University Relations

spring 2018 Colloquia

Tuesdays – 11:30 am – Elliott N219

February 20

Douglas Addleman and Alexander Bratch, Kersten Lab, Psychology

"Perception of Human Bodies in Natural Images"

Abstract: Detecting, identifying, and interpreting features of human bodies are basic visual functions that occur under a wide range of variability in appearances, in particular those resulting from pose variability, blur, and occlusion. We will provide an overview of several ongoing projects in our lab investigating the limits and abilities of human visual perception of human bodies. Data from psychophysics using low-resolution natural images, computational models for body pose representations, and fMRI of body part perception will be discussed.



February 27: Paul Schrater

March 6: CCS Colloquium - Dr. Peggy Nelson

March 20: Yuhong Jiang

March 27: CCS Colloquium - Dr. Juergen Konczak

April 3: Andrew Oxenham

April 10: CCS Colloquium - Dr. Geoffrey Ghose

April 17: Cheryl Olman

April 24: Kendrick Kay

May 1: Stephen Engel

Previously ...



January 23

Yingchen He (Legge Lab)

"Electrically-elicited brain responses in visual prosthesis users."




Sheng He



January 30

Sheng He




February 6

Dustin Alfonso Chacón, Linguistics

"Agreeing to Disagree: Encoding and Memory Retrieval in Language Perception"

One of the major issues in sentence processing is the nature of "grammatical illusions", i.e., sentences that are perceived as acceptable at first blush, but later perceived as unacceptable. For instance, the agreement error in (1) is immediately noticeable, as measured in judgment studies and reading-time studies, but the same agreement error in (2) often goes unnoticed. This phenomenon is known as "agreement attraction", because the distractor plural noun (cabinets) appears to erroneously license the plural verb (are), even though it is not the main subject noun.

(1) the key to the cabinet are rusty from years of disuse

(2) the key to the cabinets are rusty from years of disuse

Some theories hold that agreement attraction illusions arise because the cognitive systems used to encode grammatical representations are lossy (e.g., Solomon & Pearlmutter 2004; Eberhard, Cutting, & Bock 2005), whereas other theories attribute the effect to a misretrieval of the distractor noun (cabinets) at the offending verb (are) (Wagers, Lau, & Phillips 2009; Dillon, Mishler, Sloggett, Phillips 2013). In three experiments, I investigate the processing of agreement errors with sentences with subject clauses (e.g., [That the doctors studied long and hard] are a relief to the nervous patients) in comparison with sentences with noun subjects (e.g., [The fact that the doctors studied long and hard] are a relief to the nervous patients). This comparison is theoretically interesting, because the agreement relation is claimed to only be represented in with noun phrase subjects in syntactic theory (McCloskey 1991). I found that the distractor plural noun (doctors) facilitates reading times at the offending verb (are) regardless of whether the subject is a clause or a noun phrase. However, improved ratings are only observed for sentences with noun phrase subjects, i.e., sentences with "real" agreement (McCloskey 1991). To explain this contrast, I argue that initially, participants misretrieve the distractor plural noun regardless of the sentence type, easing processing. However, this misretrieval only translates into a perception of acceptability when an agreement relation was anticipated. I also argue that these results are less compatible with noisy encoding theories.



February 13

Tatyana Matveeva, Psychology

"Transmembrane protein 35 (TMEM35) modulates pain and drug-seeking behavior"

Previously we have shown that TMEM35 (NACHO) KO mice exhibit heightened pain sensitivity. Given the comorbidity of pain and drug-seeking behavior, the present study investigated whether TMEM35 KO mice also show increased risk for drug seeking behavior. To test this, we examined conditioned place preference (CPP) for morphine and nicotine in separate experiments. TMEM35 KO mice exhibited significantly stronger CPP for both morphine and nicotine than WT controls. For morphine, there was a main effect of genotype and conditioning context, and a significant genotype X context interaction, revealing that the effect of morphine on CPP was greater in the KO animals.

Similarly, TMEM35 KO mice showed a significant increase in preference for the nicotine-paired context compared to pre-test, while WT animals showed no change in preference for the drug-paired side. Additionally, antagonists specific to distinct subunits of the nicotinic cholinergic receptor administered prior to nicotine injections rescued the observed phenotype. Together, these results provide strong evidence implicating TMEM35 in drug-seeking behavior. Given a recent finding implicating TMEM35 in the expression of functional nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAchRs), these behavioral effects in TMEM35KO mice may be associated with the reduced expression of nAchRs. Contrary to a previous report showing a complete loss of a7 expression in TMEM35 KO mice, we report residual a7 expression in KO mouse brain, suggesting alternative mechanisms underpinning these drug-seeking behaviors. Additional preliminary data will also be discussed.