Cognitive Science

Graduate School Meetings - Sommersemester 2019


May 03, 2019

Semester Welcome Meeting 

May 10, 2019

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


Topic: Structural equation modelling in cognitive psychology: The case of cognitive control


Abstract: In the last two decades, individual differences research put forward three cognitive psychometric constructs: cognitive control (i.e., the ability to monitor and control ongoing thoughts and actions), working memory capacity (WMC, i.e., the ability to retain access to a limited amount of information in the service of complex tasks) and fluid intelligence (gF, i.e., the ability to reason with novel information). These constructs have been proposed to be closely related. Whereas the correlation between WMC and fluid intelligence was found to be strong and was replicated several times, previous research failed to substantiate a robust correlation between executive control and the other two constructs as well as a coherent psychometric construct of cognitive control. The goal of the talk is to provide an overview about this research by questioning not only the tasks used to measure cognitive control but also the cognitive-control models identified with structural equation modelling.

May 17, 2019

Speaker: Cristiane Souza (ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute)


Topic: Long-term memories in Autism Spectrum Disorders: What their pattern of impaired versus spared functions tells us about Semantic Memory?


Abstract: Over the years, there has been significant progresses in theories of semantic memory. Although widely explored, there are still open questions about the structural and functional aspects of this neurocognitive function. Specifically, the interaction of this type of memory with other cognitive functions requires further examination. Recently, the hypothesis that the formation of semantic memory is contextual-based and therefore comes from the episodic memories has been discussed. Consequently, the idea that semantic memory can interact with episodic memory finds plausibly. Studies with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have indicated a differentiated pattern in the two types of declarative memories, which turns out to be an interesting model for the study of Declarative Memories. In particular, episodic memories are indicated as impaired while semantic memories are generally spared, although there is evidence of some decline in semantic organization. In this presentation, I will briefly present the profile of declarative memories in ASDs. Next, I will focus on the literature about semantic organization in ASD. The hypothesis of the interdependence between semantic memory and episodic memory will laso be considered. Finally, some relevant questions and ideas for future studies will be presented.

May 24, 2019

Speaker: Sabrina Defren (Cognitive Science member, Supervisor: Thomas Lachmann & Shanley Allen)


Topic: Emotional speech perception across cultures


Abstract: I will give a short overview of what is known about the perception of emotional speech across different cultures so far. We will take a look at a tool to analyse the relative roles of different channels that are used to convey emotion in spoken language. The focus of my talk is on the adaptation of this tool to the German language and its use in studies with native and non-native speakers, and a comparison of their perception of Emotion.

June 14, 2019

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Robert O'Shea (University of Leipizig - 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 28, 2019

Speaker: Phillip Blandfort (Graduate School Member, Supervisors: Shanley Allen & Andreas Dengel)


Topic: Computational Approaches to Subjective Interpretation of Multimedia Messages


Abstract: Communication over social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Youtube has become highly prevalent over the years. Many of the messages on such platforms include multimedia contents (images, GIFs, videos), which caused researchers to talk about Multimedia Big Data. These vast amounts of digital communication data can in principle be processed by computer systems in order to make our lives more convenient or even help us overcome arising issues. For example, machine learning models can help us to find interesting contents or detect problematic contents such as hate speech. At the core, many such goals require the ability to capture how we interpret social media contents from our own subjective points of view.
Thus, the goal of my dissertation is to teach computers to deal with subjective interpretation. My work to this end can be organized into three parts. The first part is concerned with the general question of how interpretation can be modelled for machine learning. Answering this question leads to interesting opportunities for analyzing ways of interpretation with computational methods. The other two parts are application studies, one being about subjective image interpretation on photo-sharing platforms and the other one about gang violence prevention. Each of these two studies illustrates different facets that become relevant when building models to predict subjective interpretation.
In my talk, I will first explain how I understand the concept of interpretation. Then I will give you an overview of the work I've done in my PhD.

July 05, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Réka Vágvölgyi (Cognitive and Developmental Psychology)


Topic: Functional Iliteracy: Projects of the Past and Present


Abstract: Despite having undergone compulsory education, a significant number of adults do not possess the minimum literacy skills required for adequate participation in their respective society. Such adults are considered to be functionally illiterate. However, although functional illiteracy has been internationally recognized since 1979, the causes and the cognitive processing profile of the people are still not fully explored. Furthermore, both an operationalized definition and assessment tool are also still missing.

In my talk, I will first give an overview of my PhD-project, which aimed to contribute to a better understanding of functional illiteracy. This was accomplished by assessing which linguistic, numerical, and cognitive difficulties were associated with functional illiteracy on the individual and group levels. I will then give some insight into our current project, which aims to investigate whether the research findings on developmental dyslexia (risk factors, cognitive processing profile, prevention, intervention) are transferable to functional illiterate adults.

July 12, 2019

Speaker: Omar Jubran (Graduate School member)


Topic: Cognitive Load, Challenges and prospects


Abstract: Cognitive Load Theory by Sweller and Chandler has long been used as a measure of mental effort in working memory tasks. Traditionally, many methods have been used to measure cognitive load; such as task-evoked pupillary response, subjective measures, heart rate variability, and EEG to name a few. However, despite these attempts to measure cognitive load, we still lack a reliable method to quantify and measure it. Moreover, a comparison of different methods has rarely been done in the literature. Our research attempts to bridge the gap in the literature by combining different presentation modes with different biosensor data as well as subjective data to measure cognitive load.

August 09, 2019 (The talk will be in German)

Speaker: Laura Marzen (Graduate School member, Supervisors: Thomas Lachamnn & Maria Klatte)


Topic: Wirksamkeit des computerbasierten Trainingsprogramms Lautarium bei Kindern mit Lese-Rechtschreibschwierigkeiten: eine randomisierte kontrollierte Studie


Abstract: In dieser Studie werden die Effekte des Trainings mit dem computerbasierten Förderprogramm Lautarium (Klatte, Steinbrink, Bergström & Lachmann, 2017) auf die phonologischen und schriftsprachlichen Leistungen von Kindern mit Lese-Rechtschreibschwierigkeiten geprüft. Das Lautarium basiert auf Forschungserkenntnissen zur Bedeutung der phonologischen Verarbeitung für den Schriftspracherwerb. In der hier berichteten Studie wird die Wirksamkeit des Lautarium-Trainings im Rahmen eines randomisierten kontrollierten Designs (randomized controlled trial, RCT) geprüft, welches als „Goldstandard“ in der klinischen Forschung gilt. Die varianzanalytischen Auswertungen der bislang vorliegenden Daten belegen signifikante Effekte des Lautarium-Trainings auf die phonologische Bewusstheit, das Wortlesen und das Rechtschreiben. Diese und weitere Ergebnisse werden berichtet und im Hinblick auf die Praktikabilität und Wirksamkeit computergestützter Förderprogramme im schulischen Setting diskutiert.

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