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Beyond the lab: using big data to discover principles of cognition

Psychonomic Society

Monday, July 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 12:00 PM (CDT)

Beyond the lab: using big data to discover principles...

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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.  

This workshop will focus on two “beyond the lab” approaches that have seen explosive growth in the last five years (for example, in just 2015 about 7000 scholarly articles made use of the Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing service). The first focus is on extending traditional laboratory techniques beyond the lab. These include the use of crowdsourcing services to conduct experiments of the type that are impractical or impossible to conduct in the lab, “gamifying” traditional data-collection such that participants actively want to participate in our studies, and organizing contests as a way of efficiently exploring the solution space to projects that are beyond the capabilities of a single research team. The second focus is on using “naturally occurring datasets” wherein creative interrogation of a diverse range of large, real-world data sets can reveal principles of human judgment, perception, categorization, decision making, language use, inference, problem solving, and mental representation.  Both of these approaches fit into the broader “big-data” initiatives that are transforming the social sciences.


Who are the speakers?

 Please see the list of invited speakers here. 


Where is the workshop located?

 The workshop will be held at Union South on the campus of University of Winsconsin-Madison. Please enter at the main entrance and follow the signs.


Can I present my work?

Although invited speakers have already been determined, we are pleased to be able to offer several poster/flash-presentation slots for interested individuals pursuing relevant research.  If you would like to participate and present a poster on a topic related to the workshop, please send an email to Gary Lupyan ( with a 300-800 word description of your project no later than June 20, 2017.


 Relevant topics include but are not limited to:

  • Harvesting data from online databases
  • Network analysis
  • Linguistic corpora
  • Educational data analytics
  • Crowdsourcing experimentation, coding, and analysis
  • Gamification of data collection and analysis
  • Statistical methods for dealing with naturally occurring data sets
  • Deriving causal relations from data
  • Integrating experiments and naturally occurring data sets
  • Psychological investigations of patterns in specific databases for understanding: language, search, reasoning, problem solving, decision making, vision, performance, and group behavior
  • Creating online environments for collecting behavioral data
  • Environmental statistics and cognition

What does my registration fee cover?

The fee covers breakfasts and break coffee/snacks for the duration of the workshop.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

If you are driving, you can park at the Union South parking garage. Regular bus service is available from Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis.

 How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please contact Gary Lupyan or Rob Goldstone  

Have questions about Beyond the lab: using big data to discover principles of cognition? Contact Psychonomic Society


Monday, July 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 12:00 PM (CDT)

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Psychonomic Society

This event is sponsored by the Psychonomic Society and co-organized by Gary Lupyan (UW-Madison Psychology) and Rob Goldstone (Indiana University Psychology).

  Contact the Organizer
Beyond the lab: using big data to discover principles of cognition
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