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Our Tenth Annual Conference

The Cognitive Science Student Association is pleased to host the tenth annual California Cognitive Science Conference (CCSC) held in April at UC Berkeley. The theme for CCSC 2018 is Past, Present, Furture. 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 2016 CCSC

Keynote Speakers

V.S. Ramachandran

V.S. Ramachandran is the Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and a Professor in the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego. Ramachandran’s work has focused on topics from visual perception to a range of conditions including synesthesia, phantom limb pain, and autism; he is best known for his experiments in behavioral neurology. Ramachandran has earned numerous accolades, including being named one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world and, most recently, the Padma Bhushan, the second highest civilian award in India. In addition to his published research, Ramachandran is the author of several books, including the acclaimed “Phantoms in the Brain.”

Peter Dayan

Peter Dayan is the Director of Computational Neuroscience at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit in University College London, and a researcher at Uber AI Labs. His research focuses on mathematical and computational modelling of neural processing, particularly representation and learning. A major focus of his work is on understanding the ways in which animals and humans choose appropriate actions in the face of rewards and punishments, and the processes by which they form neural representations of the world. Dr. Dayan has been honored with both the Rumelhart and Brain prizes for his substantial contributions to the modern theoretical understanding of human cognition. He has over 200 publications and is the co-author of ‘Theoretical Neuroscience,’ one of the field’s leading textbooks.

Focus Talk Speakers

Lera Boroditsky

Dr. Boroditsky received her B.A. degree in cognitive science at Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Stanford University. She is currently an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego and is the Editor in Chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology. She has previously served on the faculty of MIT and Stanford. She studies language and cognition with a special focus on the relationships between the mind and world. Dr. Boroditsky has been named one of the 25 Visionaries changing the world by the Utne Reader, and is also a Searle Scholar, a McDonnell scholar, recipient of an NSF Career award, and an APA Distinguished Scientist lecturer.

Jose Carmena

Dr. Jose Carmena is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Neuroscience at UC Berkeley, as well as the Co-Director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses at UC Berkeley and UCSF. Dr. Carmena's work leverages neuroplasticity, machine learning, and neurotechnology to ask how the brain learns and controls movement, and to develop smart prosthetics and neurotherapies. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award (2017), Bakar Fellowship (2012), the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Early Career Achievement Award (2011), the Aspen Brain Forum Prize in Neurotechnology (2010), and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2010).

Zoe Drayson

Dr. Zoe Drayson is an Assistant Professor in Philosophy at the University of California, Davis. She earned her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Bristol, and has previously been a Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian National University. Her research is primarily in philosophy of mind and the philosophy of cognitive science, including psychological explanation, embodied and extended cognition, theories of perception, unconscious/implicit/tacit cognition, the nature of representation, and the philosophy of psychiatry.

Hyo Gweon

Hyo Gweon is an assistant professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She uses a mixture of approaches — developmental, computational, and neuroimaging — to explore how we make inferences about others’ minds, how learning occurs in social contexts, and what are the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying these processes. She received her Ph.D. from M.I.T. where she was advised by Laura Schulz and Rebecca Saxe. In 2014, she was awarded the Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellowship.

Lucia Jacobs

Lucia Jacobs is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley. The main focus of her research is in the domain of animal cognition, particularly field studies of decision making in squirrels, sex differences in spatial cognition in rodents and humans and her current studies of olfactory navigation in search dogs and humans. Both this empirical work and her theoretical work on the evolution of limbic system structures aim to elucidate how cognition evolves. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Princeton University. Dr. Jacobs has received numerous awards, including the NSF Career award and the University of California’s Prytanean Faculty Award.

Zachary Pardos

Dr. Zachary Pardos is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information and the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Pardos earned his PhD in Computer Science from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he spent extensive time with K-12 educators and students working to integrate educational technology into the curriculum as a formative assessment tool. His research focal areas are on the representation of knowledge as communicated by student behavior and engineers personalized supports leveraging big data in education. His current projects look at the increasing upward mobility in the California postsecondary system and using behavioral and semantic data to map out paths to cognitive and career achievement in K-16. At UC Berkeley he directs the Computational Approaches to Human Learning (CAHL) research lab and is the recent recipient of an NSF AI educator award. He teaches courses on data mining and analytics, digital learning environments, and machine learning in education.

Poster Session

The California Cognitive Science Conference is an opportunity for researchers (especially undergraduates) to exhibit their original work in the Cognitive Sciences. Poster Presenters at the conference will be able to mingle with and and receive feedback from professional scientists and our broader conference audience. Submitted abstracts will be evaluated based on interest and appeal to a wide audience; scientific and professional merit; clarity; and contribution to knowledge, practices, and policies.

As in previous years, we will be awarding a prize to the top posters, as selected by a popular vote by our attendees and by a holistic review by our organizing committee.

Submit an abstract of 300 words or less by April 4th, 2018 to be considered.

You will be notified about the status of your submission no later than April 13th, 2018. If your submission is accepted, you will be able to purchase a discounted poster presenter ticket ($17), which will be available beginning on April 13th.

Submissions Closed

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 2018 and be featured in our conference program and website, please email us at

University of California Berkeley Social Sciences Division