In The News

RuCCS NTT Faculty Ryan Rhodes won 2nd place in the CogSci Mind Challenge hosted at the Cognitive Science Society

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Dr. Ryan Rhodes is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers University. He won 2nd place in the Cognitive Science Society's CogSci Mind Challenge winning a sum of $500, in which he had to create a five-minute video addressing a key question within Cognitive Science but for an audience of non-experts, particularly high school and early college students. The question for this competition was, “Can Machines Think?” He would also like to thank his brother Alex Rhodes and two of his former students Binghui “Russell” Rang and Maxwell Domanchich for their assistance with this project. In the video, Ryan takes you on a conversational walk through many thought-provoking settings and animations. He addresses key concepts through the metaphor of the clay golem and the ability of a rock (e.i. silicon computer chips) to think. Click here to learn more about his submission. 

A Rutgers researcher and RuCCS Executive Council Faculty, Jenny Wang, studies the benefits of teaching children through videos

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Jinjing Jenny Wang, is a assistant professor of cognitive psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University. When Jinjing Jenny Wang embarked on a two-year study to determine whether infants experience any cognitive benefits from watching someone count out loud on screen instead of in person, she had already seen what affect such a video had on her own daughter at 10 months old. In addition, a recent study by Wang of 81 babies between 14 and 19 months old published in Developmental Psychology found the same outcome. To learn more about this study, click here



Kristen Syrett, a professor in the Department of Linguistics and the Center for Cognitive Science has joined the SAS Office for Undergraduate Education as an Associate Dean


Kristen joined Rutgers in 2011, as a professor in the Department of Linguistics and the Center for Cognitive Science. An expert in the areas of language acquisition and psycholinguistics, Kristen is the director of the Rutgers Laboratory for Developmental Language Studies, where she and her students' study how humans acquire the meaning of words. She is a strong supporter of undergraduate research and a devoted mentor to her students. Kristen received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in linguistics with a specialization in cognitive science. She received a Rutgers University Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2017. Kristen has held leadership positions both at Rutgers and in her field, including as undergraduate program director in the linguistics department and as co-director of the SAS-wide Language and Social Justice Initiative. Kristen has been on the front lines in the efforts to promote inclusive language and has been frequently quoted in the news, from Forbes to NPR. Please join us in thanking them for taking on these duties and responsibilities at this crucial time.

Elizabeth Torres, Rutgers' Professor's focus on Sensory-Motor Performance


Elizabeth Torres is a Rutgers' Professor and as well as part of Rutgers Center of Cognitive Sciences and Department of Psychology. Her area of focus is Cognitive Psychology. She received her PhD in Cognitive
Science in 2001 from the University of California, San Diego and did her Post-Doctoral training in electrophysiology at CALTECH. She has been on the faculty at Rutgers since 2008. Her research combines theory and experiments
to study how primates plan, execute, learn and adapt to natural voluntary motions. Torres recently extended computational measures of sensory-motor performance in adults to the developmental stages of pre-pubertal individuals. The main focus of the lab will assess a broad range of natural voluntary behaviors in children who
suffer from autism and other developmental disabilities. The main goal of this component of her research is to provide early intervention therapies to improve communication skills and social interactions in these young individuals. To learn more about this, check here.

Rutgers Graduate Students Have Team Work Project Published


Congratulations to Gwendolyn L. Rehrig, Michelle Cheng, Brian C. McMahan and Rahul Shome (two in Psychology; two in Computer Science) who, with funding from the Perceptual Science IGERT (NSF), worked
as a team on a project as part of the IGERT-created Interdisciplinary Methods in Perceptual Science course. Their project, published recently in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, used an innovative active visual search task combined with Bayesian ideal observer modeling to show that people
have limited ability to learn to override semantic priors when searching for common objects within visual
scenes. The students worked as a team on all phases of the project, from initial design through manuscript
submission and acceptance, with exceptional levels of coordination and cooperation, contributing different aspects to the project and learning from one another.

The full reference is Rehrig, G.L., Cheng, M., McMahan, B.C. & Shome, R. (2021) Why are the batteries in the microwave?: Use of semantic information under uncertainty in a search task. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implication, 6:32, 1-22