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Open for everyone

[Thematic Workshop] Learning to Live in Groups

Tue 09 Apr 09:00 AM - 17:00 PM @ Le CRI

[Thematic Workshop] Learning to Live in Groups

We invite you to attend the thematic workshop “Learning to Live in Groups”. Students and research experts will present their contributions to understanding how our intuitions and affinities constrain cultural learning and interactions. Lunch will be provided and an extended break period to participate in small group experiences highlighting innovative learning initiatives to help us better understand one another!

This workshop will be held Tuesday, April 9th at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CRI). To register for the event (and be counted for lunch) please head to our event page (cri event page). CRI master students are not required to register.

9:00 – 9:30 Registration, please bring ID if you are coming from outside of the CRI

9:30 – 10:00 Welcome introduction to the conference

10:00 – 11:00 Internship Defenses by Anna Jondot and Kishore Sivakumar

11:00 – 13:30 Flash activities with a lunch buffet served at 12

Guest talks:

13:30 – 14:30 Bert de Smedt (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium) - Developing Exact Skills

14:30 – 15:30 Philippe Schlenker (Institut Jean-Nicod - Département d'Études Cognitives, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris) - Primate Semantics

15:30 – 16:30 Salvador Mascarenhas (Institut Jean-Nicod - Département d'Études Cognitives, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris) - Reasoning with disjunctions as a form of hypothesis testing

16:30 – 17:00 Closing words

Guest Lectures

Developing Exact Skills

Bert deSmedt, Associate professor in Educational Neuroscience at Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at University of Leuven, Belgium

Every baby is born able to discriminate quantities and track object number. With cultural learning these early abstract intuitions are made exact and are used by the brain to scaffold math ability central to school and society. Using both behavioral and brain imaging methods, this talk will present how children develop arithmeticalskills and what neurocognitive mechanisms underlie typical and atypical numerical development.

Primate Semantics

Philippe Schlenker, Department of Cognitive Studies, Ecole Normale Supérieure Institut Jean-Nicod

I will summarize initial results of an emerging field of 'primate semantics', which offers articulated analyses of the ';literal meaning' of monkey calls, and of additional mechanisms of 'pragmatic enrichment'. We will argue that the combination of tools from linguistics and primatology offers new heuristics for comparative studies across species, and that these may in some cases help reconstruct the evolution of monkey communication over millions of years. Background reading: Schlenker et al. 2016 What do Monkey Calls Mean?

Reasoning with disjunctions as a form of hypothesis testing

Salvador Mascarenhas, Assistant Professor at Ecole Normale Supérieure’s Department of Cognitive Studies (DEC) and a member of Institut Jean Nicod

The idea that human reasoning is best modeled by rational (Bayesian) update procedures resting on a representational system with probability measures has gained great currency in the psychology of reasoning over the past twenty years (e.g. Oaksford and Chater, 2007). Conversely, the popularity of research paradigms that approach human reasoning within the mold of a model-theoretic formal system without probability measures has decreased. I argue that elements from both approaches are necessary to understand a large class of fallacious inference patterns involving disjunction and disjunction-like elements. For example, from 'Mary met every king or every queen of Europe' and 'Mary met the king of Spain' subjects overwhelmingly assent to the fallacious conclusion that 'Mary met every king of Europe'. I argue that this is because the disjunctive premise puts forth two alternatives and invites the reasoner to pick one, while the second premise provides evidence in favor of one alternative rather than the other. I extend the account Crupi et al. (2008) give of the conjunction fallacy in terms of hypothesis testing: the hypothesis 'Mary met every king of Europe' is a better theory of the evidence 'Mary met the king of Spain' than its competing hypothesis 'Mary met every queen of Europe'. Additionally, I show that the conjunction fallacy (Tversky & Kahneman, 1983) is in a concrete way a special case of these inferences with disjunction. The view of human reasoners as hypothesis testers rather than posterior-probability maximizers generalizes to a very broad class of compelling fallacies.

More concretely, I give a reconceptualization of the Erotetic Theory of Reasoning of Koralus and Mascarenhas (2013), a kind of Mental Models Theory (Johnson-Laird, 1983), in terms of Bayesian confirmation theory, where the hypotheses under consideration are determined by disjunctive premises interpreted as questions, along the lines of Inquisitive Semantics (Groenendijk, 2008; Mascarenhas, 2009). The resulting picture of human reasoning is by construction aligned with well-supported theories of linguistic interpretation, and it illustrates the need for both probabilistic tools (confirmation theory) and model-theoretic tools (non-classical semantics for disjunction) in an account of mental representations.