Research Meeting: Towards a mechanistic understanding of compositionality by Lucas Tien

Photo of Dr. Lucas Tian, Rockefeller University
September 28, 2021 - 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
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Speaker/s: 

Dr. Lucas Tian, Rockefeller University

Organizer: 

Abstract: Compositionality is a key signature of the mind. It is the ability to generalize from a small set of rules to an almost unlimited set of complex thoughts and behaviors. Compositionality is critical for many domains of intelligence, such as language, social reasoning, and motor planning. Yet we do not understand the neural mechanisms of compositionality. This reflects the gap between two approaches for understanding the mind, one focusing on symbolic computation in complex cognition (cognitive science) and the other focusing on neural processes in simpler forms of cognition in animals (systems neuroscience). To bridge this gap, we have developed a way to study symbol-like compositionality in macaque monkeys, a highly intelligent species that is well-suited for neurophysiological analysis. This approach is based on a compositional drawing task. In this task, macaques draw new complex images by combining a small set of learned components, including (i) motor “primitives” (e.g., line, circle, triangle) and (ii) abstract sequencing rules for combining primitives. I will present behavioral evidence that both humans and macaques exhibit compositionality in how they draw, preliminary neural network modeling of compositional drawing, and plans for large-scale neurophysiology. I expect that combining insights across behavioral, cognitive, and neural levels will lead to new explanations of how compositionality works.

The Fall 2021 CBMM Research Meetings  will be hosted in a hybrid format. Please see the information included below regarding attending the event either in-person or remotely via Zoom connection

Guidance for attending in-person:

MIT attendees:
MIT attendees will need to be registered via the MIT COVIDpass system to have access to MIT Building 46.
Please visit URL https://covidpass.mit.edu/ for more information regarding MIT COVIDpass.

Non-MIT attendees:

MIT is currently welcoming visitors to attend talks in person. All visitors to the MIT campus are required to follow MIT COVID19 protocols, see URL https://now.mit.edu/policies/campus-access-and-visitors/.  Specifically, visitors are required to wear a face-covering/mask while indoors and use the new MIT TIM Ticket system for accessing MIT buildings. Per MIT’s event policy, use of the Tim Tickets system is required for all indoor events; for information about this and other current MIT policies, visit MIT Now.

Link to this event's MIT TIM TICKET: https://tim-tickets.atlas-apps.mit.edu/58hrmE6HPTpmLevd6

 

Details to attend talk remotely via Zoom:

Zoom connection link: https://mit.zoom.us/j/94137843596?pwd=SEpXYkJQeHc2UEROdnBjMWVDaUF2Zz09

Details

MIT Building 46 | Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex
Date: 
September 28, 2021
Time: 
4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Venue: 
PILM Seminar Room 46-3310