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Workshop: Computational Neuroscience of Event Cognition

12 – 14 February 2018, Otago

The question of how events are apprehended, represented, and processed is of pivotal importance throughout cognitive science.  In studies of animal cognition, events typically include cue signals and reward stimuli, which are received by animals in experimental paradigms, as well as the actions they execute.  At issue is how these events are represented in memory and how they affect behaviour.  In studies of human cognition, events are often seen as a key building block for high-level cognitive mechanisms, such as episodic memory and language, integrating various percepts, dynamics, and actions into integrative, consistent wholes.  Moreover, they help to explain how a continuous stream of sensorimotor stimuli is transformed into discrete, high-level, conceptual representations, which are compositionally recombinable.  There are many parallels between these notions of events.  In both cases, reward and punishment but also predictions, expectations, and violations of them are important in the processes through which event representations are learned.  In both cases, the integrative and sequential structure of events is of central importance.  In both cases, event encodings play an important role in predicting the near and somewhat more distant future.  And in both cases, the hippocampus plays a key role in memorizing and recollecting events – supplemented by circuitry for consolidation and decision making in prefrontal cortex.

The COmputational NeuroscieNce of Event CogniTion (CONNECT) workshop will focus on computational models of event representation, and their empirical foundations.  We are seeking participation from computational modellers, but also from experimental researchers whose studies bear on models of event representation.  We are particularly interested in models of event encodings that suggest roles for circuits involving the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, and for the brain areas that provide inputs to these regions.

The workshop is organised within the framework of the Matariki Network of Universities, as part of the network’s Brain and Mind theme.  Participants are encouraged to present their own research.  Please note that the abstract submission deadline has now passed, but event registrations are still being taken. More detailed programme information will be available soon.

Workshop organisers: Professor David Bilkey (University of Otago), Professor Alistair Knott (University of Otago) and Professor Martin Butz (University of Tübingen)

Please contact bhrc-admin@psy.otago.ac.nz with any questions or to register your interest. The event poster can be downloaded here.