Together with my colleagues, I organized a symposium for our Brain & Cognition Department at the University of Amsterdam titled ‘Computational cognitive (neuro)science: what, why, and how?’. The motivation for the symposium were previous discussions about theoretical papers such as ‘Neuroscience Needs Behavior: Correcting a Reductionist Bias’ by Krakauer and colleagues and ‘Principles for models of neural information processing’ by Kay.
In my talk ‘Understanding in cognitive neuroscience’ I discussed the ideas of Robert Cummins about Leibniz’ Gap and I asked whether computational models provided a novel way to bridge this gap between psychological concepts and the brain. After another talk by Lukas Snoek, participants used their own research questions as case studies and discussed to what extent the use of computational models would be a useful for them. The day ended with an expert debate.
The symposium provided a unique opportunity to take a step back from our daily work and for theoretical discussions with colleagues.