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Breaking Barriers: Innovations in Bio-Social Research

Join us for a range of free events on the 11-12th September!

This 2 day symposium tackles the challenges and opportunities involved when scientists get out of the lab and take their research "out into the real world!" Investigators from all disciplines are invited to participate in a series of talks and workshops about cutting edge research using innovative techniques such as mobile EEG and hyperscanning, dynamical social network analysis using GPS data, digital interactive play spaces, talk pedometers and more.

You can sign up for different parts of the conference via the links below. If you have any questions, please contact Anna Vidos [av444@cam.ac.uk].

11th September 2017 

Talks and Hands-On Session


On Day 1 we will explore some of the challenges and insights involved in using new technologies that take the study of children's development out of the lab and into diverse environments. Alejandro Moreno will share his exciting work on bringing together digital technology and physical play spaces to create digital playgrounds and Elian Fink will present her cutting edge work on using automated collection and analysis of the linguistic environment in children's homes.

Following the talks there will be a hands-on session for participants to explore the technologies used. We hope there will be lots of networking and useful discussion regarding ethics, practicalities, new directions, collaborations and more!

13:00 - 15:00      Two talks by Dr Elian Fink (University of Cambridge) and Dr Alejandro Moreno  (University of Twente), both followed by short Q&A sessions

Dr Elian Fink (University of Cambridge): Harnessing new technology to better understand the family language environment

Dr Alejandro Moreno (University of Twente): Shaping Social Play Behavior in Interactive Playgrounds

15:00 - 16:00      Coffee and networking opportunities, along with a hands-on session to showcase the technologies used in Dr Jenny Gibson's and Dr Vicky Leong's research.


Evening Public Lecture


Play: A window into children's social worlds

At this public event Dr Jenny Gibson (PEDAL Centre, University of Cambridge) together with Dr Bezhad Heravi & Prof. Steve Hailes (Computer Science, UCL) will present their innovative work using GPS sensor technology to study children's social behaviour at playtime. This will be followed by a key note lecture from world-renowned professor of Educational Psychology, Professor Anthony Pellegrini (Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota), who will discuss the potential evolutionary significance of play and the challenges and rewards of getting scientists out of the lab and onto the playground!

The public lecture will be followed by an invited round table discussion over dinner, bringing together computer scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, educationalists and others. Discussants will explore the possibilities of developing collaborative interdisciplinary work that addresses the challenges of studying play outside of the lab.

Please note that the dinner is invitation-only.

12th September 2017



Frontiers in Brain Imaging in the Real-World

No two brains in the world are alike, and even the same brain has different states, at different times, in different social environments. This immense variation across individuals and contexts - once shunned as a confound - is now yielding rich clues about frontiers in human development, social cognition, learning and consciousness. This workshop will bring together scientists who work at the cutting-edge of real-world neuroscience. Hear about the challenges and new insights arising from brain imaging in extreme global locations, in two-person scenarios (hyperscanning), in the midst of real-life mother-infant interactions, and in different states of consciousness. 

9:00-14:00      Four short talks with Q&A sessions. Refreshments will be provided.

Speakers include:

Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox

Dr Guillaume Dumas

Dr Tristan Bekinschtein

Dr Victoria Leong

Dr Vicky Leong's research


This event is supported by:

ESRC logo

ESRC grants: Dr Gibson ES/N006577/1 ; Dr Leong ES/N006461/1; Dr Basilio ES/N002679/1


PEDAL Centre, University of Cambridge

Posted on 15/08/2017

Further events

Go to the events index page.