Master in Brain and Cognition
Organized by the CBC (which RICO is a part of)
It seems very anthropomorphic to attribute reasoning to a one-year old.
From an anonymous review of a recently rejected paper of ours.
RICO stands for Reasoning and Infant Cognition. The name characterize pretty much what we do. We study Reasoning, Infant Cognition, Infant's Reasoning, Reasoning Cognition, Cognitive Infants who Reason, Cognitive Reasoning in Infants, Infantile Reasoning in Cognition, and all other possible combinations. We are ready to start other lines of investigations if we find funds, and this is why our name, RICO, spanish for Rich, expresses also our best hopes about our future state.
Our main interest is to reveal bits and pieces of the representations underlying our abilities to come to conclusions, to form expectations, or to find what happens next, both when we deal with the physical world around us and the psychological world inside us.
A great tool to probe the representational structure of our mind is to study language. In that domain too, one can also ask questions such as "How do we know what word comes next?" "How do we organize a continuous speech stream into discrete units?" or "How do we find order in linguistic chaos?"
We approach these issues with a mix of experimental techniques, both with adults as well as with infants. We use classical Violation of Expectation methods, Eye Tracking methodologies, Reaction Time measures, or contingent learning measures. In particular, we try to design computerized scenes representing controlled physical situations -- possible, impossible, probable, or improbable -- in order to probe infants' expectations and, through them, to reveal their representational structures.
We are also very interested in what is typically human in the cognitive abilities we study. To do this, we compare infants' abilities at learning specific linguistic and nonlinguistic patterns with what rats can learn.