Alina Arseniev-Koehler; UCLA

I am a doctoral student in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. My research investigates culture, cognition, language, gender, and health and illness. I am especially interested in meaning: how meaning is learned, created, shared, and structured. My dissertation investigates cultural meanings in language data using computational methods such as word embeddings.

Crystal Bae; University of California, Santa Barbara

I am a behavioral geographer interested in human group navigation, integrating methods from psychology, sociology, and geography. I am originally from Washington, DC and I am currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at UC Santa Barbara. My driving questions include how people use social and environmental cues to guide their collaborative spatial behavior in real-world settings. My doctoral research looks at spatial and social strategies that people use for wayfinding, and I employ in-depth Conversation Analysis methods to look at social interaction within dyads during both planning and navigation. My interests in cognitive science and spatial cognition are broad, but I am particularly interested in meeting other scholars working with fine-grained social interactional data, such as those who would like to discuss spatial language and gesture, the communication of uncertainty, or the management of social role-taking.

Romi Banerjee; Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India

Currently, I am a Research Associate at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, working in the areas of Artificial General Intelligence and Cognitive Machines. The pursuit of clues to how we do what we do and why we are the way we are, brings me here. I am particularly interested in the cognitive abilities of prelingual infants - the ways in which they represent their thoughts and emotions, reason about things and build expectations; would these processes help us design machines that actually 'understand'? I do look forward to the interdisciplinary discussions and cross-cultural exchanges at DISI '19.

Phillip Barron; University of Connecticut

My work sits at the intersection of poetry and philosophy. My poetry uses the medium’s formal techniques to bring out classical philosophical problems. Currently, I am a PhD student in Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, where I am writing a dissertation on poetic meaning and narrative conceptions of personal identity.

At DISI, I look forward to meeting other scholars and artists who study the ways that mindedness and intelligence (and also personhood) extend beyond human populations.


Amalia Bastos; University of Auckland

I am a PhD student at The University of Auckland. I am part of the Animal Minds lab and work with three different species: dogs, kea, and New Caledonian crows. I am interested in how evolutionary pressures have shaped the minds of different species. My PhD thesis focuses on the signature-testing approach, which aims to identify which cognitive processes animals use to understand their environment. I focus on the errors, biases, and patterns of behaviour exhibited by animals, rather than relying on binary success-testing tasks.

Ruairidh McLennan Battleday; Princeton University, Department of Computer Science; University of Oxford, St John's College.

In my research, I study generalization: how our inference about the novel and unknown is guided by our evolved and encountered past. More broadly, I am interested in furthering our understanding of cognition and intelligence by uniting insights from high-level theories and ideologies of the brain, mind, and computation.

At DISI, I am most looking forward to exploring ideas about cognition---and what our current paradigms for modeling it lack---with other thinkers from complementary disciplines.

I have research expertise in Biology, Biomedicine, Medicine, Psychology, and Machine Learning.

I am most eager to learn about adaptive justifications / explanations for cognitive systems.

I'd also like to pursue a project trying to integrate cultural or social elements into computational models of the individual mind.

Felix Binder; Berlin School of Mind & Brain; UC San Diego

I’ve just now finished an undergraduate degree in philosophy and computer science and will be starting UC San Diego’s cognitive science PhD program in the fall. Generally speaking, I am interested in how the brain comes to understand the world around it by inferring the causes of its sensory inputs. Based on this, I am intrigued by the idea of embodied simulation: that thinking about something uses the same neural resources as perceiving or acting upon that object. Framing language and culture as methods of organised and structured activation of the generative model allows for strategies developed for action in the immediate environment to be used in counterfactual and abstract scenarios.

What are you most looking forward to at DISI?

To map out the space of questions one can ask about cognition.

What is your expertise? What could you contribute to a project?

My background is in philosophy and computer science. I'm proficient with VR and the live processing of data such as body movements—this might make for a fun project. I've ran some studies on, among other things, embodiment, empathy, ethics and aesthetics, both in the lab and outside.

What are you most eager to learn about at DISI?

I'd be happy to know a comprehensive account of knowledge and culture and what happens to it outside of individual brains.

Now that you are here, describe one collaborative project you’d like to pursue

A hunch: I'm curious to see whether we can combine the explanations that we have of immediate action in an environment with the ability to simulate the world and see if that explains some more abstract cognition.

Jonathan Bowen; University of Western Ontario; Rotman Institute of Philosophy

I have two main projects right now—one broadly ethical, and the other broadly scientific. The first is to identify the unique ethical problems involved in creating artificial persons, as well as to investigate whether there can be good, non-instrumental reasons for engaging in this pursuit. The second is to develop a Gibsonian ecological approach to social interaction in general, and linguistic social interaction in particular.

Often, it seems like topics in cognitive science would require an intimidating breadth of background expertise to venture to say anything on. What I am looking forward to most with DISI is the chance to assemble collectives that actually meet this high bar, and work on something!

My expertise--if it qualifies as such--is primarily in philosophy of cognitive science and ecological psychology. I also have several years' experience as a programmer and web developer, and an undergraduate background in computer science and psychology.

What I am most eager to learn about at DISI isn't any particular topic, but a sense of what kind of consensus emerges when a group of experts across disciplines listen to and respond to cutting edge work also being done across disciplines. I want a general sense for the equilibrium that is established when experts from different disciplines keep each other accountable.

One project I would love to pursue here is an attempt to develop a Gibsonian theory of communicative acts. I have the start of a theoretical approach in mind, but this project couldn't really be done without the help of someone grounded in animal behaviour literature. I hope I can find a willing collaborator!

Tzu-Han (Zoe) Cheng; Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego

I am originally from Taipei City, Taiwan. I am currently a second year PhD student in Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego. My primary research interest explores how humans process auditory information across time, particularly in the domain of speech and music rhythm. I use behavioral measurements to investigate human timing behaviors and the underlying mechanisms. I also use electroencephalogram (EEG) to investigate the relationship between brain and behavior during beat listening, imagining, and production.

(1) I am looking forward to talking to scholars and artists from diverse fields to form research ideas and further identify future collaborators.

(2) Combining my experimental design ability, statistical analysis skill, neuroscience knowledge, especially EEG (electroencephalogram), I hope to contribute to understand diverse intelligences in DISI.

(3) My current research mainly focus on human cognitions but I would like to learn more about other species, including non-human animals, plants and machines.

(4) I would like to pursue projects about collaborative/synchronized music and/or dance performance across species from different perspectives. Moreover, I want to investigate the role of timing perception in these large-scale social behaviors.

Jennie (Jen) Christopher; University of Southern Mississippi; University of South Alabama

I am currently finishing my PhD in comparative psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi, while working as a research assistant at the University of South Alabama in the Comparative Cognition and Communication Lab under Dr. Heidi Lyn. I am a complete nerd for all things related to animal behavior, but especially those pertaining to aggression, predation, mating, and agonistic intraspecific encounters. I am also ardent about understanding and addressing human bias and salience issues in animal cognition research. I’ve worked with a variety of different species and am always hoping to expand my catalogue. My current research examines the existence and context of agonistic grooming in strepsirrhine primates. I enjoy theoretical and conceptual debates on all of the above and being exposed to a variety of perspectives that challenge my understanding of any topic.

Colin (Coco) Conwell; Harvard University, Department of Psychology

My research interests lie in the comparative psychology of humans, animals and machines — trying to understand how different minds make meaning out of sensory information. From raising newborn chickens in virtual reality chambers to playing toy blocks with supercomputers, I attempt to explore what we take for granted as the immensely intelligent species that we are, and what we can learn by recreating our synapses in silicon. Mostly, I'm just mad that Hamlet knows the difference between a hawk and a handsaw when I very much don't.

Efrén Cruz Cortés; Colorado School of Public Health

I work on the effects algorithmic decision making has on social phenomena like judicial fairness, economic inequality, etc. In particular, I study through a machine learning framework how social structures and dynamics are reproduced and possibly amplified when automation is employed. The goal is to asses, through simulation, how the implementation of particular policies may or may not bring desirable outcomes in the long run. Among optimal policy choice, I also study the assumptions needed for the convergence of such socio-technical systems, as well as the statistical identification of cause-effect mechanisms.

What are you most looking forward to at DISI?

So many things! Being exposed to new ideas by chatting with other fellows and from the faculty talks. Also, I am very excited about the development of the risky projects.

What is your expertise? What could you contribute to a project?

My expertise is in machine learning. I can contribute with ideas, concepts, and mathematical tools from machine learning, statistics, and AI.

What are you most eager to learn about at DISI?

I want to know the different perspectives on collective intelligence and how others formalize it for study. I am also eager to hear from AI researchers with a different approach to mine. I've been doing machine learning my own way for too long and I want a refreshing, different and mind blowing perspective :-)

Now that you are here, describe one collaborative project you’d like to pursue (1-2 sentences).


Dániel Czégel; Eötvös University, Budapest

I’m a PhD student at Eötvös University, Budapest, with an educational background in physics (BSc), complex systems (msc), cognitive science (MSc) and evolutionary biology (PhD, so far). As a general theme, I study complexification and emergent system-level computations as a result of self-assembly and adaptation, inspired by evolution, machine learning and models of self-organization, mostly by building mathematical/computational models. Besides that, I welcome any challenge with an open mind.

Helen Elizabeth Davis; Harvard University

I use theoretical perspectives of behavioral ecology and evolutionary psychology to better understand cognitive development and cognitive decline in humans. So far my work has focused on the effects of formal schooling on abstract problem solving and executive function in non-WEIRD subsistence and transitioning populations (with little to no access to school).

J Benjamin (Ben) Falandays; University of California, Merced; Cognitive and Information Sciences Department

My work aims at understanding cognition as a dynamic process, emerging from the interactions among systems at multiple scales. I focus on the places where cognitive explanations need to span across two or more levels of analysis.

On the smaller scale, I study interactions among cognitive sub-systems involving language, vision, the motor system, and the environment. I use continuous behavioral measures such as eye tracking (soon in VR!) and mouse cursor tracking to trace cognitive processes as they unfold, examining the time-course over which various cues (acoustic, visual, linguistic, bodily, and social) are integrated to achieve understanding and action.

At the larger scale, I use computational modeling to examine cognition in the context of cultural and evolutionary dynamics. I am currently working on an agent-based model of the evolution of cultural artifacts, which seeks to explain the diversity of relationships between artifact complexity and population structure across domains with differing cognitive constraints, including language, tool construction, and folk tales.

What are you most looking forward to at DISI?

I'm looking forward to (/currently enjoying) discussions about general principles underlying "intelligent" systems across domains, in the pursuit of a unifying framework for cognitive science.

What is your expertise? What could you contribute to a project?

My knowledge base is in language processing (and computational models of it), embodied cognition, computational/agent-based models of cultural evolution, and complex adaptive systems. I can also contribute expertise in/access to several "process-tracing" experimental methodologies including eye tracking, VR eye tracking, mouse-cursor tracking, and the KINARM robotic exoskeleton (an augmented reality system that can provide kinematic feedback and record movements/forces/etc).

Hamza Giaffar; PhD student, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY

There are two main tracks to my research: i) computational and theoretical (neuroscience) approaches to understanding olfaction. ii) exploring connections between learning theories and evolutionary systems. I had a great time at DISI last year and look forward to the fun and conversations to come!

Xue (Sheri) Guo; University of St Andrews

I am a third-year PhD student in the program of computer science at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, where I got my MSc. of Artificial Intelligence. My current work and research interests are urban computing, i.e. inferring the functionality of city zones, modeling the evolution of cities, spatial data mining (from aggregated data) and machine learning (to create smarter cities).

Chenxu (Stella) Hao; Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience Area, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan

As a graduate student in cognitive psychology, I am interested in investigating moral decisions in the framework of bounded rationality. My current work focuses on using computational models to understand various aspects of human decisions such as how context affects moral decision making.

At DISI, I am looking forward to hearing other people's perspectives on intelligences and doing interdisciplinary collaborative work with other fellows and faculties.

I would hardly call myself an expert but I have research experience in human rationality with both behavioral methods and computational modeling approach (Bayesian cognitive models, reinforcement learning).

At DISI, I am most eager to learn about the relationship among different types/forms of intelligences (e.g., cross-species, cross-cultures, etc.) and various research methods.

The general theme of the project I'd like to work on is to identify and operationalize the crucial factors in acquiring moral values (such as emotions, adult role models, utilitarianism, etc.) Such acquired knowledge could be applied as a prior for moral judgments. The question then is how an intelligent agent, with such priors, integrate the knowledge in a moral situation? How does the environment influence the decision? What differentiates human-like moral decisions from moral decisions that maximizes utility for the society?

Johanna Henke-von der Malsburg; Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology Unit, German Primate Center

I am a cognitive ecologist/ethologisy, currently working on my PhD project to compare cognitive abilities between two species of closely related primates expressing different levels of ecological generalism. To assess testing performances over various cognitive domains, I am applying a comprehensive test battery to wild living lemurs in Madagascar. I am interested in the investigation of cognitive differences related to variation in life styles and environmental conditions, as well as the relation to certain health and survival indicators.

1) I am most looking forward to the exchange of scientific experience across disciplines and to building contacts across universities and coutries.

2) As I am working with non-humen animals, I am pretty experienced & empathetic in training and testing them (especially primates and horses, but adaptable to any other animal), incl. test design (possible confounds or influencing factors for which should be controlled), video analysis (with BORIS) and data analysis (with R, linear (mixed effect) models).

3) I am most eager to learn about creating and elaborating interesting and promising projects.

4) To really understand differences in cognitive abilities between generalist and specialist species, we need more direct species comparisons which builds the need to collaborate with a variety of experts of different study organisms. To keep track of a given species' exact level of ecological generalism, especially feeding behaviour must be collected simultaneously.

Mark Ho; UC Berkeley, Princeton University

I am a computational cognitive scientist interested in how people make decisions in the context of other people. In particular, my work draws on ideas and tools from philosophy, psychology, and machine learning in order to formulate and test computational theories of how people teach, learn, communicate, and coordinate in interactive settings.

Josephine (Josie) Hubbard; University of California, Davis

My research applies principles of animal behavior to address conservation issues of wild non-human primates. I am interested in how primates respond to changing environments and how anthropogenic influences may affect their physical, social, cognitive and reproductive behavior. More specific interests include the effects of crop-raiding, ecotourism, shared land use, and disease transmission.

(1) I am most looking forward to expanding my current ideas of intelligence via exposure to the ideas of knowledgeable scholars from diverse disciplinary fields. I am excited to create connections with my fellow DISI participants that will lead to long-lasting and fulfilling collaborations.

(2) I have rich experience in observational studies of animals in the wild and developing an understanding of behavior in an ecologically-valid setting. My more recent interests and expertise is in animal cognitive testing, particularly in a field setting. I have knowledge of the utility of different materials for the construction of cognitive testing devices. I also have skills in traditional social network analysis as well as novel network-based approaches.

In terms of projects, I can contribute intellectual knowledge of animal behavior to questions of diverse intelligences. I also have access to a large database of monkey behavioral data, both in captive environments as well as in the urban environment, that could potentially be used to answer questions of intelligence. I also have access to collect additional data (behavioral, genetic, physiological) on non-human primates through the California National Primate Research Center in collaboration with a DISI project.

(3) I’m most eager to learn about testing approaches that are prevalent in other disciplines that may be easily adapted to non-human primate cognitive testing. Additionally, I’m interested in exploring broader questions of intelligence in which to situate and broaden my own perspectives. Specifically, I’d love to learn machine learning techniques, deep learning, reinforcement learning, and how flexibility plays a role in these areas.

(4) What cognitive abilities are being used (or are important) during inter-species interactions vs. intra-species interactions? For animals, knowledge of status, physiological state and health, and relatedness can be important for intra-species interactions. Are these same traits important for inter-species interactions, or are simpler rules being employed? How does this change when one of the species is humans and the other species is a non-human animal?

Nofit Itzhak; Universitat Rovira I Virgili

I received my PhD in Anthropology from the University of California San Diego in 2016, where I specialized in psychological and medical anthropology, and the anthropology of religion. I am currently a research fellow at the Medical Anthropology Research Center at the Universitat Rovira I Virgili in Tarragon, Spain. My work broadly focuses on the impact that non-human agency has on human sociality. My previous project, an ethnographic study of a Catholic Charismatic international community and its affiliated NGOs in France and in Rwanda, examined the manners in which people’s relation to God and other divine figures shaped the ways they oriented to the social and related to social others in the context of aid and beyond. My current project shifts from the strictly divine to the technological, to consider the possible impacts that the wide introduction of AI or cyberphysical systems into human social lives will have on children’s developing bodies and minds. As part of this comparative qualitative study, I examine how children think about and interact with technology, and how this shapes their social selves and impacts their wellbeing. Being an anthropologist of religion, I am also particularly interested in examining the interface of religion and the religious with the ways people relate to and conceive of the technological. Some of my other key research interests include empathy and intersubjectivity, embodiment, healing and therapeutic process, attitudes towards change and transformation, play, and the imagination.

Akankwasa John Walter; Budongo Conservation Field Station

My work involves monitoring the health of the endangered chimpanzees in the Albertine rift. Chimpanzees do not know boundaries and often times we are engaging communities on how-to live-in harmony with wildlife to reduce on human wildlife conflict. A lot of effort is put on community attitudes towards chimpanzees as we also try to remove any harm chimpanzees may encounter in their habitats.

I am interested in communication among apes as the intraspecies communication before aggression is vital in reducing human-wildlife conflict. I would like to improve on my skills in understanding interspecies behavior and knowledge through an interdisciplinary approach to collect and model large behaviour data sets as to use the findings while conducting community conservation in my everyday work.

Kara Kedrick; University of Minnesota—Twin Cities

I am a Cognitive and Brain Sciences PhD student at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. My ongoing research concerns the influence of curiosity on question asking, information foraging, and subsequent memory recall. In addition, I have been examining the underlying individual differences that contribute to intrinsically-motivated knowledge acquisition. My collaborative work allows me to explore curiosity using both behavioral and computational methods. Broadly speaking, I am interested in how contextual properties and individual differences (e.g., prior knowledge, personality traits) contribute to both the process and outcomes/products (e.g., concept development, transfer) of information seeking.

Bernard (Bernie) Koch; UCLA Department of Sociology

I'm a third-year sociology graduate student at UCLA interested in culture, science, and computational methods. My master's thesis adapted models from macroevolutionary biology to explain the historical trajectories of cultural populations like music genres, scientific fields, and industries. For my dissertation research, I'd like to focus on how deep learning can be applied to network and causal inference problems to help identify how we can make science more efficient, productive, and equitable.

Eliza Kosoy; UC Berkeley

I am a first year at UC Berkeley working with Dr. Alison Gopnik. I'm interested in the intersection of artificial intelligence and child development. How do kids learn new concepts so quickly and with so little data? How can we model this to create faster machine learning. I study this in two different domains. One through intersections with Brenden Lake's work on one-shot-learning and the Omniglot letters dataset. The other through curiosity and exploration with various faculty at BAIR (Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research) such as Prof. Efros, and postdocs Pulkit Agrawal and Deepak Pathak. Previously I worked with Josh Tenenbaum, Tomer Ullman and Liz Spelke.

Pablo León-Villagrá; University of Edinburgh

I am in the final year of my Ph.D. studies at the School of Informatics at Edinburgh University. In my PhD, I explore how humans represent learned relationships and how these learned relationships inform generalizations Additionally, I am interested in how the learned relationships themselves can be generalized to new tasks, for example by learning flexible, compositional representations. More generally, I am interested in how these representations are learned and what kind of transformations they undergo during learning.

Robert (Rob) Long; New York University

I am a fourth year Ph.D. student in Philosophy. I am interested in the relationship between human and artificial intelligence, and in ethical issues related to AI. One of my current projects frames artificial intelligence research in terms of the classic debate between nativists and empiricists in philosophy and cognitive science. Another project argues that many (but not all) of the common measures of fairness in machine learning are misguided. At DISI, I am especially interested in investigating whether it is possible to give a unified definition of intelligence across the different fields that study intelligence.

Kelsey Lucca; University of Washington

My research investigates the active role that infants and young children play in their early cognitive and social development. I received my PhD from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University in 2017, where I researched the link between curiosity (as manifested through gesture use) and learning in human infants, bonobos, and chimpanzees. I am currently a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where I am continuing to explore questions related to the developmental and evolutionary origins of cognition and communication.

Dr. Vukosi Marivate; University of Pretoria

I hold a PhD in Computer Science (Rutgers University) and MSc & BSc in Electrical Engineering (Wits University). I am based at the University of Pretoria as the ABSA Chair of Data Science. I work on developing Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence methods to extract insights from data. A large part of my work over the last few years has been in the intersection of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (due to the abundance of text data and need to extract insights). As part of my vision for the ABSA Data Science chair, I am interested in Data Science for Social Impact, using local challenges as a springboard for research. In this area I have worked on projects in science, energy, public safety and utilities. I am an organiser of the Deep Learning Indaba, the largest Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence workshop on the African continent, aiming to strengthen African Machine Learning. I am passionate about developing young talent, supervising MSc and PhD students and mentoring budding Data Scientists.

What are you most looking forward to at DISI?

Learning and contributing to the community. Wider understanding of what is intelligence and how we can do trans disciplinary work.

What is your expertise? What could you contribute to a project?

I have experience in Machine Learning, Reinforcement Learning as well as a plethora of Data Science approaches and techniques. I have worked as well in graph mining and information security.

What are you most eager to learn about at DISI?

I have been intrigued by how to best work in transdisciplinary teams and make them effective. I am also interested in language and how we can understand our world better through it.

Now that you are here, describe one collaborative project you’d like to pursue

Something on:

  • language (maybe + social media),
  • and something on mixed teams and effectiveness.

Otávio Mattos Câmara; Cognitive Development Center, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

I am currently a PhD student in Cognitive Science at the Central European University. I am deeply interested in the development of object representations and referential communication in infants and young children —specifically, how the ability to represent object 'individuality' (e.g., a 'special' teddy bear vs. a teddy bear) develops and how this development influences (or is influenced by) referential communication and language learning. So far, I have been exploring these research questions through behavioral and eye-tracking paradigms, but I am deeply interested in the potential use of computer simulation to investigate these issues (although this is a field with which I am broadly unfamiliar).

At DISI, I am looking forward not only to meeting researchers and getting to know new studies within my scope of interest, but also to discover research agendas that I haven't thought about before. I also hope that my knowledge on infant development and infant research can be useful to my colleagues, and that potential collaborations on the topic of object representations and referential communication can bloom. In addition, I am very excited about the possibility of getting introduced to methodologies and paradigms that I am not familiar with. In sum, I am looking forward to coming to DISI-19 in July!

Katarina Mayer; ESET

I'm a machine learning scientist working for ESET cyber security company. At work, I build models to extract information from our enourmously big datasets. I also do research on more philantropic topics—I'm interested in application of AI, spatial modeling and complex system modeling for social good. My recent projects include formulating policies to prevent sex trafficking and identifying areas with animal abuse in Daejeon, South Korea. In short, I'm very interested in projects that would help prevent abuse, violence or discrimination of disadvantaged social groups or animals. Most of my projects address problems that were not tackled in quantitative way before or at all. I'm not afraid of a challenge. I'm looking for like-minded people to work with.

What are you most looking forward to at DISI?

I hope to learn not only from the lectures but also from my peers. This is a very precious environment (probably best characterized as "clash of scientific fields"). I get amazed every day at how we all think about things in a completely different way.

What is your expertise? What could you contribute to a project?

My background is in Statistics, Machine Learning, Complex systems and Agent-based modeling. I'm very interested in spatial modeling and any kind of behavioral modeling.

What are you most eager to learn about at DISI?

I would love to learn about any applications of AI in other fields (the crazier the better). But of course any transdiciplinary cooperation would be of interest to me.

Now that you are here, describe one collaborative project you’d like to pursue

Anything related to:

  • applying "fancy scientific modeling" to improve life of disadvantaged groups/animals,
  • anything that requires spatial modeling, agent based modeling and AI.

Emma McEwen; University of St Andrews

I am currently a first year PhD student at the University of St Andrews. I am interested in the underlying cognitive mechanisms involved in co-ordination, such as flexibility and inhibitory control, understanding a co-agent's action plans and perspective, and how one’s own uncertainty and sense of agency may play a role. I am also interested in developing new methodologies to investigate co-ordination and other aspects of cognition, such as using virtual environments and touchscreens. I currently study these ideas by working with captive chimpanzees.

Judit Mokos; Eotvos University, Hungary

I am a PhD student in evolutionary and theoretical biology. My main topic is the evolutionary background of human cooperation that I study in real life situations, but I also interested in pedagogy, avian cognition, evolutionary psychology and science communication. I am naive enough to believe with my research we will be able to solve complex cooperative problems, such as climate change.

What are you most looking forward to at DISI?

People and conversations. (Also puffins.)

What is your expertise? What could you contribute to a project?

I have a bachelor in teaching literature and biology, and a master in ecology, conservation and evolutionary biology. My phd is about the evolutionary background of human cooperation. I used to work as a field botanist (I guess this is not very useful here), and as a social worker, so I know a little about special need kids. As a teacher, I studied developmental psychology and evolutionary psychology. I know how to design experiments, how to catch a zebra finch, I know some data science and data visualization, and I am an R magician. I also know how to turn scientific terms into a fun and easily understandable form.

What are you most eager to learn about at DISI?

I would like to hear about different fields, places and peoples. I really enjoy that all of us come from diverse fields. Anthropology is the newest interest of mine, I also would love to hear how to study humans without actually conducting an experiment. I've never been outside Europe, so I'm happy if you "take me on a journey" with a story about your country.

Now that you are here, describe one collaborative project you’d like to pursue.

I still want to save the world! My idea is written on the project page. Let me know if you want to join! I am also interested in anything related to cooperation, evolution, altruism, reputation, or climate crisis.

Anastasia Nikoulina; Indiana University - Bloomington; Cognitive Science Program

I investigate the influence of environmental factors on risky decision-making and functional brain networks, and how the relationship between environment and decision-making differs across individuals (e.g., those with and without alcohol use disorder). Traditionally, a large emphasis has been placed on the role of cognitive control/executive brain systems in risky decision-making. In my work, I take the perspective that skilled, context-appropriate, action (i.e., “good” or “safe” decision-making) is supported by the coordination of multiple brain systems (including sensory, motor, and control systems) in response to environmental cues. I am very interested in understanding the implications of this slightly broader view of decision-making for human health, wellbeing, and self-actualization. I am excited to explore questions surrounding intelligence with DISI fellows, including questions related to the interplay of intelligence, creativity, and volitional action.

Luca Rade; Princeton University

I completed my bachelor's from Princeton this May in Complex Adaptive Systems. My background is in theoretical ecology, psychology, mathematics, neuroscience, history, and poetry. Currently I am developing an extended version of the emulation theory of perception and imagination pioneered by Rick Grush and writing a poetry anthology (ask me about it, I love showing people my poems!). I was once quite into ML and more generally different paradigms of AI - I still have a latent project on an agent-environment framework using control theory for rigorously investigating the safety of an arbitrary artificial agent. I'm excited to meet everyone and have wonderful fruitful interdisciplinary conversations!

Wiktor Rorot; University of Warsaw

I am a first year master's student at the University of Warsaw, pursuing a degree in philosophy and in cognitive science. In my studies I have focused on the philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science, investigating topics related to perception and phenomenal consciousness - most importantly egocentric space perception - from the perspective afforded by 4E approaches to cognition, especially from the formal perspective developed within the Karl Friston's active inference framework. I am also interested in issues related to the philosophy of biology, most importantly the general applications of information and complexity theory to biological phenomena, including the enactivist life-mind continuity thesis, evolution of teleological phenomena (e.g. intentionality and function) and the concept of minimal cognition.

1) I'm most looking to talking to people coming from different background and collaborating with them on projects that are outside of my "comfort zone" (and it's been great so far!)

2) My expertise is mostly in philosophy and conceptual analysis, but I have also some general knowledge about computational modelling methods (which is impractical), so in a project I can try to clarificate some of the concepts, try to present them in a broader perspective or try to translate between people using the same words to talk about different things :)

3) I'm most eager to learn about stuff related to biology, most importantly to evolution, but also I'd love to get a hands-on experience in work on empirical projects.

4) I'm intersted in looking into how the free energy principle can be useful in explaining basically anything :)

Tim Sainburg; UCSD, Department of Psychology, Specialization in Anthropogeny

I study animal communication in the Psychology department at UCSD. My research primarily focuses on songbirds as a model for complex sequential organization in vocal communication. I am also interested in other communicative systems such as human language, non-human primate communication, and cetacean communication. Part of my research focuses on using and developing novel machine learning, computational, and information-theoretic tools to model vocal communication and design stimulus spaces for questions in ethology, the cognitive sciences, and computational neuroscience.

Dilini Samarasinghe; The University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia

I am a third year PhD student in Computer Science with a background in agent based modelling, evolutionary computation and computer programming. My current research is focused on generating behavioural rules for multi-agent systems to solve complex adaptive team and swarm tasks. I explore evolutionary computing based approaches, primarily grammatical evolution, as a viable solution to model, study and understand the real life complexities of dynamic systems and to leverage the full potential of agent systems in real world problems by modelling multifaceted behaviours.

My broader interests include pondering on the ultimate goals of artificial intelligence research. I’m excited to explore the idea of conscious machines and whether it is plausible to articulate that an artificial brain might gain genuine consciousness through some "proper" interconnection of billions of artificial neurons. I believe investigating more on the origin of human consciousness could unveil astonishing territories that lead to emergence of consciousness in machines, of which the potential could be beyond our expectations or imagination.

Stephen W. Savignano; University of Minnesota

I am a PhD student in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. My research examines how recent advances in artificial intelligence have renewed interest in the possibility of a machine that can think in a way typically taken to characterize the inner life of human beings. In particular, I am interested in exploring what challenges this idea might pose to understanding what is ‘human’ about human beings, as well as what these challenges might mean for research in the humanities and social sciences.

Gabriella Smith; Hunter College, CUNY

I am a first-year master's student at Hunter College's program in Animal Behavior and Conservation. I am interested in animal sociality, communication, and problem-solving, and I have experience studying octopuses, butterflies, clownfish, woolly monkeys, and Galapagos sea lions. I am currently conducting my MA thesis in the Pepperberg lab of avian cognition studying African Grey parrot knowledge of English language semantics.

• What are you most looking forward to at DISI?

I am most looking forward to collaborating with fellows across cultural backgrounds and academic disciplines in order to approach my research questions from various vantage points. I am also looking forward to meeting others within my field of expertise and meeting others with mine and similar passions!

• What is your expertise? What could you contribute to a project?

My expertise is in biology, ecology, and cognitive psychology of animals. I can offer my knowledge of non-human animal social and physical cognition, behavior, intelligence, and problem-solving.

• What are you most eager to learn about at DISI?

I am most eager to gain the anthropological perspective of the role of animals in the lives and evolution of humans.

• Now that you are here, describe one collaborative project you’d like to pursue (1-2 sentences).

I’d like to collaborate with a social media expert as well as an anthropologist to explore similar role of domesticated animals and digital technology in the evolution of humans, and the psychological repercussions of both of these.

Codi Stevens; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

I am a doctoral candidate in Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. My area of specialization is social epistemology, and I am writing my dissertation on epistemic responsibility. In particular, I am exploring the ways in which theories of epistemic responsibility can be constructed with sensitivity to facts about human belief formation processes.

Wondimagegnhue (Wende) Tsegaye; Addis Ababa University

I am in the final year of a master's degree in Language Technology at Addis Ababa University. Using machine learning techniques, my research is devoted to the discovery of optimal strategies to learn word structure in morphologically rich languages. I am also interested in exploring methods to bridge the gap between ‘Artificial’ and ‘Natural’ Intelligence. To this end I try to integrate into my work knowledge from neuroscience and evolutionary biology and apply it to the domain of language understanding.

Belén Unzueta; Department of Sociology, Princeton University

I'm a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University. My work explores the way people identify themselves and others, the classification schemes they use, and the cultural content of the categories involved in this process. I study how these systems of classification connect individual cognitive processes to larger societal outcomes such as social inequality, political consensus, and ethnic diversity. In particular, I'm interested in how people judge ethnic and racial authenticity, its connection to psychological essentialism, and its implications for the construction of social boundaries.

Nadya Vasilyeva; Princeton University

I study explanation and causal reasoning in adults and across development. I approach explanation both as a process and a product: I investigate cognitive consequences of engaging in explanation (process) and of producing different types of explanation, such as formal, causal-mechanistic, teleological, structural, mathematical, etc., of different levels of complexity (product). My research on causal reasoning examines the role of stability, or robustness of causal relationships across varying background circumstances. In my current research projects, I explore how explanation and causal reasoning contribute to learning, inductive inference, and decision-making, and how this relationship varies with context, domain-specific experience and development. In one of the active projects, I focus on the role of structural reasoning in representations of social categories and examine consequences of engaging in structural explanation for reasoning about socioeconomic inequality. I'm also interested in how agents solve the explore/exploit dilemma in learning: choosing to exploit the current mental representation of the world or explore a different one.

Skyler Wang; University of California, Berkeley

I am a Ph.D. student in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Broadly, I am interested in understanding how the adoption of online technologies shape cultural schemas and offline relationships. My dissertation explores how individuals rely on algorithmic-thinking to make decisions on ‘when to commit’ in the age of digital romance. Singles today often bemoan that online dating has reduced romantic pursuits to a ‘numbers game.’ They say that dating apps have made an overwhelming amount of people available at the touch of their fingertips, but knowing when to stop 'relationshopping' and start 'relationshipping' has become a great source of disquietude. The paradox of choice, fobo ('fear of a better option'), and ‘the-next-best-thing-ism’ are all terms that describe the same cultural anxiety. Taking my research to metropolises such as Shanghai and New York, I ask: how do people respond to and/or play the numbers game? What kind of schemas are urbanites relying on to make dating-related decisions? Furthermore, how do the technologization, commercialization, and quantification of one of life’s most intimate affairs shape modern understandings of selfhood, intelligence, and relationality?

Troy Weekes; Florida Institute of Technology

I am a doctoral research assistant with the Harris Institute for Assured Information at Florida Tech. I am currently pursuing a PhD in human-centered design with an emphasis on human augmentation with artificial intelligence. My research focuses on visualizing the effects of teaming humans with intelligent agents that monitor their mental and emotional state and uses biofeedback stimulation to help achieve high performance outcomes. At the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute, I intend to better understand how the wide-ranging disciplines can impact my research on how humans interact with technology. My hope is that by immersing myself in the collaborative and diverse environment that DISI provides, I can develop new metaphors for the relationship between people and automation, and that I can then develop tools that embody that relationship and enable dramatic increases in human performance.

Staci Meredith Weiss; Temple University and SUNY Geneseo

I am a 4th-year PhD student investigating the physiological concomitants and bodily foundations of organized behavior in infants, children, and adults. My current research uses techniques within developmental cognitive neuroscience to investigate neural responses during attention to the body in relation to individual differences in executive function across the lifespan and contextual influences. I’m interested in utilizing computational approaches to cognitive neuroscience, complementing my background in physics and developmental dynamic systems with contemporary theories in evolutionary biology, and integrating the knowledge gained this summer with embodied and relational approaches to developing organisms.

Caroline Wronski; University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Social and Education Sciences

I am interested in how children generate new ideas, and for this I am currently looking at abductive reasoning, narratives, and metaphors. I work in early childhood education research at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, and the broader question is how we can interact with children in early education settings in ways that do not hinder curiosity and creative thinking. I have a PhD in early cognitive development.

Haleh Yazdi; University of California San Diego

As a PhD student in developmental psychology at the University of California San Diego, I take a cross-cultural approach to studying how children residing in different societies develop beliefs about sharing, fairness, morality and intergroup biases. The aim of my research is to better understand which aspects of morality and cooperation are culture-specific versus universal. I use economic games, interviews and quantitative measures to explore how societal factors such as cultural cohesion, social inequality, and religious presence shape children’s developing moral beliefs.

Emanuela Yeung; University of Victoria

I am a PhD candidate in Cognition and Brain Sciences at the University of Victoria where I study the development of social understanding in children. My dissertation examines the variety and complexity of ways in which we can “understand” others and I take an interdisciplinary approach bridging theories from phenomenological philosophy with methods used in developmental psychology and motor theories of social perception in cognitive psychology.

Claudia Zeiträg; Department of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Lund University

I am a first year PhD student at the Cognitive Zoology Group at Lund University. In my project, I am studying the evolution of social cognition in Archosaurs - an animal group that includes crocodilians, birds and the extinct dinosaurs. By studying extant Archosaurs, I want to obtain a better understanding of extinct non-avian dinosaur cognition.

1) At DISI, I am mostly looking forward to meeting scientists working on different aspects of intelligence. As my background is mainly in animal cognition, I hope that the exchanges and discussions with researchers of various backgrounds will broaden my understanding of intelligence and give me valuable inspiration for my own research project.

2) My expertise lies in animal cognition. Within this field, I have mainly worked on social cognition and communication, asw ell as their evolutionary origins. I have a good understanding of evolutionary processes and access to a variety of animal species for collaborative projects.

3) I am most eager to learn more about how to complement animal cognition research with state of the art technologies. I think that this kind of interdisciplinary research will gain more and more importance in the future of animal cognition research and promises new insights into the minds of animals.

4) Together with Gabriella, I came up with a project idea on spontaneous cooperation between diverse intelligences. In this project, we would like to test whether human infants are willing to cooperate with various agents, namely another human child, a human adult, an animal and a robot. This is an interdisciplinary project as it combines the fields of developmental psychology, philosophy and robotics.

Marianna Zhang; Stanford University

I am a first-year PhD student in developmental psychology at Stanford University. I'm interested in the role of language in shaping our representations of categories. Given the infinite ways we could theoretically categorize the world, how do we develop the representations we do? How does the language we hear shape the development of those representations? And how variable and flexible are these category representations across different forms of experience? I draw on my background in developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and philosophy in thinking about these questions.

I am excited to engage with people and ideas from disciplines and perspectives different from my own. I have a wide range of interests, and would be excited to think about/collaborate on a variety of questions, including the ones I mentioned above, as well as any of the following. How is the space of possibilities constrained during learning, and where do these prior constraints/overhypotheses come from? How do language, culture, and thought interact in ways that language and culture reflect our conceptions of the world and vice versa? How are social categories constructed? How do we reason about necessity, contingency, and the possibility of alternate/different worlds? How do we individuate an object or a person and recognize it as the same across change/time?