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Cognitive Lunch

The Cognitive Lunch talks will be on Wednesdays from 12:10 pm - 1:25 pm in the Psychology conference room (PY 128) located behind the main office.

Spring 2014 Cognitive Lunch

  • Jan 22, 2014 - Jurgis Skilters, University of Latvia
  • Jan 29, 2014 - Rich Shiffrin and Jerome Busemeyer
  • Feb 5, 2014 - Emmanuel Pothos, City University London
  • Feb 12, 2014 - Tieney Lorenz
  • Feb 19, 2014 - Linger Xu
  • Feb 26, 2014 - Ryan James, UC Boulder
  • Mar 5, 2014 - Swapnaa Jayaraman
  • Mar 12, 2014 - Azadeh Nematzadeh
  • Mar 26, 2014 - Greg Cox
  • Apr 2, 2014 - Peter Pantelis
  • Apr 9, 2014 - Steve Sloman, Brown University
  • Apr 16, 2014 - Artemy Kolchinsky
  • Apr 22, 2014 - Larry Gottlob, University of Kentucky
  • Apr 28, 2014 - Jonathon Crystal


Jan 22, 2014: Jurgis Skilters, University of Latvia
Title: Large Scale Spatial Cognition
Abstract: Current research assumes that large-scale spatial configurations are perceived as structures consisting of functionally prominent places and paths constrained by socio-spatial and geometric knowledge and reference frames. In this talk, based on research results from a set of studies on youth spatial categorization of large scale-environments conducted by my research team , I will explore functional dependencies between focal and reference objects. I will further analyze functional dependencies generated by cognitive anchors and will distinguish between primary, secondary, and derived anchors. Finally, I will explain some of the principles of how the scope of search domains are generated. In particular I will show the impact of socio-spatial and demographic knowledge on functional dependencies in large-scale environments. These results indicate that functional prominence effects are stronger than socio-historical prominence in large-scale environment.

Jan 29, 2014: Rich Shiffrin and Jerome Busemeyer
Title: A mysterious finding about question order in surveys and a quantum account
Abstract: When two questions are asked back to back in a national survey the answers often change depending on the order of the questions. Typically half the respondents are asked the questions in one order, and the other half of respondents asked the questions in the other order. This is a form of 'context effect' and could be part of almost any cognitive model. When looking at all surveys over the last ten years that asked two questions back to back, a peculiar regularity seems to hold for all 70 surveys: The change in the probability of saying yes to both questions plus the change in the probability of saying no to both questions adds to zero. If there are at most small context effects then this result is required, but many of the surveys have large context effects. When there are large context effects, this regularity, called the QQ-equality, is not required mathematically; in fact there are surveys that do not show this result (when, for example, extra information is inserted between the two questions). It is hard to come up with any cognitive interpretation or constraints that would require the QQ-equality. In recent years Jerome Busemeyer and his colleagues have proposed a model of decision making based on the idea that human cognition obeys the laws of quantum probability. The resultant model has been used to explain many findings in the decision making literature that seem to show decisions that are irrational if they are to obey the laws of probability (such as the conjunction fallacy). Although the new model does a good job when applied to such studies, the applications are parameterized and fit the data by appropriate choice of parameters. The quantum model applied to the QQ-equality has no parameters--it predicts that this finding should hold universally, regardless of parameterization. The fact that the results support the prediction should not only lead cognitive scientists to search for alternative models to explain the finding, but also lead cognitive scientists to give the quantum probability theory serious consideration.

Feb 5, 2014: Emmanuel Pothos, City University London
Title: A quantum eye into cognition
Abstract: One of the dominant traditions in cognitive modelling is classic (Bayesian) probability (CP) theory. Yet considerable evidence has accumulated that human judgment often goes against classical principles. We discuss quantum probability (QP) theory as an alternative formal probabilistic framework for understanding cognition. In QP theory, probabilistic assessment is often strongly context and order dependent, individual states can be superposition states (which are indefinite with respect to some specific judgment), and composite systems can be entangled (they cannot be decomposed into simpler subsystems). We review three fundamental empirical findings (the conjunction fallacy, violations of the sure thing principle in prisoner's dilemma games, asymmetry similarity judgments), which have persistently challenged classical theory, yet have natural accounts within quantum theory.

Feb 12, 2014: Tieney Lorenz
Title: Framing & Antidepressant Side Effects
Abstract: Many healthcare providers struggle with counseling patients on medication side effects. While patients want and need detailed information for making informed decisions, such information is not helpful, and can even be harmful, if poorly presented. Mental health care providers particularly fear that by explaining side effects they may cause patients to experience those effects, a phenomenon called the "nocebo" effect. The context in which information about side effects is presented - that is, how that information is framed - is thought to influence nocebo effects; for example, biological explanations for a side effect can make patients feel it is "more real" than behavioral explanations for the same symptom. In this talk, we will discuss how the context in which side effect education occurs may influence patient's actual experience of those effects. I will present data from an online educational program that used different frames to explain sexual side effects to patients starting antidepressants for the first time. In some ways, the frames failed - different frames didn't change patients' side effect reporting. In other ways, though, frames appeared to influence other measures of sexual wellbeing, such as satisfaction and sexual pleasure. There were also some intriguing gender differences in how patients understanding of the side effect education influenced side effect reporting.

Feb 19, 2014: Linger Xu
Title: A New Method for Joint Activity Quantification based on Cross-Recurrence Plot
Abstract: Cross-Recurrence Plot based quantification analysis (CRQA) has been successfully used to describe and analyze sequential behavioral streams between individuals. In this talk, I will present a new quantification method based on CRQA that automatically extracts fine-grained patterns that two interacting partners successfully engage in sustained joint activities with precise timing information from each partner. Such sustained joint activity episodes are defined as Joint Activity Blocks. We applied the method to a multimodal dataset consisting of eye gaze, motion tracking, video and audio data streams collected from free-flowing child-parent interactions. The results derived from this method reveal fine-grained sensory-motor patterns across individual dyads that summarize the characteristics of the stochastic coordinated relationship between dyads. Such findings suggest that young children and parents achieve such tight coordination by exploiting the multiple links of sensorimotor couplings between hands and eyes.

Feb 26, 2014: Ryan James, UC Boulder
Title: What is Redundancy?: a Survey of Recent Results
Abstract: It is often desirable to be able to quantify the ways in which two (or more) random variables (let's call them "inputs") influence the behavior of a third (the "output"). Williams and Beer recently put forth an information-theoretic framework, the partial information lattice, for decomposing the mutual information between the inputs and output into information that is redundant, unique, and synergistic. Along with this framework they proposed a measure which quantifies this decomposition. Since their discovery, several alternative measures have been proposed based on differing intuitions on what qualifies as redundant. Here we survey the Williams & Beer partial information lattice and all the measures that have been proposed to quantify it, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses.

Mar 5, 2014: Swapnaa Jayaraman
Title: Cognitive Lunch

Mar 12, 2014: Azadeh Nematzadeh
Title: Optimal Network Clustering for Information Diffusion
Abstract: We investigate the impact of community structure on information spreading with the linear threshold model. Contrary to the common belief that communities hinder information diffusion, we show that strong communities can facilitate global cascades by enhancing local, intra-community spreading. Using both analytical approaches and numerical simulations, we demonstrate the existence of optimal clustering, where global cascades require the minimal number of early adopters.

Mar 26, 2014: Greg Cox
Title: Cognitive Lunch

Apr 2, 2014: Peter Pantelis
Title: Cognitive Lunch

Apr 9, 2014: Steve Sloman, Brown University
Title: Cognitive Lunch

Apr 16, 2014: Artemy Kolchinsky
Title: Cognitive Lunch

Apr 22, 2014: Larry Gottlob, University of Kentucky
Title: Cognitive Lunch

Apr 28, 2014: Jonathon Crystal
Title: Cognitive Lunch

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