Information about the ASAB Interdisciplinary Workshop 2012: Physical Cognition & Problem Solving

PCPS Workshop Poster

University of Birmingham, June 27-28th 2012

FREE to register: if you have a disability or any specific requirements that we need to be aware of, please contact Zoe Demery directly. We encourage you to register early, as places are limited.

Funded by ASAB and College of Life & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham.

Organisers: Nicola Cutting, Zoe Demery and Emma Tecwyn
Tel.: 0121 414 2855; 0121 414 6873; 0121 414 4090
Supervisors: Ian Apperly, Sarah Beck, Jackie Chappell, Aaron Sloman, Susannah Thorpe

You can now view some of the posters and presentations from the 2012 Workshop on Faculty1000

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Travel Bursaries: Travel bursaries are available, which you can apply for them as part of your registration. Note that preference will be given to postgraduates, presenters and non-ASAB members. ASAB members can apply for travel grants directly from ASAB here.

Registration deadline: June 26th 2012

Poster & talk abstract deadline: May 11th

Abstracts (maximum 200 words) should be submitted through the registration web site only. You will be informed whether your abstract has been accepted by May 15th. If successful, talk candidates may later be required to submit a longer article for submission towards a special issue in Animal Behaviour, subject to peer review.

Workshop dinner: This will be held at Chez Jules, and will cost £19.25 per person. The price includes 3 courses (see choices on menu), a side order, half a bottle of wine and 10% service charge.

The deadline for booking a place for the dinner is May 31st. If you would like to attend, please pay for the dinner when registering and also indicate your menu choices.

You can view details of the previous PCPS Workshop 2011 here.


Problems are a central part of the lives of humans and non-human animals, and the challenge of solving them in both physical and social realms has driven the evolution of cognitive adaptations in a diverse range of taxa and artificial agents. Physical cognition, or 'folk physics', is a common sense understanding of the physical world around us and how different objects interact with each other. How do individuals solve problems and process the vast complexity of their surrounding environment?

The topic of physical problem-solving is inherently interdisciplinary, bringing together researchers from several fields. They share a common interest in the nature of cognitive architectures, how they may have evolved phylogenetically and how they develop over an individual's lifetime. This may be investigated through controlled experiments with human children (psychology), field observations and captive studies of animals (zoology) and the design of behaviourally flexible, interactive robots, able to explore and learn about their environment (computer sciences).

The aim of this workshop is to provide an excellent networking opportunity for both post-graduate students and senior-level scientists working in the field of cognition. It will provide excellent potential for delegates to forge new links with researchers from other institutions and disciplines, particularly for younger academics.


School of Biosciences, Edgbaston Campus

Lecture Room NG08, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham (both days)


  • Start time on day 1 (27th): 10:00 — registration from 09.00
  • Start time on day 2 (28th): 09.00

Timetable now available - download here.

Programme now available - download here.

Invited speakers

We also have internal post-graduate speakers from the Schools of Biosciences, Computer Sciences & Psychology, and we would very much like to encourage external post-graduates from a range of fields to give a presentation or simply to attend.

There will be plenty of opportunities for networking and discussions as part of the presentation sessions, over extended coffee breaks and meals.