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Sixth Annual California Cognitive Science Conference

Creativity: The Inspired Mind

Ed Catmull

Connecting the Dots in a Creative Culture

Ed Catmull is the President of Walt Disney Animation Studios, and President and Cofounder of Pixar. He has made numerous contributions to the field of computer graphics in modeling, animation, and rendering, including the creation of foundational animation tools such as RenderMan and Digital Image Compositing technology. Dr. Catmull has worked closely with Steve Jobs, George Lucas, and many others to establish some of the largest animation film franchises worldwide. Along with his extensive experience with the creative processes (making classic films such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo), Dr. Catmull discusses how to inspire a culture of creativity in his upcoming book, entitled Creativity, Inc.

Dean Simonton

What is a Creative Idea? Formal Definitions and Cognitive Implications

Dr. Dean Simonton is a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California at Davis. His expertise on the study of genius and creativity has been rewarded with countless awards. He has written 13 books and over 400 publications regarding the origins of and evolution of genius, creativity, and leadership. His most cited article investigates the creativity as a Darwinian process of variation and selection. Dean Simonton has served as fellow of several professional organizations and as president of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics and the Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, and the Society for General Psychology.

Rex Jung

Emerging Networks Underlying Creative Cognition in the Brain

Dr. Rex Jung is a neuropsychologist, brain imaging researcher, and an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico. His scope of research is broad and includes traumatic brain injury, lupus, schizophrenia, intelligence, and creativity. Throughout his journey as a neuropsychologist, he aims to tackle and explore the question, "How are intelligence and creativity related to brain structure and function?" He has written numbers of articles for popular press such as Washington Post, New York Times and given a talk titled, "Creativity and the Brain" through TEDxABQ.

Paul Frommer

Blue Language: Exploring Na'vi, Avatar's Native Voice

Dr. Paul Frommer is a professor emeritus of Clinical Management Communication at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He is best known for constructing the Na’vi languagefeatured in James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar. Frommer taught for several years before moving into business, becoming a Vice President, Special Projects Coordinator, Strategic Planner, and Writer-Researcher at Bentley Industries in Los Angeles. In 1996, he returned to USC as a full professor, serving as Director of the Center for Management Communication from 2005-2008. Frommer is the co-author of a linguistics workbook titled “Looking at Languages: A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics.”

Harold Cohen

From Point to Viewpoint

Prof. Harold Cohen is a professor emeritus of Visual Arts at UC San Diego. His expertise is in the intersection of artificial intelligence and creativity focusing on building a machine simulation of artistic production. The result of his studies is the ongoing computer program AARON, a software that can create original art autonomously. The works produced by AARON have been seen in countless museums and science centers around the world, with public collections in the London Tate Gallery and The Victoria and Albert Museum and many more.

Elliot Paul

Creativity, Identity, and Love

Dr. Elliot Paul is a philosopher who specializes in the history of early modern philosophy, theories of knowledge, and philosophical issues surrounding creativity. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and a doctorate from Yale University. He worked for two years as Assistant Professor/Bersoff Fellow at New York University and is now Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is co-editor of The Philosophy of Creativity (Oxford University Press), and co-founder of The Creativity Post (, a non-profit web platform that features quality content on creativity, innovation and imagination.

Unfortunately, the video of Dr. Paul's talk was lost due to technical issues. The video to the right is of the interdisciplinary panel which features Dr. Paul, Dr. Cohen, Dr. Jung, and Dr. Frommer.

Check out pictures from the 2014 California Cognitive Science Conference