• DEC Colloquium

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  • DEC Colloquium

    From 11:30 to 1:00 pm, Jaurès, 29 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris.

    You can access the Google agenda of the internal events open to all DEC members here.

    (*) The External DEC series and the DEC Lunch series take place on Tuesday and are open to all DEC members.

    PROGRAMME 2017-2018

    September 27, 2017

    Bob Carlyon (MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, Englan) : "Pitch perception in acoustic and electric hearing: Hunting down the missing fundamentals"

    As an exception, this colloquium will take place on Wednesday in Dussane (45 rue d'Ulm), from 11:30am to 13:00.

    Abstract: :
    Pitch perception is important not only for the enjoyment of music and for the perception of prosody in speech, but also for our ability to process one sound, such as a voice, in the presence of competing sounds. Poor pitch perception, and the resulting difficulties when listening in noisy situations, are a common source of disability in deaf patients whose hearing has been restored by a cochlear implant (CI). I will summarise some experiments that address the following questions; (i) What aspects of the auditory-nerve response to sound are crucial for good pitch perception by normal hearing (NH) listeners? (ii) What is the biological basis for the severe limitations in pitch perception experienced by CI users? (iii) Are these limits fixed, or can they be partially overcome by the chronic electrical stimulation that occurs in the months following activation of a patient’s CI?, (iv) can pitch perception by CI users be improved by a drug that modulated fast-acting potassium channels? The experiments involve a combination of NH psychoacoustics, investigation of an illusory percept, CI psychophysics, electrophysiological recordings, and the results of a double-blind placebo-controlled drug trial. I will also briefly describe other experiments from our lab that aim to improve hearing by CI listeners.

    October 10, 2017

    Bahador Bahrami: "Wisdom, madness, and kindness of Crowds: What is the adaptive value of collective decision making?"

    Many of us believe that two heads are better than one. Almost all of us also believe that too many cooks spoil the broth. Social psychology has provided evidence for both views raising the question if groups are not particularly better than individuals, what is the point of making decisions together? In my talk I will explore this question and suggest that consistent collective benefit is indeed real and achievable but not in the form of choice accuracy. You will have to sit through the talk - I am afraid - to see what my alternative is.

    November 28, 2017

    Jennifer Culbertson : "Cognitive constraints on language learning"

    Abstract :
    Looking across the world’s languages, we can often see that not all possible linguistic patterns are equally common. Explaining why this is the case is a topic of longstanding debate in cognitive science. In this talk, I will focus on one well-studied example, the order of elements in the noun phrase. I will argue that two very general forces– simplicity and naturalness–can largely explain why some noun phrase orders are much more common than others. Simplicity pushes languages to maintain a consistent order of the head noun with respect to different modifying elements (e.g., demonstratives, adjectives, numerals). Naturalness favors alignment between linear order and underlying semantic or conceptual structure. I will outline a series of experiments aimed at confirming the behavioral effects of these forces, and report a cross-linguistic quantitative analysis of corpus data exploring how the semantic representations underlying naturalness in this domain might emerge during development.

    December 12, 2017

    Larry Young: "Neurobiology of Social Bonding, Social Loss and Empathy: Implications for Autism."

    January 16, 2018

    Michael Bang Petersen: "The Design of the Political Mind"

    February 13, 2018

    Sonja Vernes: "Babbling bats and spoken language: a neurogenetic approach"

    March (date TBC), 2018

    Esther Duflo from MIT: "Bringing cognitive science to the field: Education in India"

    April 10, 2018

    Eva Fedorenko: "The cognitive and neural architecture of the human language system"

    May 29, 2018

    Josh Tennenbaum: "Reverse-engineering common sense in the human mind and brain"

    March : "Bringing cognitive science to the field: Education in India" by Esther Duflo from MIT (date TBC).