CLPS News Archive

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Virtual Crowds Produce Real Behavior Insights

The cognitive scientists in the Virtual Environment Navigation lab at Brown University are not only advancing a frontier of behavioral research but also of technology.

Led by Professor William Warren, the group developed a wireless virtual reality system to study a phenomenon that scientists don’t yet understand: how pedestrians interact with each other and how those individual behaviors, in turn, generate patterns of crowd movement. It’s an everyday experience for all kinds of animals including ants, birds, fish and people.

Read more and view video footage of the VENlab's innovative virtual reality environment and swarm research.

Free Will Seems a Matter of Mind, Not Soul

A new study tested whether people believe free will arises from a metaphysical basis or mental capacity. Even though most respondents said they believed humans to have souls, they judged free will and assigned blame for transgressions based on pragmatic considerations — such as whether the actor in question had the capacity to make an intentional and independent choice.

Read more about this study at the Brown News site.

Can Robots Learn Right From Wrong?

Can a machine have morals?

The more robots are able to do, the more likely they are to face decisions that demand a moral perspective. A new grant from the Office of Naval Research supports work at Tufts University, Brown University, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute aimed at giving robots "moral competence." At Brown, Prof. Brtram Malle is developing a model of moral competence in humans — no small task, but an essential first step.

Read more about this research at the Brown News site.

EEG Study: Brain Infers Structure, Rules of Tasks

A new study from Anne Collins, Postdoctoral Researcher in Prof. Michael Frank's Laboratory of Neural Computation and Cognition, documents the brain activity underlying our strong tendency to infer a structure of context and rules when learning new tasks (even when a structure isn’t valid). The findings, which revealed individual differences, shows how we try to apply task knowledge to similar situations and could inform future research on learning disabilities.

Read more about this study at the Brown News site.

CLPS Grad Student Ali Arslan Wins Brain Computation Competition

Congratulations to Ali Arslan, CLPS grad student, who took first place in the first Brown Institute for Brain Science's brain computation competition! Ali decoded the neural signals recorded from research subjects, to predict what the subjects paid attention to during an experimental task.

Read more about the competation at the Brown News site.

Prof. Thomas Serre Receives NSF CAREER Award

Prof. Thomas Serre, has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, the NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty scientists. Serre’s CAREER work focuses on one important piece of the human visual puzzle: The mechanism through which we recognize objects.

Read more at the Brown News site.

AB Psychology Concentration Information Session: Tuesday, March 18

An information session will be held for all undergraduates interested in the AB Psychology Concentration on Tuesday, March 18, from 4:00-5:00pm, in room 305, Metcalf Research Building (CLPS Department) at 190 Thayer Street. Students unable to attend the session may contact (AB Psychology Concentration Advisor)for more information, or contact to schedule an appointment.