This center leverages the strengths of Carnegie Mellon in cognitive and computational neuroscience and those of the University of Pittsburgh in basic and clinical neuroscience to support a coordinated cross-university research and educational program of international stature.


Dissertation Defense: Powers
Aug 22 @ 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Presenter: Robert (Bo) Powers

Title of Dissertation: Connecting Action to Perception Across Development: A Domain-General Account with Empirical and Computational Studies

Department: CMU Psychology

Date: Thursday, August 22, 2019

Time: 11:00 AM

Location: CMU Baker Hall, 336B

David C. Plaut (Chair)
Anna Fisher
David Rakison

Action production can influence action perception in early development. However, the extent of this influence and the mechanisms that are responsible have been debated. Some theories argue that learning from experience alone is too limited, and that innate, highly structured representations are required, organized by goals or abstract principles. However, the neural bases of those teleological representations and how they relate to experience remain unknown. This dissertation explores an alternative account based on the computational principles embodied in connectionist models. The connectionist framework can account for emergent sensitivity to the abstract goal-structure of observed actions as a function of experience, and it can also extend prior associative learning accounts that include a role for the observer’s motor system in action prediction. In the current work, a set of model simulations based on domain-general mechanisms of perceptual prediction, modulated by attentional biases, account for sensitivity to the efficiency of a viewed action across the latter half of the first year. An experiment with adults examines the interaction of actions and their perceptual consequences, finding evidence that both high-level (goal identity) and low-level (spatial locations, movements) information can be associated through sensorimotor integration. Finally, an experiment with infants demonstrates how an intervention in the efficacy of their own actions influences their subsequent perception of efficient versus inefficient actions. The results of these studies are interpreted as being broadly consistent with the connectionist approach, and their implications for future experiments and models are discussed.

Seminar: Nmezi and Bortz @ BST3 Room 6014
Aug 23 @ 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Friday Seminar Series, Fall 2019

Bruce Nmezi
Postdoctoral Researcher, Pediath Lab
“The Role of Lamin B1 in Myelin Regulation, Development and Disease.”

David Bortz
Postdoctoral Researcher, Grace Lab
“The medial septum enhances reversal learning via opposing actions on ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra dopamine neurons.”

Join us in BST3, Room 6014, 6th floor
Friday August 23rd @ 4pm
Enjoy GREAT science + free pizza and beer

BME Seminar Series – MRI Imaging of Brain Dynamics, Melanin and Iron – Xiaoping Hu, University of California @ Posner Hall A35
Sep 4 @ 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

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