Cognition Seminar

The Cognition Seminar Series (CogSem) covers topics ranging from memory, learning, cognitive control and affect. Often these topics are discussed in the framework of Cognitive Science, Cognitive Neuroscience, Computational Modeling, Behavioral Neuroscience, and more. 

CogSem takes place in Metcalf Research Building, Room 305 (Dome room).

Open to all members of the Brown community.

Upcoming talks are announced on the CogSem mailing list

2022-2023 Speakers

November 11: Charley Wu, University of Tübingen: The Dynamics of Social Learning in Immersive Environment

December 2: Mariam Aly, Columbia University: How hippocampal memory shapes, and is shaped by, attention

February 3: Nadja Ging-Jehli, CLPS: Cognitive & attentional mechanisms of cooperation: A diffusion model application with implications for ADHD research and computational psychiatry

March 17: Xiangyuan Peng, CLPS: Parahippocampal cortices are necessary for retrieving neutral cue-cue associations for associative chaining

April 4: Alana Jaskir, CLPS: Expediency and generalization in human reinforcement learning

April 28: Peter Hitchcock, CLPS: A Computational Lens on Rumination and Worry 

May 19: Taylor Wise, CLPS: TBA

2021-2022 Speakers

October 22: Leor Zmigrod, University of Cambridge: A neurocognitive model of ideological thinking

November 5: Vishnu Murty, Temple University: Agency, Memory, and the Construction of Cohesive Events

November 19: Janice Chen, John Hopkins University: Brain Dynamics Underlying Memory for Continuous Natural Events

December 3: Apoorva Bhandari, Brown University: Flexible representations for a nimble cognition

February 11: Meghan Gallo, Brown University: Exposure to early life adversity disrupts mechanisms of reward learning and decision making in mice

March 4: Alexander Fengler, Brown University: Simulation Based Inference for Cognitive Process Models

March 11: Claire Gillan, Trinity College Dublin: Getting personal with network theory of mental health and illness

March 25: Charan Ranganath, UC Davis: Moments for Memories

April 8: Claudio Toro Serey, Harvard Medical School: Evaluating the neural juxtaposition of value-related and introspective cognitive functions in individuals 

May 27: James Howard, Brandeis University: To be specific: neural mechanisms of reward identity learning in the human brain

2020-2021 Speakers

September 11: Alexander Fengler, Alana Jaskir, Jason Leng, Harrizon Ritz, Brown University 

September 25: Jonathan Kominsky, Rutgers University: The development of causal thought

October 9: Maureen Ritchey, Boston College: Making memories: Brain networks supporting episodic binding and reconstruction 

October 23: Hwamee Oh, Brown University: Visual scene memory in aging and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease

November 6: Marion Rouault, ENS Paris: Metacognitive signals for learning and decision-making

November 20: Tomer Ullman, Harvard University: Models of Core Knowledge (Physics, Really)

January 29: Megan deBettencourt, Chicago: Dynamics of attention and memory 

February 12: Emily Levin, Brown University: Predicted utility influences fidelity of WM representations

February 26: Ida Momennejad, Microsoft: Navigation Turing Test: Toward Human-like RL

March 12: Robb Rutledge, Yale University: A Computational and Neural Model for Mood Dynamics

March 26: Mingyu Song, Princeton University: Using Recurrent Neural Networks to Understand Human Reward Learning

April 9: Babak Hemmatian, Brown University: Taking the High Road: a Big Data Investigation of Natural Discourse in the Emerging Consensus about Marijuana Legalization

April 23: Taraz Lee, University of Michigan: Motivation-cognition interactions and their effect on skilled action

2019-2020 Speakers

October 11: Debbie Yee, Brown University 

October 25: Eunkyu Hwang, Brown University / Harrison Ritz, Brown University

November 8: Sam Mckenzie, New York University

November 22: Arif Hamid, Brown University

December 13: Meghan Gallo, Brown University/ TBD

January 31: Michael Bernstein, Brown University

February 7: Ishita Dasgupta, Princeton University

February 14: Luke Chang, Dartmouth College

February 21: Juliet Davidow, Northeastern University

February 28: TBD

March 6: Maureen Ritchey, Boston College

March 13: TBD

March 20: Tomer Ullman, Harvard University

April 3: Danny Ullman, Brown University

April 10: Jeroen Van Baar, Brown University

April 13: Liane Young, Boston College

April 17: TBD

April 24: Hwamee Oh, Brown University

May 1: Amrita Lamba & Joey Heffner, Brown University

May 8: Saaid Mendoza, Providence College

Past Speakers


  • David Sobel,Brown University
    (Sept. 28)Bridging the gap between children’s causal and scientific reasoning

  • Jeffrey Starns, UMass, Amherst:
    (Oct. 5) Validity of researcher inference in recognition memory: A blinded validation study

  • Sydney Levine, MIT/Harvard University:
    (Oct. 12) The Use of Moral Rules and Representations: Case Studies with Preschoolers and Adults 

  • Caterina Magri, Harvard University:
    (Oct. 26) TBA

  • Babak Hemmatian, Brown University:
    (Nov. 2) TBA

  • Hyley Dorfman, Harvard University:
    (Nov. 9) TBA

  • Leah Bakst, Boston University:
    (Nov. 16) TBA

  • Linda Yu, Brown University:
    (Nov. 30) TBA


  • Florian Jaeger, University of Rochester:
    From processing to language change and cross-linguistic distributions

  • Heidi Baumgartner, Brown University:
    Interactions between visual attention and memory in infancy

  • Marjorie Rhode, NYU
    The implications of essentialism for biological and social thought

  • George Kachergis, NYU:
    Memory- and Uncertainty-driven Attention to Learn Nouns--and More!

  • Xuan Zhao, Brown University:
    Spontaneous visual perspective taking: When do we see through others' eyes?

  • Denise Werchan, Brown University:
    An Ecological Model of Prefrontal Cortex Development

  • Tobias Gerstenberg, MIT:
    From counterfactual contrasts to judgments of responsibility

  • James MacGlashan, Brown University:
    Computational Models for Learning from Humans

  • David Lewkowicz, Northeastern University:
    The Early Development of Multisensory Perception & Communication

  • Max Kleiman-Weiner, MIT:
    Inference of Intention and Permissibility in Moral Judgment

  • Ken Kurtz,  Binghamton University:
    From learning internal representations in neural networks to the psychology of category learning

  • Erik Cheries, UMass Amherst:
    The Ins(ides) & Out(sides) of Infants’ Representations of Others 

  • Joseph Williams, Harvard University:
    Designing intelligent user technologies through crowdsourced cognitive science and machine learning research

  • Justin Martin, Harvard University:
    The neural representation of causation

  • Matt Ricci, Brown University:
    Challenges to Hebbianism: A Case from Cerebellar Learning

  • Nicholas Franklin, Brown University:
    Independent clustering and generalization of action-outcome and outcome-values in goal-directed learning


  • Leon Bergen, MIT:
    Pragmatic strategies for efficient communication

  • Adam Bear, Yale University:
    An Evolutionary Model of Dual-Process Morality

  • Matt Goldrick, Northwestern University:
    Phonetic echos of cognitive disruptions in mono- and multi-lingual speech

  • Heather Bortfeld, University of Connecticut:
    Flexibility in perceptual learning: Insights from pediatric cochlear implant users

  • Mark Ho, Brown University:
    Teaching with punishment and reward

  • Inês Tomás Pereira, Brown University:
    The role of postrhinal cortex in contextual representations

  • Carmel Salhi, Harvard Medical School:
    Long-term Changes to Mental Health from Childhood Adversity

  • Anne Collins, Brown University:
    Coordinating and structuring human reinforcement learning

  • Sidney Wiener, CNRS - Collège de France:
    Hippocampal, prefrontal and striatal interactions in memory and decision-making

  • Justin Cox, Brown Univeresity:
    Examining an Implicit Mechanism of Recognition Criterion Regulation

  • Norbert Fortin, UC Irvine:
    The Neurobiology of the memory for sequences of events: a synergistic approach in rats and humans

  • Rebecca Burwell, Brown University:
    Optogenetic Modulation of Recognition Memory

  • Jeff Zemla, Brown University:
    Feedback and vigilance affect speed-accuracy tradeoffs in decision making

  • Ting Qian, Brown University:
    Discovering bundles: Stimulus order as a cue in the learning of latent clusters

  • Matt Nassar, Brown University:
    Surprise and Uncertainty Driven Mechanisms for Adjusting Sensory Influence

  • Josh Abbott, UC Berkeley:
    Random walks, optimal foraging, and semantic memory

  • Deborah Walder, The City University of New York:
    Genes, Environment & Sexual Dimorphisms:  A Polygenic Neurodevelopmental Model of Mental Health Risk