Amsterdam Brain and Cognition (ABC)

Workshop: Awareness in animal cognition

08Dec2017 09:00 - 16:00


December 8th workshop at the international conference ‘SMART Animals’ at the University of Amsterdam.

Workshop description

This workshop is dedicated to the role of awareness in cognition in different types of animals. Awareness is often thought to be a uniquely human characteristic, but is probably present in other animals as well, just like many other types of cognitive processes are. In this workshop, the boundaries of the concept of awareness will be investigated and a couple of issues that are vital in humanities and cognitive science will be addressed. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the concept of awareness, drawing on researchers from the fields of cognitive science, animal studies, philosophy, and linguistics, and as such, this workshop addresses the main themes of the SMART conference.


The workshop will be divided into three parts. First, there will be two theoretical keynote talks to learn what it means to be conscious and what awareness can mean for cognition and learning. Victor Lamme, professor of brain and cognition, and Joëlle Proust, who is a philosopher of logic, investigating meta-cognition, will deliver the two keynote talks.  Then, several researchers will present data on the role of awareness. Anne Marijke Schel (Utrecht University), lecturer in Animal Ecology, will present on intentionality in chimp calls. Olli Loukola, post-doc at Queen Mary University London, will discuss cognitive flexibility in bees. Furthermore, Judith Rispens, associate professor in Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam and Sible Andringa, assistant professor Dutch as a second language at the same university, will elaborate on the presence or absence of awareness in language acquisition. Finally, there will be a discussion to explore to what extent the theoretical positions that have been put forward in the keynotes, can be supported by the data presented. Thus, this workshop addresses the issue of awareness investigates and to what extent it plays a role in a broad field of animal cognition. 


Confirmed workshop speakers

Victor Lamme (University of Amsterdam)
Joëlle Proust (Institut Jean-Nicod, Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris)
Anne Marijke Schel (Utrecht University)
Olli Loukola (Queen Mary University London)
Judith Rispens (University of Amsterdam)
Sible Andringa (University of Amsterdam)


Workshop organizers

Sible Andringa, University of Amsterdam
Sybren Spit, University of Amsterdam

Published by  SMART Cognitive Science