News and events

News and events

PARC News and Events

Events in 2015

Lecture Patrick Cavanagh: The Language of Vision

When: 30 March, 2015
Where: Lecture Theatre, Level 1, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: Knowing what the world around us looks like is not just important for our visual system, many other brain systems also rely on this information. So how does our visual system communicate this information to other brain regions? The brain might use simplified descriptions in order to communicate about the visual world surrounding us. But if the brain uses a "visual language", what is its grammar? These and other questions were addressed in this lecture given by Professor Patrick Cavanagh (Université Paris Descartes, Paris, France).

Mini Symposium: Object Recognition

When: 16 March, 2015
Where: Seminar room (3.610), Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: Recognising objects in the world is one the most important functional roles of the visual system. Humans are very well equipped for this task. We effortlessly can recognise objects in a fraction of a second, and can categorise objects presented as briefly as 20ms. How exactly is the brain able to perform these operations so quickly? And can artificial vision systems ever be built to match human performance. These and other questions were addressed in the symposium featuring two preeminent scholars on the topic of object recognition: Dr. Simon Thorpe and Dr. Michèle Fabre-Thorpe (CNRS, Toulouse, France).

Events in 2014

Public lecture: Our intelligent hands: The role of action in language comprehension

When: 6 November, 2014
Where: Lecture Theatre, Level 1, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: In this public lecture, given by Professor Daniel Bub (University of Victoria, Canada) the role of action in language comprehension is discussed. The lecture was jointly presented by the CCD, the Department of Cognitive Science and PARC. The rebirth of the old theoretical language claim that the meaning of words referred to objects and is entirely based on stored traces of our sensory and motor experience was discussed and critiqued. Professor Bub provided an alternative explanation, based on a theory of how planned actions are organised in the brain, and how language communicates with components of the motor system.

Workshop by Marlene Behrmann 

When: 30 October, 2014
Where: Seminar room (3.610), Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: The workshop was hosted by PARC, and included discussions of a wide range of topics. Marlene Behrmann’s presentation focussed on altered cortical dynamics in autism. Other talks by visitors focussed on visual field asymmetries in token individuation (Irina Harris), the processing of predictive and non-predictive items in the attentional blink (Lauren Shone), and motor representations evoked by handled objects (Daniel Bub). Besides these talks by visitors, Macquarie University’s own researchers also gave talks, focussing on exploring the role of perceptual grouping in holistic face perception (Kim Curby), and on how fictitious knowledge affects facial expression perception (Luc Charmet-Mouguey).

Public lecture: Reading into Faces: What reading and face recognition can tell us about the brain

When: 29 October 2014
Where: Lecture Theatre, Level 1, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: The Faculty of Human Sciences hosted this lecture in collaboration with PARC. It focussed on two types of disorders of visual perception, namely difficulties in reading and difficulties in face perception, both of which normally require fine-grained pattern recognition. Recent findings from functional neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies, which allow us to map out both the structure and function of the brains of individuals with perceptual disorders will be described and the implications and future direction of this research will be considered.

Workshop: The interface between language and perception in action

When: 23 October 2014
Where: Seminar room (3.610), Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: This one day workshop, hosted by the CCD Language Program and the Perception in Action Centre (PARC) at Macquarie University, addressed how language communicates with our motor system and the deep connections between language and action, including the possibility that motor representations associated with words or sentences play some role in language comprehension. Speakers were Professor Daniel Bub, from the University of Victoria (Canada) and Professor Stephen Crain, from the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University. Professor Bub described in detail the systematic approach to the question: “What is the contribution of activated motor representations to word and sentence processing?”

Lecture: The Structure of Integrated Information Correlates with the Contents of Consciousness

When: 15 September 2014
Where: Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: This lecture given by Associate Professor Nao Tsuchiya of Monash University, and was hosted by PARC. It focussed on research investigating the neuronal bases of consciousness and attention. What consciousness is, and why and how it exists, are some of the oldest questions in philosophy. They are also central to one of the fastest-growing areas of neuroscience. Associate Professor Nao Tsuchiya is using a variety of neuroscientific methods as he works towards expanding our knowledge of how and why electrochemical activity in the brain gives rise to subjective conscious experience.

Lecture: Modelling the honey bee brain

When: 28 August 2014
Where: Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: This lecture was given by Associate Professor Andrew Barron of the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University, and was hosted by PARC. It focused on the neurobiology of major behavioural systems in the honey bee, such as memory, reinforcement and stress. The honey bee brain contains less than a million neurons, and yet bees display surprisingly complex social and foraging behaviour, as well as a range of cognitive abilities that rival those of small mammals. In some aspects the bee brain is already well mapped. This makes construction of a model and simulation of the bee brain a practical proposition.

Workshop: Jason Mattingley

When: 22 August 2014
Where: Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: This workshop was given by Professor Jason Mattingley of the University of Queensland, and was hosted by PARC. The workshop addressed how to use Steady State Visual Evoked Potentials (SSVEPs) on EEG data to look at cognitive functions. The work of Jason Mattingley focuses on understanding the neural and cognitive mechanisms that underlie selective attention.

Workshop: Sid Kouider

When: 24 July 2014
Where: Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: This workshop was given by Professor Sid Kouider from Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris (France). It was hosted by PARC and the Cognitive Science Department, and featured presentations discussing how conscious and unconscious processes differ at both the psychological and neural level.

Lecture: A core brain system in assembly of cognitive episodes

When: 21 March 2014
Where: Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: In this lecture, sponsored by the CCD and PARC, Professor John Duncan (University of Cambridge, UK) discussed the brain mechanisms of attention and control. He argued that all human cognition is controlled in a series of attentional episodes, breaking complex problems into simpler, more solvable sub-problems. Based on behavioural, neuropsychological, brain imaging and single neuron data, he suggested that the core function of the “multiple-demand” cortex (a distributed neural system, within the frontal and parietal lobes of the brain, that is active during all kinds of cognitive challenges) is to produce this structure of attentional episodes, allowing complex cognition to be assembled from simple components and underpinning the flexibility and power of human intelligence.

Lecture: Perception of shape and depth: combining cues across space and time

When: 27 February 2014
Where: Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
What: In this lecture, hosted by PARC, Professor Julie Harris (St Andrews University, UK) focused on the perception of shape and depth under realistic lighting conditions. Despite tremendous progress in animation and graphics, we still have a long way to go in generating high quality realistic rendered worlds. The aim of the work of Julie Andrews and her colleagues is to elucidate some of the basic perceptual processes that underlie how subtle changes in colour and lightness enhance the realism of our perception of a three-dimensional scene. This human behavioural research underpins the development of graphics and rendering technologies that will deliver enhanced realism for virtual environments.

Back to the top of this page