CoNGA is the Cogniton and Neuroscience Group of Antwerp, Belgium. It brings together researchers from a variety of fields, including cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, and many others. Its main goal is to connect researchers working on the broad topic of cognition in order to share knowledge, foster collaboration and make the most of the diverse expertise that different research labs have.

Discrimination in the environment

This meeting revolves around the influential notion of discrimination in the environment. How do organisms, mostly people, make sense of the deluge of sensory information they're confronted with at any given moment of their life? How does this process go together with learning? What makes it possible? The first talk will cover the role of discrimination learning in language learning, conceptualizing this process as error reduction and showing how it makes it possible to model relevant phenomena of language acquisition without invoking innate, domain specific knowledge.

Mental representations

CoNGA's third meeting will revolve around mental representations, one of the core concepts of modern Cognitive Science. Our two talks, from a philosopher and a computational psycholinguist, will challenge the traditional view on mental and linguistic representations, pinpointing to pitfalls and shortcomings of theories that assume such constructs as building blocks of cognition.

The meeting will take place in the Annexe to the R building, in the City Campus of the University of Antwerp, from 6 to 8 pm.

The abstracts of the talks follow:

Critical periods in language learning

During our second meeting, we discussed critical periods in language acquisition, connecting it to the Poverty of the Stimulus argument, with contributions from Stuart Washington and Robert Grimm. Animals, especially songbird and bats, were discussed as valuable models to investigate critical periods in tightly controlled settings that are not possible with humans. Then, we delved more into human language per se, starting from the Poverty of the Stimulus argument to discuss whether language needs a genetic, innate component, connecting it to research on critical periods.

Perception and imagination

During our first meeting, we discussed perception & imagination, with contributions from Anna Ichino, Lu Teng, Giovanni Cassani, and Nicolas Alzetta. This meeting focused on several different problems and challenges posed by the tight interaction of perception and imagination, concerning action, language, and cognitive processes in general.
The abstracts of the four presentations follows:

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