UoH hosts online ‘Cog Talk’ lecture


It is an interdisciplinary platform for lectures/interactive sessions related to mind and brain sciences

The Centre for Neural and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Hyderabad recently hosted an online lecture by Michael Spivey, professor of cognitive science at the University of California, on the topic ‘Who you are: embodied and extended cognition’ as part of an online distinguished speaker series initiated by the centre under the banner ‘Cog Talk’.

A release said it is an interdisciplinary platform for lectures/interactive sessions by distinguished speakers related to mind and brain sciences. The objective was to engage students, researchers, faculty in cognitive science and spread awareness of research areas which are asking innovative questions and using truly interdisciplinary ideas/methods to answer these questions. The main focus of the lecture was on the interactivity of the mind — how our actions and responses are a result of not just our own minds but the environment and other external factors around people.

Drawing evidence from a wide variety of research areas — from linguistics, action-perception links, moral decision making among others — Prof Spivey showed how there is overwhelming evidence for an embodied view of cognition. He also touched upon his earlier work on interactivity in language where seemingly irrelevant factors were shown to influence different levels of language processing. The talk was followed by a lively discussion first with the moderator Prof Ramesh Mishra. A key point of discussion was on consciousness. Is consciousness situated within the organism or is it a natural phenomenon?

Prof Spivey shared his view that consciousness is a result of interactions within the natural world but it is firmly rooted within the organism. Questions from audience also led to discussions on the philosophical notions of free-will and if the interactive framework discussed by Prof Spivey left room for free will and intentional control. The interdisciplinary initiative was also part of the ongoing iBrain Erasmus+ multi-institutional project on capacity building in higher education, of which Prof Mishra is one of the coordinators.

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