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Invited symposia

Joint Action

Joint action is an increasingly popular topic in Cognitive Science. This popularity reflects a recent theoretical trend of postulating that human perception, action, and cognition are geared to enable successful coordination and communication with others. The speakers in the symposium will provide an overview of current progress in joint action research. Their contributions will address a wide range of phenomena ranging from tight temporal coordination to shared planning and discourse processes. Together, the contributions will illustrate that social constraints affect cognitive processing in a much deeper sense than the more traditional notion of specific modules for social perception and social reasoning would suggest.

Chair: Günther Knoblich

Susan Brennan
Daniel Richardson
Mike Richardson
Andreas Roepstorff
Natalie Sebanz

Language and Gesture Evolution

In humans, gestural communication is closely intertwined with language: adults perform a variety of manual gestures, head movements and body postures while they are talking, children use gestures before they start to speak, and highly conventionalized sign systems can even replace spoken language. Because of this role of gestures for human communication, theories of language evolution often propose a gestural origin of language. In searching for the evolutionary roots of language, a comparative approach is frequently used to investigate whether any precursors to human language are already present in our closest relatives, the great apes. Therefore, the aim of this symposium is to present recent progress in the field of language evolution, with special reference to the role of gesture in human communication from both a developmental and comparative perspective and to discuss the question if and to what extent a comparison with nonhuman primates is suitable to shed light on possible evolutionary scenarios of language evolution.

Co-chairs: Josep Call, Katja Liebal

Susan Goldin-Meadow
Catherine Hobaiter
Katja Liebal

Michael Tomasello

New Frameworks of Rationality

The nature and extent of human rationality is an issue of ongoing debate. In the last two decades, this debate has been enlivened by the development and application of new theoretical frameworks. These include Bayesian notions of adjusting and using uncertain beliefs in an inductive manner as well as deductive probability-based logics as normative guidelines against which to weigh human judgments and decisions; the notion of ecological rationality based on lean and frugal heuristics well adapted to the structure of the environment; and the notion of meta-cognitive myopia according to which people are accurate and sensitive in the processing the information in a given sample of observations, but are blind and naïve to the history and validity of the sampled data. Some of these avenues have been integrated in overarching theories describing two or more modes of reasoning and decision-making as in dual-systems models.
The symposium brings together distinguished researchers representing these and additional perspectives, focusing on how they shed new light on the old issue of human rationality.
This symposium is organized in connection with the German Priority Program
"New Framework of rationality" which is financed by the DFG (German Research Foundation).

Chair: Christoph Klauer

Nick Chater
Klaus Fiedler
Gerd Gigerenzer
Mike Oaksford
Keith Stenning

Rumelhart Prize Symposium

Traditional views of cognition, cognitive development, and word learning have viewed knowledge as divorced from processes of perceiving and acting. Linda Smith has championed a dynamic, mechanistic, and process-oriented view of cognition and focused on questions of development. She has shown how knowledge is embedded in, distributed across, and inseparable from the processes of perceiving and acting in the world. In so doing, she has enabled a new understanding of the nature of cognition and of how new ways of thinking come to be. This Rumelhart symposium in her honor illustrates how this focus on developmental process changes the questions asked and our resulting understanding of cognition. The five speakers will examine the developmental process of word learning from different vantage points ranging from perceptual to social to cognitive, and spanning multiple periods from the first words to rapid vocabulary growth to the building of semantic networks.

Organizer: Larissa Samuelson

Chen Yu
Thomas Hills
Larissa Samuelson
Anthony Morse
Eliana Colunga

Glushko Dissertation Prize Symposium

The Annual Glushko Dissertation Prize in Cognitive Science was established in 2011 as a way to promote future growth in cognitive science, and encourage students to engage in interdisciplinary efforts to understand minds. The prize is jointly sponsored by the Cognitive Science Society and the Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation, and honors young researchers conducting ground breaking research in cognitive science. This symposium showcases the PhD research projects of the 2013 winners of the Glushko Dissertation Prizes. 2013 marks the first year that a symposium has been formed to assemble and showcase Glushko Prize winners' research. The prize-winning projects involve research on linguistic compositionality, understanding pictorial narratives, learning object-to-name mappings from complex environments, spatial problem solving, and visual awareness.

Chair: Robert L. Goldstone

Douglas K. Bemis
Neil Cohn
George Kachergis
Andrew Lovett