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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
10-12 May 2018


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Keynote Addresses

Dedre Gentner


Why We’re So Smart:
How Analogical Ability and Symbol Systems Combine to Support High-level Cognition

Dedre Gentner
Northwestern University, USA

John Wixted


Recognition Memory
in the Laboratory and
in the Real World

John Wixted

University of California,
San Diego, USA

Research Interests:

  • Learning and Thinking
  • Analogy, Similarity and Metaphor
  • Concepts and Conceptual Structure
  • Language and Cognition
  • Language Acquisition
  • Cross-linguistic Studies


Abstract: Basic (curiosity-driven) research typically relies on artificial tasks to answer fundamental questions about memory, attention, perception and decision-making. Such research often yields simple and useful models that serve to protect us from naïve intuitions, but no matter how useful those models are in the laboratory, they are often considered to be about as relevant to the real world as a fire-breathing dragon. That might be true of some models, but almost everything I know about eyewitness memory in the real world I learned from testing simple models of list-memory in the artificial world of the psychology laboratory. The assumptions of one such model – signal detection theory – happen to be at odds with some of the most influential ideas about eyewitness memory that have emerged from applied (problem-driven) research over the last 30 years. For example, surprisingly, simultaneous lineups are superior to sequential lineups, initial eyewitness confidence is strongly related to accuracy, and various conditions that impair overall accuracy (e.g., high stress, cross-race, short exposure duration, etc.) have little to no effect on the impressive accuracy of identifications made with high confidence. We obviously need applied research to address real-world problems, but, less obviously, models derived from basic research provide a necessary foundation for that endeavor.


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