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Marc Brysbaert

Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium

Prof. Brysbaert's research spans a number of areas including but not limited to numerical cognition, laterality of cognitive functions, bilingualism, and reading. He is the director of the Center for Reading Research ( which focuses on Visual Word Recognition, Language Dominance & Dyslexia in Higher Education. He has been one of the dominant forces when it comes to creating methods & resources for research in different areas of Cognitive Psychology, such as different versions of the SUBTLEX databases for word frequencies in different languages, several versions of lexical tests in different languages among others. He has also authored several widely used textbooks such as ‘ Historical & Conceptual Issues in Psychology’ & ‘Fundamentals of Cognition’ and ‘Basic Statistics for Psychologists’.


The limits of Popperian research: What psychology researchers must learn from engineers


Research in psychology is dominated by Popper’s approach, in which absolute priority is given to test new, bold hypotheses. Existing knowledge is not trusted and there is little room for efforts to understand and solve existing problems in a constructive, incremental and collaborative way. Detailed descriptions of problems, fine-grained investigations of relationships among variables and incremental improvements to existing measurements are of secondary importance and are not rewarded in the grant and publication system. It is argued that this situation has arisen from an overzealous interpretation of the recommendations of philosophers of science on how to do good research, just as behaviorism was an overreaction to the guidelines given at the beginning of the 20th century on the scientific method. Ward (1998) already warned that the Popperian approach leads to far less progress in understanding real, complex problems than an engineering approach in which researchers first try to understand the problems, then try to develop tools that improve performance, and only apply falsification when they have a good understanding of the problem. Developments in the 21st century have confirmed Ward's warnings (see also Scheel et al., 2021). In this talk, I will show how psycholinguistic research is adopting Ward's recommendations, how this has interacted with the big data approach, and how other areas of research are likely to benefit from the approach.

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Mark Elliott

Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Galway

Prof. Elliot is a measurement scientist with backgrounds in general psychology and cognitive science. His scholarly lineage originates in the German Gestalt Schools, reflecting scientific and philosophical interests in perceptual structure, alongside the dynamics of mechanisms that bring this structure about.His basic research has focused on examining the cognitive microstructural dynamics of visual and auditory representation using experimental methods alongside some EEG and neuroimaging. This interest has evolved into studies of the dynamics inherent in art and music, as well as investigations of microstructural dynamics in mechanisms coding art and music. His clinical research has included investigations of schizophrenia, autism-spectrum-disorder, central-auditory-processing disorder, specific-reading and language-impaired children as well as stroke-lesioned patients.


The Temporal, Spatial and Figurative Structure of Visual Apperceptive Space


Our understanding of human visual perception generally rests on the assumption that a conscious visual state represents, as some qualitative product, a complex interaction between spatially structured variations in the ambient optic array and our visual nervous systems. The existence of visual hallucination (purely subjective experience or 'Apperception' as this refer to Herbart's 'Vorstellungen') in a number of pathologies as well as in experimental contexts questions the assumption that what we see in the environment is necessarily determined by spatial structure in the distal stimulus. It also indicates that conscious visual states might be triggered by external stimulation that does not ultimately relate to what the observer actually 'sees' in the environment. We have shown that the apperception of complex colour and forms is evoked by flickering light and that the type of apperceptive experience can vary with flicker frequency and phase (Becker & Elliott, 2006; Becker et al., 2008; Elliott et al., 2012; also Elliott et al., 2021 for an equivalent effect in auditory experience). The occurrence of a given apperceptive experience is also determined by its co-occurrence with other experiences. These results indicate that experience of colour and form may be evoked directly by particular variations in the flow of spatially unstructured light over time even though this visual stimulus is not characterized by any particular colour or form: This evidence supports theories of apperceptive, or experiential structure related to the dynamic constraints applied by the underlying brain-cognitive system.

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Anindita Bhadra

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Kolkata

Prof. Bhadra has always been interested in behavior and cognition of animals in the wild. While a multitude of people in the ACCS conference are presenting their research on different aspects of human cognition, she brings for us a foray into the intricacies of animal cognition, through the insights from her work in the Dog Lab at IISER Kolkata. Dr. Bhadra in several years of research has explored various interesting topics related to the behaviour of dogs, for e.g. their mating behavior, foraging habits and also their parental behaviour towards their offsprings. She has published several research articles in reputed journals as well as popular science articles where she talks about her ecological studies with dogs which are carried out in a naturalistic environment.


Dogs and their human neighbours in the Urban Ecosystem


Dogs and humans share a very special relationship, which has evolved at least 15000 years ago. Pet dogs are known to understand various human social gestures and postures, and show a high degree of reliability on humans. They are also totally dependent on their human owners and caregivers and are raised in human homes, which is likely to influence their cognitive abilities and personalities. Free-ranging dogs present an interesting model system for understanding the innate nature of dogs, and their abilities to communicate and interact with humans without prior training. This talk will highlight some of the findings of The Dog Lab that help us to understand dogs and their ability to survive in the human jungle.

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Sridharan Devarajan

Associate Professor, Centre of Neuroscience, IISC Bangalore

Prof. Devarajan's overarching goal is to develop a unified framework that describes how cognitive phenomena emerge from neural computations by a systematic analysis of neurons and behavior. To do this, he follows a quantitative approach that combines neuroscience experiments, model-based analyses (e.g., linear/nonlinear dynamical systems, control theory, machine learning) as well as large-scale computer simulations. His lab also directly measures or perturbs brain activity in human subjects performing cognitively demanding tasks by employing a variety of cutting-edge techniques, including functional neuroimaging (fMRI), diffusion imaging (dMRI), high-density electroencephalography (EEG), and transcranial electrical and magnetic stimulation (tES/tMS).


Splitting attention into its atomic components


Every day, we face an information overload. How does our brain select information that is relevant for behavior and ignore that which is irrelevant? This is the central question driving our research: to understand the neural basis of the cognitive capacity that we call, and intuitively understand as, "selective attention". Surprisingly, despite more than a century of research, neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers alike continue to grapple with very fundamental aspects of attention, like its definition and even its very existence [1, 2, 3]! I will argue that this is perhaps because attention is not an atomic (unitary) phenomenon. Recent experiments from our lab confirm that attention can affect behavior through at least one of two sub-components. One enhances "sensitivity" by improving the sensory processing of relevant information. The other enhances "bias" by prioritizing the most relevant information for making decisions. I will describe several lines of experiments from our lab that leverage diverse techniques, including psychophysics, neurostimulation, diffusion MRI, MR spectroscopy, EEG, and modeling, that enable us to split attention into its atomic components. The results may "shatter your worldview" [4] of this ubiquitous cognitive phenomenon!
[1] Anderson. There is no such thing as attention. Frontiers in Psychology, 2011.
[2] Krauzlis et al. Attention as an effect, not a cause. Trends in Cognitive Science, 2014.
[3] Hommel et al. No one knows what attention is. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 2019.
[4] Oppenheimer.