Centre for Cognitive Science (COGS)


COGS Seminars provide a forum for internationally recognised researchers from all corners of cognitive science research to present and discuss their latest findings. All are welcome to attend.

Spring 2019

Tuesdays 16:00-17:30


Feb 12    

The rubber hand illusion is (to an unknown degree) a suggestion effect. 
Peter Lush
University of Sussex

Abstract: The experience of ownership over a fake hand can be induced by providing synchronous tactile and visual information, so that a brush stroke on a participant’s concealed hand is experienced at the same time as brush strokes on a visible fake hand. This ‘rubber hand illusion’ has attracted considerable scientific interest because it appears to provide insight into bodily self-consciousness. Hypnotisability is the ability to generate experience in response to imaginative suggestion, an ability which can be engaged in non-hypnotic contexts. Hypnotisability is a normally distributed trait and experimental participants are drawn from this distribution. Paradigms which require a striking change in subjective experience may therefore reflect response to suggestion. In a large sample, we report evidence for a role of suggestion in implicit and explicit measures of the rubber hand illusion. The magnitude of reports of agreement with illusion statements is susceptible to direct suggestion and is positively related to hypnotisability. Proprioceptive drift (a perceived shift in hand location) is related to hypnotisability both in magnitude and in the difference in effect between synchronous and asynchronous inductions. Finally, both measures are sensitive to the implicit priming of expectations by information made available during testing. Measures of the rubber hand illusion are related to hypnotisability to a degree comparable to the relationship between hypnotisability and individual hypnotisability scale items. The rubber hand illusion is, therefore (and to an uncertain degree) a suggestion effect.

Pevensey 1 1B8 

Mar 5    

Title: tbc 
Christian Beste

Abstract: tba

Arun 401

Mar 12

Title: tba
Pasha Dawood Parpia

Abstract: tba

Pev1 2A12

Mar 26

Title: Computational Psychiatry and the Construction of Human Experience
Andy Clark

Abstract: An emerging body of work in cognitive philosophy and computational neuroscience depicts human brains as prediction machines – multi-level networks that specialize in using generative models to both match and anticipate the evolving stream of sensory information. However, the relationship between these posited cascades of prediction and conscious human experience itself remains unclear. Recent work in computational psychiatry provides important clues. For example, it is thought that malfunctions in hierarchical inference can explain core patterns of alteration seen in autism and schizophrenia, and can shed new light on so-called ‘psychogenic’ symptoms - functional impairments without standard organic causes. Such accounts reveal the deep continuities between perception, belief, and hallucination and may help reveal common processing motifs underlying both typical and atypical forms of human experience.

Arun 401

Apr 9

David Gamez

Abstract: tba

Chi 3 3R143 

Apr 30

The rational(?) status of the conjunction effect
Emmanuel Pothos
City University London

Abstract:The predominant normative and descriptive framework for human decision making is classical (Bayesian) probability. Despite many predictive successes, there have also been reports of persistent violations of key classical principles in human behaviour, for example, as associated with the influential Tversky, Kahneman tradition (e.g., Nobel prize in economics for Kahneman in 2002 and recently for Thaler). A particularly evocative finding is the so-called conjunction effect, according to which in some cases participants are happy to consider Prob(A&B)>Prob(A). Can human intuition be so much at odds with (classical) probabilistic prescription? Classical probability theory is not the only formal probabilistic framework potentially relevant in decision theory. Quantum probability theory — the probability rules from quantum mechanics without any of the physics — is a potential alternative. Can the application of quantum probability theory shed light on the rational or otherwise status of the conjunction effect? Can we be justified in employing tools from physics in psychology? What exactly is quantum in human cognition? Are there novel, interesting predictions from the application of quantum theory to psychology? The aim of the seminar would be to consider these questions and generally motivate the application of quantum theory in cognition.

Ful 202

May 14

Title: tba
Takashi Ikegami



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