2017 Cognitive Science Conference

UCSD’s Cognitive Science Student Association hosts the Cognitive Science Conference every year, and this is our 11th conference! This year’s theme is Cognition at Work, which will highlight the inner mechanisms of the brain along with the practical applications of cognition in the real world. Join us for a packed day of engaging presentations, interactive workshops, invaluable
networking, and free food!


When: Sunday, April 9 at 11 AM – 5 PM
Where: PC East Ballroom
Register Here

If you are interested in volunteering for the conference, click here

If you would like to present during our poster presentation session of the conference, please contact us at: cssa.ucsd@gmail.com


10:30 AM – 2:30 PM: Check In
11:00 AM – 11:10 PM: Welcome Remarks– CSSA Co-Presidents, Soon-Won Han and Hannah Lo
11:10 AM – 12:10 PM: Guest Speaker: Nate Bolt, How Design Research Impacts Our World
12:20 PM – 1:00 PM: Breakout Session 1
1:10 PM – 1:50 PM: Breakout Session 2
1:50 PM – 3:00 PM: Lunch
2:10 PM – 3:20 PM: Poster and Project Presentation Session
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM: Keynote Speaker– Don Norman, Ph.D.
4:30 PM – 4:45 PM: Closing Remarks-CSSA Executive Board

Keynote Speaker

Neema Mehdavi

Don Norman

Talk: TBD

Don Norman is Director of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego, cofounder of the Nielsen Norman Group, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, IDEO fellow, and former Vice President of Apple. He helps companies make products more enjoyable, understandable, and profitable. He has published 20 books translated into 20 languages including Emotional Design and Design of Everyday Things. He can be found at www.jnd.org

Guest Speaker

Nate Bolt

Talk Title: “How Design Research Impacts Our World”

Bio: Nate is the founder of Ethnio, a UX research software company located in Los Angeles. He was formerly the CEO of Bolt | Peters, which was acquired by Facebook in 2012, where he managed design research. He’s the co-author of Remote Research and was an adjunct professor at the SVA Interaction Design program.

Nate Bolt

Workshop Speakers

Jillian Lee Wiggins

Social Cognition: Jillian Lee Wiggins

Talk Title: “Uncovering the brain mechanisms of risk and resilience: Social and emotional functioning in children with mental health disorders”

Bio: Jillian Lee Wiggins, Ph.D. is a developmental psychologist who received her Ph.D. from University of Michigan in 2013. At the University of Michigan, Dr. Wiggins’ research focused on identifying the brain and genetic mechanisms of socio-emotional functioning (for example, social interaction with other people, reading people’s emotions, reacting to people’s facial expressions) in youth with autism spectrum disorder as well as typically developing youth. To do this, she used neuroscience tools (functional MRI, functional connectivity, genotyping) to link brain activation patterns in response to emotional faces to genetic variation in children and adolescents with and without autism. After completing her PhD, Dr. Wiggins joined the Emotion and Development Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health/National Institutes of Health (NIMH/NIH) as a post-doctoral fellow. At the NIH, Dr. Wiggins’ work examined brain mechanisms of processing socio-emotional stimuli (i.e., faces) in youth with severe irritability and bipolar disorder. Dr. Wiggins is now an Assistant Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. Here in San Diego, Dr. Wiggins’ work on the brain mechanisms of irritability and other socio-emotional symptoms continues. As Director of the Translational Emotion Neuroscience and Development Laboratory (TEND Lab) at SDSU, Dr. Wiggins is investigating the neural mechanisms that predict how well children with mental health disorders will respond to specific treatments. This work will build the foundation to make treatment for mental health disorders in children more efficient and reduce families’ suffering.

Language and Culture: Rose Hendricks

Talk Title: “Metaphors & Thought: One Journey to a PhD.”

Bio: Rose Hendricks is a PhD Candidate in Cognitive Science at UCSD. She researches how metaphor shapes the way we think about the world. She’s excited about communicating science: on her blog (rosehendricks.com), on Twitter (@RoHendricks), and of course, in person!

Rose Hendricks
Neema Mehdavi

Design and Interaction(HCI): Neema Mahdavi

Talk Title: Designing for Design

Neema Mahdavi graduated from UCSD in 2013. He has worked as a Design Consultant, a Product Designer, a UX Designer, Design Designer, and almost every variation of the “designer” title. Currently he is on the Design team at Workday where he focuses on Design Operations and creating the tooling designers need.

Ashwin and Neema founded the organization currently known as Design at UCSD in 2012 with the goal of creating a vibrant design community at UC San Diego and bridging the gap between Design in Academia and Industry. Since graduating, they have mentored many students in the organization and periodically speak at Design at UCSD events.

Design and Interaction(HCI): Ashwin Khurana

Talk Title: Designing for People, not Personas

Ashwin Khurana graduated from UCSD in 2014 with a B.S. in Cognitive Science and a specialization in HCI. He is one of the cofounders of Design at UCSD and is currently a Sr. Product Designer at Mint (Intuit). As an Intuit Innovation Catalyst, Ashwin coaches teams around the company in hypothesis driven experimentation, rapid prototyping, and deep customer empathy.

Ashwin and Neema founded the organization currently known as Design at UCSD in 2012 with the goal of creating a vibrant design community at UC San Diego and bridging the gap between Design in Academia and Industry. Since graduating, they have mentored many students in the organization and periodically speak at Design at UCSD events.

Ashwin Khurana
Gary Cottrell

Machine Learning and Neural Computation: Gary Cottrell

Talk Title: Neural Networks as Models of the Mind

Bio: Garrison W. Cottrell is a Professor of Computer Science and
Engineering at UC San Diego. He is Director of the
Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Cognitive Science at
UCSD, and the Director of the Temporal Dynamics of Learning
Center, an NSF-sponsored Science of Learning Center
involving 40 PI’s at 18 institutions in four countries. He
is also a founding PI of the Perceptual Expertise Network.

Professor Cottrell’s main interest is Cognitive Science, in
particular, building working models of cognitive processes
and using them to explain psychological or neurological
processes. In recent years, he has focused upon unsupervised
feature learning (modeling precortical and cortical coding),
face & object processing, visual salience, and visual
attention. He has also worked in the areas of modeling
psycholinguistic processes, such as language acquisition,
reading, and word sense disambiguation. He received his
PhD. in 1985 from the University of Rochester under James
F. Allen (thesis title: A connectionist approach to word
sense disambiguation). He then did a postdoc with David
E. Rumelhart at the Institute of Cognitive Science, UCSD,
until 1987, when he joined the CSE Department.

Neuroscience: Eric Leonardis

Talk Title Workshop 1: Rats, Robots, Respiration, and Rhythm
Talk Title Workshop 2: Historian of Science Practicing Systems Neuroscience

Eric Leonardis is a 3rd year PhD student in Cognitive Science at UCSD conducting research in systems neuroscience and mammal-robot interaction with Professor Andrea Chiba and Dr. Laleh Quinn. He received his BA from Hofstra University with a triple major in History, Psychology, and Chinese Studies. He is currently researching human-robot collaboration, rodent social olfaction, and developing a rat-robot brain-computer interface.

Ashwin Khurana
Gary Cottrell

Machine Learning and Neural Computation: AI Master

Talk Title: Artificial Intelligence: the Next Industrial Revolution

AI-Master is a UCSD startup that was founded in order to develop the ultimate online Machine Learning and Deep Learning Education Platform. We are a team of 30 dedicated AI Students, Engineers, Educators, and Researchers working to make the process of learning about Ai easier and better for all levels of learners.

2016 National Cognitive Science Conference

With over 200 attendees, the theme of last year’s National Cognitive Science Conference was the Metamorphosis of the Mind. Keynote speakers included Dr. Daeyeol Lee from Yale University Dr. Robert Glushko from UC Berkeley. The conference covered fields within design, neuroeconomics, computational modeling and visual neuroscience. Check out our infographic: