Le Colloquium du DEC est l'événement incontournable de notre département. Il accueille chaque mois des conférences données par des expert.e.s de renommée mondiale dans divers domaines des sciences cognitives tels que les neurosciences, la psychologie, la linguistique, la philosophie et l'anthropologie.

DEC Colloquium

PROGRAMME 2023-2024

12 septembre 2023 - Malinda McPherson (University of California, San Diego): "Auditory perception and aesthetics: a cross-cultural perspective"

MalindaMusic around the world is incredibly diverse, yet some musical features are widely shared. This raises a question: in what respects does music sound the same or different to people from different cultures? In this talk I will share the results of recent research with the Tsimane’, an indigenous Amazonian society in Bolivia who have limited exposure to Western music. This work suggests that there are several universal features of pitch and harmony perception that may constrain musical behavior around the world. It also highlights that a rich interplay between music and culture shapes aesthetic experiences of music.


10 octobre 2023 - Lionel Page (University of Queensland, Australia): "Optimally Irrational"

LPFor a long time, economists have assumed that we were cold, self-centred, rational decision makers – so-called Homo economicus; the last few decades have shattered this view. The world we live in and the situations we face are of course rich and complex, revealing puzzling aspects of our behaviour. Optimally Irrational argues that our improved understanding of human behaviour shows that apparent 'biases' are good solutions to practical problems – that many of the 'flaws' identified by behavioural economics are actually adaptive solutions. This book offers an overview of the literature in behavioural economics and, through the exposition of these flaws and their meaning, presents a unified view on behavioural economics, cognitive psychology and evolutionary biology. It gathers theoretical and empirical evidence about the causes of behavioural 'biases' and proposes a big picture of how to look at human behaviour.

17 octobre 2023 - Julia Hermida (National University of Hurlingham, Argentina): "Cognitive development and childhood poverty: Correlational and interventional evidence in Argentina"

Julia HermidaOne of the critical concerns in cognitive science, particularly in the study of child cognitive development, is the need for more diversity of samples. Although the majority of children live in non-WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) countries and almost 30% of them live in poverty, most of the cognitive development theories and hypotheses are based on studies conducted in WEIRD countries. In the first part of her talk, Dr. Julia Hermida will address this issue by reviewing the correlational evidence from developmental cognitive science studies carried out in Latin American countries, focusing on Argentina, with children living in poor conditions. In the second part of her talk, she will describe the results of some intervention studies in Argentina aimed at optimizing cognitive task performance in preschool children from homes with unsatisfied basic needs. Finally, the presented evidence will be discussed with regard to evidence obtained in WEIRD countries.


Sophie Von Stomm14 novembre 2023
Sophie von Stumm (University of York, UK): "How family background affects children’s differences in school performance"

Children’s differences in school performance have pervasive long-term influence on their education, health, and wellbeing. Children’s differences in school performance are evident from the first day of primary school and are relatively stable throughout the years of compulsory education. The major source of children’s differences in school performance is family background, not schools. Understanding why and how family background inequalities produce differences in children’s education is key for designing effective interventions that improve children’s life outcomes. 

In this talk, I will focus on the role of the gene-environment interplay in the transmission of family background inequality in education, which has often been ignored in previous research. Yet, children select, modify, and create their environments according to their genetic propensities, which in turn become drivers of children’s complex, reciprocal transactions and interactions with the environment that produce their educational differences.

Bio: Sophie von Stumm is 2023-2024 Paris Institute for Advanced Study Fellow and Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of York, where she directs the Hungry Mind Lab (www.hungrymindlab.com). Sophie's research focuses on the causes and consequences of individual differences in learning, and she integrates theories and methods across the disciplines psychology, education, sociology, epidemiology, and genomics. Her studies address how family background, early life experiences, and education opportunities inform children’s cognitive development and their educational outcomes.


SmadarREPORTÉ AU MOIS DE MAI - 6 février 2024
Smadar Ovadia-Caro (University of Haifa)



ANNULÉ - 26 mars 2024 - Mike Stuart (York university) : "Things I've Learned about Scientific Imagination"

Mike StewartUntil recently, very little empirical work has explicitly targeted scientific imagination, despite its obvious importance for scientific practice. We want to know whether and how scientists are taught to imagine, what imagination is used for, whether it is approved for use everywhere or only in certain contexts, how social factors shape it, and whether the labour of imagining is equitably distributed. This paper summarizes a few preliminary answers to these questions which are the result of recent interview-based, observational, and survey-based studies.

2 avril 2024 - Andrei Cimpian (NYU): "The Brilliance Barrier: Stereotypes about Brilliance Are an Obstacle to Diversity in Science and Beyond"

I propose that a field’s diversity is affected by what its members believe is required for success: Fields Andrei Cimpianthat value exceptional intellectual talent above all else may inadvertently obstruct the participation of women and (some) minority groups. The environment in these fields may be less welcoming to women and minority groups because of the cultural stereotypes that associate intellectual talent -- brilliance, genius, etc. -- with (white) men. This proposal is supported by observational and experimental data from a wide range of fields in the sciences and the humanities, as well as by developmental data that reveal how early these stereotypes take hold.

Asifa25 juin 2024
Asifa Majid (University of Oxford, UK): "The limits of language: Why do some experiences elude communication?"

Why are some things relatively easy to express in language (e.g., geometric shapes) but others hard (e.g., odors)? Various explanations have been suggested for this differential ineffability (i.e., the impossibility of putting phenomena into words). Perhaps it is due to something fundamental about the cognitive architecture of our mind~brains. The ease of naming visual as opposed olfactory entities, for example, has been attributed the amount brain area devoted to processing each sensory modality. Accordingly, there appear to be asymmetries in our ability to represent sensory information—studies show people generally report vivid visual and auditory imagery, for example, but only weak smell and taste imagery. Based on fieldwork and laboratory studies, I illustrate how differential expressibility across the senses reflects cultural, not just cognitive biases. Things that elude description in English are nevertheless easily conveyed in other languages, highlighting the role culture and experience play in understanding the nature and limits of language and cognition. ​​​​​​