University Relations


Victoria Interrante, PhD
Computer Science & Engineering

Associate Director
Jeanette Gundel, PhD
Professor, Linguistics



The Center's graduate and undergraduate programs of training and research have been supported by a number of agencies, including:

The National Institute of Child Health and Development

NRT-NSF research grants held by CogSci Center faculty

The Center has also received important funding support from University of Minnesota offices, schools and colleges, including:

The Graduate School

The College of Liberal Arts

Office of the Vice President for Research

Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

Member Institutions

SRD 2018

Spring Research Day is an annual all-day, university-wide symposium that showcases the work of graduate students. This year, Spring Research Day will take place from 9:00am to 4:00 pm in Walter Library 402 on the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus.

Download the SRD 2018 Program

Spring Research Day will feature several talks and posters by graduate students in the field of Cognitive Science.

Admission is free - All are welcome to attend.

Our 2018 SRD keynote speaker is Dr. Tobias Egner PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University.

"Learning Cognitive Control: Mechanisms of Adapting Attentional Set to Changing Demands"


When routine behavior runs into trouble, “cognitive control” processes are recruited to bring information processing in line with current demands. For instance, encountering an almost-accident on our commute will reinforce our attentional focus on the traffic and away from the radio. How does the brain accomplish this? In this talk, I will present behavioral, neuroimaging, and neurostimulation data that delineate the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying our ability to adapt to changing task demands. Specifically, I will present a “control learning” perspective that views cognitive control as being guided by associative learning mechanisms, exploiting statistical regularities in our environment to anticipate the need for control. Control learning not only adapts attentional sets to changing demands over time but can also directly associate appropriate top-down attentional states with specific bottom-up cues, and even transfer them across linked stimuli. This type of learning holds the promise of combining the speed of automatic processing with the flexibility of controlled processing, and could form the basis of novel interventions in clinical conditions that involve impaired cognitive control.

Please register by clicking on the link below so we know how many lunches to provide.



Cognitive Critique Journal Club

Next Up ...

April 25

"Tactile information improves visual object discrimination in kea, Nestor notabilis, and capuchin monkeys, Sapajus spp." by Carducci et al.

In comparative visual cognition research, the influence of information acquired by nonvisual senses has received little attention. Systematic studies focusing on how the integration of information from sight and touch can affect animal perception are sparse. Here, we investigated whether tactile input improves visual discrimination ability of a bird, the kea, and capuchin monkeys, two species with acute vision, and known for their tendency to handle objects. To this end, we assessed whether, at the attainment of a criterion, accuracy and/or learning speed in the visual modality were enhanced by haptic (i.e. active tactile) exploration of an object. Subjects were trained to select the positive stimulus between two cylinders of the same shape and size, but with different surface structures. In the Sight condition, one pair of cylinders was inserted into transparent Plexiglas tubes. This prevented animals from haptically perceiving the objects' surfaces. In the Sight and Touch condition, one pair of cylinders was not inserted into transparent Plexiglas tubes. This allowed the subjects to perceive the objects' surfaces both visually and haptically. We found that both kea and capuchins (1) showed comparable levels of accuracy at the attainment of the learning criterion in both conditions, but (2) required fewer trials to achieve the criterion in the Sight and Touch condition. Moreover, this study showed that both kea and capuchins can integrate information acquired by the visual and tactile modalities. To our knowledge, this represents the first evidence of visuotactile integration in a bird species. Overall, our findings demonstrate that the acquisition of tactile information while manipulating objects facilitates visual discrimination of objects in two phylogenetically distant species.



Fall 2018 Faculty Member Courses

Kathleen ThomasCPSY 8360: The Neuroscience of Resilience (2-3 credits)

Kathleen Thomas, Institute of Child Development
Mondays, 2 – 4:30 p.m.

“How is it that some children successfully overcome severe life challenges to grow up competent and well-adjusted?” (Masten, 2014)

This question lies at the heart of developmental science research on resilience and has been the basis for a rich history of research in developmental psychopathology. However, the term resilience has been used to mean different things in different contexts, including neural plasticity, resistance to disease, recovery of function following injury, or basic immune adaptation.

In this doctoral seminar, students will ...
  • Discuss multidisciplinary approaches to the topic of resilience, with an emphasis on joining psychological and neurobiological notions of resilience to better understand the impacts of adversity on human development.
  • Examine existing literature on the neuroscience of resilience to assess the relevance of such approaches to understanding developmental trajectories more generally.
  • Evaluate putative biological mechanisms underlying prevention and intervention efforts to promote positive development. Neuroscience training is not a prerequisite for this course, but readings will include primary research articles using neurobiological and neuroimaging methods.

For more information, contact Dr. Kathleen Thomas at

Updated April 20, 2018