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  • Ramscar Lab 16:10 on 01.08.2014 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   

    An overdue update 

    A listing of recent talks by Michael on our cognitive aging research:

    • 19th September 2013 — Colloquium: Cognitive Development Center, Central European University, Budapest.
    • 10th October 2013 — Colloquium: Department of Psychology, Warwick University.
    • 15th October 2013 — Colloquium: Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, University College London.
    • 23 October 2013 — Colloquium: Cognitive Science Institute at Osnabrück University.
    • 29 October 2013 — Colloquium: Donders Centre for Cognition, Nijmegen University.
    • 13th November, 2013 — Invited talk: Department of Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington.
    • 15th November, 2013 — Psychonomic Society Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada.
    • 18th November, 2013 — Invited talk: Department of Speech & Hearing, Indiana University, Bloomington.

    Coming up:

    • 16th January 2014 — Harald Baayen will present our work at the Linguistics Department Colloquium, Berkeley, CA.
    • 23rd January, 2014 — Michael will give a colloquium at the Basque Center on Cognition Brain and Language, San Sebastien.
    • 21st February, 2014 — Michael will give a colloquium for the University of Sheffield’s Psychology Department.
  • Ramscar Lab 13:48 on 01.08.2012 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   

    Talks at LSA 2012 

    Friday Morning Session, 11:00 a.m.: Psycholinguistics: Syntax/Discourse

    Richard Futrell (Stanford University), Michael Ramscar (University of Tübingen): German grammatical gender contributes to communicative efficiency

    Sunday Morning Session, 10:30 a.m.: Psycholinguistics Across Level

    Inbal Arnon (University of Haifa), Michael Ramscar (University of Tübingen): Granularity and the acquisition of grammatical gender: How order-of-acquisition affects what gets learned (Cognition article available online)

  • Ramscar Lab 14:27 on 06.17.2011 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   

    Recent Output 

    This year, five of the lab’s papers were accepted for presentation at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society in Boston. These include:

    1. How children learn to value numbers: Information structure & the acquisition of numerical understanding
    2. How pitch category learning comes at a cost to absolute frequency representations
    3. Informativity versus logic: Children and adults take different approaches to word learning
    4. Investigating how infants learn to search in the A-not-B task
    5. Breaking the World into Symbols

    In addition, two abstracts were accepted for presentation at the LSA Workshop “Information-theoretic Approaches to Linguistics.”

    1. The Predictive Function of Prenominal Adjectives
    2. German Grammatical Gender Manages Nominal Entropy

    Thanks to all the hard work from contributing lab members – Richard Futrell, Hanna Popick, Adam November, Joseph Klein, Nikki Aguirre, Linda Diane Ruiz, Edward Suh, Lily Sadaat and Melody Dye!

  • Ramscar Lab 19:21 on 01.27.2011 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   

    April CNS Meeting 

    In April, Profs Michael Ramscar and Sam McClure will be presenting at the 18th Annual Cognitive Neuroscience meeting in San Francisco. They will report the first neurobiological evidence for Feature-Label-Order Effects in learning.

    Manipulating information structure as a method of localizing information processing in the brain

    When formalized in terms of prediction and cue competition, symbolic learning takes two forms: learning to predict labels from the features of objects and events (Feature-to-Label learning), or learning to predict features from labels (Label-to-Feature learning). When the information available in training is structured in one or another of these formats, qualitative differences in symbolic learning occur. Discrimination learning is facilitated when objects precede labels (FL), because the structure of information promotes cue competition between individual features. However, this competition is inhibited when labels predict objects (LF; Ramscar et al, 2010). We report an fMRI investigation of these Feature-Label-Ordering effects in learning. Participants were trained and tested on a category-learning task while the frequency of confusable categories was manipulated so that successful discrimination was essential to successful categorization. Participants trained to predict labels from features (FL) showed higher levels of dorsal striatal activity (caudate and putamen), which correlated with overall performance at test. The opposite pattern was observed with ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) activation, which was greater in participants trained to predict features from labels (LF), and which correlated negatively with performance on the difficult to discriminate low frequency items. The increased striatal activity we observed in the FL-trained participants is consistent with evidence linking this area to discrimination learning, while the correlation between VLPFC activity and poorer discrimination in the LF-trained participants supports the idea that the structure of information in training forced participants to rely on working memory, fixating on cues that were frequent, salient, and yet ultimately uninformative.

  • Ramscar Lab 15:38 on 01.02.2011 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   

    Save the Date 

    The year’s calendar is filling up fast!

  • Ramscar Lab 03:03 on 09.17.2010 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   

    CSDL / ESLP Conference 

    This weekend, Prof Michael Ramscar and researcher Melody Dye will be attending the joint meeting of the Conceptual Structure, Discourse and Language Conference with the The Embodied and Situated Language Processing Workshop in San Diego.  They will be presenting a number of posters on cutting-edge research, and Melody will be giving a talk on Sunday afternoon.

    Lab co-authors and contributors to these presentations include Hanna Popick, Joseph Klein, Edward Suh, Justine Kao, Robert Ryan, and Fiona O’Donnell-McCarthy. Running Down the Clock, which was published as a journal article just this past year, was co-authored with UC Merced Prof Teenie Matlock, a long time lab collaborator.

    You can access the conference schedule here.

    • Directional Effects and the Distributional Hypothesis
    • Running Down the Clock : The Role of Expectation in our Understanding of Time & Motion (poster)(journal article)
    • Ordering Effects in the Acquisition of Number Words (poster)
    • A Steep Price to Pay? On the Costs and Benefits of Learning Relative Pitch (poster)
    • Readers’ Sensitivities to the Surface Statistics of Literary and Non-Literary Writing (proceedings)
    • What can Blocking Effects Tell Us About Mutual Exclusivity? (poster)
  • Ramscar Lab 16:41 on 08.12.2010 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   

    Cognitive Science 

    This month, Ramscar Lab delegates headed to Portland for the annual Cognitive Science conference.  Delegates included Prof Michael Ramscar, lab alum Nick Davidenko and research coordinator Melody Dye.  Michael and Melody were there to present junior Justine Kao’s research on how sensitivity to language is shaped by exposure and graduate student Hanna Popick’s work on statistical learning in the A-not-B task.  If you missed the talk and poster, slides will be made available soon!

  • Ramscar Lab 02:09 on 06.09.2010 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   

    Society for Philosophy & Psychology 

    Melody and Michael shot at the Hotel deLuxe press room; Justine, pictured before her presentation at SPP 2010. Justine gave a cutting-edge talk : “An acquired taste: How reading literature affects sensitivity to word distributions when judging literary texts.” Melody was also on hand to present the poster award finalist “Of Frames and Frequencies: How Early Language Production is Influenced by the Distribution.” The poster project was completed by high school sophomore and lab intern, Revanth Kosaraju, of the Harker school. Post-conference celebrations were had by all at the Waffle Window, Portland.

    Michael Ramscar

    Michael Ramscar

    Melody Dye

    Melody Dye

    Justine Kao Philosophy and Psychology

    Justine Kao

    Waffle Window

    Strawberries & Cream

    Waffle Window Black Ham & Brie

    Black Ham & Cheese

  • Ramscar Lab 22:20 on 03.04.2010 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   

    March News 

    Second-year grad student Hanna Popick will be presenting her research this month at the International Society on Infant Studies conference in Baltimore. Hanna studies probabilistic and contextual learning in infants.

  • Ramscar Lab 05:51 on 11.19.2009 Permalink
    Tags: Talks   


    Winter conference season is officially upon us. This week, Michael will be presenting “Language as Prediction” in Boston. Ramscar Lab reservations are at the Lennox Hotel, an old school favorite.

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