Psychonomic Society: Symposia at the 2016 Annual Meeting

Psychonomic Society: Symposia at the 2016 Annual Meeting

The Psychonomic Society’s 57th Annual Meeting will be held on 17-20 November 2016 at Boston, Massachusetts.

Symposium 1: Model-based Cognitive Neuroscience

Organised by Thomas Palmeri , Vanderbilt University and Brandon Turner, The Ohio State University

Cognitive modelling has a rich history of formalizing and testing hypotheses about cognitive mechanisms within a mathematical and computational language, making exquisite predictions of how people perceive, learn, remember, and decide. Cognitive neuroscience aims to identify neural mechanisms associated with key aspects of cognition, using techniques like neurophysiology, electrophysiology, and structural and functional brain imaging. These two come together in a powerful new approach called model-based cognitive neuroscience, which can both inform model development and help interpret neural measures. Cognitive models decompose complex behaviour into representations and processes and these latent model states are used to explain the modulation of brain states under different experimental conditions. Reciprocally, neural measures provide data that help constrain cognitive models and adjudicate between competing cognitive models that make similar predictions of behaviour. This symposium highlights a number of successful approaches within the emerging field of model-based cognitive neuroscience.

Symposium 2: Motivated Memory: Considering the Functional Role of Memory

Organised by Christopher Madan, Boston College

Memory does not serve as a veridical recording of prior experiences that can be played back, instead many factors can lead some experiences to be more memorable than others. This leads to an important consideration: What is the functional role of memory? From this perspective, some experiences are more valuable in informing future behaviour and should be selectively prioritized, such as those that evoke reward- or emotion-related processes. Here we broadly consider these processes as effects of motivational salience on memory. To capture the breadth of this topic, research highlighted in this symposium spans a variety of research approaches, including fMRI, cognitive ageing, sleep-related consolidation, and cross-cultural differences.

Symposium 3: Language by Mouth and by Hand

Organised by Iris Berent, Northeastern University and Susan Goldin-Meadow, University of Chicago

What principles determine the architecture of the language system: is language structure fully embodied in its sensorimotor bodily channel, or are some aspects of the language system amodal and abstract?  This symposium addresses this question by examining the effect of the manual modality on the structure of sign language, its lexical storage, neural implementation, and interaction with nonlinguistic systems (the conceptual system and spatial cognition). The discussion is informed by a broad range of cases, ranging from the mature native systems of monolingual and bimodal bilinguals signers to the spontaneous emergence of manual language in nascent sign languages and even in non-signers. We seek to identify putative abstract, amodal constraints on language design and processing and contrast them with those that are modality-dependent, and possibly iconic and analogue. In so doing, we hope to shed light on how human bodies and brains give rise to language.

Symposium 4: The Evolutionary and Psychological Significance of Play

From the Psychonomic Society’s Leading Edge Workshop initiative. In honour of Stanley Kuczaj, II

Organised by Lance Miller, Chicago Zoological Society – Brookfield Zoo and Alex de Voogt, American Museum of Natural History.

This symposium will highlight the results of the 2016 Psychonomic Society Leading Edge Workshop on the evolutionary and psychological significance of play. The workshop brought together 16 scientists from the fields of animal behaviour, animal welfare, anthropology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology and psychology to define play and its significance.

Credits to: Psychonomic Society

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