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Seminar: 11/7 - Michael Spivey

11:00 to 12:30 PM      at:  Tolman 5101

Department of Cognitive Science, UC Merced
"Continuous Temporal Dynamics in Real-time Cognition"

Rather than a sequence of logical operations performed on discrete symbols, real-time cognition is better described as continuously changing patterns of neuronal activity.  The continuity in these dynamics indicates that, in between describable states of mind, much of our mental activity does not lend itself to the linguistic labels relied on by much of psychology.  I will discuss eye-tracking and computer-mouse-tracking evidence for this temporal continuity in spoken word recognition, sentence comprehension, categorization, and even decision-making.  I will also provide geometric visualizations of mental activity depicted as a continuous trajectory through a neuronal state space.  In this theoretical framework, close visitations of labeled attractors may constitute word recognition events and object recognition events, but the majority of the mental trajectory traverses unlabeled regions of state space, resulting in multifarious mixtures of mental states.