Workshops

The CogSci 2020 Program includes a full day of workshops on July 29, 2020.  These nine workshops detailed below are happening simultaneously.  When you register for this year’s virutal conference, you will be asked to select one of the following workshops to attend.   There is no added cost.

Links to join your registered workshop, were sent to each registrant via email.  If you wish to attend a different workshop, please login to the Virtual Conference Platform, and go to ‘View Schedule’ in the Session Lobby.

W1: Mental effort: One construct, many faces?

Presenters – Sebastian Musslick: Princeton University; Maria Wirzberger: University of Stuttgart ; Ivan Grahek: Brown University; Laura A. Bustamante: Princeton University; Amitai Shenhav: Brown University; Jonathan Cohen: Princeton University.

DOWNLOAD PDF

Abstract
We can all feel exhausted after a day of work, even if we have spent it sitting at a desk. The intuitive concept of mental effort pervades virtually all domains of human information processing and has become an indispensable ingredient for general theories of cognition (Anderson, 2007; Shenhav et al., 2017; Lieder & Griffiths, 2015). However, inconsistent use of the term across cognitive sciences, including cognitive psychology, education, human-factors engineering and artificial intelligence, makes it one of the least well-defined theoretical constructs across fields. A number of recent approaches lay the foundation for a consensus by offering formal accounts of mental effort. Yet, reaching a multifield-wide consensus on the operationalization of mental effort will require cross-talk between different empirical and computational approaches, including symbolic architectures, non-parametric Bayesian statistics and neural networks. The purpose of this full-day workshop is to review and integrate these emerging perspectives.

W2: Cognition, Collectives, and Human Culture

Presenters – Charley Mingshuo Wu: Harvard University; Natalia A Vélez: Stanford University; Mark K Ho: Princeton University; Robert Goldstone: Indiana University; Patrick Shafto: Rutgers University; Hyowon Gweon: Stanford University; Seth Frey: University of California, Davis; Amy Perfors: University of Melbourne;  Sholei Croom: MIT; Kara Weisman: Stanford University; Dorsa Amir: Boston College; Cristine Legare: University of Texas at Austin

DOWNLOAD PDF

Abstract

Cognitive capacities such as learning, reasoning, and decision-making are often studied in tasks where a single participant acts in isolation. Yet humans don’t learn, reason, and make decisions in a vacuum. Human cognition is distinctively social: Much of what we do influences—and is influenced by—other people. The goal of this workshop is to bring together diverse perspectives on the interplay between human cognition and the dynamic, social environments we inhabit. Theme 1 lays out the cognitive tools that equip individuals to thrive in social environments, including specialized mechanisms for teaching and learning from others. Theme 2 examines how the social environment is itself shaped by the dynamic interactions between multiple individuals, producing emergent behaviors at the level of the collective. Finally, Theme 3 explores how human cognition responds to the demands of particular social environments, including how cultural variability in social cognition might emerge across development.

https://cognitioncollectivesandculture.github.io/ 

W3: The Origins of Common Sense in Humans and Machines

Presenters – Kevin A Smith: Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Eliza Kosoy: UC Berkeley ; Alison Gopnik: University of California at Berkeley; Deepak Pathak: Carnegie Mellon University; Alan Fern: Oregon State University; Josh Tenenbaum: MIT; Tomer D. Ullman: Harvard University

DOWNLOAD PDF

Abstract
People impose structure on raw percepts, filling the world with objects, agents, events, and properties. This reasoning develops early: by their first birthday, infants can determine features of objects such as number and motion (Spelke, 1990; Wynn, 1992), construe agents’ actions as goal-directed (Woodward, 1998; Gergely & Csibra, 2003), and distinguish helpers from hinderers (Hamlin, Wynn, & Bloom, 2007). Agents, objects, events, properties – these are the building blocks of meaning and common sense that allow even young children to rapidly understand and interact with novel scenes.

W4: How stories shape us, and how we shape stories

Presenters – Angela Nyhout: University of Kent; Vaunam Venkadasalam: University of Toronto; Keith Oatley: University of Toronto; Raymond A. Mar: York University

DOWNLOAD PDF

Abstract
Humans spend a great deal of time engaging with narrative fiction in the form of novels, picture books, films, television shows, podcasts, and video games. Television viewing alone accounts for over 5 hours per day—totaling over 76 days per year—for average American adults (Koblin, 2016). On the surface, this behavior is quite puzzling. Why should we spend so much time being involved with people who are not real and events we know have not occurred? The answer may lie in the fact that stories are not just an enjoyable escape from the real world but may help provide insight into the real-world. Stories often deal with uncomfortable and upsetting themes, for example, and these can prove enlightening (Gottschall, 2008). A reader may experience fear as a character walks through a dark forest at night or sadness over the death of an important character. The evocation of these rich emotions seems unique to narrative and separate from our experiences with exposition. Stories involve imagination, perspective-taking, and emotional engagement, which all allow us to be “transported” to another time and place (Gerrig, 1993). In this way, stories afford a rich and emotional simulation of the social world, and these simulations can be edifying (Mar & Oatley, 2008; Oatley, 1993; 1999).

W5: From Efficient Coding to Information Gain: Information-Theoretic Principles in Models of Human Decision Making

Presenters – Mikaela Akrenius: Indiana University Bloomington; Laurence T Maloney: New York University; Jonathan D. Nelson: University of Surrey

DOWNLOAD PDF

Abstract

In recent years, theories and methods based on the information-theoretic notion of uncertainty have re-emerged in different areas of cognitive modeling. Many of these applications share the assumption that a perceived (or neurally coded) reduction in uncertainty carries psychological utility, and that this reduction can be quantified using information entropy. This has inspired theoretical frameworks that aim to describe cognitive function under a unified formal theory, or as being governed by a single principle. However, given the diversity of models that the notion of reducing entropy is embedded in, it appears likely that this conclusion is overly simplified. The goal of the proposed workshop is to bring together cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, physicists, economists, philosophers, and computational biologists to (1) establish information-theoretic principles that extend across tasks and disciplines and can be modeled using similar or analogous notions, and (2) diagnose limiting cases in which these principles break or carry fundamentally different meanings. The workshop will feature presentations from invited speakers, flash talks by participants, break-out sessions with speakers, and a panel discussion.

W6: Workshop on Scaling Cognitive Science

Presenters – Jordan Suchow: Stevens Institute of Technology; Tom Griffiths: Princeton University; Joshua K. Hartshorne: Boston College

DOWNLOAD PDF

Abstract
The proliferation of web-connected devices has presented significant opportunities and challenges to cognitive science — opportunities in that cognitive sci-entists can collect data relevant to human cognition orders of magnitude faster than before, addressing questions that were otherwise impossible to address; and challenges in that cognitive scientists require new infrastructure to collect these data and new methods to analyze them once collected.

W7: Making Science Accessible: A Co-design of Non-visual Representations for Visually Impaired Students

Presenters – Pui Yee Nikkie To: OCAD University; Christopher M. Schiafone: University of Guelph-Humber; Marta Wnuczko: OCAD University; Peter Coppin: OCAD University; Runa Patel: York University; Robert Aaron Ingino: SenseTech Solutions

DOWNLOAD PDF

Abstract
Students with visual impairments typically lack access to images in standard science textbooks and are under-represented in STEM subjects. The perception of tactile images is an important skill for individuals who are blind (Thompson et al., 2006). Typically images are translated to text descriptions for “equal” access; however this is a sub-optimal solution because translation of images to text results in the loss of the spatial properties of the depicted objects or events (Coppin, 2015). Given that a traditional scientific textbook contains over 500 images (Ladner et al., 2005); this can hamper the learning outcomes of students without access to visual images. In effect, the recognition of such representations may be less accurate and slower for blind students than the original representations are for the sighted. It has long been said that true experience and knowledge comes from first-hand accounts. From a scientific point of view, self-reports are limited in that they are dependent on an individual’s honesty and awareness of what affects their experience. On the other hand first-hand accounts can provide insights into the lived experiences of participants that may not be captured by an objective study. First-hand accounts can be a good starting point for research which will complement the more objective viewpoints. In the proposed tutorial we will use insights from cognitive science and the lived experiences of students with visual impairment to co-design accessible representations. Co-design is a well-established method in which participants with lived experiences are actively engaged in the design process. The tutorial will address accessibility challenges related to educational materials used in the field of psychology, neuroscience and statistics through the following learning objectives (1) to promote a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by blind learners; (2) to co-design accessible cross-sensory models with blind students; and (3) to develop strategies for improving access to scientific content and inclusion in classrooms.

W8: Practical Advice on How to Run Human Behavioral Studies

Presenters – Frank E. Ritter: Pennsylvanian state university; Jonathan H. Morgan: Duke Network Analysis Center, USA; Jong W. Kim: Penn State

Please note: this workshop is only open to a limited number of attendees (registration based on a first come first served)

Abstract
This tutorial provides practical advice on how to run studies for beginning students and researchers starting to run studies. This tutorial will provide participants with an overview of how to run studies with human participants, that is, not how to design or analyze studies but the practicalities of how to setup, debug, and run many basic studies in cognitive science. It will help people running experiments to run them more effectively safely, and comfortably. Our purpose is to provide hands-on knowledge about experimental procedure.

W9: Building neural processing accounts of higher cognition in Dynamic Field Theory

Presenters – Gregor Schöner: Ruhr-Universität Bochum; Aaron Buss: University of Tennessee

DOWNLOAD PDF

Abstract
Dynamic Field Theory (DFT) has now been around now for a good while. Formalizing the earlier dynamical systems metaphor, it has been used as a theoretical framework to understand a broad range of sensory-motor behaviors and elementary cognitive processes like metric working memory, change detection, cognitive control, and movement generation.