Issues in CogSci: Shane Bretz, Petr Babkin, and Dan Arista

Issues in CogSci: Shane Bretz, Petr Babkin, and Dan Arista


Shane Bretz: "A Motivational Based Model of Moral Judgment Effects"

A popular account of moral judgment pits emotion based and cognitive based processes in competition for behavioral expression.  Alternative accounts focus instead on moral motivations, arguing that information from emotion and abstract reasoning are combined with basic human drives.  The research presented offers a conceptual and computational model of data from moral dilemmas, and how a motivation based explanation can account for observed effects, primarily by considering the effect of behavioral inhibitory mechanisms and anxiety on cognitive control.


Petr Babkin: "Mindreading for Understanding Natural Language Dialogue"

Mindreading is an agent's ability to model hidden motives underlying observable behavior of others and it is ubiquitous in human social interactions, especially, in the medium of natural language. This talk explores the problem space of computational modeling of mindreading in artificial agents as it pertains to understanding natural language in the context of dialogue where a substantial amount of information is not explicitly present in an utterance yet needs to be inferred from background knowledge about the world and the interlocutor's personality in order to understand the meaning.


Dan Arista:  "Reasonableness in Agency"

What does it mean to act reasonably? Can we expect reasonableness to reduce to a computational model? In the context of a legal-theory-inspired Principal-Agent dynamic, the research prospectus puts conditional reasoning at the top and works its way down through potential computational systems availed by formal logic. Important consideration is given to what cognitive psychology can tell us about how human's arrive at judgment of reasonableness.