1st Annual Cognitive Archaeology Workshop, 26/05/17

Today we will all be hosting the 1st Annual (we hope!) Cognitive Archaeology Workshop at Leeds Beckett University.

Following on from Andrew’s recent paper the team is developing several grants and projects around the affordances of throwing in modern and prehistoric times. This workshop is an opportunity for us to all be in the same room for a change, bring each other up to speed on our interests and skills and work on the details of our new collaboration.

Attendees include Andrew, Sabrina and our students Agnes, Dan and Michael; archaeologists Larry Barham and Ian Stanistreet from the University of Liverpool and some of their students; sports scientist Tim Bennett from Carnegie School of Sports; and engineer Ray Holt from the University of Leeds. This is the team needed to do this work properly and it’s going to be a great day!

Andrew at EWEP14, July 6-9

Andrew is attending the 14th European Workshop on Ecological Psychology presenting his affordance research on prehistoric objects (see the full program). Hope to see some of you there!

Task dynamics and the affordances of prehistoric spheroids for throwing
Andrew Wilson, Qin Zhu, Ian Stanistreet, Larry Barham, & Geoffrey Bingham

Slides: The Affordances of Prehistoric Objects

Spheroids are ball-shaped stone objects found at African archaeological sites dating from 1.8 million years ago (Early Stone Age) to at least 200,000 years ago (Middle Stone Age), making them one of the longest-used technologies on record. Most hypotheses about their use presume they were held in one hand and used to shape or grind other materials. However, their size and spherical shape make them potentially useful as projectile weapons, a property that, uniquely, humans have been specialised to exploit for millions of years. Here we show (via simulations of projectile motions parameterised by recent affordance research on throwing) that 88% of the spheroids found at the Cave of Hearths site afford being thrown by a human so as to inflict worthwhile damage to an animal roughly the size of an impala over distances up to 25m. Most of the objects have weights that produce optimal levels of damage from throwing, rather than being as heavy as possible (as would suit other functions). Our results support the hypothesis that these objects were selected because they afford being thrown to inflict damage, and demonstrates how research on the task dynamics of affordances can inform and constrain our theories about prehistoric artifacts.

Andrew running workshop on ecological information 1/7/16

Andrew is travelling down to run a workshop demystifying ecological information at the Third International Conference on Interactivity, Language and Cognition. The workshop begins 9am on Friday 01/07/16 Room TK402. (I’ll only be down for the Friday session, but I’m looking forward to meeting you all!)

Slides: Ecological Information Workshop (Kingston June 2016) (note, I’m not going to deliver this as a lecture, it’s a little more hands on with some Matlab demos and discussion; these slides are just things to use to make it all a little more concrete)


Sabrina’s new paper is out in Ecological Psychology

Sabrina has a new paper out in Ecological Psychology, called ‘Laws and Conventions in Language Related Behaviours‘. It’s the paper that comes from the talk she gave last year at a conference at UConn and is part of a special issue of papers from the conference.

Golonka, S. (2015). Laws and Conventions in Language Related BehavioursEcological Psychology, 27(3), 236-250.

Anna’s Symposium at the APS Convention in NYC (May 21-24)

The Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) is taking place in NYC next week (May 21-24, 2015).

Anna will be chairing a Symposium at the convention on “THE IMAGINATIVE BRAIN” which takes place on May 24 (11:30am-12:50pm). The other speakers on the panel are:
1. Rex Jung (http://www.rexjung.com)
2. Scott Barry Kaufman (http://scottbarrykaufman.com/)
3. Peter Keller (http://marcs.uws.edu.au/people/peter-keller)

Further details about the APS convention can be found here.