Centre for Cognitive Science (COGS)

Spring 2020

Spring 2020

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.