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Year 1 – Issue 2

www.aisc-net.it

editorial

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by Nicola Lettieri

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UpDate is NewsLetter of AISC. Published quarterly, it reports on joint actions of the AISC partners, and aims to reflect the contribution made by AISC to the European Community in Cognitive Sciences. To advertise conferences, events or a projects, please send an email to: segreteria@aisc-net.it

Studying Cognitive Science in Italy

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Human Brain Project: the New Era del Cogito

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let’s talk about it with… gavriella pravettoni

Learning to decide

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europroject - the new frontiers of learning

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T3, When the going gets serious

what’s up? - associational life of the aisc

AISC - Editorial Boars:

Codisco: Where Basic Research Begins

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Chairman Orazio Miglino - Università degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II"

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Vice Chairman Alberto Greco - Università degli Studi di Genova Treasurer Federico Cecconi - Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Roma)

Secretary Nicola Lettieri - Università degli Studi del Sannio Members Bruno Bara - Università degli Studi di Torino Cesare Bianchi Rosaria Conte - Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione CNR (Roma) Marco Cruciani - Università degli Studi di Trento Roberto Cubelli - Università degli Studi di Trento Marcello Frixione - Università degli Studi di Genova Francesco Gagliardi - Università degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II" Pietro Terna - Università degli Studi di Torino

Made by:

Members of the editorial staff Lilia Biscaglia Adele Brunetti Cristian Fuschetto Ilaria Merciai CodiCS, Agency for Scientific Communication and Divulgation. Publishing, journalism, research, training, art, CodiCS projects and develops the best tools to spread every aspect of scientific research through appropriate and innovative channels. Visit www.codics.it

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and theCommission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


editorial by Nicola Lettieri

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think that looking at Cognitive Science from the outside can be a useful approach for our association. In order to fully develop its potential, any research field also needs to be explored from the perspective of other disciplines. The exchange of ideas, as well as the investigation of topics and problems that are typical of other scientific areas can lead to better theoretical and methodological development. For example, the “homo economicus” paradigm has been outdated thanks to the interaction between Economics, Psychology and Cognitive Science. This example leads me to highlight the important role that the Law field could play in the context of Cognitive Science and within the AISC too, by offering many interesting suggestions. Interaction between Cognitive Science and Law has been long in existence, as it is confirmed by the large number of works published in recent years on this subject. Moreover, a recent issue of the review “Sistemi Intelligenti” has been devoted to the interaction between Cognition and Law. However, the dialogue between these two disciplines has been episodic and limited to very specialized areas, while it could be of great interest to expand it to many more investigation topics. This is a favorable time to do it, and for many reasons. The capacity of Law to help govern economic and social dynamics is currently impaired. This impairment, undoubtedly resulting from multiple factors, is also due to a limited understanding of the phenomena that Law itself intends to govern, as well as to a legal science too often forced into the narrow bounds of a technical-bureaucratic approach, based on the mere writing, interpretation and application of the rules. I think this is a wrong approach, as the translation of political choices into efficient rules depends on a clear understanding of reality which, in turn, can’t be developed without the support of other scientific disciplines, including those dealing with the explanation of the mental processes underlying human individual and group behavior. The same goes for the application of the existing legal rules and categories: one can imagine the potential impact of Neuroscience on the grading of criminal liability, as well as on the identification of new and fairer strategies of criminal policy. Therefore, we absolutely need to build up a closer relationship between Law and nonlegal disciplines. And, in this perspective, I Think that Cognitive Science can play a significant role both in the understanding of the legal phenomenon and in the legal regulation of social life. This interaction would provide an interesting range of methodological scenarios. For example, Agent Based Simulations, which are making a significant contribution to the progress of Social Science – and which developed thanks to Cognitive Science – offer many interesting opportunities to create new instruments to support the development of regulation policies. The FuturICT Project, outlined by Rosaria Conte in the first issue of this Newsletter, is a significant example of cooperation between scientific studies and the disciplines managing “complex, global, socially interactive systems”. In the light of this, I think that the AISC - which is already used to having an interdisciplinary approach - should begin to promote new opportunities of contact and discussion with Law Schools and Institutions involved in regulation, policy and decision making processes. This could help find new research paths, as well as interesting practical applications. Building up a mutually advantageous dialogue is a difficult and time-demanding process, especially when it involves disciplines such as Law, which are sometimes reluctant to interact with different branches of knowledge. However, it is worthwhile to venture on this path: long journeys always start with small steps Nicola Lettieri AISC Secretary University of Sannio Law School - Legal Informatics Laboratory of Agent Based Social Simulation ISTC CNR 3


work in

An overview of the activity of the Institutes and Research

P R O G R E S S

Studying Cognitive Science in Italy by Ilaria Merciai

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n Italy “LM55” is the code of the Second Level (Master’s) Degree Course in Cognitive Science, aimed at the acquisition of advanced theoretical and methodological knowledge, through an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Mind-Brain System and the man-machine interaction. In Italy these Degree Courses have already started in three Universities: the University of Messina, Milan and Trieste. They’re all at the leading edge in their field and share a common goal to improve the understanding of human behavior. The Degree Course in Cognitive Science is a recently established university program, Pietro Perconti which is currently drawing a large number of students. It allows students to specialize in this field in the context of a Master’s Degree, instead of having to attend post-graduate programs. The Course includes a large number of disciplines, combined in a dynamic interaction: from Psychology to Linguistics, from Genetics to Ethology, from Neuroscience to Mathematics, from Anthropology to Physics and Biology, from Philosophy to Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. «Cognitive Science – explains Pietro Perconti, Coordinator of the Degree Course at the University of Messina – tries to investigate, describe and explain the amazing complexity of mental life. The new interdisciplinary approach to the study of behavior and mental life allows to get a wider perspective in the investigation of the human knowledge process, that in past years has been the object of an isolated, very specialized discipline. Crossing the boundaries between the different disciplines gives the promising opportunity to understand and clarify mental functioning through a combination of both theoretical and empirical investigation methods. Investigations and descriptions relating to the functioning of cognitive processes will become more and more precise, and the possibility to artificially reproduce these processes will increasingly be within our reach. Moreover, knowledge and the ability to reproduce knowledge processes will allow us to develop therapeutic models and information systems to be used in the rehabilitation of any compromised function, whatever is the cause of the damage». «The integrated study of the mind-brain system has been taking a more and more prominent role in individual and organizational life, with a strong impact on science and technology - says Marta Cazzanelli, Teaching Assistant in Cognitive Science at the University of Trieste. Through our Degree Course in Cognitive Science (held in English) we intend to educate and train Cognitivists, Artificial Intelligence specialists and Decision Process experts. In order to put into practice the skills acquired during the course, students will be offered internships and participation in research projects, both in the field of brainimaging and in the area of multimodal interaction (cognitive interfaces, multimedia)». Though statistics regarding the employment rate of the Italian Cognitive Science Graduates are not available yet - the courses having only recently started – market surveys show that the acquisition of integrated, multidisciplinary skills is key to find a place in the labor market. On one hand, students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities can acquire the scientific and technical skills they are lacking. On the other, students with a Bachelor’s Degree in a Scientific discipline can acquire a different kind of knowledge, allowing them to better structure their basic skills. If your curriculum includes the development of both theoretical and practical knowledge about Cognitive Science, you will be able to perform a wide range of jobs, for example in the research and development field, in the information technology industry as well as providing services to people and businesses. Research and Development, Information Technology Industry and Services to People and Businesses are the main employment sectors for Graduates in Cognitive Science. However – adds Perconti – we must not underestimate the potential of the cognitive approach to rehabilitation and to development of therapeutic models and information systems operating in the field of Language and Cognitive Neuroscience. Our task is also to help make the employers aware of these new professional roles, which could act as linking pins between different areas, even though the market labor is still not very receptive at present. And we must not forget the cultural interests of our students and their inclination to research: they are fascinated by the possibility of a “journey through the Mind” allowing them to understand how and where concepts and beliefs come and come from, and revealing something more about human nature».

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An overview of the activity of the Institutes and Research

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P R O G R E S S

Human Brain Project: the New Era of the Cogito by Cristian Fuschetto

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From top to bottom: Enrico Macii; Francesco Pavone; Fernando Ferri; Egidio D'Angelo; Michele MIgliore; Orazio Miglino

he neurologist Antonio Damasio, with his usual intuitiveness, has already aroused our suspicion but, if this daring experiment works, we will have the final proof: Descartes was absolutely wrong. Brute matter and thinking substance are just the same thing, or rather, the res cogitans arises from the res extensa, and those who continue to believe that thought belongs to an ethereal spiritual dimension, will be disappointed. Reproducing the “thinking organ” means this and much more. This Promethean goal is expected to be achieved by the end of 2023. The stake of the project is - if it is not obvious yet - creating an artificial brain. “This is undoubtedly an ambitious, but not impossible project, if we consider how fast the power of calculation has been growing in the last years”, explains Enrico Macii, coordinator of the first Italian Research Group involved in the early stages of project planning and design, Professor of Electronic Circuits at the Politecnico di Torino and member of the “Human Brain project”, together with a team including the most specialized European experts in Information, Neuroscience, Robotics, Medicine and Bioethics. The project is coordinated by Henry Markram, Professor at the Brain Mind Institute of the École Polytechinque Fédérale de Lausanne and author of a series of experiments aimed at converting into programming language the functioning of a tiny slice of rat cerebral cortex containing 10,000 neurons. “Of course – admits Macii – the gap between these 10,000 neurons and the 100 billions neurons composing our brain seems to preclude any chance of success, and yet it does not”. New generation computers are the key to success. “We will not use a single computer, but a supercomputer cluster, that is, a group of supercomputers connected together”. The Human Brain Project is a candidate for an enormous grant: through the Fet Program (Future and Emerging Technologies), Flagships Initiative, the EU will allocate 1 billion euro over 10 years to the two most important and far-sighed European projects. The choice will be announced next summer and the suspense is growing in the scientific community. Indeed, it’s since the Manhattan Project and the conquest of space that we haven’t had such an ambitious scientific project. Understanding and reproducing the brain functioning would bring a radical change in information technology, through the designing of new computers, robots and sensors whose intelligence will greatly surpass that of our current machines. “We will be able to create machines capable of interacting with people and they will be used in learning contexts or in the treatment and care of disabled and elderly people – adds Macii”. But first of all, reproducing the brain means to have a perfect model to understand the causes of neurological and psychiatric disorders and therefore be able to experiment new treatments. Let’s not imagine it as a sort of Blade Runner world: the Human Brain Project is rather intended to support our everyday life. For example, it will make medical research easier, by restricting animal and human experiments through simulations. However, the Project also includes applications on neural network computers, a special kind of supercomputer characterized by low energy consume, flexibility, robustness, new storage techniques and, to cap it all, adaptive problem-solving and self-repairing systems. Italy will play a key role. Along with the Politecnico di Torino, primarily involved in the development of digital, neural network circuits, several other Institutions are involved: the Lens (European laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy) and the University of Florence, specialized in the field of Biophotonics and Optical Microscopy applied to Neuroscience and led by Francesco Pavone; the Brain Connectivity Center of the University of Pavia, whose team, under the guidance of Egidio D’Angelo, will have to role to develop the first realistic computational model of the cerebellum; The Institute of Biophysics, Palermo, directed by Michele Migliore, whose role will be to provide the neural network models and the simulations of the synaptic connections; a joint research group between the CNR Institute of Cognitive Science and Technology (coordinator, Stefano Nolfi) and the University of Naples “Federico II” (coordinator, Orazio Miglino) responsible to develop the neurobotic models; and finally the CNR Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies, led by Fernando Ferri, that will use the artificial brain to develop a complex simulation of a “human-like” perception of data. So, let’s keep our finger crossed and hope that the European Union will decide to be the protagonist of the “new era of the cogito”. 5


let’s talk about it with…

Gabriella Pravettoni

Learning to decide Optimizing decision processes to encourage individual and organizational change interview by Lilia Biscaglia

phy, with modules in Psychology, Economy, Philosophy, Sociology and Medicine: a range of disciplines studying the relationship between mind-brain and the mechanisms underlying the decision processes. This Course, started in 2008 with about 120 enrolments, has almost doubled the number of its students this year. Let’s talk about it with Gabriella Pravettoni, Professor in Cognitive Science and President of this Degree Course. Which Faculty do the students attending the Cognitive Science and Decision Processes Course come from? Most students come from the Faculties of Economy and Philosophy, but we also have many students from Medicine and Surgery. Actually, the Course offers two specialized curricula, the first focused on decision making in a socio-economic context, the second on decision making in a medical context. The latter includes many students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine or otherwise specialized in the medical field. What do you teach your students? We offer a Degree Course in Cognitive Science and Decision Processes. Our project is to propose an interdisciplinary study of the mind, especially focused on decision making. While other Degree Courses in Cognitive Science are characterized by an information, technological or philosophical approach, we are more focused on the decision process. Therefore every single module is designed to investigate thoroughly this specific kind of cognitive process. For example, in the field of research applied to decision making, we have modules in Neuroeconomics and Neuromarketing, and we analyze the decisional processes in the context of Medical Science. We investigate Conflict Resolution in different contexts and our students learn to encourage decisional processes within their working groups.

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ow do we decide? This question deals with the cognitive processes involved in everyday life. However, the mechanisms underlying decision making can affect the fortunes of wider organizations and play a key role in consumers, savers, doctors and managers’ choices. Becoming an expert in decision making is the aim of the almost 240 students registered in the Interfaculty Second level Degree Course (Master’s Degree) in Cognitive Science and Decision Processes of the University of Milan. This Course offers a multidisciplinary, advanced approach to the study of mind and decision. That is why the two year’s Course is structured as a comprehensive training project including disciplines as varied as Political Science, Medicine and Surgery, Literature and Philoso-

Why should students choose a Second Level (Master’s) Degree instead of a Post-graduation training? Our Degree Course integrates different cultural fields, such as psychology, philosophy and economics, while focusing on the aspects relating to decision making: our students will not be graduated in Psychology or Philosophy, they will be Cognitive Scientists. The Course offers a specialist training program which has no equal, because it is founded upon the firm belief that, in a job context, one of the most in demand characteristics for a Cognitive Scientist is his/her multidisciplinary training. 6


So, a student completing this study cycle can have a wider outlook on the decision making process. Quite so! In Italy there are other Degree Courses in Cognitive Science, but the specialized curricula they offer are very different from our Program. Our Degree Course includes internships as an integral part of its education program. Thanks to the University of Milan Vocational Guidance Centre, our students are given the chance to participate in internships both during their study course and later, after their graduation. Moreover, they have the opportunity to get a double degree with the University of Maastricht. Our students enrolled in Cognitive Science and the Dutch students can spend a whole academic year in Maastricht or Milan, respectively, and obtain, at the end of these two years, a double qualification, that is a Degree in Cognitive Science and Decision Processes in Italy, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Decisions Processes related to Psychoeconomics in Maastricht.

agers for Local Health Centers? Yes, of course. Every healthcare professional is constantly faced with decision management. Medical Decision Making and Human Error Prevention are key research areas. On one hand, you have to develop the ability to prevent medical errors and make the right decision. On the other, you have to consider the patient’s response in the context of personalized medicine: patients must be helped in their choices through decision supports. With regard to patients’ decisions, one of the application areas is “food choice”: the ability to choose healthy food to prevent chronic disease. For example, sound experimental evidence shows that obese women with a history of breast cancer are significantly more likely to have a relapse. In this case you must help patients to choose the proper food to improve their well-being. An expert in Cognitive Science can also provide alternative approaches to communication in the context of Public Healthcare. If your role is to improve decision processes, you need to have the ability to work in a team, and especially with people coming from very different disciplinary backgrounds. If you are a Cognitive Scientist, a multidisciplinary approach is key, as well as the ability to encourage team working. This allows you to apply your skills to a variety of fields, always focusing on decision processes as your starting point.

Is there a special reason why this Course was instituted in Milan? Of course, there are contextual reasons for this choice. For example, Lombardy Healthcare has a much larger number of users compared to other Regions. This is one of the reasons why in Lombardy there is a strong need to encourage decision processes: more and more qualified people are required to optimize individual and organizational decision processes in the Healthcare context. The same applies to the second specialized curriculum in Economics, focused on a series of Psychoeconomics topics. So, our educational offer meets the strong demand from the regional context. However, this does not mean that our students come from just Lombardy. We have enrolments from every part of the country, but the context has also contributed to the success of the Course. Just imagine: within the whole University of Milan, it is our Degree Course to draw the largest number of students from other Universities, which means that its great success is also due to its being unique in Italy. People who want to study Decision Processes, and especially their application to the field of Medical Decision Making, can not find such a specialized course anywhere else. Through its specific focus, this Course responds to a strong demand: understanding how to encourage decisional processes within a complex organization.

And is the Italian labor market ready to absorb Cognitive Science graduates specialized in decision process? We’ve just had a “career day” attended by 120 large companies, all very interested in our graduates’ skills. Of course, we work very hard but, as I’ve already said, we also work in a favorable context. A favorable context, of course, but maybe also a particular historical juncture… I’m deeply convinced that Mind is plural. Which means that Mind needs to get used to managing complexity. Likewise, within a group, someone is required who can manage complexity and then encourage good decision processes. In our society and in a variety of organizations founded on complexity, this role can be played by a cognitive scientist specialized in decision processes. It’s very important to have qualified people capable to interpret the plural mind, and this is what we try to teach in our Degree Course. The ability to manage the complexity of mind is the real agent of change, both at an individual and organizational level.

So, the ability to understand the processes underlying decision can be a key factor when selecting man7


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Italy and Cognitive Science in the European context

The new frontiers of learning Teaching with Technology, When the going gets serious

by Adele Brunetti

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echnology will become man’s best friend, a sort of virtual training ground to get the most out of our potential. Actually, even though state-of-the-art computers, smartphones, videogames and web applications are taking up more and more of our time, we rarely wonder how could we use them to become more intelligent and active, to handle emergency situations, face natural disasters or resolve relational conflicts. The “Intelligent Technology” will determine our future, and we will be obliged to go beyond the passive approach imposed by commercial strategies and the latest market trends. And didactics will be the instrument of this revolution. This is the opinion of the “T3 - Teaching to Teach with Technology” organizers. This project is funded by the European Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and is led by the Advanced Learning Technology Research Group from the CNR Institute of Cognitive Science and Technologies (alt.istc.cnr.it) and the Nac – Natural and Artificial Cognition Laboratory - from the University of Naples “Federico II” (www.nac.unina.it). Its goal: to understand and suggest how the most innovative technologies can revolutionize the traditional teaching methods and help develop modern and effective learning strategies (www.t3.unina.it). We’re talking about serious games, augmented reality systems, educational robotics and PC simulations. These are the astonishing outcomes of the projects this team has been working on for five years, in order to develop and test new media at the service of education. We will learn through displays, keyboards, virtual worlds and automata capable of interacting with our everyday life and to improve it. But what will we actually learn? As for the strictly scientific disciplines, the T3 Project includes some interesting cyber-reproductions of biological and physical processes. For example, a large number of experiments can be performed through “Avida”, a 3D laboratory allowing to determine and observe the life cycle of artificial organisms at different stages of evolutionary complexity. Indeed, there are countless opportunities to take advantage of the educational potential of technology, espe-

cially in the investigation of psycho-social phenomena. The development of soft skills, the negotiation and management of conflicts, the ability to listen to other people’s views, the possibility to think out of the box and to improve relational skills: this is the scope of the “Eutopia” platform, which allows to “dramatize” in progress teaching scenarios, characterized by different stimuli. Then we have "Dreaded", another creation of the T3 team, a game intended to develop the ability to make decisions in difficult situations, particularly useful in management training, to improve the organizational skills of the future business leaders and overcome shyness and uncertainty. And there is more: the software programs for younger people, such as “Diego Pizza Adventure", which includes a set of games based on the developmental theory of the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. The games are intended to stimulate the cognitive potential of children from five to nine years old, through a series of challenges aimed at the development of spacetime frameworks, the acquisition of the concept of velocity, the improving of the object arrangement ability and the stimulation of the capacity to establish relationships between 8


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different elements. An adventure that can be explored by simply clicking on w w w. n a c . u n i n a . i t / p i a g e t , where young people will have the opportunity to enjoy these multimedia educational resources. In the context of the innovating T3 project, special attention is paid to robotics, with the two brilliant robots developed through the joined efforts of Nac and Alt teams: the first one - "Bestbot" – can be used to learn how to take advantage of the natural evolution principles, while the second - "Wandbot" – is an ingenious object hunter. From representation of the surrounding world and environment to medical procedures and flight simulations, the application fields of educational technology are countless, but Italian schools and universities seem to be slow to recognize the high potential of this approach. Unfortunately, in our country the use of e-learning is confined to laboratories, which are still mainly based on video lessons. This situation is not likely to change, unless we remove its causes, that our research team identified as - among others - a lack of funds to buy the suitable equipment and tools, and the long time needed to equip teachers with the appropriate skills.

Coordinators

Partner John Jessel

M. Luisa Nigrelli M. Luisa Nigrelli works in ISTC CNR, managing European funded projects and taking care of knowledge and technical transfer from the research context to the business environment. Her background is in foreing languages and educational psychology, she took her master degree at University of Pavia in new technologies for teaching and knowledge management strategy. She was visiting scholar at Indiana University Bloomington, in Education PSychology Department. Previuosly she worked in KPMG and in Telecom Italia, with a special focus on international business development, EU funded programs and CSR.

He is a lecturer and Head of the MPhil/PhD Programme within the Department of Educational Studies at Goldsmiths College University of London; he is a partner of T3 project.

Partner Cristina Botella

Roberto Vardisio

Professor of Clinical Psychology and director of the Emotional Disorders Clinic at the University Jaume I of Castellón (Spain); She is a partner of T3 project.

Roberto Vardisio is consultant organizational development and President of Entropy Knowledge Entropy Nework S.R.L KN; he is a partner T3 of the project.

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W A T H ’ S

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Associational life of the AISC

Codisco: Where Basic Research Begins By Ilaria Merciai

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odisco is the “Coordinating Group for Italian PhDs in Cognitive Science”. This initiative has been created by Prof. Antonino Pennisi and Pietro Perconti - from the University of Messina - in order to provide a constant and direct interaction between the researchers involved in this field. Its main goal is to create a network involving the entire scientific community – in the first place, PhDs – so as to provide a constant update about the state of the art of the Italian research. Basic research is key to scientific development, and Doctoral Degrees are the highest point of learning and the first stage of specialized training. So, coordinating Doctoral Degrees is essential to encourage the development of scientific research in such a multidisciplinary field as Cognitive Science. Given the multidisciplinary approach involved in the study programs in this discipline, it was essential to build up an open network which would encourage the exchange of ideas and discussion and give researchers the opportunity to meet each other and establish cooperation and information sharing, therefore bridging the gap between different specialized areas. This project involves all the Italian Doctoral Programs dealing with disciplines related to Cognitive Science: from Psychology to Neuroscience; from Linguistics to Artificial Intelligence; from Philosophy to Social Science. Since 2007, Codisco has been organizing annually a National Congress of the Italian Doctorates involved in the field of Cognitive Science. This meeting, each time devoted to different key topics, is aimed at regularly providing an overall picture of the Italian Basic Research, as well as an opportunity for mutual exchange and updating. This year, during the annual congress, a science prize will be awarded to the “Best First Publication”. The call is open to all Italian researchers who were less than 40 years old at the expiration of the call and published their first book, obviously in the field of Cognitive Science. «Cognitive Science is a model of scientific cooperation – explain the organizers of Codisco. Instead of the traditional dichotomy between Natural Science and Human Science, the new Science of the Mind provides a concrete and profitable model, that we can use to develop an integrated, comprehensive vision of human nature, by trying first of all to understand the process of knowledge. Understanding knowledge processes, being able to reproduce them and to rehabilitate them when they are compromised, is a scientific challenge which can also have a great impact on social structures. If Cognitive Science succeeds, we will acquire a better understanding of the human being and his relationship with the surrounding naPictures of the fifth conference organized by Codisco, The languagesof science, cognitive ture». held from 27 to 29 September 2011

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news

NEWS FROM ITALIAN SCIENCE COGNITE SCIENCES

TAORMINA (CATANIA) 2 - 6 SEPTEMBER 2013

GENOVA - 26 OCTOBER 2011

The University of Catania chosen to host the prestigious ECAL (European Conference on ArThe University of Catania will organize the ECAL 2013 – the 21th European Conference on Artificial Life. This is a biennial event of international interest, non to be missed by the researchers in this field. It will be held in Taormina, from 2 to 6 September 2013. Special attention will be paid to Complex Systems, Bioelectronics, Synthetic Biology, BioInspired Engineering and Cognitive Science. Pietro Liò, Orazio Miglino, Giuseppe Nicosia, Stefano Nolfi and Mario Pavone, who represent the Italian scientific community around the world, will be the General Chairs of the Conference. For further information: www.dmi.unict.it/ecal2013/

Cognitive Science at the Science Festival of Genoa The Science Festival of Genoa hosted a special session on Cognitive Science. This years’ Festival was dedicated to the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification and hosted international guests, such as Erik Hollnagel, a leading expert on Resilience Engineering and the author of a large number of publications on Resilience, that is, the analysis of the reactive/adaptive strategies undertaken by systems to cope with traumatic events. This seminar, held on the 26th of October at the Ducal Palace of Genoa, in the “Sala del Minor Consiglio”, was moderated by Alberto Greco, Psychology Professor and Director of the Master’s Program in Cognitive Science at the University of Genoa.

Berlin 30/11 – 02/12 2011

EDUCA ONLINE

Educa Online is the largest global elearning conference for corporate, education and public service sectors. Every year Educa Online attracts over 2000 participants from more than 100 countries world-wide, pro-

ving to be the most comprehensive annual meeting for ICT-enhanced learning experts and training professionals. The topic of this year’s conference is “Empowering Educators for Creative Learning: A European View”. Educa Online will also propose a prestigious seminar chaired by Brian Holmes, responsible for the “Lifelong Learning Programme”, and presented by Pierre Mairesse, Policy Director for Lifelong Learning. Prof. Pierre Dillenbourg from the

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Ecole Polytecnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Prof. Mario Barajas from the University of Barcelona and Marialuisa Nigrelli, ALT-ISTC CNR, will also be lecturing at this event. For further information: www.online-educa.com


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he main goal of AISC (Associazione Italiana di Scienze Cognitive) is to promote Cognitive Science in Italy in research and its applications. Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary approach to the studies of behavior and cognition which recognizes the added value of going beyond the boundaries of the individual disciplines dedicated to the studies of behavior and cognitive capacities. By doing so, various approaches, theories, methods and empirical data from each discipline are compared and converged. The disciplines comprising the field of Cognitive Science include Psychology, Linguistics, Social Sciences, Neuroscience, Biology, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy. Moreover, Cognitive Science creates a bond between the studies of behavior and cognition as they are expressed in humans and their society and how they are reproduced in artificial systems which have the aim of better understanding natural and social phenomena and creating novel technologies. The Italian Association of Cognitive Science pursues its objective by organizing annual scientific conferences as well as more specific workshops, interest groups and training activities, establishing a network between Cognitive Science in Italy and the rest of the world.

www.aisc-net.it

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