Wall Scholar Keynote Speaker at Psychfest 2022

April 25, 2022

2021 Wall Scholar Hanne De Jaegher (Philosophy, University of the Basque Country, Spain) is a keynote speaker at Psychfest 2022. Psychfest is an annual event where second-year MA and new PhD Psychology students present their research to the entire department.

This year’s keynote event is on Thursday, April 28 at 3pm and includes two speakers on the topic of Distributed cognition as a means of re-defining relationships with each other and the living world.  The talks are open to all and will be held in person and via zoom.

Register here.

Keynote Descriptions:

Hanne De Jaegher
Engaging Psychology

Our relations and interactions with each other and with the world are messy, complex, and ambiguous. Things matter to us, and the interactions we engage in can take us up in unexpected ways. In this talk, I will introduce some basic concepts for how to understand cognition as interacting-with-care (that is: the enactive approach to cognition). Then, we’ll go into what this starting point implies for doing psychology research, and whether it might help in making humans’ interactions — with each other, with the living world — better while doing so. If there is time, I’ll present some tentative results from a recent experiment into the experiential dynamics of interacting with each other across differences, and what this can contribute to EDI implementation (i.e. the nitty-gritty of working towards social justice).

Theo Rosenfeld (Stenberg College and Wildwood Ecology Labs)
Cognitive Lens or Anthropomorphic Mirror: Sense-making in the Natural World

Fungus, plants, even bacteria also sense and respond to their environment. Like animals, they face pressure to navigate the world in a way that helps them acquire goods and avoid bads  – pressure to make sense out of the world they perceive. Applying a “cognitive lens” to problem solving and communication in the biological world offers several avenues of inquiry. What can be learned by investigating non neural solutions to cognition? How are we, as human animals, affected by the invisible ecology of signalling molecules we are embedded within? And, can this lens help us as individuals more meaningfully engage with the natural world?  In this talk I introduce plant and microbial communication/cognition as windows into the biological processes that nervous systems evolved to optimise, then draw a connection between the signalling necessary for symbiosis and the human social experience of compassion. This will turn on an operational definition of empathy from psychiatric nursing which frames it as basically warm communication.