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Psychonomic Society Leading Edge Workshops
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Psychonomic Society Leading Edge Workshops advance knowledge and understanding by bringing together senior scientists and early career investigators to examine the most innovative cognitive science. The main applicant must be a Member, Fellow or Emeritus member of the Society. Funding available.

2020 Call for Proposals
Opens: February 2019
    |    Deadline: May 2019
View the 2018 Leading Edge Workshop Call for Proposals (Closed)

The general strategic goals for this initiative are to:

  1. Advance scientific knowledge and understanding of major, broad and contemporary topics within the remit of the Psychonomic Society and its journals
  2. Bring special symposia to PS members at a meeting of the Society and generate special sections/issues of PS journals based on the outcome of each workshop
  3. Facilitate involvement of early career researchers in PS activities
  4. Facilitate greater involvement in PS activities of PS members who are based outside of North America
  5. Facilitate interaction between PS members and scientists with cognate interests who are not members of the Society
  6. Facilitate scientific advancement of topics that might be of interest to policy makers and the general public as well as to PS scientists

The first two strategic goals above are essential for all workshops. Proposals need not fulfill all of the remaining goals, but a major criterion for evaluation will be the extent to which a proposal addresses the goals that it selects for inclusion.

Submitting a Preliminary Proposal
Prospective applicants for workshop funding are required to submit a one-page (max 500 words) outline proposal, indicating the proposed rationale and topic, along with a suggested list of participants and possible PS target journal. Applicants need not have contacted any participants at this stage, and should not contact any journal editors. The workshops committee will provide feedback on each outline before June 30, 2019 indicating whether or not each applicant is being invited to submit a full proposal. Note that an invitation to submit a full proposal offers no guarantee of funding.

Workshop Topics, Length, Format, Timing and Venue
Workshop topics are unrestricted within the range appropriate for Psychonomic Society meetings or journals, but topics should be broad and cross-cutting, not focused on a narrow set of phenomena or a single methodology. Topics that are the subject of major theoretical debate are encouraged, particularly if the debate is also of interest (or potential interest) to policy makers and the general public as well as to members of the Psychonomic Society.

A workshop should normally involve between 10 and 20 funded participants, and optionally a small number of unfunded observers.

Consider Diversity: To increase diversity among participants, the Governing Board strongly encourages proposals that include a diverse group of presenters, including women, members of underrepresented groups, and speakers from a variety of geographical locations.

It would run over a minimum of two full days to allow for a substantial amount of informal scholarly discussion and networking. The workshop program should ensure active participation in detailed discussion, so should not comprise primarily a series of talks with minimal time for questions, nor be completely unstructured. Otherwise, the format and program for the workshop is unconstrained. The organizers may, if they wish, invite an audience of interested researchers, but attendance by members of an audience should not be supported from funds provided by the Psychonomic Society, and the nature or size of the audience should not compromise the quality or nature of the discussion among the funded participants.

Workshops could be stand-alone or timed to take place immediately before or immediately after a major relevant conference if there is an advantage for the content, participation or impact of a workshop. Such conferences can be, but need not be, meetings of The Psychonomic Society. However, the workshop should be clearly described and advertised as a Psychonomic Society event.

The chosen venue can be anywhere in the world and the workshop can take place at any time of the year that is appropriate and convenient for the workshop organizer, that would be attractive to funded participants, and that allows costs to be within the overall budget limit. However the choice of venue should not incur excessive costs that would compromise the scientific quality of the workshop, or its impact. The number and range of the most appropriate funded participants should be given priority.


2018 Leading Edge Workshop
Time for Action: Reaching for a Better
Understanding of the Dynamics of Cognition

Joo-Hyun Song
, Brown University, USA
Timothy Welsh
, University of Toronto, Canada

The overarching goal of this workshop is to advance the understanding of how cognition and action systems are integrated and operate synergistically. This knowledge of how humans efficiently interact and navigate in complex environments is vital for generating a comprehensive understanding of human behavior and will help shape the design of everyday objects and training and working environments.


2017 Leading Edge Workshop
Beyond the Lab: Using Big Data to Discover Principles of Cognition

Special Issue
Behavior Research Methods
Beyond the Lab: Using Big Data to
Discover Principles of Cognition

Proposal Submissions CLOSED
The deadline was November 30, 2017

Gary Lupyan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Rob Goldstone, Indiana University Bloomington, USA

With more than 100 years of collective practice, experimental psychologists have become highly sophisticated in their application of well-controlled laboratory experiments to reveal principles of human cognition and behavior. This approach has yielded rigorous experimental designs with extensive controls and it should be valued and encouraged. But the very expertise with which psychologists wield their tools for achieving laboratory control may now be limiting our field to the ways in which we can discover principles of cognition by going beyond the lab.

2016 Leading Edge Workshop
The Evolutionary and Psychological
Significance of Play

In honor of Stanley A. Kuczaj, II

Lance Miller, Chicago Zoological Society - Brookfield Zoo, USA
Alex de Voogt, American Museum of Natural History in New York, USA

Although members of a myriad array of species play, all play is not the same.  Species that play differ in terms of the forms and functions of their play and so it is possible that the evolutionary benefits of play vary from species to species. If so, is it the case that the evolutionary significance of play varies systematically, with additional benefits being added as species increase in cognitive or social complexity? Or are the benefits of play distributed more equally across the animal kingdom? Answers to these questions are necessary in order to determine the general evolutionary significance of play as well as its unique benefits for individual species. 

A special issue on this topic is planned for Learning & Behavior
in 2017.

2015 Leading Edge Workshop

The Process of Explanation

Special Issue: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

Andrei Cimpian, University of Illinois, USA

Explanations are crucial to our cognitive lives because they supply understanding of the world, without which none of the technological and scientific achievements of our species would have been possible. Yet, despite the importance and ubiquity of explanations, contemporary cognitive science has relatively little to tell us about the processes that underlie these judgments: How do people actually come up with explanations? Answering this question is no small feat, however, since a complete specification of these processes requires expertise in multiple areas of cognition: memory search and retrieval, reasoning and problem-solving, causal cognition, cognitive development, and so on.

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