iCog inaugural conference - Speaker profiles

Colin Blakemore FMedSci FRCP(Hon) FRS is Professor of Neuroscience & Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford. Colin studied Medical Sciences at Cambridge and did a PhD in Physiological Optics at the University of California, Berkeley. 

After 11 years in Cambridge, he moved to Oxford in 1979 to be Waynflete Professor of Physiology. He directed the Oxford Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and from 2003–7 he was Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council. 

His research has been concerned with many aspects of vision, early development of the brain, plasticity of the cerebral cortex and neurodegenerative disease. He has been President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society and the Society of Biology. 

In 2012 he moved to his current position in the School of Advanced Study where he leads a major project entitled Rethinking the Senses, under the AHRC’s Science in Culture theme, aimed at integrating philosophical and scientific approaches to the study of perception. He is a frequent broadcaster on radio and television, and writes in the national press about science and science policy.

Rita Astuti is Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an expert in the anthropology of Madagascar. Her first period of extensive fieldwork among Vezo fishing people took place in the late 1980s, and focused on kinship, personhood, gender, and group identity. 

Since then, she has been involved in a programme of research aimed at integrating the study of culture and cognition. Through a combination of traditional ethnographic methods and experimental techniques used in developmental psychology, she has investigated how Vezo children and adults categorise the social world into distinct kinds of people, and how they conceptualise death and the afterlife.

Andy Clark is Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, at Edinburgh University in Scotland. Before that he was Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. 

Previous posts include Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, UK, and Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy/Neuroscience/Psychology (PNP) Program at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. 

He is the author of Being There: Putting Brain, Body and World Together Again (MIT Press, 1997), Mindware (Oxford University Press, 2001), Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies and the Future of Human Intelligence (Oxford University Press, 2003), and Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension (Oxford University Press, 2008). 

His research interests include robotics and artificial life, the cognitive role of human-built structures, specialization and interactive dynamics in neural systems, and the interplay between language, thought, socio-technological scaffolding, and action. He is currently working on predictive coding models of neural function.

Vyv Evans is Professor of Linguistics at Bangor University, where he has served as Head of School, Linguistics & English Language, and Deputy Head of College, College of Arts and Humanities. He is also currently President of the UK Cognitive Linguistics Association. 

Vyv Received his PhD from Georgetown University, Washington DC., in December 2000. His research relates to Cognitive Linguistics, an approach to language and mind which places central importance on meaning, the role of cognition and the embodiment of experience. 

He specialises in cognitive semantics, particularly knowledge representation, lexical structure, the relationship between lexical structure and knowledge representation, and figurative language and abstract thought. His research has focused on investigating spatial and temporal language and cognition, and the nature of the linguistic and conceptual resources that we as humans marshal in service of meaning construction. 

The current theme of his research is to investigate the intersection between the linguistic and conceptual systems that subserve linguistically-mediated meaning construction. He has developed the Theory of Lexical Concepts and Cognitive models (LCCM Theory) in order to provide a framework to facilitate this. 

He is the author or editor of eleven books, including How Words Mean (OUP 2009), and Language and Time (CUP 2013) and serves as Editor for the Cambridge journal Language & Cognition.

Danielle Matthews is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sheffield. Danielle took a combined honours undergraduate degree in French and Philosophy at the University of Leeds. While there, a French linguistics tutor gave her a book on Language Acquisition and she decided to switch fields to Psychology. 

After graduating, she spent a year working in Lyon, France, teaching English at Université Lyon 3 and reading about Cognitive Psychology. While there, she was lucky enough to win an ESRC scholarship for the MSc in Cognitive Science and Natural Language Engineering in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. She ran her first study there on the development of inflectional morphology. 

She moved from Edinburgh to Manchester to do a PhD in the Department of Psychology with a scholarship from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig. Her thesis was on the development of grammar and reference in 2–4‑year-old children. 

She stayed on in Manchester as a post doc for four years working on pragmatic development and infant communication. In 2008–2009, she took a career break for maternity leave. She came to Sheffield as a Lecturer in 2009 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2012.

Edmund T Rolls is Professor at the Oxford Centre for Computational Neuroscience, and is an Honorary Fellow in Applied Neuroimaging at the University of Warwick. He is the author of ten books; his latest, Neuroculture: On the Implications of Brain Science, was published by Oxford University Press in 2012.