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  • Sep
    12:00pm - 1:30pm

    Developmental Brown Bag

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Lisa Fazio - Associate Professor- Vanderbilt

    Title: Understanding the Effects of Repetition on Belief

    Abstract: Repetition increases belief in false statements. This illusory truth effect occurs with many different types of statements (e.g., trivia facts, news headlines, advertisements), and even occurs when the false statement contradicts participants’ prior knowledge. I will present a series of studies demonstrating that the effects of repetition are widespread – occurring for even very implausible statements, occurring in naturalistic settings, and occurring across development. However, the effects are not inevitable, I will also discuss situations where the repetition has only a minimal effect on belief.

    Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Sep
    3:00pm - 5:00pm

    CLPS PhD Defense: Babak Hemmatian Borujeni

    Metcalf Friedman Auditorium -190 Thayer St

    Speaker: Babak Hemmatian Borujeni , Brown University

    Title: Taking the High Road: A Big Data Investigation of Natural Discourse in the Emerging U.S. Consensus about Marijuana Legalization

    Abstract: U.S. support for marijuana legalization grew from 38% to 65% in 2008-2019. To find the discourse features that preceded and followed the shift, I curated a comprehensive corpus of Reddit comments from the same period. Neural networks trained on human annotations of attitude and persuasion attempts separated strategic use of narratives from non-argumentative discourse. Two narrative frames considered important to persuasion in past research were studied: anecdotal vs. generalized content. I operationalized anecdotal frames based on three linguistic clause-level features: Whether the clause is about a generic kind, if it represents a reliable state or an event, and whether any events are bounded in time. A corpus of Reddit and news was annotated for these features and more, neural networks based on which estimated anecdotal properties in the broader Reddit dataset. Anecdotal themes were less prevalent but present in most comments, particularly in arguments favoring legalization. Nationally, a surge in anecdotes within non-argumentative discourse happened over time as a consequence of attitude shifts. Generalized discourse was a potential cause with major surges around the 2012 and 2016 legal milestones. Attempts to associate generalized discourse with legal changes were complicated by marijuana’s varied status across the U.S. I therefore inferred user locations and compared the rate of anecdotal themes before and after legalization in comments from pioneering states. More generalized frames set the stage for each successful legalization bid. The particular content, however, varied between the two milestones. Character judgments were prominent in 2012, while crimes and politics took center-stage in 2016. The generalized precedents of legalization in the two periods shared argumentative and moralistic focus but had distinctive clause-level profiles. Meanwhile, legal and medical arguments were sidelined, meaning the novel consensus was not informed by much of the relevant information. Together, my findings present generalized argument framing as a harbinger of attitude shift toward hot-button topics, and anecdotal non-argumentative framing as a consequence of it. The machine learning pipeline that made this insight possible is novel for social media research but general-purpose, allowing similar abstract narrative frames to be broken down into theory-driven constituents, and studied in quantitative detail.

    Advisor: Steven Sloman

    ~ All Are Invited ~

    If you are not a part of the CLPS Department and would like to attend virtually, please contact [email protected] , at least 24 hours ahead of time.

    Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Sep

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Dr. Alessandra Sciutti, Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)

    Title: Establishing shared perception with a robot

    Abstract: For robots to become an effective component of our society, it is necessary that these agents become primarily cognitive systems, endowed with a cognitive architecture that enables them to adapt, predict, and pro-actively interact with the environment and communicate with the human partners. Human communication depends on mutual understanding: I know how to communicate because I entertain a model of you, which enables me to select an effective way to convey to you what I want and to have an intuition of your internal states – what you need, fear or desire. Such intuition enables me to perceive properties that would be otherwise not accessible to my perception, as goals, emotions or effort. Our contribution to the roadmap toward cognitive systems leverages on the use of a humanoid robot (iCub) to test some of our assumptions on how to build a cognitive interactive agent. We attempt at modeling the minimal skills necessary for cognitive development, focusing on the visual features that enable to recognize the presence of other agents in the scene, to allow action matching across different visual perspectives and to foster automatic speed adaptation in human-robot interactive repetitive tasks. In a dual approach, we are trying to understand how to modulate robot behavior to elicit better human understanding and to express different characteristics of the interaction: from the mood to the level of commitment. This approach is propaedeutic to the creation of a cognitive system, by helping in the definition of what is relevant to attend to, starting from signals originating from the intrinsic characteristics of the human body. We believe that only a structured effort toward cognition will in the future allow for more humane machines, able to see the world and people as we do and engage with them in a meaningful manner.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
  • Oct
    2:00pm - 3:30pm

    Social Cognitive Seminar Series

    Metcalf Research Building

    Michael S. Goodman ’74 Memorial Seminar Series.

    Speaker: Jae-Young Son - PhD Student - Brown
    Title: Cognitive maps of social features enable flexible inference in social networks
    Abstract: In order to navigate a complex web of relationships, an individual must learn and represent the connections between people in a social network. However, the sheer size and complexity of the social world makes it impossible to acquire firsthand knowledge of all relations within a network, suggesting that people must make inferences about unobserved relationships to fill in the gaps. Across three studies (n = 328), we show that people can encode information about social features (e.g., hobbies, clubs) and subsequently deploy this knowledge to infer the existence of unobserved friendships in the network. Using computational models, we test various feature-based mechanisms that could support such inferences. We find that people’s ability to successfully generalize depends on two representational strategies: a simple but inflexible similarity heuristic that leverages homophily, and a complex but flexible cognitive map that encodes the statistical relationships between social features and friendships. Together, our studies reveal that people can build cognitive maps encoding arbitrary patterns of latent relations in many abstract feature spaces, allowing social networks to be represented in a flexible format.

    Academic Calendar, University Dates & Events, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Neuroscience, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences