James Gaskin. 10 May 2010, 4-5pm. 618 Crawford Hall. Title: Bypassing Trust in Online Purchase Decisions by Establishing Common Ground. James Gaskin is a doctoral student in the Department of Information Sciences at Weatherhead School of Management, CWRU, who is also minoring in Cognitive Science.

Abstract: Two years ago Reuters reported that over 875 million consumers had shopped online, 40% more than in 2006. Online shopping has only increased in popularity in the past two years, and new online shopping sites appear regularly. In an attempt to build immediate consumer trust in these sites and their products, both new and existing online shopping sites have incorporated consumer feedback and review mechanisms, often including avatars (an image to portray the reviewer). Researchers have responded in turn by examining the relationships between these feedback mechanisms, avatars, perceptions of trust, and intentions to purchase. In most of these studies, trust acts as the gatekeeper for explaining purchase intentions. For example, unless customer feedback and/or avatar appearance increase trust, they will not increase purchase intentions. However, the findings among these studies are inconsistent. We believe this inconsistency is due to a missing key construct: common ground – which is the mutual knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions shared by the reviewer and the potential customer. In this paper we begin to develop and test a theory of common ground in online purchase decisions. Our findings suggest that common ground between the potential customer and the reviewer increase purchase intentions without necessarily increasing trust. Thus, potential customers may be willing to buy products and services online, even if they don’t trust reviewers of the product or service.


Cognitive Science Student Organization 2nd annual conference, “Brain, Mind, and Behavior” 
Keynote Speaker, Edward Hubbard 
April 16-17. 2010
Conference flyer
Conference schedule


Merlin Donald, PhD. 5 April 2010, 4-5pm. 618 Crawford Hall. Title: The Slow Process: A Hypothetical Cognitive Adaptation for Distributed Cognitive Networks. Merlin Donald is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Queen’s University, Ontario and Founding Chair of the Department of Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University from 2005-2008.

Abstract: The human brain has a unique symbiosis with culture. In fact, its design potential cannot be realized outside of culture, and many of its key capacities, including language and symbolic thought, will not develop at all in social isolation. Why is this? Evidence from many disciplines, including neuroscience, psychology, archaeology, paleontology, and anthropology suggests that brain and culture have co-evolved for at least 2 million years in hominids, and that culture itself is the generative source of many distinctive cognitive features of human beings. I have focused recently on a key neural operation called ‘slow processing,’ which seems to carry the double burden of both generating and negotiating complex cultures.


Lise Eliot, PhD. 15 February 2010, 4-5pm. 618 Crawford Hall. Title: Pink Brain, Blue Brain: The Development of Sex Differences and its Implications for Education. Lise Eliot is Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science/ Chicago Medical School. She is the author of What’s Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life (Bantam, 2000). Her second book, Pink Brain, Blue Brain was published in September 2009 by Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt

Abstract: This talk will cover the topics in her forthcoming book.


Mohamad Z. Koubeissi, M.D. Monday, 1 February 2010, 4-5pm. 618 Crawford. Title: Connectivity: from Functional Segregation to Functional Integration. Dr. Koubeissi is Assistant Professor of Neurology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Hei earned his Bachelor’s Degree with honors in mathematics and his medical degree from the American University of Beirut. He then spent a year as a postdoctoral research fellow in the neuro-pharmacology laboratory, where he investigated the effect of seizures on the rat’s brain, before pursuing his clinical training in neurology at NYU in New York. He completed his clinical and research epilepsy fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. During, and after, his training, Dr. Koubeissi has started new lines of research projects in epilepsy. Dr. Koubeissi has lectured on the medical and surgical treatment of intractable epilepsy all over the Unites States as well as in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. He has published numerous papers in esteemed medical journals, and is currently editing a book on epilepsy surgery. He also is a reviewer for a large number of major journals. He is on the review committee of Masters and PhD students, and is the program director of epilepsy fellowship at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.


Cristóbal Pagán Cánovas. Wednesday, 13 January 2010, 5:30-7pm. 618 Crawford. Title: The Narrative Lyric: Conceptual Integration, Embodied Cognition, and Emotional Styles in the Poetics of Emotion. Dr. Cánovas is a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow. He will be in residence in the Department of Cognitive Science at CWRU for the 2010-2011 year. This small colloquium will be provided by one-way Skype transmission to CWRU from the Conceptual Integration Research Group at UC San Diego.

Abstract: We archetypically view the lyric as a non-narrative genre, or one in which story does not play a major role. However, if we take a close look at imagery, one of the fundamental devices through which poetry expresses feeling, we find that, in order to articulate its meaning, it recurrently resorts to simple spatial sequences. This paper explores the way poetry – just like other forms of representation – systematically integrates emotion meanings with schematic narratives grounded on embodied cognition. This process gives rise to a wide range of products of the imagination, and to a great variety of meanings and forms, all conceiving basic emotional situations and relationships as small spatial events at the scale of a human body. The methodology combines conceptual blending, image schemata, and cultural frames with a diachronic perspective. To study these recurrent imaginative structures, I propose generic conceptual integration networks that build abstract patterns for meaning construction. The instantiation of these models in more specific blends shows a great stylistic, historical, and cultural variation, while still complying with the “rules of the game,” the mapping systems and blending procedures set by the generic networks.