CFA: Rethinking the Taxonomy of Psychology

Call for Abstracts for Poster Presentations

Rethinking the Taxonomy of Psychology Workshop

University of Western Ontario April 15-17, 2016

Workshop Description:

This workshop will focus on an emerging research project in the cognitive neurosciences wherein the traditional scientific approach of using psychological investigations to enhance our understanding of the brain has been flipped, and instead scientists are using neuroscientific investigations to challenge and change the conceptual foundations of psychology. Specifically, it has become possible, using sophisticated machine learning, factor analysis and related techniques to generate empirical constructs based on neuroimaging data that predict brain activity much better than current psychological concepts.

Because our self-understanding is deeply informed by psychological concepts, any challenge to these foundations would appear to promise an impending shift in the way we view ourselves. It is thus important to both understand and to reflect carefully on these developments, from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Many questions remain about these empirical constructs: exactly how robustly predictive are they? Can they be given a plausible psychological, intentional or semantic interpretation? Are they purely neural states, or are they neural states that bear some intimate relationship—such as realization, constitution, or even identification—with representational states? If so, will they eliminate or merely enhance our current psychological vocabulary? These questions and many others will be investigated.

Confirmed Speakers

Michael Anderson (Psychology, Franklin & Marshall), Tim Bayne (Philosophy, University of Manchester), Robyn Bluhm (Philosophy, Michigan State), Muhammad Ali Khalidi (Philosophy and Cognitive Science, York University, Canada), Colin Klein (Philosophy, Macquarrie, Australia), Kristen Lindquist (Psychology, University of North Carolina, USA), Randy MacIntosh (Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada), Russ Poldrack (Psychology, Stanford, USA), Adina Roskies (Philosophy, Dartmouth, USA), Jacqueline Sullivan (Philosophy, Western, Canada), Paul Thagard (Philosophy and Theoretical Neuroscience, University of Waterloo, Canada), and Owen Whooley (Sociology, University of New Mexico).

Abstract Submission

Abstracts of 500 words are invited for presentation of a poster during a special poster session that will take place during the workshop. Travel awards are available on a competitive basis for graduate students and postdocs traveling from within Canada and abroad.

All abstracts are to be submitted via EasyChair at the following URL:

To permit blind review, please do not include identifying information in the abstract.


Deadline for submissions of titles and abstracts: December 20, 2015.

Notification of acceptance: January 20, 2016

More information will be posted as available on the conference website:


Michael Anderson, Department of Psychology, Franklin & Marshall College; Visiting Professor, Rotman Institute of Philosophy (Spring Term 2016)

Jackie Sullivan, Department of Philosophy & Rotman Institute of Philosophy, UWO