Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft

Institute of Cognitive Science

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Institute of Cognitive Science

Institute of Cognitive Science at Osnabrück University

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Open access book on concept research

Concepts lie at the core of human cognition, and concept research is a highly interdisciplinary field. This edited volume provides a unique, holistic picture for the understanding and for the use of concepts combining theoretical, experimental, computational, and applied approaches.

The editors Lucas Bechberger, Prof. Kai-Uwe Kühnberger (both from the Institute of Cognitive Science) and Prof. Mingya Liu (HU Berlin) invited leading researchers from a wide range of fields including cognitive science, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, and computer science. A lot of thanks to the DFG who made this open access publication possible!

Workshop on Computational Cognition

COMCO 2021 brings together experts studying the mind from a computational point of view for a better understanding of human and machine intelligence. Besides featuring top-class scientific talks and panel discussions this workshop also offers the opportunity to networking. Participants can present their latest research projects for a talk/ poster session.
The workshop took place online, on September 23 – 24. Check out the talks here.

Students of Cognitive Science at Osnabrück University launch Reclam-Volume about Alan Turing

Guided by Prof. Dr. Achim Stephan and Prof. Dr Sven Walter, nine master students of the Cognitive Science Program at Osnabrück University newly translated Alan Turing’s pioneering article “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” and provided comments and a comprehensive epilogue.

Q&A with Noam Chomsky

At the invitation of students at the Osnabrück University, the world-renowned American linguist Noam Chomsky was a guest in a digital Q&A session on April 23, 2021. Students of the Institute for Cognitive Science at Osnabrück University had invited the co-founder of cognitive science, who answered selected questions in the livestream. Noam Chomsky is professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is known for his research on the origin of human language.

Moderator: Marcel Ruland

Organisation: Felix Hammer, Ilona Martynenko and Thore Schönfeld

Watch a recording of the session at YouTube

Comparing abstract representations of meaning with probabilistic modeling

An influential view in philosophy and linguistics equates the meaning of quantity words (words like "many", "some" or "most") with a rigid logical representation. But experimental data seems to suggest that quantity words are used as if they have a fuzzy, prototype-like meaning representation. In a recent paper published in PNAS, an international team of researchers, including members of the Cognitive Modeling group, use modern tools, namely probabilistic modeling and statistical model comparison, to investigate which abstract structures best explain the observed use of quantity expresssions. They conclude that, if couched in a cognitively realistic model of word choice, a traditional logical representation of word meanings is at least as good, if not better, than a prototype-based representation. A brief video abstract summarizes the main findings. This research was funded by the DFG Priority Program

Collaborative study leads to groundbreaking results in dream research

For the first time, researchers were able to have a real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep. Some of the experiments were designed and conducted by Neuroinformatics scientists at Osnabrück University – similar to the labs in the US, France, and the Netherlands. The common findings challenge the traditional assumption that during sleep the brain is disconnected and unaware of the outside world.
Read more on ScienceMag

Information on teaching during the summer term 2021

Teaching during the summer term 2021 will be conducted in three different ways. Most classes will be realized as digital courses and do not require constant presence in Osnabrück. Some selected courses, where feasible, will be realized as either hybrid or contact classes. During hybrid classes a part of the audience will be physically present during a lecture or seminar, while another part of the audience follows via video-conference. It is usually not required, but it can be recommended, to be present at least sometimes for a hybrid class. There will also be a few contact classes where all participants are present in the class room. It may be useful, possibly even required, to attend some or all sessions of a contact class. To plan for the coming semester, please consult the course site of each class on StudIP for information about how this class will be realized. The respective lecturers are able to answer questions concerning specific courses.

Interview with Viviane Clay, winner of the Mendeley Data FAIRest Datasets Award

Open access datasets are absolutely essential for the researcher ecosystem for two reasons: „The first is for collaboration and moving the field forward together in a more efficient way. And the second is all about responsibility and accountability“ explains Viviane Clay who has won the Mendeley Data FAIRest Datasets Award as an important recognition for publishing data and analysis scripts in a reusable way. The whole interview is to be found on Elsevier Connect News.

Covid-19 forecasts: joint project with the Jülich Supercomputing Centre

Neuroinformatics scientists at Osnabrück University and data specialists at Forschungszentrum Jülich are releasing new model results daily to forecast COVID-19 infections. The results include estimates updated daily of the reported new infections and a 5-day forecast for every German district, and are available here. The predictions are based on data from the Robert Koch Institute, which are statistically analysed using a new model weighted by probability that was developed by Osnabrück's neuroinformatics scientists on high-performance computers at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC).

Wild chimpanzees eat tortoises after cracking them open against tree trunks

An international team of researchers from the Osnabrück University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany) have observed wild chimpanzees in the Loango National Park, Gabon, eating tortoises. They describe the first observations of this potentially cultural behavior where chimpanzees hit tortoises against tree trunks until the tortoises’ shells break open and then feed on the meat.

First evidence of ‘joint attention’ in a non-human animal species, the Arabian babbler

Humans’ cooperation and communication skills strongly rely on the ability to coordinate attention with conspecifics: a socio-cognitive capacity called joint attention. But what promoted the evolution of this – allegedly – uniquely human capacity? A recent study by Simone Pika from the University of Osnabrück, Institute of Cognitive Science (Comparative BioCognition) and Center for Early Childhood Development and Education Research, Yitzchak Ben Mocha, and Roger Mundry from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig in Germany, shed light on this question by studying communicative interactions in a cooperatively breeding bird species, Arabian babblers, living in the Shezaf Nature Reserve in Israel.

KI-Campus Osnabrück

Supporting and creating technological change in a humane way is the self-assigned goal of our university's so-called KI-Campus. And it shall be reached by researching and developing innovative software solutions along the interfaces between AI and human intelligence, while considering and assessing the related impact on our society.

Designing Ergonomic Workstations with Embodied Engineering

The Institute of Cognitive Science, as part of a joint research project, will support the designing process of ergonomically optimized workstations by using virtual reality (VR). Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Peter König, the scientists of the Institute in Osnabrück University plan to develop a novel eye-tracking technology to simulate complex motion sequences in virtual environments.

This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research and will be carried out in close cooperation with Virtual Spice from SALT & PEPPER, a technology and consultancy company from Osnabrück, that has been performing ergonomic tests for working places for a long time already.

„Virtual and Augmented Reality“

Development in the field of virtual and augmented reality is gradually taking up speed and could well advance to become the next top focus in cognitive science research for the coming years.

On 26 October the ICO InnovationsCentrum Osnabrück presented the "Treffpunkt Innovation 2017" with state-of-the-art information, discussions and demonstrations about VR & AR.

"Die Zukunft im Visier" summarizes this highly interesting event, with participation of the Neurobiopsychology lab:

DFG Research Training School on Situated Cognition

From 2017 to 2021, the IKW is home to a bi-local international Research Training Group ("Graduiertenkolleg") on Situated Cognition, in collaboration with colleagues at the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB).

Convinced that only a joint effort and the interplay between empirical research and philosophical reflection can provide us with an adequate account of the human mind, the more than 25 senior researchers and doctorate students of the Research Training Group connect philosophy of mind and cognition with many other subdisciplines of cognitive science.  They combine philosophical analysis with stated of the art experimental research in biological psychology, developmental psychology, linguistics, neurolinguistics, neurobiopsychology and psychiatry.

Student der Kognitionswissenschaft an der Uni Osnabrück erhält Wissenschaftspreis Niedersachsen 2017

Große Ehre für Alexander Höreth: Der Student der Kognitionswissenschaft an der Universität Osnabrück erhielt am Donnerstag, 30. November, einen von acht niedersächsischen Wissenschaftspreisen 2017 überreicht. Der Niedersächsische Minister für Wissenschaft und Kultur, Björn Thümler, gratulierte herzlich.

"Open Access-Preis" awarded for the first time!

The University of Osnabrück has launched an award to honour »extraordinary open access publishing engagement«.

The first one to receive this new award is Dr. Basil Wahn from the IKW's Neurobiopsychology lab. Congratulations!

"The Science of our Minds" – The official promotional video

The Institute of Cognitive Science in Osnabrück proudly presents "The Science of our Minds" – The new official promotional video.

  • How does our brain work?
  • What is the relationship between mind and brain?
  • Is it possible to create artificial intelligence?

These are questions, the scientists at the Institute of Cognitive Science in Osnabrück deal with.

What is Cognitive Science?

Many Universities nowadays offer courses or study programs in the field of "Cognitive Science". But when asked to summarize what this field actually is, even senior students struggle to answer.

This movie, created by Cognitive Science students from Osnabrück, Germany, tries to give an insight into the different disciplines that make up their subject of study.