University Relations
http://www.umn.edu/urelate
612-624-6868
OneStop myU

Director
Victoria Interrante, PhD
Computer Science & Engineering

Associate Director
Jeanette Gundel, PhD
Professor, Linguistics

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Cognitive Critique Journal Club

S204 Elliott Hall at 12:00pm. Lunch will be provided.

May 4 - "A Review of B.F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior" by Noam Chomsky (HTML version)

"A great many linguists and philosophers concerned with language have expressed the hope that their studies might ultimately be embedded in a framework provided by behaviorist psychology, and that refractory areas of investigation, particularly those in which meaning is involved, will in this way be opened up to fruitful exploration. Since this volume is the first large-scale attempt to incorporate the major aspects of linguistic behavior within a behaviorist framework, it merits and will undoubtedly receive careful attention. Skinner is noted for his contributions to the study of animal behavior. The book under review is the product of study of linguistic behavior extending over more than twenty years. Earlier versions of it have been fairly widely circulated, and there are quite a few references in the psychological literature to its major ideas.

"The problem to which this book is addressed is that of giving a "functional analysis" of verbal behavior. By functional analysis, Skinner means identification of the variables that control this behavior and specification of how they interact to determine a particular verbal response. Furthermore, the controlling variables are to be described completely in terms of such notions as stimulus, reinforcement, deprivation, which have been given a reasonably clear meaning in animal experimentation. In other words, the goal of the book is to provide a way to predict and control verbal behavior by observing and manipulating the physical environment of the speaker."

 

 

spring 2016 Colloquia

Thursdays, 4:00 - 5:30 pm, Elliott Hall N119

Emilie Snell-RoodMay 5

Emilie Snell-Rood, Ecology, Evolution & Behavior

"Brain size and life history variation: a comparative approach with butterflies"

Why does brain size vary within and across species? A number of hypotheses take a life history perspective, for instance addressing how neural investment trades off with reproduction or leads to higher survival. Here, I present two studies that use butterflies as a system to test hypotheses about brain evolution within a broader life history context. First, we used a comparative study across 50+ species to test how nutritional variation across species shapes life history evolution. Species that feed on more nitrogen and sodium rich plant families have greater neural investment, but do not suffer tradeoffs with fecundity. In addition, signatures of brain size and nutrition vary across lineages. Second, we used a hormonal manipulation across 6 species to test to what extend hormonal regulators of life history traits might constrain brain and life history evolution. While fecundity and brain size responded similarly to juvenile hormone treatment across species, there is some variation in response, suggesting the pleiotropic effects of hormones may not be as strong of an evolutionary constraint as sometimes thought.

Suggested reading:

 

 

Fall 2016 Course Announcements

HSEM 3 720 Conflict, Anger, Aggression and Violence (3 credits)
Instructor: Michael Potegal, Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Program
When: Tues, Thurs 1:00 - 2:15 pm
Where: To be announced ...

Bullying, school shootings, war and genocide are examples of aggression that cause misery, trauma and death on progressively larger scales. Why do people behave aggressively? Is aggression in our "animal natures", our genes, or our brains? Is it the result of our upbringing, our cultures, or our physical, social or economic environments? Is aggression inevitable or are there things we can do to limit, avoid, or prevent it? This seminar will help students formulate their own answers to these important questions by reviewing areas of research on conflict, aggression, anger and violence in humans and other animals. The first section of the seminar will guide students to an understanding of current views of its biological bases: aggression as an evolutionary adaptation and as a reproductive strategy, and its corresponding genetic, neural and hormonal foundations. The middle section of the seminar will focus on aggression at the level of individuals. This includes behavioral expression (e.g., anger, direct vs. indirect forms of aggression); development (e.g., tantrums, bullying); motivation for and learning to be aggressive; and aggression-prone personality, psychopathology and criminality. The last section of the seminar will deal with aggression in small and large social groups (e.g., gang violence, warfare and genocide.) In the final session, we will review solutions to the problems of aggression: prosocial and affiliative processes such as reconciliation, peacemaking, and programs for the prevention or mitigation of violence.

Students who are not in the Undergraduate Honors program may register for the course at honors@umn.edu

 

Jürgen Konczak

KIN 5941 - Clinical Movement Neuroscience (3 credits)
Instructor: Jürgen Konczak, Professor School of Kinesiology
When: Tuesdays, 2:30 - 5:00 pm
Where: To be announced ...

This course provides an overview of various neural subsystems involved in controlling human motor behavior with a special emphasis on understanding how various neurological disease states affect motor function. The effects of specific brain lesions and nervous system diseases on overt behavior will serve as a guide to assess the role of different neural structures for movement control. The overall aim of the course is to gain a better understanding of how a specific dysfunction at the neural level leads to specific impairments in behavioral or sensorimotor function. In addition, the course will review how current pharmacological, behavioral and technology-driven treatments help to alleviate sensorimotor symptoms and improve function.

 

Kathleen VohsCSOM 8810 Special Topics — Human Motivation (2 credits; A term)
Instructor: Kathleen Vohs, Professor, Marketing Department
When: Tuesday Sept 6 to Tues Oct 18, 2016, 2-5pm
Where: Carlson School of Management, Room 3-166

How can scientists understand people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without knowing what motivates those outcomes? This will be a crash-course in motivation models. The course will be a survey of classic and new papers in the area of motivation, spanning psychology, consumer behavior, organizational psychology, and health. As a Ph.D. seminar course, you will be an active participant in it at every step. Each week we will discuss a handful of articles in-depth. You are expected to read the articles carefully, noting their contributions, methods, and possible drawbacks. You should know what the authors did and found, understand their theory, and evaluate the aforementioned in terms of plusses and minuses. At the end, you will better be able to develop and critique research ideas than you could at the start.

 

 


Updated May 2, 2016