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This version was saved 13 years, 10 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Jim Davies
on January 14, 2009 at 4:58:10 pm
Visual Imagination Modeling
When I say I walked my dog this morning, you can picture what that looks like, even though I have told you nothing about where it was, what kind of dog I have, etc. People bring lots of knowledge to bear on their visual imaginations. How is this knowledge used to create imaginings?
This project's long-term goal is to create a computer-program model of human imagination.
In the short term, I am using the results of psychological experiments and data from image information to create a demo. This demo should be able to take simple inputs (e.g. a cat and a house) and create a visual image that has those elements in them, in a way that has some psychological plausibility. I have several undergraduates working on this project.
     - Connor Smith
Visual Imagination Experimentation
This work feeds into the modeling mentioned above. There's been very little work on the systematic tendencies in human imagination, so I'm starting simple. Currently I have hired a student to run experiments determining what imagined shapes (e.g. a rectangle, a triangle) look like.
     - Rob Thomson
     - Jordan Schoenherr
     - Heather Burch


Maps of Science


I am doing research for the Map of Science project.

This is in collaboration with SciTech Strategies, Inc. (www.mapofscience.com)

This company looks at how scientific papers cite each other and creates visual maps of how the disciplines interrelate. I am doing research for them, finding out what kinds of maps maximize memoribility, inspiration, and quality (how well they reflect the actual state of science). I would love to try to find matching funds for this work.

     - Jordan Schoenherr

     - Jolie Bell


Graph Cognition


This research is in collaboration with Leo Ferres, funded by Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada puts out many graphs (e.g. bar graphs, line graphs), and many people have ideas about how graphs should be made. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these ideas have not been empirically tested. This research group runs experiments, seeing how people interpret graphs made in different ways.

The other arm of this research aims to create a cognitive model of human graph comprehension.

     - Jolie Bell

     - Sterling Somers


How to Be a Scientist
I am writing a book called "How to Be A Great And Successful Scientist." It deals with practical issues as well as lofty stuff about what great science is made of. Eventually I would like to publish this as a trade book. I would love to get teaching release to work on it, as now I'm doing it in my spare time.
     - Jim Davies
Distributed Cognition
Distributed Cognition  (also called extended mind) is the cognitive science doctine that it's not just people who have cognition, but sometimes complexes of people and objects, like a cockpit and the pilots, that have cognition in their own right. The cognition is distributed among the people and things.
I am working on a philosophical paper dealing with this, and how to define it, which is backed up by some anthropological work I did I a biomedical engineering laboratory.
     - Jim Davies
The Lake Cognitive Architecture
Cognitive models are computer programs made to imitate how people think. Many are special-purpose, for one cognitive task. My dissertation was a cognitive model. A cognitive architecture, in contrast, is a piece of software that you use to create models. So it's got a memory system, attention, etc., that 1) help you create specific models with it, and 2) constrain the model you create so it's forced to be realistic. There are only about 15 in the world.
I'm creating my own, mostly in my spare time, and would love to have resources to work on it more.
     - Jim Davies
     - Kam Kwok
An Analogy Cognitive Architecture
This will be the topic of my next NSERC grant. I am a specialist in analogy. Nobody has tried to see if analogy can explain the very basis of cognition. What happens if we try to use analogy all the way down to simple stuff like memory retrieval? This project will explore this possibility. We don't know the limits of analogy as a cognitive methodology. This project aims to find out. I currently have two undergraduate students working on analogy projects, though not directly related to the architecture idea.
     - Jim Davies

The Science of Art and Compellingness
I am writing a book attempting to explain, scientifically, why certain works of art (visual, narrative, musical, etc.) are good, or compelling, and others are not. The theory also endeavours to explain our tendencies to believe in religion, astrology, urban legends, alien abduction, etc. I currently employ a co-op student working on a psychological experiment to test one of my hypotheses about what people are more likely to believe. The idea is that if a physical phenomenon is explained in terms of person-like psychological attributes, it is more believable. This project straddles the arts and social sciences and I'd love to find funding for it, perhaps through collaboration with professors of the arts. Currently I'm working with Daniel Mroz at the University of Ottawa (as well as an undergraduate here), studying the effect of certain kinds of direction on the compellingness of theatre.
     - Jim Davies
     - Velian Pandeliev
AI and ethics
There is an emerging discipline studying ethics and artificial intelligence. It is focused on how AIs should be programmed so that they are ethical. I am taking a different approach, writing a philosophical paper with a student about when we will need to treat artificial beings with ethical consideration. For example, let's say we want to make a crowd panic simulation in which the agents in the simulation actually need to have feelings to act realistically. Wouldn't it then be ethically problematic to run the simualation? I am hoping to publish this in a philosophy journal.

     - Xander Tamagami





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