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Colloquia, Workshops, Dialogues And Tutorials




CogSci Kickoff!  
Date: October 2nd / 4-6pm
Location: Five and Dime
RSVP Required: RSVP Here


Daniel Mullensiefen

Daniel Müllensiefen, Goldsmiths, University of London
Date: October 26th, 5:00pm
Location: Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, Regenstein Masterclass Room
Website: About Daniel Müllensiefen
(Local Host: Steve Morrison, Joint event with Music Studies) 

Title: I’ve Got the Music in Me: Using cognitive psychometrics to identify, measure, and model musical abilities

Musicality is a crucial concept for music learning, music teaching, and empirical music research. But how musicality is defined and how it should be assessed is contentious, assumed to be fully understood by some researchers and hotly debated by others. This talk will highlight three different approaches for identifying musical abilities and will introduce the Cognitive Psychometrics of Music as a new framework for musical test construction. Different approaches for modelling the relationships between different musical abilities may give rise to differing notions of musicality.


 earl miller

Earl Miller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Date: November 28th, 4:00pm, Virtual Colloquium
Location: Zoom, Register for the Zoom link here:
Website: About Earl Miller
(Local Host: Robin Nusslock)

Title: Cognition is an emergent property

For a long time, the brain was thought to function like clockwork, with specialized parts working together due to physical connections. However, in recent decades, our understanding has undergone a major shift. While the individual parts and anatomical connections are still important, many cognitive functions are driven by emergent properties - higher-level properties that arise from the interactions between the parts. A key aspect of these emergent properties are brain waves, oscillating rhythms of electrical activity that allow millions of neurons to self-organize and control our thoughts, much like a crowd doing 'the wave'.
New CogSci Faculty Flash Talks

Date: December 12th, 2023 - 4:00-5:00pm (Reception to follow)

Location: Swift 107


Large Language Models and Politics: A Multidisciplinary Discussion

Date: January 30th, 2024 - 4:00-6:00pm

Location: Zoom, Register here

(Local Host: Megan Hyska) 


Recent years have seen profound developments in the ability of machines to generate natural language. Trained on massive bodies of existing linguistic data, large language models (LLMs) like those behind OpenAI's ChatGPT, Google's Bard, Meta's LlamaChat, or Anthropic's Claude have astonished the public with their general-purpose ability to generate naturalistic text: to write poems and recipes; social media posts and term papers; legal briefs and instruction manuals; reference letters and manifestos. They have also raised urgent questions about the risks and potentials that this technology holds for our lives, including our political lives. How will LLMs amplify the threats of mis- and dis-information? How can they avoid replicating the biases found in the datasets they were trained on? How will they interfere with mechanisms of both institutional and grassroots political action? Whose labor will they replace, and to whose benefit? Who gets to control them, and how? And how might they enhance the creativity that we bring to devising political strategies and theorizing our political lives?

This online event brings together scholars from computer science, political theory and philosophy to examine these and other questions about large language models and politics from a variety of angles.

CogSci Faculty Flash Talks

Date: February 20th, 2024 - 4:00-5:00pm (Reception to follow)

Location: Swift 107

CogSci+Arts Panel
Date: March 8th, 2024 - 4:00-6:00pm
Location: Guild Lounge
(Local Host: Dan Shanahan)


Oriel FeldmanHall, Brown University
Date: April 16th, 2024 - 4:00pm
Location: Swift Hall 107
Website: About Oriel FeldmanHall
(Local Host: Mary McGrath) 

Title: How do humans adaptively navigate their social worlds?

The success of the human species depends on our ability to interact with and rely on each other. Social interactions, however, are some of the most uncertain situations we encounter. Other people’s intentions are hidden from us and are constantly changing, which makes figuring out who to trust or cooperate with a persistent challenge. My lab's research explores the mechanisms that guide adaptive social learning and decision-making—e.g., how do we predict another’s moral motives and leverage that information to trust the right people? We use a multi-discipline approach to identify the neural machinery underlying human social behavior, including applying theories from animal models, borrowing methods from computational neuroscience, and capitalizing on various state of the art neuroimaging techniques. By observing humans in both controlled laboratory settings and out in the wild, we are able to interrogate a spectrum of behaviors, from decisions made during dyadic interactions to the social tensions that play out across entire communities. This talk will give a glimpse into how humans are able to learn about their social worlds in order to make more adaptive decisions to trust and cooperate with the right people at the right time.



Munmun De Choudhury, Georgia Tech
Date: April 30th, 2024 - 4:00pm
Location: Swift Hall 107
Website: About Munmun De Choudhury
(Local Host: Nell O'Rourke, Joint event with the Center for Human-Computer Interaction and Design) 

Title: Does Social Media Support or Worsen Mental Well-Being? What Quasi-Experimental Studies Can Tell Us

Social media platforms continue to accrue important roles in our lives. Popular discourse has discussed the impact of social media on a variety of outcomes, from political polarization to issues of social justice. Is social media good or bad when it comes to mental well-being? This talk seeks to answer this question through a series of quasi-experimental observational studies, looking to a population that stands to both benefit as well as get harmed online -- those who struggle with mental illnesses. First, through propensity score modeling of language change online, I will situate how social support can help to reduce suicidal thoughts. In contrast, a second study will employ an interrupted time series and difference-in-differences approach to reveal the alarming ways online harassment can aggravate mental health outcomes. Ultimately, I will discuss how the answer to this question depends on the context. Adopting a human-centered lens, I will discuss the complex role of social media in patients' social reintegration efforts following a major psychiatric episode. At a moment in our society where popular discourse is laden with moral panic around the role of social media in mental health, I will conclude with pragmatic paths forward that can amplify its positive uses while mitigating the harms, for those marginalized by mental illness.
CogSci Fest!
Date: May 21st, 2024, 4:00pm-5:30pm
Location: Bob's Pizza