SweCog Meetings and Lectures

The SweCog lectures is a series of invited online seminars by Swedish researchers, covering a variety of topics within the cognitive sciences. These seminars are open to the public and you do not need a SweCog membership to attend.

SweCog Annual Meeting 2022-12-08, 09.00-11.00

All SweCog members are invited to the annual meeting, taking place virtually over Zoom. The meeting will open with a scientific talk by Sara Pudas, followed by the formal meeting including board election.

Use this link to attend the meeting via Zoom:

09.00-10.00: In search of cognitive aging biomarkers: Evaluating blood-based markers for prediction of long-term cognitive outcomes

Sara Pudas
Research fellow at Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB)
Umeå University

With an aging population, the search for preventive strategies for aging-related cognitive decline and dementia gets increasingly important. Finding biomarkers capable of predicting between-person differences in degree of brain and cognitive declines in aging individuals is an important step towards mechanistic understanding and prevention. This talk will cover some of our recent findings on two cellular aging biomarkers, telomere length and DNA-methylation, for prediction of long-term cognitive outcomes and dementia in a population-based cohort of older individuals. Both telomere length and DNA-methylation can be non-invasively measured in blood, and have been put forth as markers of the ‘biological age’ of individuals - which can differ considerably from their chronological ages. While our findings show some usefulness for these biomarkers, they also highlight differential predictive ability for different outcomes and in different subgroups of individuals. General challenges and possibilities for neurocognitive aging biomarkers will be discussed, as well as possible future directions towards personalized prediction strategies.

10.00-11.00: Annual meeting


  1. Val av ordförande och sekreterare för mötet
  2. Fastställande av röstlängd för mötet
  3. Val av protokolljusterare och rösträknare
  4. Fråga om mötet har utlysts på rätt sätt
  5. Fastställande av dagordning
  6. Revisionsberättelsen för verksamhets-/räkenskapsåret
  7. Fråga om ansvarsfrihet för styrelsen för den tid revisionen avser
  8. Fastställande av medlemsavgifter.
  9. Fastställande av ev. verksamhetsplan och behandling av budget för det kommande verksamhets-/räkenskapsåret.
  10. Val av ordförande i föreningen samt övriga styrelseledamöter för en tid av 1 år
  11. Val av valberedning
  12. Behandling av styrelsens förslag och i rätt tid inkomna motioner
  13. Övriga frågor.
  14. Mötet avslutas

SweCog Annual Meeting 2021

All SweCog members are invited to the annual meeting, taking place virtually over Zoom. The meeting will open with a scientific talk by Cathal O'Madagain, followed by the formal meeting including board election.

Friday, December 10, 13.00-15.00 (CET)
Use this link to attend the meeting via Zoom:

When Apes and Children Disagree

Cathal O'Madagain
Scientific Director, School of Collective Intelligence
Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique, Morocco

When we understand that the truth about the world is independent of our beliefs, we often double-check our evidence before making a final decision - knowing that we might be wrong. We also double-check our evidence if others disagree with us - knowing that if we believe opposite things, then one of us must be wrong. Here I present studies showing that young children and apes are sensitive to some of these distinctions, and highlighting that one of the hallmarks of human cognition is its sociality.

Curiosity and Knowledge Updating

Paul Schrater
Professor of Psychology and Computer Science
University of Minnesota

September 24, 13.00-14.00 (CET)
Use this link to attend the lecture via Zoom:

That the future of humanity rests on the veracity and completeness of human knowledge is no understatement. While the majority of people are curious and correctly update their knowledge with experience, we are nevertheless increasingly aware of the fragility and susceptibility of knowledge to information bubbles and conspiracies in the internet age. The purpose of this talk is to use AI-inspired computational theory and Cognitive experiments to shed light on the basic processes underlying knowledge updating. I will develop knowledge acquisition and updating as an intrinsic motive also known as curiosity. I use results from Machine Learning theory and AI to discuss knowledge representation, uncertainty, coherence and the potential and limitations for learning correct models of the world from experience. I highlight the real possibility of inconsistency of updating when prior knowledge is misspecified or erroneous. In particular, when new information conflicts with prior knowledge, three things can happen: 1) update anyway, replacing prior with new information. 2) Discard new information and keep the prior. 3) Keep prior and clone a new model which incorporates the new information, producing multiple schema. These scenarios correspond to improvement (assuming new information is correct), information bubbles, and knowledge fragmentation respectively. I next explain how a generalized update suggested by Grüwald and van Ommen can help mitigate these effects, resulting in a weighted update between prior knowledge and incoming information based on estimates of the reliabilities of each. We show strong evidence for this type of weighted update in experimental data from a Synonymy task, where we elicit prior knowledge, assess curiosity and memory efficacy after feedback. The results demonstrate that people on average have an accurate understanding of the reliability of their own knowledge, which drives their curiosity, and they incorporate new information to the extent they trust it more than their own knowledge. These results suggest that people are rationally incorporating information within the theoretical limits on learning systems. Time permitting, I will conclude by discussing actionable insights these results provide for addressing the burgeoning misinformation problem.

The constraints that bind us:

Insights from a dynamical systems perspective on human coordination

Maurice Lamb, PhD
Senior Lecturer in Informatics
School of Informatics, University of Skövde

May 21, 2021, 14.00-15.00 (CET)

Human-human coordination is the basis for many everyday tasks, whether it is unloading a dishwasher with a partner or walking down a busy sidewalk. It is not uncommon to view much of this coordination as depending on or even requiring cognitive systems for detailed planning and representation. There is almost certainly some truth to this assumption. However, this assumption can also obscure the ways in which many human coordinative actions may be lawfully grounded by the constraints of the physical world we live in. Complex dynamical systems approaches to understanding human cognition investigate human coordination by exploring how much coordination we can account for with relatively simple systems. In extremely oversimplified terms: If sets of oscillators coupled together exhibit the same pattern of coordination as exhibited by the gait patterns of humans walking together, why assume that human coordination in this context requires something additional? I will outline one contemporary understanding of complex dynamical systems theories as it relates to human coordination and provide examples of the kinds of insights and applications that may come from taking this perspective.

Understanding indirect speech acts:

Investigating individual differences with fMRI

Julia Uddén, PhD
Pro Futura fellow and Assistant Professor
Departments of Linguistics and Psychology, Stockholm University

April 14, 2021, 14.00-15.00 (CET)

Being able to communicate face-to-face with another person requires skills that go beyond core language abilities. In dialog comprehension, we routinely make inferences beyond the literal meaning of utterances. For instance, the utterance "it is hot in here" will in some circumstances mean "can you open the window?". This would be an example of a so-called indirect speech act. It is however not known whether communicative skills such as recognizing speech acts potentially overlap with core language skills or other capacities, such as Theory of Mind (ToM). I will talk about an fMRI study where we investigate these questions by capitalizing on individual variation in pragmatic skills in the general population. In the scanner, participants listened to dialogs, and the analysis strategy was based on differentiating brain activity associated with direct vs indirect speech acts, and finding individual differences in brain activity that corresponded to behavioral performance. Based on the results, I will argue that contextualized and multimodal communication requires neurocognitive networks different from those associated with core language, ToM/complex emotion processing, and cognitive control.