The Lure of the New

Symposia Abstracts and Speakers

Use the links below for quick access to a particular symposium.

Seminar:

Keynote addresses:


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Embodied Cognition and Mental Simulation

The symbol systems paradigm inspired by formal theories of logic, language, and computation has dominated explanations of cognition, proposing that amodal symbol representations, which are independent from the sensorimotor processes, support language, thinking, attention, memory, and meaning. In contrast, grounded (embodied) cognition theory proposes that cognition is grounded in sensorimotor processing and introspective states. Recently, tests of this theory have yielded compelling evidence that modal processing does affect cognition, including meaning, even when task irrelevant, and vice versa. However, little is yet known about when, how, and how much cognition is grounded and about the brain mechanisms. The mechanism proposed for grounding cognition is mental simulation, which is a type of mental imagery that re-enacts modal processing. This symposium covers scientific evidence for embodiment and how top-down processes of mental simulation can ground (embody) cognition in sensorimotor processes.

Speakers

Rob Ellis

Objects and other bodies: agency within a material culture

Diane Pecher (Erasmus University, Rotterdam)

No role for motor affordances in visual working memory

Patric Bach

Objects as scaffolding for simulation processes during action observation

Haline E. Schendan

Mental Simulation for Grounding Object Cognition

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Current trends in deception research

Deceptive behaviour is common in our society and often it can lead to negative consequences. This is why societies have been studying deception and have been attempting to find methods to detect it for a long time. In most cases, deception requires the creative generation of alternative plausible scenarios that could have been true but were not, using information stored in memory. The symposium will touch upon this and many other aspects of lying, with a focus on current trends in deception and deception detection research.

Speakers:

Gershon Ben-Shakhar

Conceptual and Methodological Considerations in Current Research on Psychophysiological Detection of Deception

Giorgio Ganis

Neuroimaging of deception: promises and perils.

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Sounds for Communication

How should sounds be constructed in order to communicate information effectively? Sounds convey information between distal objects; they have the advantage of not requiring a direct line of sight and so are particularly useful for example in communicating warnings or attracting mates. However, listeners receive a signal that combines all of the sounds present in the environment at any given time, posing problems for the auditory system in disentangling them. Which aspects of sounds make them salient within crowded environments? How should they be structured to ensure they can be easily understood? What solutions does nature suggest?

Speakers:

Roy Patterson

Understanding the communication sounds of everyday life

Judy Edworthy

Heterogeneity in alarm sounds

Sarah Collins

Bird song: Getting the right message across

Sue Denham

Structuring sound sequences for multiple information streams

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Developments in infant speech perception

Around their first birthday, infants are typically beginning to produce their first recognisable words, a stage which can be perceived by parents as the start of language development. However, during the months preceding this landmark, infants need to acquire a formidable range of skills, the critical building blocks for language production and understanding. For example, they must discover the sounds of their native language, and learn to break up the continuous speech stream into discrete words. Furthermore, infants growing up in bilingual or multilingual environments – a challenge faced by perhaps half the world’s population – need to learn to distinguish the various languages they encounter. This symposium will consider these important stages of language acquisition through cutting-edge research, focusing on speech perception in the first two years of life. We will discuss how infants deal with variations in speech sounds within their native Language distinguish between and learn to extract words using acoustic markers such as timing and pitch and regularities in the ordering of speech sounds.

Speakers

Katrin Skoruppa

The development of word stress processing in infancy

Silvia Benavides-Varela

The Speech Information Encoded at Birth

Caroline Floccia

Vowels or consonants: What is more helpful to build a lexicon in infancy?

Laurence White

Language discrimination within a “rhythm class” by five-month-old infants

Ian Howard

Elija: A computational model that learns to pronounce through caregiver interactions

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Engineering Creativity - can the arts help scientific research more directly?

There is a long and fruitful history of artists taking inspiration from scientific discoveries and experiments, and even of scientific data being used directly to create visual or aural art forms. Furthermore the arts have also been regularly used as a method of encouraging public engagement with scientific ideas and discoveries. This symposium investigates the more recent and more direct application of the arts to scientific research. For example science fiction writers being used to help brainstorm funding applications for artificial intelligence projects, or musical commissions lead to non-musical scientific research proposals. It still remains important to maintain a division between the arts and the sciences – otherwise how can one inspire the other when they are both the same? However a more conscious, active and frequent input of artistic results into generating scientific results, is a state of affairs this symposium would like to encourage and investigate.

Speakers.

Alexis Kirke

The Arts: a way of Expressing or Doing Science?

Greg B. Davies

Open Outcry: A “Reality” Opera in which Singers trade Stocks using Musical Phrases and earn Real Money based on their Profits

Michael Hyland

Art, Therapy and Lifestyle: there is no dividing line

Simon Ingram

Application of Multi-agent Whale Modelling to an Interactive Saxophone and Whales Duet, , and the new Scientific Project it Inspired.

Magda Stanova

Algorithms in photography

Matthew Cornford

The White Bear Effect

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Imagery, Dance and Creativity.

Modern choreography has developed a wide variety of techniques for generating novel and original movement sequences, and for arranging them into pieces of dance. Pilot research conducted with Random Dance and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has explored the role of mental imagery within creative movement generation at several different levels of explanation. These have included: the neural basis of imagery, and the use of mental representations by expert dancers as they create or think about movement; the cognitive level of strategic recruitment of different modalities of imagery according to variations in task requirements; the social level of distributed creativity through the selection and imitation of key group members as exemplars; and at a sociocultural level through the use of imagery as a communicative device to explain the choreographic intentions or process to audiences and other practitioners.

Speakers:

Scott deLaHunta & Phil Barnard

Choreographic Thinking Tools

Emma Redding & Tony Thatcher

'Shizengaku: a work in progress’

Jon May

In the dancer’s mind

Kayla Parker

Choreographies of the mind: thinking about the performance of animation

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Computational Modelling of Brain Processes

Cognitive function ultimately resides in the physical substrate of the brain. This workshop considers modelling advances towards an understanding and prediction of large-scale brain activity with special focus on the dynamic mechanisms underlying flexible decision making and the assembling of novel "creative" representations in neural circuits. These issues are addressed from utilistic, probabilistic, and neural mechanistic perspectives. Future perspectives of modelling large scale brain activity are outlined.

Speakers.

Chris Harris & Jonathan Waddington

Rationalising Irrational Decisions

Guido Bugmann

Programming the Brain: How Fast are Instructions Encoded?

Torbjorn Dahl

Tactile humanoid robot interaction using a hierarchical augmented SOM encoding

Thomas Wennekers

Cell Assemblies implemented

Ingo Bojak

Through a scanner, darkly - Functional neuroimaging, brain activity and the mind

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Transtechnology Research Seminar

Michael Punt & Martha Blassnig

Science, Technology and Entertainment: Transdisciplinarity in Practice

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