Curious about the “yanny/laurel” effect?

Good! For a deeper understanding of this and many other speech perception phenomena, study Experimental Phonetics at Stockholm University, Department of Linguistics.

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Look for the upcoming application period: Sen anmälan

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Welcome to the Department of Linguistics’ multidisciplinary education and research on Acoustic, Articulatory and Perceptual Phonetics!

For an explanation of the effect, check “Därför kan vi inte skilja på Laurel och Yanny – DN.SE” (in Swedish)

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AAAS 2019: Science Transcending Boudaries

Opening session

Over 1000 attendees have gathered and are now waiting for the AAAS 2019’s opening session to begin.

The very crowded ballroom where the opening session is about to start.

Welcome, prizes and speeches

The Philip Hague Abelson Prize for 2019 was given to Cato T. Laurencin.

Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke diplomatically about the importance of symbiotic cooperation between industrial and scientific partners, a much needed force to counter the current diverging forces.

Margaret A. Hamburg, AAAS President, was more direct to the point and contrasted J. F. Kennedy’s interest in promoting scientific development for the good of mankind with the current adminstration’s troubling uninterest for evidence-based decisions, ignorance of scientific facts and dangerous spreading of misconceptions that endanger people’s lives.

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AAAS 2019 in Washington DC is about to start

This morning at 07.00 it was still quiet. The registration for this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science opened later, at 07:30, but there was already at breakfast the usual vibrating atmosphere of engaged scientists.

Registration desks, still quiet this early

Now the first pre-meeting session is going on. The theme is “Communicating Science and Policy”. We are learning from the panel about the importance of educating politicians, meeting with them and following up the meetings as a continuous process of mutual interest. Not surprisingly, there is a general agreement, both in the panel and the delegates, on that such contacts are important for factual-based decisions and also to provide researchers with an understanding of how policy and funding decisions are achieved.

The three 10-minute presentations from the panel triggered a very long and broad list of oral and twitter questions to the session’s organizers. Many personal experiences and useful recommendations are being presented and discussed. Of course, the themes and solutions are not totally new for researchers who have considered the issues of communicating science but they are a good reminder of the importance of these questions and that there is a large body of engaged scientists. The involvement and enthusiasm of our american colleagues is very good news and I am hopefull that they will succeed in their efforts to educate the public and the politicians that represent them.

An interesting aspect raised by a member of the audience was the need to draw a line between unacceptable lobbying and educational meetings with decision makers. High integrity and ethic standards apply here too, of course!

Looks like this will be a giving meeting, although it has not yet started officially.

Great to have the opportunity to be part of this!

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OHBM 2018 in Singapore

21 June was our last day in Singapore after an amazing week at the OHBM 2018 conference! OHBM 2018 brought together for a few days a wide multidisciplinary community dedicated to the study of the brain — brain function, morphology, evolution, modelling, etc. and it is reassuring that SUBIC is right on spot in providing a brain imaging infrastructure for fundamental academic research on brain morphology and function.

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SUBIC is Stockholm University’s research infrastructure promoting multidisciplinary fundamental research on the brain and its function. Its 360 m2 area at the Arrhenius Laboratory building, Stockholm University, Frescati, is being built to accommodate the University’s modern and functional Brain Imaging Centre.

In addition to its advanced equipment, SUBIC will provide highly qualified technical, methodological, analytical and practical assistance that will make SUBIC an available and useful tool for research in neurology, psychology, law, cognition, engineering, mathematics, neuronal networks, chemistry, physics, artificial intelligence, zoology, linguistics, literature, fashion, economics and decision-making, philosophy, etc.

Starting in September/October 2018, fundamental scientific questions involving brain morphology, evolution and function will be studied in SUBIC on a wide variety of species, from fruit flies to humans.

For further information or preliminary booking of resources, contact SUBIC’s Lab Manager.

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Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM)

SUBIC (Stockholm University Brain Imaging Centre) is attending the OHBM conference in Singapore. Our immediate goal at this stage is networking with international research groups of potential relevance for SUBIC.

Karl Friston’s opening keynote lecture “I am, therefore I think”, was right on target for SUBIC. It followed on his “free energy” theme and showed how deeply phylosophical questions can be successfully addressed using brain imaging technologies — very good and inspring news for SUBIC and its efforts to promote multidisciplinary research calling for a clear role for the Humanities.

SUBIC will start operating in September 2018. For further information, contact Elin Kihlgren via e-mail elin.kihlgren@su.se or personally here at OBHM.

Elin Kihlgren, SUBIC Lab manager

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AAAS 2018: Closing the conference

Årets AAAS är nu avslutat. Det har varit ett fullspäckat schema för att försöka hänga med så mycket som möjligt och samtidigt interagera med andra konferensdeltagare. En konstant känsla av att inte hinna vara med på alla intressanta men konkurrerande sessioner blandad med något av litet dåligt samvete för att ha stannat upp och diskuterat med andra forskare.

Det har varit en allvarlig och hoppfull stämning genom hela konferensen om att god vetenskap kommer att segra! Det avspeglade sig i nästan varenda plenarsession, särskilt de som rörde klimatforskning och presentation av vetenskapliga resultat för allmänheten.

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Den absoluta sista dagen ägnades åt en del guidade besök till labbar, arkeologiska utgrävningar, museer, osv, under ledningen av forskare som hade deltagit i konferensen.

Tack för i år!

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AAAS 2018: Neuroscience, causalitet och klimatfakta

Optimal Aging and Mechanisms of Neurocognitive Enrichment

Ännu en spännande konferensdag idag! För min del, började dagen med en session om åldrande. Ett av teman i denna session var användningen av anpassade och stimulerande datorspel som verktyg för att motverka den  åldersbetingade försämringen av kognitiva funktioner. Bl.a. presenterade Adam Gazzaley sin pågående forskning om teknologiska lösningar som främjar ökad kognitivförmåga och kortare reaktionstider vid komplexa beslut.

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Datorspelen som används i denna sorts träning utnyttjar direkt återkoppling till spelarens hjärnavktivitet för att reglera spelets svårighetsgrad. Tack vare denna återkoppling håller spelet en indivuellt anpassad utmaningsnivå som effektivt främjar spelarens uppmärksamhet och svars snabbhet. Spelaren måste hålla reda på olika aspekter under spelet, vilket verkar vara nyckeln till att den förbättrade spelskickligheten även leder till förbättringar av spelerarens förmåga att hantera andra, vardagliga, situationer.

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Understanding Causality to Inform Decision-Making Under Uncertainty

En annan intressant session var denna om kausalitet. Utöver den klassiska påminnelsen om att korrelation inte betyder kausalitet, visade också George Sugihara att avsaknaden av korrelation inte heller betyder att kausalitet inte finns. Detta demonstrerade han med en Lorenz attraktor som uppvisar nära noll korrelation mellan x och y variablerna när tidsinformationen ignoreras. Trots att korrelationen mellan x och y är nära noll, finns det ändå en tydlig kausalitet eftersom x och y faktiskt är relaterade till varandra via Lorenz ekvationer. Korrelationen träder fram först när man betraktar tidsserierna för x och y och upptäcka att x och y är omväxlande negativt eller positivt korrelerade med varandra.

Det finns mycket mera att säga om denna session men det kommer jag lämnar bara bilder på ett par punkter här.

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Och här kommer en påminelse om hur absurda kraven på absolut säkerhet vid stokastiska händelser kan bli.

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Klicka på kausalitet för en översikt av teman som behandlades i denna session.

 

 

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