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.

Autumn 2019

Tuesdays 16:00-17:30


Jan 28

Predictive oscillations in speech perception
Matt Davis

Abstract: In conversation we recognise 150 spoken words per minute and achieve comprehension with a speed and accuracy that remains unmatched by artificial systems. This talk will present perceptual, brain imaging (with fMoscillations are illustrated by perceptual illusions, and perceptual after-effects that suggest new ways in which the perception of speech can be perturbed or enhanced.

Arts A05

Feb 11

Self-constructed experiences
Adrian Alsmith

Abstract: A striking feature of human psychology is the capacity for a subject to experience something as being the case whilst not believing it to be the case. For instance, in the rubber hand illusion, a subject experiences a rubber hand as her own, even though she does not believe that it is; in immersive VR, a subject can experience being present in a virtual world, even though she does not believe that she is. There is a standard view in cognitive science which treats all instances of such apparently countervailing beliefs as evidence of the belief-independence of illusions. Moreover, evidence of the independence of the subject's (illusory) experience from her beliefs about what she experiences is taken as evidence of a robust distinction between perception and cognition, and even as evidence that perception is inherently passive. However, the standard view is inadequate to explain the patterning of data provided by the rubber hand illusion protocol (and its variants), as well as recent work on the experience of immersive VR. This motivates consideration of a neglected alternative, that a subject's experiences can be partially determined by beliefs - but not beliefs about reality, rather beliefs which provide a context distinguishing the objects and events she perceives from reality. This allows for a variety of powerful accounts of the data for which the standard view is inadequate. Common to all of these accounts is the suggestion that there is a class of high-level illusions, in which the subject's higher-level cognitive resources mesh with the structure of her sensory input, such that her experience is partially self-constructed.

Arun 401

Feb 25

David Mellor
South Wales



Mar 10

[CANCELLED] Mr Market on the Couch; Introducing the Market Mind Hypothesis, the Final Frontier of Behavioural Finance
Patrick Schotanus

Abstract:This presentation introduces the Market Mind Hypothesis (MMH). MMH pushes the respective boundaries of both the extended/distributed mind theory and behavioural finance. Popularly speaking, MMH recognises that Mr Market has a mind, warts and all. In simple terms, MMH formalises what investors have always casually referred to as "the market's mind", including its relationship to the real (physical) economy which showed a dangerous tail-wagging-the-dog dynamic during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). More technically, MMH states that the market, embodying interacting conscious investors and their technologies, not only distributes their knowledge but also intersubjectively extends their minds, thereby manifesting collective consciousness. Prices form the signatures of this, while market mood is its phenomenal experience. Unfortunately, Mr Market has not been healthy for a while and neither has the wider economic community of which he is part (exemplified by excessive debt, negative yields, and flash crashes). The key cause is, simultaneously, also mainstream economics' "true problem": not recognising, let alone addressing economics' "hard problem". Specifically, driven by physics envy its mechanical "equilibrium" paradigm views and treats (e.g. via monetary policies) the economy as a machine, the market as an automaton, and humans as robots. In short, mainstream economics has made a flawed ontological commitment that is becoming very expensive. This is particularly relevant in light of the almost uncritical embracement of AI and other automation, but also in the context of ESG investing. The presentation will cover this, as well as numerous other topics, including historic origins, Lehman's Lesson, price discovery, and the projects (to be) hosted on our MMH Research Platform, a unique collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and COGS, supported by the Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Arun 401

Mar 24

Making music with machine learning and dynamical systems
Chris Keifer

Abstract:Machine learning models are becoming a common part of the computer-musician's creative toolbox, for varied applications in composition, mapping, sound design and production. Many of these tools use only pre-trained models; there's an opportunity to open up the process of designing and training machine learning models to musicians for deeper creative engagement. This requires fresh approaches compared to current commonly-used deep learning techniques, with models that are lightweight and open to realtime manipulation.

This presentation will demonstrate such an approach, showing new reservoir computing techniques for sound synthesis, pattern generation and pattern recognition, with conceptor-controlled recurrent neural networks. These techniques will be demonstrated using Sema, a browser-based livecoding platform for machine learning and music, which has been made as part of the AHRC project 'Musically Intelligent Machines Interacting Creatively'.

Arun 401

Apr 21

Jonny Lee


Arun 401

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