Human spatial cognition focus of PNP conference

Do the words we use to describe an object interact with and possibly shape our view of the world around us? That’s one of the questions explored in a special conference on the psychology and philosophy of human spatial cognition Saturday and Sunday, March 1-2.

Free and open to the public, the “Perception, Language and Space” conference brings together eminent researchers of human spatial cognition to chart the direction of future research on the interface between perceptual and linguistic representations of space.

Planned discussions include: Is the human categorization of object configurations determined in part by grammatical elements of linguistic representation? Conversely, how does the deployment and interpretation of information gained from perceptual representation affect grammatical categories and lexical organization? And how much of spatial cognition is amenable to empirical analysis of language?

Sponsored by the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP) program in Arts & Sciences, the program is coordinated by PNP postdoctoral fellows David M. Kaplan Ph.D., and Cory D. Wright, Ph.D.

Invited speakers include Jeff Zacks, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and director of the Dynamic Cognition Laboratory at the University; Laura Carlson, Ph.D., a psychologist from the University of Notre Dame; Anjan Chatterjee, M.D., a cognitive neuroscientist from the University of Pennsylvania; Rick Grush, Ph.D., a philosopher from the University of California, San Diego; Barbara Landau, Ph.D., cognitive scientist from Johns Hopkins University; Leonard Talmy, Ph.D., a linguist from State University of New York-Buffalo; and Barbara Tversky, Ph.D., a psychologist from Stanford University.

The conference opens at 8:30 a.m. March 1 with a day of lectures in Wilson Hall, including a free continental breakfast and lunch and concluding with a $20-per-person banquet. Participants return to Wilson at 8:30 a.m. March 2 for further discussion. Advance registration is requested.

For registration, agenda and other information, contact the PNP at 935-4297 or visit