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Cognitive Scientist in the News


Rats Remember Items in Context Using Episodic Memory
The recently published paper "Rats Remember Items in Context Using Episodic Memory," co-authored by Danielle Panoz-Brown, Hannah E. Corbin, Stefan J. Dalecki, Meredith Gentry, Sydney Brotheridge, Christina M. Sluka, Jie-En Wu, and Jonathon D. Crystal, was featured on NPR. Listen to the discussion here.

Tarun Gangwani Named a Forbes 30 Under 30
Congratulations to our alum Tarun Gangwani (BS, 2011) for being named one of the new Forbes 30 Under 30: Enterprise Tech!


Professor Douglas Hofstadter featured on NPR's Radiolab
Professor Douglas Hofstadter was recently feature on an episode of the science-themed NPR show Radiolab. His portion of the podcast is in the first fifteen minutes and concerns translation.


How Artificial Intelligence Could Improve Health Care
Professor Kris Hauser's research on how artificial intelligence could improve health care was recently featured in local and national news articles.


Professor Peter Todd Interview on Food Choice Research
Professor Peter Todd was recently interviewed on WFIU about food choice research. Both the recording and the transcript of the interview can be found at

Prof. Jonathan Crystal featured in Current Biology
Professor Jonathan Crystal has been featured in a podcast interview. Prof. Crystal also has 3 papers in the current issue.
The papers can be found here.

Josh de Leeuw's Robotics Research
Josh de Leeuw's research on autonomous Neuro-Evolving Robotic Devices (NERDs) is featured in a Vassar College's news item.. Josh is a class of '08 alumni of Vassar College and is now in the doctoral program in cognitive science at Indiana University.

Prof. Jon Crystal's Animal Memory Research Opens Doors to Investigating Memory Diseases
Professor Jonathan Crystal and a group of IU neuroscientists have discovered the first evidence of source memory in rats. The report's findings have "fascinating implications," Prof. Crystal, both in evolutionary terms and for future research into the biological underpinnings of memory, as well as the treatment of diseases marked by memory failure such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's, or disorders such as schizophrenia, PTSD and depression. Read more here.

Prof. Colin Allen Weighs in on Self-Driving Cars
Professor Colin Allen, in an article for the Guardian, argues for black boxes in self-driving cars in an article featuring arguments for and against self-driving cars. Read more here.

Professor Colin Allen featured in China Newsweek
Professor Colin Allen chips in on coverage of a Silicon Valley plan to use flying autonomous robots to automate the delivery of medicine and equipment to disaster-stricken areas where a lack of infrastructure makes ground-based delivery dangerous or impossible. Read more here!


IU Professor Geoffrey Bingham develops a unique treatment proposed for children's 'hidden' neurological disorder
Indiana University's Geoffrey Bingham has developed a 3D virtual reality environment to aid children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Read more about Professor Bingham and the treatment here.

Neuroimaging study: Negative messages less effective on those who are substance dependent
Indiana University's Joshua Brown asks, "What types of public messages will most likely deter drug and alcohol abuse or dissuade people from engaging in risky behavior?" Find out more here.

Professor Colin Allen Featured in Chinese Press
Read the Chinese press coverage of Professor Colin Allen on robot morality in China Newsweek.

Professor Olaf Sporns and the Human Connectome Project
Read about Professor Olaf Sporns and the Human Connectome Project in the Guardian article Quest for the connectome: scientists investigate ways of mapping the brain.

Professor Colin Allen in the NY Times Opinionator
"Many think the idea of ethically sensitive machines is a kind of techno-utopian joke. But we are already moving in that direction." Intrigued? Read Professor Colin Allen piece on "The Future of Moral Machines" in the NY Times Opinionator.


Professors Bollen and Sporns in the News
An article mentioning Professor Johan Bollen and an article mentioning Professor Olaf Sporns appear in "The World in 2012", a special issue of The Economist.

Alejandra Rossi's DogCam
DogCam, a device designed by researchers including I.U. cognitive science graduate student Alejandra Rossi, is featured in the December 9th issue of Science magazine. Rossi plans to use DogCam to understand the visual dynamics of dog-human social interactions. Read more and see a picture here.

Study: A rich club in the human brain
Read the IU news release about Olaf Sporns' recent work on 'Rich Clubs' within the human brain.

Professor Jerome Busemeyer's Work Featured in New Scientist
A portion of Professor Jerome Busemeyer's work on quantum cognition was recently featured in the lead article of New Scientist: Buchanan, M. (2011). Your Quantum Minds. New Scientist, 3, 34-37.

Professor Olaf Sporn on the show "Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman"
Professor Olaf Sporn was featured on the show "Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman" that appears on the Discovery Channel. The show's aim was to address the question, "Can We Live Forever?"

Teaching Students How to See
IU cognitive scientist Robert Goldstone's research was described in a New York Times article on how researchers are using new technologies to promote students' understanding of math and science by teaching students new perceptual skills. Students learn to prime their perceptions to see a general principle at work in one interactive simulation, and then automatically transfer their perceptual interpretations to a second situation that embodies the same principle.

Doug Hofstadter on PBS Program: "Watson Wins Jeopardy, but Is His Intelligence Artificial?"
Professor Doug Hofstadter was a guest on the episode "Watson Wins Jeopardy, but Is His Intelligence Artificial?" of the PBS Program To the Point. (To skip the news broadcast that precedes the show, start at timestamp 7:45.)


Professor Richard Shiffrin and Colleagues Show Negative Stereotypes Affect Learning, Not Just Performance
Recent reseach of Cognitive Science Professor Richard Shiffrin was highlighted in a U.S. News and World Report article showing that negative stereotypes not only jeopardize test performance but also inhibit learning.

Roskies and Blair Lectures Available Online
Lectures delivered by Professors Adina Roskies and James Blair are now available online at Adina Roskies, who teaches in the Philosophy Department at Dartmouth College, spoke April 9 on "Neuron, Mechanism, and Freedom of the Will." Her presentation was part of the History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium. James Blair, National Institutes of Health, spoke on April 28, 2010. Dr. Blair's topic was "Moral and Amoral Neurobiology: The Roles of the Amygdala, Striatum and Orbital Frontal Cortex." See also the Poynter Center's Neuroethics webpage.

Professors Peter Todd and Skyler Place on Mate Choice Copying
Recent research of Professors Peter Todd and Skyler Place on mate copying will be published in an upcoming issue of Evolution and Human Behavior. The concept of "mate choice copying", where an individual copies the mate selections of others, has been widely documented in other species and has recently been looked for in humans as well. Todd and Place found that men and women are greatly influenced not only by what their friends think of their potential fling or relationship partner, but also by the opinions of complete strangers. See the Indiana University press release and articles at NBC news and the New York Daily News for more information.

Professor Colin Allen Interviewed on "The Really Big Questions"
NPR's Lynn Neary recently interviewed Professor Colin Allen about studying the minds of non-human animals. Listen to the audio broadcast on the website The Really Big Questions.

Professor Peter Todd on Diet Complexity
Cognitive scientists from Indiana University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin compared the dieting behavior of women following two radically different diet plans and found that the more complicated people thought their diet plan was, the sooner they were likely to drop it. A news release from Indiana University appears in a variety of versions in media outlets, including


Professor Peter Todd on the Absence of the Perils of Too Much Choice
The research of Professor Peter Todd and colleagues on the absence of the perils of too much choice is featured in the Financial Times, and their paper is forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Professor Colin Allen Featured in Broadcasts in Australia
Professor Colin Allen was recently in Australia and was featured in several radio and video broadcasts:

IU Cognitive Science Robotics Open House is Covered by Local Television station.
WTIU covered the annual robotics open house held on May 1. An on-line version of their coverage can be found at:

Distinguished Professor Douglas Hofstadter Elected a 2009 Fellow of the AAAS
Distinguished Professor Douglas Hofstadter has been elected a 2009 fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). He is part of an incoming class that includes Nelson Mandela, Bono (of U2 fame), and Dustin Hoffman. To read more about Professor Hofstadter's accomplishments and the AAAS, visit Locally, Professor Hofstadter joins five other Indiana University faculty who are members of the Cognitive Science Program: William Estes, Elinor Ostrom, Richard Shiffrin, Linda Smith, and Michael Wade.


Six Ways to Build Robots That Do Humans No Harm
With the relentless march of technological progress, robots and other automated systems are getting ever smarter. At the same time they are also being given greater responsibilities, driving cars, helping with childcareMovie Camera, carrying weapons, and maybe soon even pulling the trigger.

But should they be trusted to take on such tasks, and how can we be sure that they never take a decision that could cause unintended harm?

The latest contribution to the growing debate over the challenges posed by increasingly powerful and independent robots is the book Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong.

Authors Wendell Wallach, an ethicist at Yale University, and historian and philosopher of cognitive science Colin Allen, at Indiana University, argue that we need to work out how to make robots into responsible and moral machines. It is just a matter of time until a computer or robot takes a decision that will cause a human disaster, they say.

More at:

IU Cognitive Scientists Identify Hubs in Brain Activity

Cognitive scientists at Indiana University, Dr. Olaf Sporns and Chris Honey, joined with scientists from Switzerland and Harvard Medical School to map the structural core of the human cerebral cortex. Their paper, published in the free-access online journal PLoS Biology, provides the most complete rough draft to date of the cortex¹s electrical architecture, the cluster of interconnected nodes and hubs that help guide thinking and behavior. The paper also provides a striking demonstration of how new imaging techniques focused on the brain¹s white matter ‹ the connections between cells, rather than the neurons themselves ‹ are filling in a dimension of human brain function that has been all but dark.

Mainstream reports of this work have appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, and web portals, including: the New York Times, National Geographic, Science News, The Telegraph and MIT's Technology Review.

Douglas Hofstadter wins the 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for I Am a Strange Loop
On April 25, 2008, the Los Angeles Times honored 2007's most accomplished authors at its 28th annual Book Prizes ceremony at UCLA's Royce Hall, held on the eve of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Douglas Hofstadter, Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Indiana University won the award for best science and technology book.

The rise of the emotional robot
How people view robots may inform what future robots can do, but it seems that gender and nationality feed into our reaction, too. Cognitive scientist Paul Schermerhorn and colleagues at Indiana University in Bloomington asked 24 men and 23 women to cooperate with a machine-like robot on solving a mathematical problem and filling in a survey form. The robot consisted of a base with metre-high posts either side supporting a head with two cameras that looked like eyes. A voice synthesiser allowed it to speak. The team found that men thought of the robot as "more human-like" than women and engaged well with it at a social level, while women felt socially aloof and described it as "more machine-like". More at (Scroll to the bottom).

I.U. Researchers Show that Infants Use Datamining to Determine Word Meanings
The research of Drs. Linda Smith and Chen Yu, professors in the Indiana University Psychological and Brain Sciences Department, and core faculty members of the Cognitive Science Program, was showcased in the February 4 issue of Science Daily. They report results showing that infants use sophisticated datamining techniques to connect words to their meanings. For example, in one of their studies, published in the journal Cognition, Yu and Smith attempted to teach 28 12- to 14-month-olds six words by showing them two objects at a time on a computer monitor while two pre-recorded words were read to them. No information was given regarding which word went with which image. After viewing various combinations of words and images, however, the children were surprisingly successful at figuring out which word went with which picture. Children are apparently not just learning one word at a time, but rather are building up multiple word meanings at the same time.


Study Confirms: When given the choice for a mate, men go for good looks.
Researchers led by IU Cognitive Science professor Peter Todd report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that their study found humans were similar to most other mammals, "following Darwin's principle of choosy females and competitive males, even if humans say something different." See the article.

What Makes Scientists Tick and Think?
IU Professor of Cognitive Science Colin Allen was interviewed by MSNBC on the nature of science and scientists.

Graduate Student Wins Marr Prize
David Landy won the Marr Prize for Best Student Paper at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society held August 1-4, 2007 in Nashville, Tennessee. He won the prize for his paper "Grounding Symbol Structures in Space: Formal Notations as Diagrams." In this paper, he argues that mathematical reasoning is not based on purely symbolic, formal structures, but rather the physical form of mathematical notation also has a profound influence on reasoning. Through psychological experiments and computational modeling, he argues that doing math involves perceptual processing of spatial objects, not only formal reasoning.

The New York Times, April 9, 2007
The work of Professor Peter Todd and colleagues on the different aspirations that men and women set when searching for mates using speed dating was discussed by New York Times columnist John Tierney in his NYT blog on April 9, 2007.

WIRED Interview with Douglas Hofstadter
The March 2007 issue of WIRED Magazine contains an interview with Douglas Hofstadter on the occasion of the release of his new book, I Am a Strange Loop. This book returns to some of the topics covered in Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid: consciousness, self-awareness, and identity. In this interview he explains why he considers himself to be foremost a cognitive scientist, and how it can be that "I am a mirage that perceives itself." The book is also favorably reviewed in the March issue of Scientific American.

Newsweek, November 2006
Colin Allen, professor of Cognitive Science and History and Philosophy of Science, was quoted in an article Vanity, Thy Name Is… published in the November 13, 2006 issue of Newsweek. He addresses the mirror experiment as a way to measure self-awareness in animals.


Embodied Cognition
Olaf Sporns, associate professor of Cognitive Science and in the Department of Psychological and Brain Science, and University of Tokyo roboticist Max Lungarella have created a new way to objectively quantify an idea that philosophers, educators and psychologists have discussed for decades -- that the many ways in which our bodies interact with our environment produces better information that helps the brain. Their findings, published in the journal Public Library of Science Computational Biology on Oct. 27, have been the subject of numerous news stories:

Professor Studies Speed Dating
Turns out dating can be just like playing poker. It involves luck and strategy — knowing when to stay with your hand (or potential mate) and when to keep playing for a better one.

Peter M. Todd, an Indiana University professor of cognitive science, informatics and psychology, studies the search for a mate using a scientific approach. Read the full article in The Herald-Times.

Nature, May 2006…
The work of Cognitive Science Postdoctoral Fellow Karola Stotz is discussed in the news feature "What is a gene?" of the most recent issue of Nature (Volume 441, 25 May 2006.) In an NSF funded study,  "Representing Genes: Testing competing philosophical analyses of the gene concept in contemporary molecular biology," she and her collaborator Professor Paul Griffiths, now at the University of Queensland, developed a questionnaire and administered it to 500 biologists. The aim of the study is to map the many different usages of the term 'gene' onto different fields of contemporary biology. Last year this project was featured in a report of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO reports 6 (9), 2005). The project was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh. Stotz and Griffiths have both moved on but are still working on the analysis of the data. You can see the questionnaire and other information about the project, including a list of publications, at the project's website and at Paul Griffiths' Biohumanities site. More information about the work of Karola Stotz, including ongoing projects, can be found at her personal homepage.

The Cognitive Science of Love, April 2006…
Indiana University Professor of Cognitive Science, Informatics, and Psychological and Brain Sciences, Peter Todd, recently appeared in the feature-length German documentary film "Ich Dich Auch" ("Love Me Do"). This movie will be released in 2006 in the United States, and explores the nature of love from multiple perspectives. Professor Todd provides the perspective from mathematical modeling and evolutionary psychology. You can see Professor Todd’s movie segments: clip one and clip two. (Download QuickTime) His own research on mate selection, computational and mathematical modeling of cognition, judgment and decision making, adaptive behavior, and evolution at .

In WIRED Magazine, February 2006…
The February 2006 issue of WIRED magazine asks, "What will be the next big concept/phrase now that 'Cyberspace' is dead?" See how luminaries such as William Gibson, Vint Cerf, Neil Gershenfeld, and Indiana University's own Katy Borner, associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science and Cognitive Science Program, answered this question at the newsstand or at the WIRED magazine website.

Living with Punishment, and Loving It.
Elinor Ostrom, Arthur Bentley Professor of Political Science, Co-Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, and Member of the Cognitive Science Program was interviewed in the New York Times on April 7, 2006. She commented on an article appearing in that week's issue of Science experimentally showing that people prefer to be in groups that allow group members to financially punish one another for not cooperating with the group. When given a choice of interacting in groups that did and did not allow punishment, the experiment participants systematically moved over time to the group that did allow punishment, and the overall profit was higher for members in this group.


In the Economist, November 17, 2005...
The November 17, 2005 issue of the Economist covered research reported at arxiv by four researchers at Indiana University: Santo Fortunato, Alessandro Flammini, Filippo Menczer, and Alessandro Vespignani (Professors Menczer and Vespignani are faculty members of the IU Cognitive Science program). Their article, "The egalitarian effect of search engines" reports empirical evidence that search engines such as Google, rather than biasing web traffic to already popular sites, in fact results in a more egalitarian pattern of site visitation than would be predicted if web citizens based their visits only on the popularity of a site. See the full paper, and the story in The Economist.