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The Earthpigs Meet the Gulls

Students and faculty note a CogSci "spin" watching San Diego's new hockey team. Go Gulls! (more)

Urbach, T. P., DeLong, K. A., & Kutas, M. (2015). Quantifiers are incrementally interpreted in context, more than less. Journal of Memory and Language, 83, 79-96.
Language interpretation is often assumed to be incremental. However, our studies of quantifier expressions in isolated sentences found N400 event-related brain potential (ERP) evidence for partial but not full immediate quantifier interpretation (Urbach & Kutas, 2010). Here we tested similar quantifier expressions in pragmatically supporting discourse contexts (Alex was an unusual toddler. Most/Few kids prefer sweets/vegetables …) while participants made plausibility judgments (Experiment 1) or read for comprehension (Experiment 2). Control Experiments 3A (plausibility) and 3B (comprehension) removed the discourse contexts. Quantifiers always modulated typical and/or atypical word N400 amplitudes. However, the real-time N400 effects only in Experiment 2 mirrored offline quantifier and typicality crossover interaction effects for plausibility ratings and cloze probabilities. We conclude that quantifier expressions can be interpreted fully and immediately, though pragmatic and task variables appear to impact the speed and/or depth of quantifier interpretation.

Featured Classes
Spring 2016:
  • COGS160: Communication in Infancy
    A mixed Practicum/Seminar course designed to provide hands-on experience in research on infancy and early childhood. Students learn skills and are assigned responsibilities based on the project to which they are assigned. Students also participate in a journal club and prepare brief end-of-quarter presentations and reports. COGS 160 is a 3-quarter sequence. Content, skills, and responsibilities evolve and expand every quarter. Requirements for enrollment: Upper-division coursework in Cognitive Science, Human Development, Linguistics, and/or Psychology, covering content including one or more cognition or cognitive development cognitive ethnography, neuroscience, psycholinguistics; GPA of 3.3 or better; Commitment to a 3-quarter, 4-credit sequence; Permission of instructor based on interview and availability. Please attach your current resume and transcript (PDF format) to gdeak [at]
  • COGS160: Neural Signal Processing
    This course will cover theoretical foundations and practical applications of signal processing to neural data. Topics include EEG/field potential methods (filtering, Fourier (spectral) analysis, coherence) and spike train analysis (reverse correlation, spike sorting, multi-electrode recordings). Some applications to neural imaging (optical microscopy, fMRI) data will also be discussed. Pre-req: Math 18 or 20F, Cogs 14B or Psyc 60, and Cogs 109.
  • COGS160: Social Cognition:Devlpmnt/Evol
    In this seminar we examine the development of social cognition in human ontogeny and examine similarities and differences between human socio-cognitive skills and those of other animals, great apes, birds and dogs in particular. We will focus mostly on infant and preschoolsers and on the principal building blocks of social cognition that pave the way to becoming competent members of a community. We start by examining the development of gaze following and voice following, the capacity to engage in joint attention and to communicate through gestures, specifically, pointing, during the first and second year of life. We then explore the role that human prosocial tendencies play in our capacity to carry out social lives and care for others, the complexity and importance of imitation for cultural transmission and how group mentality and group biases emerge. We then discuss how cultural transmission relies on conformity, normativity and on collaboration to construct and sustain social institutions and address how concerns such as fairness, procedural justice and ultimately our moral compass develop and to what degree they differ between human and non-human animals. To contact Dr. Rossano ‎[]‎ directly for permission to enroll in this Cogs 160 D00 Sp16 869003.
  • COGS160: Interaction Design Startup
    Interaction Design Startup: In this course, students will learn tools and processes for innovating novel business concepts to solve problems involving the interaction between humans and technology. Students will work with an interdisciplinary team to understand unmet user needs and to create a value proposition that balances technical feasibility, financial viability, and desirability. Ultimately, student teams will prototype a novel mobile information service, write a business plan, and produce a video sketch suitable for launching a crowdfunding campaign. To inform the innovation process, students will learn new techniques for leveraging social media and crowdsourcing to discover users' needs and to obtain feedback on preliminary concepts. Selected readings will cover ubiquitous computing, service design, business modeling, creativity methods, crowdsourcing, and crowdfunding. Pre-req: Cogs 120/CSE 170 or Cogs 187A or Dsgn 1. For enrollment consideration, please fill out this form:
  • COGS160: Social Computing
    The course explores the intersection of social behavior and computational systems. The growth of online environments like Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, Instagram, WhatApp, blogs, online support groups, open-source development projects, and crowdsourcing platforms shows that web technology is no longer just about delivering information, but also connecting people. Students will examine a range of social, technical, and business challenges related to social computing, and learn how to use tools to analyze, design, and build online communities. Course work will include lectures, class discussion, homework, class presentations, and a group research or design project. Pre-req: Cogs 120/CSE 170 or Cogs 187A or Dsgn 1. For enrollment consideration, please fill out this form:
Winter 2016:
  • COGS90: Sketching User Experience
    Design in the Wild - Sketching User Experience (A Studio Class) This is a hands-on studio class intended to exercise key practical skills which I believe to be essential to the professional UX designer. Besides exercising the skills themselves, the meta-theme is instilling and exercising a practical way to practice that much-abused term: design thinking. It is not enough just to have the skills. One also needs to understand their “why?”, and how they relate to each other. This course will be based upon selected exercises from Greenberg, S., Carpendale, S., Marquardt, N. & Buxton, B. (2011). Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook. Waltham, MA: Morgan Kaufmann. as well as ones emerging from questions and/or relevance to participants. The intent will be to include exercises based on classic examples from the past, in order to emphasize the point that, while the “maker movement” is important, it is neither new, nor a replacement for scholarship. Go to here to apply to be in the course:

Research Opportunities (199s)
  • Speech Production Adaptation to Individual Speakers
    When speaking to another person, we tailor our speech production based on information we know about that person: for example, you probably don't use the same vocabulary with a professor as you do with a 2-year-old. This project will investigate how specific this adaptation in the speech production system is. ...
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