Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cognitio 2009 - Changing Minds: Cultures and Cognition in Evolution

Cognitio 2009 - Changing Minds: Cultures and Cognition in Evolution
Montreal, Canada
June 4th, 5th & 6th 2006.

Cognitio 2009 invites graduate students and young researchers in
cognitive science, anthropology, biology, psychology, computer
science, philosophy, or any discipline concerned with cognition,
evolution, and culture to present their work at the conference.
Suggested topics include:

* comparative psychology and animal cultures;
* culture and cognition in cross-cultural perspective;
* evolutionary psychology and the adapted mind;
* cognitive neurosciences and cultural learning;
* the modelisation of cultural evolution;
* the evolution and origins of language;
* the evolution of culture and cognition in the human lineage;
* epistemological issues related to the study of cognition,
evolution, and culture.

Submission of proposals for the conference is done through the
EasyChair system (see http://cognitio.uqam.ca/2009). We are only
asking for 600 words abstracts. EasyChair will allow you to upload a
PDF paper if you want to, but only your abstract will be evaluated.

Deadline for submission is February 20th 2009.

Keynote speakers:

* Joseph Henrich
Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition, and Evolution
University of British Columbia

* Frédéric Bouchard
Philosophy Department
University of Montreal

Theme:

Cognitive Science, which now includes disciplines such as cognitive
genetics, evolutionary developmental neuroscience and cognitive
anthropology, is unfolding a fresh view of the mind and its relation
to culture, fresh yet strangely reminiscent of pre-20th century
conceptions of the mind, from Plato to Freud. According to this view,
much of cognition is done by unconscious automatic processes, evolved
by natural selection to solve specific adaptive problems faced by
hominids and early humans. To ensure the replication of their genetic
builders, some of these automatic processes may even produce aspects
of culture as extended human phenotype. Many cognitive scientists add
an adapting mind to this adapted mind, a conscious analytical
rule-following processor that can, on occasion, override actions
planned by the automated processes. The conscious processor's main
task is to adapt the general goals of genes (replicate) to the local
environment in which the individual bearing those genes finds herself.
To do so, the conscious processor possesses a general learning
mechanism that allows it to reproduce any identifiable cultural item
(from local norms to local prosody and local food preferences), a
learning mechanism that also opens it to rogue cultural items: mind
viruses. The nature of the cultural items being copied and of the
conscious processor's copying mechanism may even be such that a whole
new type of evolutionary process is going on over our minds: the
evolution of cultural variants, or memes. If this is so, we, that is
our conscious self, are but a battleground in which genes and memes
fight for the right to activate our muscles.

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