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NYU Cognitive Science Talk Series

Faculty, postdocs, grad students, and undergrads, please join us  at the opening of a new once-a-semester, pan-university cognitive science series, commencing October 2.

October 2, 4:00pm
Location: 10 Washington Place, Room 104

Prof. Ofer Tschernikovski
Department of Biology, City College, City University of New York

Song Learning and Song Culture in Zebra Finches
Similarly to humans, juvenile songbirds learn their vocal repertoire by imitating adult individuals. When raised in isolation, they develop a song that differs from the culturally driven, wild type song. The isolate song is characterized by long, stuttered, or noisy sounds. We observed that when an isolate song is culturally transmitted, it turns into a wild type song within 3-4 generations. Birds imitated their isolate tutors, but the syllables copied were biased toward the wild type characteristics. Systematic variations accumulated over generations, and then asymptoted upon the wild type structure. With fMRI imaging, we examine how the development of wild type song relates to sensory responses to songs in males, and in females who do not sing but are attracted to male songs.

Prof. Athena Vouloumanos
Department of Psychology, NYU

Prof. Peter Gordon
Biobehavioral Sciences Department
Teachers College, Columbia University

The Cognitive Science Talk Series

How do the mechanisms of the brain underlie linguistic function? What can fossil evidence tell us about human cognitive origins? What can studies of nonhuman primates reveal about human social cognition? How do variations in culture and language influence cognition?

Understanding the mind is an inherently interdisciplinary project. In this series of talks, researchers both internal to NYU and from outside will come and give cutting-edge but accessible interdisciplinary talks on central research issues in cognitive science. Each talk will have a commentator, and there will be general discussion following the talk and commentary.

Each talk will be followed by a reception in which we try to to develop connections (and potential collaborations) between  philosophers, anthropologists, psychologists, linguists, computer scientists and neuroscientist from across NYU.