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Workshop: The Quest for Rationality


The Cognitive Science program of Bogazici University cordially invites
all interested parties to the following events:

1) Philosophy-Cognitive Science Workshop: The Quest for Rationality

Wednesday, 8 May 2013, 17:00-19:00
Venue: Bogazici University, Computer Engineering Building (ETA) Ali
Vahit Sahiner seminar room A 16 [North Campus, the building next to
the Library]

Oguz Tanridag (Uskudar University and Neuropsychiatry Hospital Istanbul),
“Decision Making in the Brain.”
Gideon Keren (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research),
“Pondering about Rationality and its Meanings: Being Rational,
Irrational, and In-Between.”

2) Cognitive Science Lunch Talk

Thursday, 9 May 2013, 11:00-12:00
Venue: Bogazici University, Computer Engineering Building (ETA) Ali
Vahit Sahiner seminar room A 16 [North Campus, the building next to
the Library]

Gideon Keren (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research)
“Perspectives on Framing – Theory and Applications”

Abstracts and bios are below.

“Pondering about rationality and its meanings: Being rational,
irrational, and in-between”
Rationality is an overloaded term viewed differently from different
perspectives. In this talk I will contrast two perspectives: The one
derived from “Homo Economicus” underlying standard economic theory,
and the psychological one based on psychological theory and related
experiments. While Standard economic theory is founded on formal
requirements of rationality (derived from a logico- mathematical
perspective), human behavior is often based on more loose criteria of
intuitions and commonsense. Experimental demonstrations will be
presented exhibiting some incongruence between the economic view and
actual human behavior. In an attempt to reconcile between the two
perspectives, I propose that rationality is not about objective states
of the world but about mental representations of these states which
have to be taken into account on any discussion pertaining to

“Decision making in the brain”
Decision making process has been one of the recent research areas in
neuroscience. Despite the fact that its monumental case, Phineas Gage,
appeared in the literature in mid-19 th century, brain mechanisms
underlying decision making have not come to the attention of
neuroscientists until mid- 20 th century when behavioral neurology was
re-established. There are five functional networks in the human brain;
executive, language, limbic, what and where networks. Decision making
in the brain takes place in one of them: executive network. There are
mainly three functional sub-units of the executive network which lie
into the prefrontal cortex; Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC),
Ventromedian Prefrontal Cortex (vmPFC) and Orbitofrontal Cortex (OFC).
DLPFC is the area of cognitive control, vmPFC is the area of brain’s
attention and reward mechanisms and OFC is the area of emotional
control. It has been suggested that vmPFC play crucial role in
decision making. The hypothesis of this action is Somatic Marker
Hypothesis in which bodily receptors called somatic markers urge brain
whenever a new event happens which requires decision making. The brain
center of the somatic markers has been located in vmPFC by functional
imaging studies. However,more recent studies suggested that this area
would not be a single area for decision making and additional
mechanisms are warranted such as cultural factors, age and two other
areas of the prefrontal cortex; dorsolateral and orbital prefrontal
cortices, because decison making also requires cognitive and emotional

“Perspectives on Framing – Theory and Applications”
The ubiquity and robustness of framing effects [i.e., interpreting the
same message in different ways depending on how it is formulated]  in
different domains of psychology and beyond it can hardly be denied.
Framing, in its most abstract interpretation, implies the composition
of different parts of a message according to a particular design. It
can refer to a construction (e.g., frame of a building), to a
surrounding or a border (e.g., frame of a picture), to a state of mind
(e.g., she is in a happy frame of mind), or to the linguistic
composition of a sentence or an utterance. What all these usages have
in common is that they afford a certain structural basis or, in
perceptual terminology, determine the Gestalt of the message. My
presentation will center on linguistic and psychological aspects of
framing, examining the consequences of employing different message
frames. I will review different types of framing effects, linguistic
and non-linguistic ones, underlining both their theoretical and
applied facets. Framing can be analyzed within different theoretical
frameworks which will be briefly described. While no unifying theory
of framing exists, the analogy with basic perceptual processes will be
accentuated. Applications of framing effects in different domains such
as health care, the court, marketing and Experimenter-subject
interaction in an experiment, will be discussed. Implications of
framing for rational choice theory will be examined.

Prof. Gideon Keren studied Economics and Business Administration at
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and received his PhD in Psychology
from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is presently at
TIBER (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research), Dept. of
Social Psychology, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Prof Keren’s
research is in decision making and behavioral economics. His research
areas include coping with uncertainty and calibration of
probabilities, interpretations of probability, gambling behavior,
unique vs. repeated gambles, framing, and trust. His books include
“Statistical and methodological issues in psychology and social
sciences research” (1982), “A Handbook for Data Analysis in the
Behavioral Sciences:Methodological Issues” (1993), “Perspectives on
Framing” (2010).

Prof. Oğuz Tanrıdağ, MD, is a professor at Uskudar University, Faculty
of Human and Social Sciences, and the head of the Neurology unit of
NPI, the Neuropsychiatry Hospital Istanbul. Dr. Tanrıdağ studied
medicine at the Istanbul University (1975), and was a researcher at
Vanderbilt University Neurology Department, and GATA Neurology. He
became a full professor in 1993. He served as the editor-in-chief of
the Turkish Journal of Neurology. He initiated the International
Cognitive Neuroscience Meetings, which celebrated its tenth
anniversary this year, and is one of the most important gatherings of
the Turkish cognitive science community.