May 4, 2012
& End Date
at 200-002 (History Corner)
"How the Brain Makes Meaning: Explorations in the Cognitive Science and Cognitive Neuroscience of Semantic Cognition"
Friday, May 4, 2012
1:30 - 5:15 pm
Building 200, Room 002 (History Corner), Stanford University
(free and open to all)
How do we go beyond the information given to attribute unseen properties to things? For example, when you see a bird on a branch, how do you know that it might fly away? The speakers in this symposium will approach these and related questions using a combination of computational models, data from experimental studies of children's and adult's semantic cognition, and studies of the neural basis of semantic processing, including effects of brain damage and functional brain imaging studies. The work grows out of the Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) framework for modeling cognitive processes, which will be introduced, along with a model of semantic cognition, in the first talk. In this approach, cognitive processes are seen as emergent consequences of interactive processing distributed over ensembles of mutually interconnected neurons that employ learned distributed representations to represent semantic content. As the symposium will make clear, this framework is useful in accounting for findings from cognitive neuroscience, and makes contact with central issues in representation, processing and learning within cognitive science as well.
1:30 - 3:00: Session I
Introduction: A PDP model of semantic cognition and its use in understanding the development of object knowledge in children
James L. McClelland, Stanford University
The functioning of a degraded semantic network: observations from neurological patients and a PDP model
Karalyn Patterson, University of Cambridge, UK
3:00 - 3:15: Coffee Break
3:15 - 4:45: Session II
Cross-domain knowledge sharing in PDP models: How learned, distributed representations support metaphor and analogy
Paul Thibodeau, Stanford University
Semantic knowledge and the ability to use it: Separable mechanisms revealed through patterns of patient deficits, functional imaging, and transient brain stimulation
Matt Lambon Ralph, University of Manchester, UK
4:45 - 5:15: General Discussion
Participants are invited to attend the Opening Reception for the 25th Anniversary of the Symbolic Systems Program, which will be held in the Jacks-Jordan Hall Courtyard, Lower Level, from 5:30-7:00
This event is sponsored by the Psychology Department, the Center for the Study of Language and Information, the Center for Mind, Brain and Computation, the Symbolic Systems Program, and the Stanford Humanities Center. Funding for this program comes in part from gifts to endowment from individuals as well as from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.