2013 Marshall M. Weinberg Cognitive Science Symposium

The 2013 Marshall M. Weinberg Cognitive Science Symposium will be on Rethinking Rationality and its Bounds, on Friday April 5, from 9-5.

The keynote speakers are:

  • Jonathan Cohen Princeton University, Department of Psychology
  • David Danks Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Philosophy
  • Konrad Körding Northwestern University, Department of Physiology
  • Laura Schulz Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences

And the discussion panel will be:

  • Susan Gelman University of Michigan, Department of Psychology
  • Andrew Howes University of Birmingham, Department of Computer Science
  • Jim Joyce University of Michigan, Department of Philosophy
  • Stephanie Preston University of Michigan, Department of Psychology
  • Satinder Singh University of Michigan, Computer Science

Here’s the abstract for the workshop:

To what extent can human thought, action, and choice be understood as rational? For several decades the dominant view in the social and behavioral sciences has been that people routinely make suboptimal choices—a view based on findings that seem to indicate that people violate normative principles of thought ranging from rational choice theory to propositional logic. Beginning with Herb Simon’s work on bounded rationality, many have assumed that the gaps between observed and normative behavior are due in large part to bounds on information processing: our brains are simply not up to the task. But many recent approaches in cognitive science can be understood as redefining the problem of rational behavior, by incorporating assumptions about experience, local and evolutionary environments of adaptation, properties of the brain’s subsystems for perception and action, and even information processing bounds themselves. Taken together, these new approaches more sharply define the problems of optimal choice and action, and paint a new picture of human cognition that suggests it is often a surprisingly good solution to these problems. This symposium will explore these ideas as they are applied to topics ranging from how infants and children explore their environment to how we make rapid choices and move about in the world. The keynote speakers are leading cognitive scientists who engage these issues from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and computation. The symposium will conclude with a discussion panel that encourages audience participation.

I learned a ton from last year’s workshop on bilingualism, and I’m really looking forward to this one.

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