6 décembre 2016 (LSP)

Maria Concetta Morrone (University of Pisa)
Development and plasticity of the human visual system

15 novembre 2016 (LSCP)

LouAnn Gerken (University of Arizona) : "Comparing the Difficulty of Different Types of Linguistic Generalizations"

Résumé :
Over half a century ago, Shepard, Hovland, and Jenkins (1961), described 6 types of category structures, ranging from single feature categories (e.g., all red things), which allow easy generalization to new category members, to arbitrary categories, which must be memorized. I will begin with an overview of their category types as well as older and newer experimental work that documents the ease with which adults and non-human animals are able to learn different types. I will then draw parallels between the Shepard et al. categories and the kinds of generalizations that infants must make to learn a language. Finally, I will attempt to show that infant generalization in several laboratory language learning experiments is consistent with adult and animal learning of the Shepard et al. category structures.

11 octobre 2016 (GNT)

Karim Benchenane (ESPCI) : "Inception: science fiction or reality?"

27 septembre 2016 (IHPST)

Paul Griffiths (University of Sydney): "Biological Information: Genetic, epigenetic, and exogenetic"

Résumé :
It is often said that genes carry ‘biological information’, but what does this really mean ? Recent work in the philosophy of causation and in complex systems science on the measurement of causal influence offers a natural way to reconstruct what the co-discover of the structure of DNA Francis Crick meant when he said that genetics involves distinct flows of matter, energy and information. The resulting quantitative measures of information provide a common currency to measure the flow of information from genetic, epigenetic and exogenetic sources, and to compare these influences on a single phenotypic outcome. I will compare and contrast this sense of ‘information’, which is a measurable property of the causal structure of systems, to the popular ‘teleosemantic’ approach to biological information advocated by Ruth Millikan, Nicholas Shea and others.

7 juin 2016 (IJN)

Ran Hassin (The Hebrew University)
Yes It Can, 2.0: New frontiers in the study of the human unconscious

Abstract :
Recently I proposed a framework for thinking about the abilities of the human unconscious. The proposed view – Yes It Can (YIC) – is couched in evolutionary considerations, and in the capacity limitations of conscious processes. Taking these as my point of departure, I proposed that consciousness does not have a unique cognitive function. Put differently, every fundamental, basic level function that can be carried out by conscious processes, can also be carried out by unconscious processes. I will present this view, as well as old, new and very new data, from various sub-disciplines of the cognitive sciences. I will then present two new lines of research, that go well beyond YIC. In the first we examine how unconscious processes determine conscious phenomenology. In the second, we begin engaging in verbal conversations with the human unconscious.

10 mai 2016 (LNC)

Andrew Bayliss
Following and leading social gaze

Andrew is from the School of Psychology at the University of East Anglia. After gaining his PhD in Bangor, he moved to the University of Queensland in Australia before moving back to the UK. He has a number of research interests, the most significant of these is the topic of his talk; social attention.

Abstract :
When we see someone suddenly move their eyes, our attention is automatically drawn to where they are looking. This establishes a state of ‘joint attention’, which serves a variety of social functions. In the talk, I will give an overview of my work that has primarily used the ‘gaze cueing’ paradigm to investigate joint attention in the laboratory. Gaze cueing is demonstrated by the observation that participants show faster reaction times to visual targets that appear at cued, relative to uncued, locations. There is also a context-dependant impact of gaze cueing on affective evaluations whereby objects that are looked at by others are preferred to objects that are do not receive social attention. Finally I will introduce some new work in which instead of investigating the ‘gaze follower’, I reverse the roles to investigate the influence of ‘gaze leading’ on social attention and affective evaluations.

3 mai 2016 (LSP)

Nicola Clayton (Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge)
Ways of Thinking From Crows To Children And Back Again

Abstract :
This article reviews some of the recent work on the remarkable cognitive capacities of food-caching corvids. The focus will be on their ability to think about other minds and other times, and tool-using tests of physical problem solving. Research on developmental cognition suggests that young children do not pass similar tests until they are at least four years of age in the case of the social cognition experiments, and eight years of age in the case of the tasks that tap into physical cognition. This developmental trajectory seems surprising. Intuitively, one might have thought that the social and planning tasks required more complex forms of cognitive process, namely Mental Time Travel and Theory of Mind. Perhaps the fact that children pass these tasks earlier than the physical problem-solving tasks is a reflection of cultural influences. Future research will hope to identify these cognitive milestones by starting to develop tasks that might go some way towards understanding the mechanisms underlying these abilities in both children and corvids, to explore similarities and differences in their ways of thinking.

Clayton, N. S. (2014). EPS Mid Career Award Lecture. Ways of Thinking: From Crows to Children and Back Again. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 68, 209-241.

5 avril 2016

Yann LeCunn : "Is machine learning a good model of human learning?"

15 mars 2016

Randy Gallistel : "It’s the neuron: How the brain really works"


It is generally assumed that the brain’s computational capacities derive mostly from the structure of neural circuits—how it is wired—and from process(es) that rewire it in response to experience. The computationally relevant properties ascribed to the neuron itself have not changed in more than a century: It is a leaky integrator with a threshold on its output (Sherrington, 1906). The concepts at the core of molecular biology were undreamed of in Sherrington’s philosophy. They have transformed biological thinking in the last half century. But they play little role in theorizing about how nervous tissue computes. The possibility that the neuron is a full-blown computing machine in its own right, able to store acquired information and to perform complex computations on it, has barely been bruited. I urge us to consider it.
My reasons are: 1) The hypothesis that acquired information is stored in altered synapses is a conceptual dead end. In more than a century, no one has explained even in principle how altered synapses can carry information forward in time in a computationally accessible form. 2) It is easy to suggest several different models for how molecules known to exist inside cells can carry acquired information in a computationally accessible form. 3) The logic gates out of which all computation may be built are known to be implemented at the molecular level inside cells. Implementing memory and computation at the molecular level increases the speed (operations/s), energy efficiency (operations/J) and spatial efficiency (bits/m3) of computation and memory by many orders of magnitude. 5) Recent experimental findings strongly suggest that (at least some) memory resides inside the neuron.

16 février 2016

Dan Dediu : "From genes to language universals and linguistic diversity: building causal explanations across levels, timescales, methods and scientific disciplines"


Establishing causality is essential to the scientific enterprise and the language sciences are no exception. In this talk I will discuss the difficulties of generating and testing causal stories when we must cross several scientific disciplines and connect time-scales and levels ranging from molecules to patterns of linguistic diversity and universal tendencies. I will first briefly discuss the "Causality in the Sciences" framework and then proceed to dissect (from a causal point of view) my proposal that vocal tract anatomy (ultimately with a genetic component) might play a role in explaining some patterns of cross-linguistic variation in phonetics and phonology. This detailed discussion will hopefully generalize to other such attempts at establishing long, multi-level, multi-method and multi-disciplinary causal stories.

2 février 2016

Matthew Nudds : "Cross-modal identity and multi-sensory objects"


In this talk I focus on the question of whether we can perceive an individual thing as having features perceived with more than sense, that is, on whether there are multi-sensory objects of experience. Recent discussion of this issue has focussed on cross-modal binding – on whether we experience features of objects as ‘bound’ together across modalities: when I perceive a ball as hard and red is the hardness I feel bound together with the redness I see? I argue that this approach is mistaken. I suggest instead that we should focus on the question of cross-modal identity – on whether we experience individual things as such with more than one sense modality. I argue that this question cannot be answered by appeal to the nature of experience, but may be answered by appealing to the nature of cross-modal attention. I outline what kinds of empirical evidence might bear on the question, and end by drawing out the consequences for our conception of the senses and sensor integration.

26 janvier 2016

Coralie Chevallier: "Should we care about motivation?"


The goal of this talk is to discuss the potential impact of motivation on variations in cognitive performance. Using examples such as IQ tests and Theory of Mind tests, I will argue that the impact of motivation on performance is a important source of variance that can act as a strong confound when comparing clinical and non clinical populations. To conclude, I will briefly present the "willpower" theory of motivation and discuss some of its limits.