The Fourth International Conference of Cognitive Science (ICCS 2011) was held from May 10th-12th, 2011, in Tehran, Iran. Organized by Institute for Cognitive Science Studies (ICSS), more than 350 registered Iranian attendees participated in the conference, while there were also a number of invited guests and key speakers and participants from 15 countries. In addition to the six key lectures, delivered by some of the internationally recognized scholars of their fields, there were in excess of 320 oral and poster presentations.
The main themes of the conference included: cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, cognitive education, cognitive linguistics, philosophy of mind, and artificial intelligence.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Hamid Reza Pouretemad, ICSS president, stated that the focus of the conference to be "on interdisciplinary and/or multidisciplinary studies and research, either of interest and significance for more than one of the mentioned research areas or integrating research methods and findings from different fields."
The fourth in the series, the conference demonstrated a significant rise in interest, compared to the previous one held in March 2009. The number of abstracts received exceeded 470, out of which 85 were accepted as oral and another 237 as poster presentations. For the first time, a selected number of presentations at the conference are to be published online in the special edition of Elsevier's conference proceeding journal entitled: "Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences."
Dr. Kamal Kharrazi, a member of the faculties at Tehran University and ICSS and the head of the Board of Trustees at ICSS, was the first speaker of the conference, who spoke on "Cognitive Science and Technology: A Futuristic View." That was followed by Michel Paradis, the renowned cognitive linguistics at McGill University and UQAM, Montreal, Canada, who presented a key speech under the title of "Components of a Neurocognitive Theory of Bilingualism." Yoko Yamaguchi, a senior researcher at RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan, was the second main speaker of the day with a lecture on "Synchronization of Neural Oscillations as a Principle of Adaptive Cognitive Functions in the Brain."
Between the main lectures and after them, the conference would divide into three concurrent sessions, where oral presentations would be delivered in different halls, and posters presented in a large hall dedicated to posters and exhibitions by some companies related to cognitive sciences. At the end of each day, there were at least two workshops conducted by different invited international guests. Cognitive linguistics somewhat stood out at ICCS 2011, and a satellite symposium held on the first day was an indication to that relative prominence. The symposium was coordinated by Shanley Allen, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany, Keivan Zahedi, Shahid Beheshti University, Iran, and Gudrun Ziegler, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg.
The main speakers of the second day were Camille Roth of CAMS, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France, and Albert Gjedde of Copenhagen University, Denmark. Dr. Roth talked on "Socio-Semantic Networks: A Perspective on Social Cognition," while Prof. Gjedde raised the question of "Dopamine: Blessing or curse?"
The third and final day of the conference began with a lecture by John Stein, the renowned Oxford University professor of neuroscience and an internationally-recognized authority on dyslexia. Prof. Stein discussed "the neural basis" of this learning impairment disorder, which affects one in every ten children of the world. The final main talk of the conference was reserved for philosophy of mind, and Farid Masrour, a College Fellow at the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University, spoke on "The Geometry of Visual Space and the Nature of Visual Experience."
A main goal of the conference was to create a suitable environment for Iranian scholars and students of cognitive science to meet and exchange ideas with academics from other parts of the world. The presence of key speakers and participants from Britain, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Romania, and Sudan provided such an environment. Another first in this conference was inviting a number of cognitive-science-related scientists from Islamic countries, made possible by a generous donation from the international Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
The Fifth ICCS is to be held in Tehran in 2013 .
All registered attendees received a copy of the "Book of Abstracts" of the conference. An electronic version of the book is also available at ICSS now.
Among main sponsors of the conference, in addition to IDB, were the Office of Technology Cooperation, the Research and the Technology Office of the Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology, and Tehran University of Medical Sciences, whose financial support and cooperation made ICSS 2011 possible.