Edinburgh Psychology Keynote Talk

Speaker: Professor Chris Summerfield

Title: The Kantian brain: Concept learning from representations of space and time

Abstract: To understand the world, we need to encode how objects and ideas relate to each other. How we learn about and generalise the relations among items remains an outstanding challenge for both neuroscience and machine learning. One useful proposal is that relations can be spatial or temporal, and so neural codes for space and time in the brain may form a substrate for strong forms of transfer. I will describe two projects that speak to this idea. In the first, I show that participants can learn about invariances in objects defined entirely by a temporal sequence of features, but only if those features are associated with spatial locations in a prior task (space is a scaffold for temporal generalisation). In the second, I describe simulations in which we trained a neural network to zero-shot relational knowledge by endowing it with a dorsal stream. Neural codes for space and number (resembling those in the primate) emerged naturally in this neural network. These studies imply that learning explicitly about space may help people engage in abstract forms of reasoning.

Further information

For further information please contact Neil Bramley.

The seminar will be followed by a wine reception in room 9.10, 40 George Square.

Apr 05 2023 -

Edinburgh Psychology Keynote Talk

2023-04-05: The Kantian brain: Concept learning from representations of space and time

Lecture Theatre A, 40 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JX