Category Archives: Blog

Dahlstrom-Hakki in Cognitive Brown Bag Weds. March 28th in Tobin 521B from 12-1:20

Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki (Landmark College) will speak on “Teaching Students with Disabilities Online: Language-Based Challenges and Cognitive Access” in the next cognitive brown bag, Wednesday, March 28 in Tobin 521B from 12-1:20. The abstract is below.

Many students with Learning Disabilities (LD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) struggle in online learning environments. Online courses tend to place high demands on their language processing and executive function skills. In this NSF funded study (DRL-1420198), we look at some of the barriers facing students with disabilities learning statistics concepts through online discussions. We report on the impact of a Social Presence manipulation on their performance and some of the language-based difficulties involved in assessing their knowledge.

Discussion: Is Bilingualism Really an Advantage?

From Joe Pater

I had heard suspicions about the robustness of Bialystok’s findings from colleagues in Cognitive Psychology, so I wasn’t too surprised to see this. It’s of broader interest because it brings up some of the publication bias issues in the “replication crisis”, and discusses an interesting way of checking for this: by looking at conference papers for potential null results / counter evidence.

Bloggers welcome!

For the first time, we’ve set up a post in this newsletter to accept comments (“What is the birthdate of cognitive science?”). We’d like to encourage other members of the Cognitive Science community at UMass to use this platform to communicate with one another and the rest of the world. We have set up a separate “Blog” page on the website that will contain only those posts that have comments enabled (as well as this one). If you would like to post something to the CogSci website and newsletter, please include in an e-mail to

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What is the birthdate of Cognitive Science?

From Joe Pater (

I’m currently working on a piece called “1957: The Birth of Cognitive Science” (as part of a larger project on debates in cognitive science). I have picked that date since it is the publication date of Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures, and Frank Rosenblatt’s “The perceptron: a perceiving and recognizing automaton”, which can be taken as the genesis of generative linguistics and neural network modeling of cognition respectively (there are other possibilities for the latter, such as McCulloch and Pitts’ and Hebb’s work, but I’m particularly interested in explaining how many of the features of later neural network models and their associated research strategies first appeared in Rosenblatt’s work). The clash between these two paradigms was of course a major feature of cognitive science in the late 1980s and 1990s, and there continues to be considerable productive tension between these approaches, as well as integrative work.

When I suggested this date with this rationale to a colleague in Cognitive Psychology, I was glad to get the assessment that it was “As good a point in time as any, better than most.” I’d be curious, though, to hear other suggestions for birthdates.