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Our Eighth Annual Conference

The Cognitive Science Student Association is pleased to host the eighth annual California Cognitive Science Conference (CCSC) held on Saturday April 30, 2016 at UC Berkeley's Stanley Hall. The theme for CCSC 2016 is Decision Making. We will be exploring this exciting topic through the lenses of psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, anthropology, computer science, philosophy and more.

The CCSC is an annual all-day symposium bringing together hundreds of students, researchers, and members of the general public from around the world who are passionate about the interdisciplinary field of Cognitive Science. We feature talks given by prominent scientists and thinkers from a wide variety of disciplines. Our acclaimed poster session provides undergraduates with the opportunity to present their own original research alongside graduate students and professional researchers. We sell out every year, so purchase your ticket sooner rather than later!

Photos from the 2015 CCSC

Northern California/East Bay Learning Disabilities Association

The CSSA is dedicated not only to fostering interdisciplinary dialogue, but also to giving back to our community.

This year, the California Cognitive Science Conference is proud to be donating a portion to our proceeds to the Northern California/East Bay Learning Disabilities Association. 10% of every ticket will be donated, plus the Cognitive Science Student Association will match that amount in donation.

The Northern California/East Bay Learning Disabilities Association (NCEB LDA) is a non-profit organization of volunteers including individuals with learning disabilities, their families, and professionals formed in 1960. It is an affiliate of the Learning Disabilities Association of California. NCEB LDA is dedicated to identifying causes and promoting prevention of learning and attentional disabilities, and to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals with learning disabilites and their families by encouraging effective identification and intervention, fostering research, and protecting their rights under the law. NCEB LDA seeks to accomplish this through awareness, advocacy, empowerment, education, service, and collaborative efforts.

The California Cognitive Science Conference is proud to be supporting this organization.

Keynote Speaker

Read Montague

Read Montague is a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI), where he serves as the Director of the Human NeuroImaging Laboratory and the Computational Psychiatry Unit. His work has centered on human decision-making, social cognition, and willful choice, with the overall goal of understanding the neurobiology of these cognitive tasks in health and disease. He has authored two books on the subject of decision-making, Why Choose this Book? and Your Brain is (Almost) Perfect . He has received the Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award twice in his career for his work on the neural substrates that underlie aspects of decision-making and social cognition. Professor Montague also directs the Roanoke Brain Study, a project that aims to understand human decision-making throughout the lifespan and connect it to brain development, function, and diseases. In addition to his work at the VTCRI, Professor Montague serves as a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and as a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College, London.

Focus Talk Speakers

Aron Barbey

Dr. Aron Barbey is Director of the Decision Neuroscience Laboratory at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois. He is also an associate editor of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and on the editorial board of Collabra, Intelligence, and Thinking & Reasoning. He is the principal investigator at Insight, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary brain training system. The main objective of his research is to improve higher cognitive functions, investigating the beneficial effects of cognitive, fitness, and nutritional interventions on executive control, reasoning, and decision making. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Emory University. Dr. Barbey has lead several of the largest and most comprehensive human lesion studies of high-level cognitive functions. He and his team have mapped the architecture of executive, social, and emotional brain systems, revealed molecular genetic markers that predict general intelligence following traumatic brain injury, and are developing and testing nutraceuticals to enhance the performance of United States Air Force Battlefield Airmen.

Clayton Critcher

Clayton Critcher is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. As well as being a Cognitive Science faculty member, he is affiliated with the Psychology department. His research spans a variety of fields including judgement and decision-making, social psychology, and consumer behavior. He focuses on understanding how people perceive themselves, make judgements of others, and make economic and moral decisions. He strives to make contributions with clear applications to both business and public policy. He is currently on the editorial boards of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes & Social Cognition and Social Psychological and Personality Science. In 2015, the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology honored him with the Sage Young Scholar Award.

Alexandra Rosati

Professor Alexandra Rosati is the director of the Cognitive Evolution Group at Harvard University, where she is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. Her current research is on individual and interspecies variance in cognition, including social cognition and the extent of executive control’s influence on decision-making. She received her AB in Psychology with a certificate in Mind, Brain, and Behavior from Harvard University, and her PhD in Evolutionary Anthropology from Duke University where she was part of the Cognitive Neuroscience Admitting Program, and she conducted postdoctoral research as part of the Department of Psychology at Yale University.

Tom Griffiths

Prof. Tom Griffiths is a professor of Cognitive Science and Psychology and the Director of the Computational Cognitive Science Lab at UC Berkeley. His work focuses on using mathematical principals to model cognition and formalizing computational problems that humans face. His current work focuses on inductive thought processes such as language acquisition and decision making. He is also the director of the Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences on campus, and recently co-wrote Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decision with Brian Christian. Griffiths has also published many papers, and has multiple received awards from the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the American Psychology Assocation.

Ruth Chang

Ruth Chang is a professor of philosophy at Rutgers University, known for her research on the incommensurability of values and on practical reason and normativity, as well as her work on 'hard choices' and decision-making. Before arriving at Rutgers, she was a Junior Research Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford and has held visiting positions in the philosophy departments at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Chicago Law School. She obtained her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. from Dartmouth College. She is the author of Making Comparisons Count, and the editor of the first volume on the topic of incommensurability of values in the Anglo-American world, Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Practical Reason, and has authored numerous articles and book chapters.

George Lakoff

George Lakoff is a Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on cognitive linguistics, particularly the neural theory of thought and language. His recent projects have included work on conceptual metaphor, the nature of human conceptual systems, embodied construction grammar, and the practical applications of cognitive linguistics to social and political contexts. His writings include Metaphors We Live By , Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things , and Don't Think of an Elephant. His most recent book, in collaboration with Elisabeth Wehling, is The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic.

Poster Session

The California Cognitive Science Conference is a great opportunity for researchers (especially undergraduates) to exhibit original work in any field within the study of Cognitive Science. Poster presenters at the conference will have the opportunity to interact with and receive feedback from both world-renowned scientists and our broad audience. Submitted abstracts will be evaluated based on interest and appeal to a wide audience; scientific and professional merit; contribution to knowledge, practices, and policies; and clarity. Please submit a 300 word abstract by April 15th, 2016 at 11:59pm to be considered.

This year, we will once again be awarding a prize to the top poster. This will be selected based on a holistic review by the organizing committee and professors as well as a popular vote by attendees. Please limit your abstracts to 300 words or less. You will be notified about the status of your submission no later than April 22nd, 2016. If your submission is accepted, you will be able to purchase a discounted poster presenter ticket ($17), which will be available starting April 22nd.

Deadline to Submit: April 15th, 2016

More Information for Poster Presenters

Previous Conference Sponsors

CSSA would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous contributions to past conferences. If your business would like to donate to CCSC 2016 and be featured in our conference program and website, please email us at

University of California Berkeley Social Sciences Division