On Saturday April 28, 10 Stanford students rolled out to Berkeley to attend the 10th Annual California Cognitive Science Conference. Hosted every year by UC Berkeley’s Cognitive Science Student Association, this conference invites undergraduates in the Bay Area to hear talks from researchers in the field and to present their own research during the poster session. This year’s two keynote speakers were the renowned neuroscientist, VS Ramachandran, who talked about the phantom limb, synesthesia, and xenomelia, and the author of Theoretical Neuroscience, Peter Dayan, who presented his view on model-based versus model-free decision making. We also had Hyo Gweon, Professor of Psychology and PI of the Social Learning Lab at Stanford as one of the focus talk speakers as well as other influencing researchers such as Lera Boroditsky. The topics of the focus talks ranged from brain machine interfaces to cognitive development to word embeddings.
However, it was not just the talks that we found inspiring. The CalCogSci Conference is a wonderful place to meet new people who share your own interests. We met with Professor Paul Li who teaches Berkeley’s introductory cognitive science class and had dinner with Professor Zachary Pardos who works at the intersection of informational science and education. He uses vector space to predict what course a student should take next based on their past enrollment sequence. We talked about AI, art, and education while eating spicy Indian food. Last but not least, congrats to Steve Rathje, a senior in psychology who presented his research in the Stanford Mind and Body Lab and was presented the People’s Choice Award given to the best poster of the year!
Written by Megumi Sano