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Previous Workshops & Tutorials

Schedules for current colloquia,workshops,dialogues and tutorials  are available on Events





Tuesday, November 17, 2020: Colloquium

Speaker: Julian Jara-Ettinger, Yale University

Title: The social basis of referential communication

Abstract:Human communication is an intrinsically social activity which allows us to share our thoughts through sounds and movements. Accordingly, theoretical work has long argued that this capacity must rely on commonsense psychology—our ability to understand other people’s behavior in terms of unobservable mental states. Yet, classic empirical work suggests that the interaction between commonsense psychology and communication is surprisingly limited. In this talk, I will argue that this conflict arises due to the use of communicative tasks that do not reflect the structure of natural communication. I will then show evidence that traces of social reasoning appear in one of the most basic forms of communication: referential expressions. Finally, I show how computational models of referential communication centered on commonsense psychology diverge from, and outperform, non-social communicative models that rely on an assumption of brevity in speech.

About Julian Jara-Ettinger


Tuesday, November 24, 2020: Colloquium

Speaker: Laurel Trainor, McMaster University

Title: Music, rhythm and prediction: From brain oscillations to social interaction

Abstract:Rhythmic stimuli are powerful because their regularity enables us to predict when important events will happen and, as a result, to attend to those points in time in order to process these important events optimally. Rhythms are ubiquitous in biological systems, from motor movements for locomotion to communication signals such as speech and music. I will present evidence that the human auditory system uses the motor system to accomplish rhythmic timing, and that auditory-motor interactions for timing are present very early in development. Further, I will present evidence that fluctuations in the power of brain oscillations measured with EEG in the beta frequency (~20 Hz) entrain to external auditory rhythms and are a neural signature of the prediction of upcoming sounds. Finally, I will discuss the importance of timing and prediction in human interactions from musical ensembles to pro-social behaviour in infants.

 About Laurel Trainor



Tuesday, January 12, 2021: Colloquium

Speaker:Chris Dancy, Bucknell University

Title: Towards a multi-level framework for human-AI interaction

Abstract:How can we develop AI systems that can competently, ethically, and autonomously interact with all people? Understanding how human physiological, affective, and cognitive processes interact with social-cultural structures and knowledge during cooperation and collaboration between agents (human and artificial) is critical to this competence. In this talk, I will discuss my work on developing a hybrid cognitive architecture that enables more tractable development of computational cognitive models that are moderated by physiological and affective processes. I will also discuss corresponding computational cognitive models that use this architecture. Lastly, I will examine how we might use existing critical analysis to think about anti-Blackness in the context of Human-AI interaction, and anchor some of this discussion using cognitive modeling.

About Chris Dancy



Tuesday, March 9, 2021: Colloquium

Speaker:Dr. Peter H Ditto, University of California, Irvine

Title:Through the Partisan Looking Glass:The Social Psychology of Political Polarization

Article:Political sectarianism in America

Abstract: A key contributor to political conflict in the U.S. is the different factual beliefs held by liberals and conservatives about important policy-relevant matters such taxes, gun violence, climate change and election security. In this talk, I propose a three-part account of how such differential beliefs arise and are sustained, or more precisely, an account of how prescriptive beliefs (ideologically and morally-based intuitions regarding how the world should be) shape descriptive ones (“factual” beliefs regarding how the world really is). The account identifies three important contributing processes: Moralization (the infusion of political issues, events and actors with moral significance), Factualization (the construction of pseudo-descriptive justifications for moral evaluations), and Socialization (the reinforcement of morally-palatable beliefs by selective exposure to ideologically-sympathetic people, groups, and media sources). Each of these processes are typical of intergroup conflict but have been exacerbated by technological advances and exploited by political actors interested in promoting partisan animosities for political gain. The shortest part of my talk will focus on the hardest part of the problem: what we all can do to promote more civil and more rational political discourse.

 About Dr. Peter H. Ditto


Tuesday, May 11, 2021: Colloquium

Speaker: Nia Dowell, University of California, Irvine

Title:Creating Scalable Models of Collaborative Interaction Dynamics and Outcomes

Abstract:In the current globalized world, innovation in science and technology are vital for
economic competitiveness, quality of life, and national security. This trend is accelerating the
increasing reliance on virtual teams and their collaborative effort to solve complex environmental,
social and public health problems. To contend with these dynamic conditions, communication, and
collaborative problem-solving (CPS) competencies have taken a principal role in educational
policy, research, and technology. Adaptive educational technologies provide a platform to deliver
personalized training to improve learners’ CPS skills. However, for these systems to optimally
tailor instruction, they must have key insights into learners’ interaction dynamics and team
behaviors. We have been exploring these properties by employing Group Communication
Analysis (GCA), a computational linguistics methodology for quantifying and characterizing the
socio-cognitive processes between learners in online interactions. This talk will focus on recent
studies where we have used GCA to gain a deeper understanding of role ecologies, learning and
problem-solving, and issues of inclusivity in digitally-mediated group interactions. The scalability
of GCA opens the door for future research efforts directed towards improving collaborative
competencies and creating more inclusive online interactions.

About Nia Dowell


Tuesday, May 25, 2021: Colloquium, 9:00am CST**(note: time change has been made for this event)

Speaker: Dr. Andrea Martin, Donders Institute at Radboud University

Title:Towards a model of language processing in a neurophysiological system

Abstract:Human language is a fundamental biological signal with computational properties that differ from other perception-action systems: hierarchical relationships between sounds, words, phrases, and sentences, and the unbounded ability to combine smaller units into larger ones, resulting in a "discrete infinity" of expressions that are often compositional. These properties have long made language hard to account for from a biological systems perspective and within models of cognition. In this talk, I synthesize insights from the language sciences, computation, and neuroscience that center on the idea that time can be used to combine and separate representations. I describe how a well-supported computational model from a related area of cognition capitalizes on time and rhythm in computation, and how neuroscientific experiments can then be instrumentalized to determine the computational bounds on artificial neural network models. I offer examples of the approach from cognitive neuroimaging data and computational simulations, including leveraging other existing models and metascience. I outline a developing a theory of how language is represented in the brain that integrates basic insights from linguistics and psycholinguistics with the currency of neural computation.

About Andrea E. Martin




Wednesday, May 6th, 2020: Colloquium

                Barbara Shinn-Cunningham,

                Carnegie Mellon University,

                Networks of auditory attention

                (Video Archive)


Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020: Colloquium

                Isabelle Darcy,

                Indiana University,

                Learning to forget? Phonological updates in the bilingual mental lexicon.


Tuesday, February 11th, 2020: Colloquium

Sponsored by the Knight Lab, the N. W., Harris Lecture Fund, the Visual Thinking Lab, and the Segal Design Institute.

                Aaron Williams,

                Investigative Reporter, Washington Post

                 On data and visual storytelling

                (Video Archive)


Tuesday, February 4th, 2020: Colloquium

                Gary Lupyan,

                University of Wisconsin, Madison,

                What are we learning from language?

                (Video Archive)

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020: Colloquium

                Michael Jones,

                Indiana University,

                 The stability-plasticity dilemma in predictive neural network models of semantic memory


Tuesday, November 19th, 2019: Colloquium

                Bethany Rittle-Johnson,

                Venderbilt University,

                Comparing Solution Methods to Promote Algebra Learning:

                                An Example of Using Cognitive Science to Improve Classroom Instruction

                 (Video Archive)


Tuesday, November 12th, 2019: Colloquium

                Michael Tomasello,

                Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology,

                Leipzig, Germany

                Origins of Human Cooperation

                 (Video Archive)


Tuesday, October 8th, 2019: Colloquium

                Yejin Choi, University of Washington

                Commonsense intelligence:
                Cracking the longstanding challenge in A.I.

                 (Video Archive available on request)




 Tuesday, May 21st / Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019: Workshop

                Learning construction grammar 

                 Adele Goldberg, Princeton University; Peter Culicover, Ohio State University;

                 Libby Barak, Rutgers University; Jessica Montag, University of Illinois;

  1. J. McFate, Cognition


 Monday, May 20th, 2019: Colloquium

                Adele Goldberg, Princeton University

                Explain me this:
                Children are both more conservative and more ready generalizers for the same reason

                 (Video Archive)


Tuesday, April 30th, 2019: Colloquium

                Tamar Gollan, University of California, San Diego

                Reversing bilingual language dominance.

                 (Video Archive)


Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019: Colloquium

                Carrie Niziolek, University of Wisconsin, Madison

                Language made audible:
                How speech acoustics reflect cognition.

                 (Video Archive)


Tuesday, March 15th, 2019: Colloquium

                Zenzi M. Griffin, University of Texas at Austin

                Talking and Timing


Tuesday, March 5th, 2019: Colloquium

                Jonathan Gratch, University of Southern California

                The Media Equation revisited: Do we really treat computers like people?

                 (Video Archive)


Tuesday, October 30th, 2018: Colloquium

                Paul Pietroski, University of Maryland

                Meanings, Most, and Mass

                 (Video Archive)


Tuesday, October 9th, 2018: Colloquium

                 Laura Wagner, Ohio State University 

                 Performance Factors Influencing Competence With Linguistic Aspect




Tuesday, June 18th, 2018: Colloquium

                Maithilee Kunda, Vanderbilt University

                "Imagery-base A.I."

                (Video Archive)


Tuesday, May 30th, 2018: Colloquium

                Michael Frank, Stanford University

                "Bigger data about smaller people: Studying children’s language learning at scale"

                (Video Archive)


Tuesday, May 1st, 2018: Colloquium

                Jamie Pennebaker, University of Texas, Austin

                "Analyzing language to understand social and psychological processes"

                (Video Archive)


Tuesday, April 24th, 2018: Colloquium

                Linda Skitka, University of Illinois at Chicago

                "The social and political implications of moral conviction"


Tuesday, April 17th, 2018: Colloquium

                Bonnie Nozari, Johns Hopkins University

                "Inhibitory control in language production: From single word production to discourse"

                (Video Archive)


Tuesday, April 10th, 2018: Colloquium

                Steven Sloman, Brown University

                "Ignorance and the Community of Knowledge"

                (Video Archive)


Tuesday, February 27th, 2018: Colloquium

                Laura Hiatt, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

                "Priming in Human Cognition"


Thursday, February 8th, 2018: Colloquium

                Ayanna Thomas, Tufts University

                "What Have We Learned About Eyewitness Memory?" (Video archive)


Tuesday, January 16th, 2018: Colloquium

                Percival Matthews, University of Wisconsin-Madison

                "Are Fractions Natural Numbers, Too? Perceptual foundations for understanding numerical magnitudes" (Video archive)


Tuesday, January 9th, 2018: Colloquium

                Robert Slevc, University of Maryland

                “Relationships between language and music: From sound to syntax” (Video archive)


Tuesday, November 28th, 2017: Colloquium

                Elisabeth Camp, Rutgers University

                “Assessing Frames for Epistemic Aptness” (Video archive)


Monday, November 27th, 2017: Dialogue

                Tom Griffiths, University of California, Berkeley

                Niko Kriegeskorte, Columbia University                 

                Jennifer Cole, Northwestern University

                Jennifer Cutler, Northwestern University

                Ken Forbus, Northwestern University

                Mitra Hartmann, Northwestern University

                “Is the route to human level intelligence paved with Big Data?” (Video archive)


Tuesday, November 14th, 2017: Colloquium

                Dan Kahan, Yale University

                “Science comprehension without curiosity is no virtue, and curiosity without comprehension no vice” (Video archive)


Tuesday, October 24th, 2017: Colloquium

                Dan Jurafsky, Stanford University

                “Automatically Extracting Social Meaning from Language” (Video archive)



*Tuesday, May 16th, 2017: Colloquium

                Carol Lynne Krumhansl, Cornell University

                “Isomorphisms between pitch and time in music”

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017: Colloquium

                Michael Strevens, New York University

                “Conceptual innovation in science without definitions” (Video Archive)

*Tuesday, May 3rd, 2017: Colloquium

                Amanda Cox, New York Times

                “Data visualization at the New York Times” (Video Archive)

*Tuesday, April 27th, 2017: Dialogue

                Dan Simons, University of Illinois

                Jennifer Tackett, Northwestern University

                Blake McShane, Northwestern University

                Eli Finkel, Northwestern University

                “Signal and Noise in Science”

Tuesday, April 19th, 2017: Colloquium

                Robert Glushko, University of California, Berkeley

                “The discipline of organizing”

*Tuesday, March 7th, 2017: Tutorial

                Steve Franconeri, Northwestern University

                “Now they see it: Visual communication of the patterns in your data”

*Tuesday, February 21st, 2017: Colloquium

                Albert Newen, Ruhr Univeristy

                “Cognition and Perception: Does higher-order background information influence our perceptual experience?”

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017: Colloquium

                Tony Ro, City University of New York

                “Neural mechanisms for unconscious and conscious vision”

*Tuesday, January 17th, 2017: Colloquium

                Allison McCann, Vice News

                “Against boring charts”

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017: Colloquium

                Ernest Davis, New York University

               “Simulation in Cognitive Models: Scope and Limits”

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016: Colloquium

                Ken McRae, University of Western Ontario

                “The Importance of Event Knowledge in the Organization and Structure of Semantic Memory”

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016: Colloquium

                Priti Shah, University of Michigan

                “How to play 20 questions with nature and lose: Reflections on 100 years of brain-training research”

*Tuesday, October 11th, 2016: Colloquium

                Penelope Lewis, Cardiff University

                “Exploring sleep's impact on memory with targeted memory reactivation”



Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016: Colloquium

                Linda Smith, Indiana University

                “Rethinking referential ambiguity:  Clear cases and noisy data in statistical word-referent learning”

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016: Cognitive Science Dialogue

                Nancy Kanwisher, MIT

                Brian Scholl, Yale University

                “How—and how much—do fMRI studies contribute to psychology?”

Monday, April 11th, 2016: Colloquium

                Brian Scholl, Yale University

                “Let's see what happens: dynamic events as foundational units of perception and cognition.”

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016: Colloquium

                Doug Lenat, Cycorp

                “Truths that aren’t.”

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016: Colloquium

               Todd Braver, Washington University

               “Flexible neural mechanisms of cognitive control”

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