Events / MindCORE Seminar: Sam Clarke and Sami Yousif

MindCORE Seminar: Sam Clarke and Sami Yousif

September 23, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

111 Levin Building

Join us for short talks by our new postdocs!
We will also stream this seminar via Zoom.


Sam Clarke
MindCORE Postdoctoral Fellow


The number sense represents number


On a now orthodox view, humans and many other animals possess a “number sense,” or approximate number system (ANS), that represents number. Recently, this orthodox view has been subject to numerous critiques that question whether the ANS does genuinely represent number. In my talk, I’ll argue that none of these critiques succeed. I’ll then provide positive reasons to think that the ANS genuinely represents numbers, of a sort we might discuss in the math class, and not just non-numerical confounds or exotic substitutes for number, such as “numerosities,” “quantical” dimensions, or “pure magnitudes,” as critics propose. In doing so, I’ll highlight a range of questions for future work, and suggest that progress in understanding the nature of numerical cognition will require a mix of philosophical and empirical research.



Sami Yousif
MindCORE Postdoctoral Fellow


Redundancy and reducibility in the formats of spatial representations


Mental representations are the essence of cognition. Yet to understand how the mind works, one must understand not just the content of mental representations (i.e., what information is stored) but also the format of those representations (i.e., how that information is stored). I plan to address one “case study” of representational format: the representation of spatial location. First, I’ll show that the format of location representations can be recovered from exceedingly simple spatial tasks. Second, I’ll show evidence that there may be multiple formats underlying location representations. Finally, I’ll discuss what it would mean for the mind to simultaneously, redundantly represent information in multiple formats, why that might be adaptive, and how one might go about demonstrating that multiple ‘formats’ are represented simultaneously.


Pizza will be served. Please bring your own beverage!