We are happy to announce that the following persons have agreed to give this year’s keynotes:


Mireille Bétrancourt
TECFA, University de Geneva, Switzerland

Understanding animation or understanding from animations? Cognitive issues in learning from animation and their instructional implications.

In the last two decades, animation has received a growing interest from the cognitive and instructional research community. As the research has progressed, the fundamental question has shifted from evaluating whether animation is effective, to identifying the conditions under which animation is effective. In this talk I claim that focusing on learning from animation from an information processing perspective has led to an insufficient consideration of learning issues: what do we expect learners to “get” from the animation and how does that relate to the learning objectives? As a corollary, what instructional implications can be derived from the research on animation processing? Recent research will be presented to illustrate the claim.


Barbara Kaup
Psychological Institute Tübingen, Germany

The experiential-simulation view of language comprehension: How is negation represented and meaning composed?

In language comprehension research there is growing evidence that comprehending a text is tantamount to the construction of a so-called situation model, which is a mental representation of the state of affairs described by the linguistic input. Within the past 20 years, the notion that situation models are of a representational format that is the same as that utilized in other non-linguistic cognitive processes (e.g., perception, imagery) has been gaining in importance – comprehenders are assumed to mentally simulate the experience of the referent situation during text processing (e.g., Barsalou, 1999; 2008; Fischer & Zwaan, 2008; Zwaan, 2004).

Research conducted in the context of the experiential-simulations view of language comprehension has until now focused mainly on providing evidence that linguistic and non-linguistic cognition interact, as is predicted by this view. As of yet, relatively little attention has been devoted to the exact processes by which meaning is being composed at the sentence level.

My talk will be divided into three sections. In the first section, I will give an overview of recent empirical findings that provide evidence for the experiential-simulations view of language comprehension. In the section, I will address the question of how negation is captured in the simulations created during language processing. In particular, I will discuss the notion that negation is implicitly represented in the processes that are undertaken when constructing the simulations for a negative sentence. In the third section I will report about an ongoing research project devoted to investigating the process of meaning composition in experiential-simulations during language comprehension, and discuss several different possibilities with respect to the role that non-linguistic processes and representations play during language comprehension.

Barsalou, L. W. (1999). Perceptual symbol systems. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 577-609.

Barsalou, L. W. (2008). Grounded Cognition. Annual Review of Psychology, 59. 617-645.

Fischer, M. H. & Zwaan, R.A. (2008). Grounding Cognition in Perception and Action. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61, 825-850.

Zwaan, R. A. (2004). The immersed experiencer: Toward an embodied theory of language comprehension. In B.H. Ross (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation, Vol. 43 (pp. 35-62). New York: Academic Press.


Uri Hasson
Department of Psychology, Princeton University, US

Neurocinematics! Where Neuroscience Meets Filmmaking

While the idea that some films can have a tight grip on viewers' minds was acknowledged since the early days of cinema, there was no way until recently to record viewer's mental states while watching a film. In this talk I will review a new analytical tool for assessing the level of control a given film has upon viewers' brain activity. The empirical protocol involved measuring brain activity using fMRI during free viewing of films. Using a new method of inter-subject correlation (ISC) analysis we measures similarities of the spatiotemporal responses across viewers' brains during the movie watching. Our results demonstrate that some films can evoke similar and widespread neuronal responses across all viewers, indicating a high level of control of these particular films upon viewers' mind. However, this is not the case for arbitrary sequences of motion pictures, as other less well directed or edited films do not exert such control over brain activity. Finally, this tool brings together two separate, largely unrelated, disciplines of cognitive neuroscience and film studies, and may open the way for a new interdisciplinary field of “neurocinematic” studies.