Rethinking the Taxonomy of Psychology Workshop

April 15, 2016 - April 17, 2016
The Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University

551 Windermere Rd
London N5X 2T1

Main speakers:

Michael Anderson
Franklin & Marshall College
Tim Bayne
University of Manchester
Robyn Bluhm
Michigan State University
Muhammad Ali Khalidi
York University
Kristen Lindquist
University of North Carolina
Randy MacIntosh
University of Toronto
Russell Poldrack
Stanford University
Adina Roskies
Dartmouth College
Jacqueline Sullivan
Western University
Paul Thagard
University of Waterloo
Owen Whooley
University of New Mexico


Michael Anderson
Franklin & Marshall College
Jacqueline Sullivan
Western University

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This workshop will focus on an emerging research project in the cognitive neurosciences wherein the traditional scientific approach of using psychological investigations to enhance our understanding of the brain has been flipped, and instead scientists are using neuroscientific investigations to challenge and change the conceptual foundations of psychology. Specifically, it has become possible, using sophisticated machine learning, factor analysis and related techniques to generate empirical constructs based on neuroimaging data that predict brain activity much better than current psychological concepts.

Because our self-understanding is deeply informed by psychological concepts, any challenge to these foundations would appear to promise an impending shift in the way we view ourselves. It is thus important to both understand and to reflect carefully on these developments, from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Many questions remain about these empirical constructs: exactly how robustly predictive are they? Can they be given a plausible psychological, intentional or semantic interpretation? Are they purely neural states, or are they neural states that bear some intimate relationship—such as realization, constitution, or even identification—with representational states? If so, will they eliminate or merely enhance our current psychological vocabulary? These questions and many others will be investigated.

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April 5, 2016, 5:00am EST

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