Center for Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science Colloquium - Sommer Semester 2019

Thursdays 15:30 to 17:00  - Building 57, Room 508

Sommersemester 2019

May 09, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Alodie Rey-Mermet (Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, General Psychology, invited by Daniela Czernochowski)

Topic: How do we resolve multiple concurrent conflicts?

Abstrac: Imagine yourself driving quickly but safely while following your navigation system. When approaching a red traffic light, you can slow down. Moreover, if you see a police officer at the junction, you are able to ignore the traffic light and the direction signalled by the navigation system in order to follow the officer’s instructions. The goal of the experiment series I’d like to present is to determine how we resolve such situations in which multiple conflicts are presented concurrently. To this end, conflict tasks were combined pairwise. For example, in a paradigm combining a Stroop and a flanker task, colour words were printed in colour, and the colour of the central letter was congruent or incongruent to the meaning of the word (Stroop task) and also congruent or incongruent to the colour of the flanking letters (flanker task). Participants were asked to indicate in most trials the colour of the central letter while ignoring the meaning of the word and the colour of the flanking letters. In a first study, the results revealed an interaction between the conflict tasks: The Stroop congruency effect (i.e., the difference between Stroop incongruent and congruent trials) was smaller – but still significant – for flanker incongruent than for flanker congruent trials. In a second study, the goal was to use event-related potentials (ERPs) in order to determine whether conflict resolution was simultaneous or sequential. The ERP results showed that the flanker conflict was associated to an early ERP component (P2), whereas the Stroop conflict was associated to a later component (N450). These findings emphasize a sequential organization of conflict resolution in the brain which is adaptive when facing multiple concurrent conflicts.


May 16, 2019

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Silvia Hansen-Schirra (University of Johannes-Gutenberg, Mainz - English Linguistics and Translation Studies, invited by Shanley Allen)

Topic: Monitoring’ in translation: the role of visual feedback


Abstract: One construct currently experiencing a revival within Translation Process Research is the notion of ‘monitoring’, or ‘a monitor’ as mechanism of mental control (e.g. Tirkkonen-Condit 2005; Schaeffer and Carl 2013). This paper queries the theoretical content of this construct by considering it relative to a model of working memory in writing (Chenoweth and Hayes 2003) and to work within bilingualism studies (de Groot 2011:326ff). A crucial element of monitoring in translation is the visual feedback available on the computer screen. This characteristic is exploited in an exploratory study of monitoring activity. The study utilizes two conditions, with and without visual feedback from the typed target text, in order to try to identify some of the characteristics of monitoring. The effect of the visibility of the target on both the behaviour (eye movements, keystrokes and reaction times) and the product will be investigated. Previous studies show that visual feedback has an effect on low level execution processes, but not high level processes such as formulation (Olive and Piolat 2002), that task time (original writing) is significantly reduced while inter-key-press latencies are inhibited significantly, but only slightly (Torrance et al 2016). As monitoring in translation also involves cross-linguistic assessments, it is not expected that the same effects will be found. The empirical results will be fed back into existing theoretical models to explain control mechanisms during translation.

  • Chenoweth, N. Ann and John R Hayes. 2003. “The inner voice in writing.” Written Communication 20:99-118.
  • De Groot Anette. 2011. Language and cognition in bilinguals and multilinguals. An introduction. New York: Taylor and Francis.
  • Schaeffer, Moritz and Michael Carl. 2013. “Shared representations and the translation process. A recursive model.” Translation and Interpreting Studies. 8 (2): 169-190.
  • Olive, T, and Annie Piolat. 2002. “Suppressing Visual Feedback in Written Composition: Effects on Processing Demands and Coordination of the Writing Processes.” International Journal of Psychology 37 (4): 209–18.
  • Tirkkonen-Condit, Sonja. 2005 “The monitor model revisited: evidence from processresearch.” META 50(2): 405-414.
  • Torrance, M., V Rønneberg, C Johansson, and PH Uppstad. 2016. “Adolescent Weak Decoders Writing in a Shallow Orthography: Process and Product.” Scientific Studies of Reading 0: 0–14.


May 23, 2019

Speaker: Master students from Cognitive Science

Topic: Mini-Conference Cognitive Science - I

Abstract: Talk and poster presentations from varius labrotations


June 06, 2019

Speaker: Master students from Cognitive Science

Topic: Mini-Conference Cognitive Science - II

Abstract: Talk and poster presentations from varius labrotations



June 13, 2019

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Urte Roeber (University of Leipzig - Cognitive and Biological Psychology, invited by Thomas Lachmann)

Topic: The earliest neural correlate of consciousness

Abstract: During binocular rivalry, a supra-threshold stimulus presented to one eye intermittently disappears for several seconds. In order to explore the fate of such an invisible stimulus, I investigated neural activity following transitions from binocular rivalry stimuli to binocular fusion stimuli by changing the stimulus viewed by one eye. Depending on the prevailing percept, these changes either elicited a change in perception or did not. This procedure allowed for time-locked event-related potential analyses to physically identical events differing in their perception. When a stimulus changed without awareness, similar but attenuated neural responses were found compared to when a stimulus changed with awareness. The onset of the attenuation, however, differed depending on the specific stimulus dimension that was changed: with changes in stimulus orientation or shape awareness-dependent modulations began at about 100 ms (P1), with changes in color at about 200 ms (N1), and with changes in motion at about 220 ms (P2). Despite the differences in onset times, source activity correlated with perception for all changes was in similar ventro-lateral occipito-temporal networks. This suggests that visual awareness is mediated by dimension-unspecific superior cortical areas but its effects follow a dimension-specific time-course.


June 14, 2019  -  SPECIAL TALK

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Robert O'Shea  (University of Leipzig - Cognitive and Biological Psychology, invited by Thomas Lachmann)

Topic: Visual consciousness in the split brain

Abstract: Binocular rivalry is the alternation in visibility between a stimulus presented to one eye and a different stimulus presented to the other. One theory is that the alternations reflect switching of activity between the hemispheres, each of which processes one of the rival stimuli. Another theory is that the alternations reflect switching by a structure located in the right fronto-parietal cortex (RFPC). My colleagues and I tested both theories by examining rivalry in observers whose corpus callosums had been cut (split-brain observers). When rival stimuli are confined to a split-brain observer's left hemisphere, both theories predict that the observer would report no rivalry. We first trained the observers to respond reliably to real changes in binocular stimuli presented to the left and right hemispheres. Then we presented rival stimuli for one-minute trials. We found similar rivalry from the left and right hemispheres of split-brain observers; this rivalry was similar to that exhibited by intact-brain observers. We found the same for simple and complex rivalry stimuli. We also found that rivalry in two patches confined to one hemisphere of a split-brain observer would synchronise, but not when each patch was shown to opposite hemispheres. Intact-brain observers’ rivalry synchronised within and between hemispheres. We conclude that rivalry is processed similarly in the two hemispheres and at a low level in the visual System.


June 27, 2019

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Frank Jäkel (Chair for Models of Higher Cognition at the Centre for Cognitive Science, Darmstadt University, invited by Thomas Lachmann)

Topic: Concepts and Categories: Combining Insights from Machine Learning and Experimental Psychology

Abstract: Categorization is a fundamental cognitive ability. Many, if not all, highercognitive functions, like language or problem-solving, crucially depend on categorization. Therefore, categorization has been studied by cognitive scientists and researchers in artificial intelligence alike. Early machine learning algorithms for categorization were inspired by psychology and neuroscience, but today machine learning is a mature field and more recent methods have been developed far beyond their original cognitive motivations. These methods, in turn, can be used to inform experimental studies of human categorization behavior. I will show several examples of how insights from machine learning can feed back into experimental psychology. This is, however, not a one way route: Cognitive models can still shed light on human conceptual behaviors that currently no computer can emulate. I will argue that a full understanding of concepts and categories will depend on a combination of insights from machine learning and experimental psychology.


July 04, 2019

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Odette Sharenborg (University of Delft, Department of Intelligent Systems, invited by Thomas Lachmann)

Topic: Listening in a non-native language in the presence of background noise

Abstract: Most people will have noticed that communication in the presence of background noise is more difficult in a non-native than in the native language - even for those who have a high proficiency in the non-native language involved. Why is that? I will present results of several experiments investigating the effect of background noise on the multiple activation, competition and recognition processes in non-native spoken-word recognition, and the perception of sentence accent in non-native listening. The results support the hypothesis that the performance differences between native and non-native listeners in the presence of background noise is, at least partially, caused by a reduced flexibility of the perceptual system during non-native listening and a reduced exploitation of higher-level information during speech processing by non-native listeners.


July 09, 2019  -  SPECIAL TALK

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Elena Nicoladis (Universtiy of Alberta - Psychology, invited by Shanley Allen)

Topic: Bilingual children’s vocabulary is limited: How then can they tell a story with lots of different words?

Abstract: Studies have consistently shown that bilingual children score lower on vocabulary tests within one language relative to monolingual children. Curiously, some studies have shown that bilingual children can use just as many different words to tell a story as monolinguals in both of their languages. One possible explanation for these results is that bilinguals exploit the flexible medium of story-telling by using different words from monolinguals to express important concepts. I present the results of studies of story-telling by Mandarin-English and French-English bilingual children between 4 and 6 years of age that test that possibility. The results show that the bilingual children can (but do not always) use just as many different words as monolinguals. Vocabulary scores are a strong predictor of monolingual children’s lexical diversity. For bilingual children, measures of cognitive flexibility but not vocabulary scores predict lexical diversity. These results are consistent with the argument that, in the context of story-telling, bilingual children can flexibly choose their words to convey the message.



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