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Spring Course: Blogging about Cognitive Science

This spring, Prof. Seana Coulson & grad student Rose Hendricks will lead a seminar on Cognitive Science blogging. (more)



Cooperrider, K., Marghetis, T., and Núñez, R. (2017). Where does the Ordered Line Come From? Evidence From a Culture of Papua New Guinea. Psychological Science.
Number lines, calendars, and measuring sticks all represent order along some dimension (e.g., magnitude) as position on a line. In high-literacy, industrialized societies, this principle of spatial organization—linear order—is a fixture of visual culture and everyday cognition. But what are the principle’s origins, and how did it become such a fixture? Three studies investigated intuitions about linear order in the Yupno, members of a culture of Papua New Guinea that lacks conventional representations involving ordered lines, and in U.S. undergraduates. Presented with cards representing differing sizes and numerosities, both groups arranged them using linear order or sometimes spatial grouping, a competing principle. But whereas the U.S. participants produced ordered lines in all tasks, strongly favoring a left-to-right format, the Yupno produced them less consistently, and with variable orientations. Conventional linear representations are thus not necessary to spark the intuition of linear order—which may have other experiential sources—but they nonetheless regiment when and how the principle is used.
Keown, C.L., Berletch, J.B., Castanon, R., Nery, J.R., Disteche, C.M., Ecker, J.R., Mukamel, E.A. (2017) Allele-specific non-CG DNA methylation marks domains of active chromatin in female mouse brain. PNAS. 2017; Early Edition.
DNA methylation at gene promoters in a CG context is associated with transcriptional repression, including at genes silenced on the inactive X chromosome in females. Non-CG methylation (mCH) is a distinct feature of the neuronal epigenome that is differentially distributed between males and females on the X chromosome. However, little is known about differences in mCH on the active (Xa) and inactive (Xi) X chromosomes because stochastic X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) confounds allele-specific epigenomic profiling. We used whole-genome bisulfite sequencing in a mouse model with nonrandom XCI to examine allele-specific DNA methylation in frontal cortex. Xi was largely devoid of mCH, whereas Xa contained abundant mCH similar to the male X chromosome and the autosomes. In contrast to the repressive association of DNA methylation at CG dinucleotides (mCG), mCH accumulates on Xi in domains with transcriptional activity, including the bodies of most genes that escape XCI and at the X-inactivation center, validating this epigenetic mark as a signature of transcriptional activity. Escape genes showing CH hypermethylation were the only genes with CG-hypomethylated promoters on Xi, a well-known mark of active transcription. Finally, we found extensive allele-specific mCH and mCG at autosomal imprinted regions, some with a negative correlation between methylation in the two contexts, further supporting their distinct functions. Our findings show that neuronal mCH functions independently of mCG and is a highly dynamic epigenomic correlate of allele-specific gene regulation.

Featured Classes
Fall 2017:
  • COGS160: Social Cognitive Development
    This course is 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. It is a 3-quarter sequence. Content, skills, and responsibilities evolve and expand every quarter. Students work with a supervisor who oversees training and task progress. Pre-req: GPA of 3.3 or better, Commitment to this Cogs 160 for 3-quarter, permission of instructor based on interview and availability. Contact Dr. Deak [gdeak@ucsd.edu] for permission to enroll in this course. (http://cogdevlab.ucsd.edu/undergraduates/)
  • COGS143: Animal Cognition
    Review of historical perspectives: introspectionist, behaviorist, and cognitivist models. Examination of how perceptual and motor constraints and ecological demands yield species-specific differences in cognitive repertoire. Contemporary issues in the comparative study of the evolution of human cognition. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.
  • COGS160: Civic Design
    Civic Design (http://civicdesign.ucsd.edu/): This studio course explores how to design services for complex socio-technical systems. The class will follow a human-centered design process that includes user research, concept generation, prototyping, and refinement. Students will work in teams to design a solution to a civic challenge effecting people in the San Diego area. This will be a good course for intermediate to advanced design students who want to build up their portfolio and to practice their skills with sketching, storyboarding, prototyping, and evaluating services for complex settings. As a prerequisite, students must have completed as least one prior project-based design or engineering course at UCSD (e.g., DSGN 1, DSGN 100, CSE 170/COGS 120, COGS 122...). Interested in this course? PLEASE FILL OUT THIS FORM: https://goo.gl/forms/3MW7lwwBJcRWick53


Recent News & Links (see all)


Professor Brad Voytek's experience advertising his failures is featured in Scientific American interview

"You might have encountered Bradley Voytek through his writings and fan-convention talks about the brains of zombies, or through his more serious day job as assistant professor of computational cognitive science and neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego. But some know Voytek because he’s open about just how hard it was to get to where he is now."


CogSci faculty given $10 million from IBM for project on memory loss

IBM awarded $10 million to Virginia de Sa and co-PIs in the Computer Science Department with co-investigators Marta Kutas, Andrea Chiba, Federico Rossano and David Kirsh from CogSci and others from CSE, to help find better ways to detect memory loss.


Design Lab Awarded NSF Funds to Train New Graduate Students in Data-Centric Programming

Professors Jim Hollan, Scott Klemmer, Philip Guo, and Bradley Voytek are co-PIs on an NSF-funded project to develop new data-science teaching curriculum for graduate students.


Undergraduate Data Science Program Town Hall

The new Undergraduate Data Science major and minor will be launching this fall quarter! If you would like more information about the program, there will be a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, September 26th at 2pm in EBU3B 1202 to learn more. 


Participate in the Design Lab’s new civic challenge

Calling all entrepreneurs, designers, engineers and problem solvers!

In a combined effort to solve complex city problems through design thinking and crowdsourcing, the University of California San Diego Design Lab has launched a city-wide civic design challenge called Design for San Diego (D4SD) with support from the City of San Diego, the National Science Foundation, the Design Forward Alliance, and SCALE San Diego.


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