iCog postgrad/early-career cognitive science network inaugural conference

November 29, 2013 - December 1, 2013
iCog, University of Sheffield

United Kingdom

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  • Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies
  • Department of Philosophy


Rita Astuti
Margaret A. Boden
University of Sussex
Andy Clarke
University of Edinburgh
Vyvyan Evans
University of Wales, Bangor
Danielle Matthews
University of Sheffield
Edmund T. Rolls
University of Warwick


Ed Donnellan
University of Sheffield
Ryan Doran
University of Sheffield
Lily Fitzgibbon
University of Sheffield
Max Gattie
University of Sheffield
Helen Mort
University of Sheffield
Philipp Rau
University of Sheffield

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Registration for the iCog Inaurural Conference is now open and can be found here: i-cog.com.

Registration closes on the 22nd of November.

iCog is an interdisciplinary network for postgraduate and early-career researchers in cognitive science. The iCog Inaugural Conference is being held at the University of Sheffield from 29th November - 1st December 2013. More information about the conference and the iCog network can be found here: i-cog.com.

The project of cognitive science is, in the broadest terms, to understand the workings of the mind. Researchers in its constituent disciplines – anthropology, psychology, philosophy, computational intelligence, neuroscience and linguistics – attempt to answer such questions as:
- What is the structure of the mind? Which parts of the mind are innate and which are learned?
- How do we come to perceive the world? What is consciousness, and how is it produced?
- What are emotions and other affective phenomena and how do they work?
- What is the adaptive function of various behaviours and psychological capacities?
- What aspects of cognition are uniquely human, and which do we share with other animals?
- How are we able to understand the minds of others?
- How are concepts formed? How do we acquire language? Does language structure thought, and if so, how?
- What capacities are involved in various kinds of decision-making and executive function?
- What is moral cognition and how does it work?
- How much variation is there in behaviours, beliefs and psychological capacities cross-culturally?

Despite a good deal of progress on these and other issues in recent decades, current disciplinary boundaries in the majority of British universities, funding agencies, and learned societies make it difficult for those working in one discipline of cognitive science to receive training in the methods of other disciplines, and meet with researchers working on similar issues in other discipline areas. This can be particularly discouraging for postgraduates and early-career researchers whose research does not fit neatly within disciplinary boundaries. Even where interdisciplinary work exists, balanced and reflective collaboration can be difficult to achieve. The iCog network aims to promote dialogue and collaboration between disciplines rather than one-sided conversations, and to raise the profile of cognitive science in the UK.

Speakers at the inaugural conference will talk about how the constituent disciplines can most profitably work together and/or present case studies of questions or topics that have benefited from interdisciplinary work.

Guest speakers at the Inaugural Conference will be:
Rita Astuti (Anthropology, LSE)
Andy Clark (Philosophy, Edinburgh)
Vyv Evans (Linguistics, Bangor)
Danielle Matthews (Psychology, Sheffield)
Edmund T Rolls (Oxford Centre for Computational Neuroscience, Warwick)

There will also be a range of oral and poster presentations from postgraduate and early-career researchers from a range of the constituent disciplines. There will be symposia on the themes of Consciousness & Rationality; Methodology in Cognitive Science; Imitation and the Evolution of the Mind: Cave Art & Cargo Cults; Concepts, Metaphors & Machine Learning; Emotion: Affect Regulation & Affect Bias; Social Cognition & Moral Psychology; Delusion, Hallucination & Cognitive Scaffolding.

We are also offering beginners' training in the use of PsychoPy software to design and implement computer-based behavioural experiments as part of the conference programme. If you are interested in this workshop, please express this interest on the questionnaire on the online registration portal.

The registration fee is £25 (£15 student rate) for the three days and includes refreshments and lunches on Saturday and Sunday, and a wine reception on the Saturday evening (supported by the Cambridge Journal, Language and Cognition).

Dinner on the Friday and Saturday night is not included in the registration fee, but can be booked as optional add-ons when registering. Accommodation cannot be booked through iCog, but the network has secured a discounted rate from a local hotel and arranged a facebook page to facilitate “couch-sharing”. Further details are available on the online registration portal.

Subject to funding, a small number of bursaries may be available to postgraduate researchers to contribute towards the cost of registration and accommodation. To apply for one of these bursaries, delegates will be need to express their interest on the relevant section of the registration portal and submit evidence that institutional funding is not available. If available, these bursaries will be awarded on the basis of need and paid retrospectively.

Although the primary aim of iCog is to support junior cognitive scientists in the United Kingdom, the network welcomes delegates from further afield as well as senior academics working in the constituent disciplines of cognitive science.

The iCog network is currently developing an online database to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration. The database is due to go live on the iCog website at the inaugural conference. Delegates at the conference will be invited to become members of iCog by creating a profile in which they can list their disciplinary affiliation, research interests, expertise, and collaboration interests, among other things. Membership of iCog will be free of charge.

Finally, it is with great regret that we must report that Professor Margaret Boden is now unable to speak at the iCog Inaugural conference. We will be adjusting the programme in the coming week. We hope to get a provisional programme on the iCog website next week.

Follow us on Twitter, @iCogNetwork for iCog news and updates.

iCog acknowledges the generous support of the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology and Faculty of Science at the University of Sheffield, The Aristotelian Society and Language and Cognition (Cambridge University Press).

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October 22, 2013, 10:00am BST

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