CogSci 2020: A recap of our first virtual conference

August 7, 2020

The 42nd Annual Virtual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society took place entirely online this year. Although attendees were scattered around the world in their own homes, there was no shortage of enthusiasm for connecting with colleagues and learning about new research. Over the four days of the conference, 2,144 people joined the event.

Anna Drummey, CSS Executive Officer, reflected on the conference by sharing: “CogSci2020 has marked a moment in history. Due to the worldwide situation, we had no choice but to transfer the conference to a virtual format. Thankfully, we still were able to maintain an exciting program crafted by the 2020 organizers. Some highlights for me included a number of great talks, an interesting discussion between Geoff Hinton and Jay McClelland, and a truly moving tribute to Jeff Elman by his family. That said, perhaps the best benefit this year was that because of some financial decisions made by CSS, and the online format, CogSci2020 reached the largest audience ever. I have received emails from people all over the world that would have never had the opportunity to participate. This has made CogSci2020 a truly game changing experience.”

In addition to talks and posters, the conference also featured an important CogSci tradition — a talk by the 2020 Rumelhart Prize recipient, Stanislas Dehaene, followed by a reception to announce the next recipient. Although we couldn’t all cheer for Susan Goldin-Meadow in person, the CogSci community erupted in a virtual celebration when her name was announced.

Fortunately, the virtual format didn’t prevent us from seeing our members’ creativity and artistic talent.

Attendees had a number of ways to connect with each other during the event, and they took advantage of the conference platform, Twitter (see #CogSci2020), and in a new Slack workspace.

Please join us in Vienna for CogSci2021!

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