Sabrina presenting on ‘Ecological Representations’ at University of Sussex

Sabrina presented an invited talk this week at the Computation & Representation in Cognitive Science conference at the University of Sussex

Ecological representations: Can the ‘R’ word fit in a Gibsonian framework?
There is widespread agreement that an ecological approach to explaining behaviour is at odds with a computational approach. Often, this opposition is also framed in terms of representations such that ecological approaches are meant to be necessarily non-representational. The perceived lack of fit between ecological explanations and computational / representational explanations may be accounted for by two facts. One, cognitive scientists tend to adopt an unnecessarily narrow view of computation (compared to the wider scientific community). Two, the motivation for invoking representations in an explanation is unfairly reduced to solving a problem of poverty of stimulus, which is anathema to ecological explanations. We argue that the concept of representation is amenable to an ecological approach, as long as it is built upon a foundation of ecological information. Ecological representations do not fill out impoverished sensory experiences. Their usefulness comes entirely from the extent to which they preserve spatiotemporal structure in information variables specifying biologically and psychologically relevant properties of the environment. Their job is to provide a mechanism by which behaviour can complement relevant properties of the environment in the absence of immediate perceptual access to those properties. Because the structure of ecological representations is determined by the structure of ecological information (which is formally definable), ecological representations are amenable to empirical investigation, making their existence an empirical, rather than theoretical matter.

Cross et al, 2016, How Moving Together Brings Us Together

Our recently graduated PhD student Liam Cross has just published his first paper from his PhD in a Research Topic, Dynamics of Joint-Action, Social Coordination and Multi-Agent Activity. Thanks to Mike Richardson for the invite to submit and our reviewers for their fair and useful feedback!

And congratulations Liam! One down, three to go 🙂

Cross, L., Wilson, A.D., & Golonka, S. (2016). How Moving Together Brings Us Together: When Coordinated Rhythmic Movement Affects Cooperation. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1983. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01983. Download (Open Access)

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.

Andrew and Sabrina have a new commentary in Frontiers in Psychology

Andrew and Sabrina have just published a critical commentary on an embodied cognition paper in which they highlight some fatal conceptual flaws. Andrew blogged this critique a while back and that post has the history and context of the comment.

Wilson, A. D., & Golonka S (2015). Connecting the conceptual dots in embodied cognition: A comment on Dijkstra et al, “How body balance influences political party evaluations: a Wii balance board. Front. Psychol. 6:853. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00853

Experimental Psychology Society Meeting, Leeds 8-10 April

Andrew, Sabrina and Anna will be presenting posters at the Leeds EPS meeting on Wednesday the 8th of April.

  • Andrew: Transfer of learning is a function of the task dynamic
  • Sabrina: Preference for relations in categorisation depends on stimulus size
  • Anna: Creative conceptual expansion: An ERP study comparing high and low creative groups

Programme of Events

Poster Abstracts

Abstract for ECAL2015 submitted

There is a special session at the European Conference on Artificial Life coming up in York on ‘Quantifying Embodiment‘. Andrew and Sabrina have just submitted an abstract to the session, proposing to explain ecological information and why biological organisms use it to an audience mostly used to thinking about information in computational terms but interested in mimicking what life gets up to.

Abstract: Wilson & Golonka – Task Dynamics & the (Ecological) Information They Create