these applications, however, are limited to domains in which both the input and the output are naturally encoded in terms of vectors of fixed dimensionality, be it images or a short fragments of speech. In this work, we show that a simple application of the Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) model can solve difficult sequence to sequence problems. Our technique achieves the best published results on a large scale machine translation task, near state-of-the-art performance on parsing, and a highly nontrivial accuracy on program evaluation.


9/13/2013   Center for "big data" in psychology to be established at Berkeley
ICBS members recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a new research center

4/26/2013   Alison Gopnik on play and learning
A story in the New York Times highlights Gopnik's recent work on pretend play

5/27/2012   How do you refer to your mother's older sister?
Terry Regier and Charles Kemp find human kinship systems are simple and informative

5/22/2012   Len Talmy receives Gutenberg Research Award
The first time this prestigious award has been given to a cognitive scientist.

4/2/2012   Tania Lombrozo receives the Janet Taylor Spence Award
A significant early career award from the Association for Psychological Science.

10/28/2011   What do babies think?
Alison Gopnik gives a presentation at TED.

10/1/2010   Neurotechnology prize for Jose Carmena
Carmena received the New York Academy of Scienes Aspen Brain Forum Prize in Neurotechnology

4/3/2010   Forget Mozart, Try Kant.
Alison Gopnik on the inquiring baby.

3/13/2010   Jerry Feldman awarded the Berkeley Citation
Tribute for leadership in promoting interdisciplinary research and opportunities for study in computer science.

2/27/2010   The Interpretation of Dreams, 2010
Jack Gallant uses fMRI to take a peek at what's on your mind

7/26/2009   New Advances in Brain-Machine Interface Technology
Jose Carmena and Karunesh Ganguly demonstrate that the brain can consolidate a neural representation for long-term prosthetic control

7/21/2009   Conference on Neurocognitive Development, July 12-14, 2009
Conference proceedings available on-line.

7/19/2009   George Lakoff named Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor
Professorship in Linguistics and Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies for 2009-13

6/11/2009   Fillmore FEST: Conference in honor of Charles Fillmore, July 31 - Aug 2
Celebrate Chuck's 80th birthday at Berkeley during this special meeting.

5/5/2009   The Mental Navigator
Alison Gopnik's new book, "The Philisophical Baby" is discussed in the Boston Globe and SF Chronicle

4/30/2009   Archived Files from past ICBS Seminars and Workshops
Click for links to materials

3/16/2009   Berkeley Cognitive Science Undergraduates to Host Conference
First annual California Cognitive Science Conference on April 25

2/18/2009   Darwin Day Celebrated at ICBS
Webcasts from the workshop, "Evolution in the Cognitive Sciences"

12/27/2008   Alison Gopnik offers her ideas for revolutionizing undergraduate education.
In a Slate commentary, Gopnik suggests how to create "scientists in the dorm".

12/9/2008   A Personal Experience with Synesthesia
Sherri Roush discusses how sounds make her skin tingle-- literally.

10/27/2008   Alison Gopnik sounds off in Slate on mirror neurons.
Rea2007 essay on, "What the myth of mirror neurons gets wrong about the human brain."

4/28/2008   Paul Kay joins discussion in NY Times on how language influences thought
Science Times article discusses new views on an old debate.

4/13/2008   Art Shimamura awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship
Fellowship to support his efforts on a new book taking a neurocognitive approach to the psychology of art and aesthetics.

1/2/2008   Conference on Religion and Cognitive Science, Jan 16-18
Hosted by The Graduate Theological Union and the Cognitive Science Program at UC Berkeley

11/26/2007   George Lakoff to receive inaugural Giulio Preti Prize
The Regional Council of Tuscany honors Lakoff's contributions in the study of Science and Democracy.

6/14/2007   Exploring Beauty
Steve Palmer discusses the science of aesthetics in a presentation at Google.

6/12/2007   Updated web materials for Jerry Feldman's book, 'From Molecule to Metaphor: A Neural Theory of Language'.
Check out recent Updates, Teaching Tips, and a Readers' Roadmap- a remarkable graphical guide to each chapter produced by John Torous, a recent student in CogSci 110 at Berkeley.

7/2/2006   Looking back into the future.
Eve Sweetser's cross-cultural research on how we speak about time.

1/20/2006   How do People Make Predictions?
New ICBS Member Tom Griffiths puts Bayes rule to the test

12/28/2005   Linguistic Modulation of Color Perception Differs for the Left and Right Cerebral Hemispheres.
ICBS members Kay and Ivry use neuropsychological methods to revisit the Whorf hypothesis

3/23/2005   Alva Noe brings the brain and body together in his new book.
Conversation with Alva Noe on the just published, "Action in Perception"

1/12/2005   LEONARDO review of recent Synesthesia Conference co-hosted by ICBS
Review of the The Fourth Annual National Conference of the American Synesthesia Association, Inc.

1/10/2005   "What Do You Believe Is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?"
ICBS member Alison Gopnik and other scientists consider unsolvable problems

6/14/2004   George Lakoff of Linguistics and ICBS on the Language of Politics
UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff tells how conservatives use language to dominate politics.