Key Speakers

(Surnames in alphabetic order)

Woo-Kyoung Ahn

Department of Psychology, Yale University, USA 


Jonathan Barrett

Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, UK

Mark Bishop

Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Bob Coecke

Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, UK

York Hagmayer

Department of Psychology, University of Goettingen, Germany

Matty Hoban

Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

David Lagnado

Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL, UK

Teresa McCormack

School of Psychology, Queens University Belfast, UK


Ognyan Oreshkov

Centre for Quantum Information and Communication, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium


Dusko Pavlovic

Information and Computer Sciences, University of Hawaii, USA

Anne Schlottmann

Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL, UK

Steven Sloman

Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University, USA

Steven Sloman (Principal Investigator) is professor of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University, where he has worked since 1992. He is ex-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cognition. Steven is a cognitive scientist who studies how people think. He has studied how our habits of thought influence the way we see the world, how the different systems that constitute thought interact to produce conclusions, conflict, and conversation, and how our construal of how the world works influences how we evaluate events and decide what actions to take. In 2005, he published the book Causal Models: How We Think About the World and Its Alternatives with Oxford University Press. His recent book with Phil Fernbach, The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, came out in March 2017.

Mark Bishop is Director of TCIDA (The Centre for Intelligent Data Analytics) and Professor of Cognitive Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London and a member of the Karel Čapek Center, Czech Republic. At TCIDA Mark leads a team that pioneered AI for fraud detection and B2B e-procurement; research deployed by the UK National Audit Office to identify £500m potential annual savings in the NHS consumable budget. TCIDA are currently developing AI for HR Analytics, Data Security & Insider Threat Detection. Mark is regularly invited to advise on AI policy at the UN (Geneva/Turin/Birmingham), the EC (Brussels) and the UK (Westminster/Whitehall). Mark has published three major collections of essays: together with John Preston, a critique of John Searle's famous argument against `machinic understanding’, “Views into the Chinese Room” (OUP, 2002); with Andrew Martin he co-edited a collection of essays on “Contemporary sensorimotor theory” (Springer 2014) and with Experience Bryon et al., a volume on “Embodied Cognition, acting and performance” (Routledge 2018).

Teresa McCormack is Professor of Cognitive Development at the School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast. She works on aspects of children’s temporal cognition, including children’s future thinking skills. She also conducts interdisciplinary research with philosophers, and is co-director of the interdisciplinary AHRC-funded project “Time: Between Metaphysics and Psychology”.

Ognyan Oreshkov is Research Associate of the F.R.S.-FNRS at the Centre for Quantum Information and Communication at the Université libre de Bruxelles. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Southern California in 2008. Prior to his current appointment, he held postdoctoral positions at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the University of Vienna, Université Libre de Bruxelles, and the University of Oxford. He received a Marie-Curie IEF Fellowship for Career Development in 2011, an F.R.S.-FNRS Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2013, and an F.R.S.-FNRS permanent mandate in 2017. Ognyan’s work in quantum information and foundations has covered a wide range of subjects, from the theory of open quantum systems and quantum error correction to time and causal structure in quantum theory. He has introduced an approach to quantum theory without predefined causal structure known as the process matrix framework, as well as a fully time-neutral operational generalization of quantum theory.

Woo-kyoung Ahn is Professor of Psychology, Yale University. She received Ph.D. from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1990. Her main area of research interest is higher-level reasoning processes. In particular, she studies how people learn and represent concepts and causal relations, and how causal explanations shape our thinking processes. She studies basic cognitive processes underlying concept and causal learning. She also studies applied issues, such as how expert clinicians’ causal explanations for mental disorders affect their diagnoses, and how learning about one’s genetic predisposition affects people’s expectations about their symptoms.

Bob Coecke is Professor of Quantum Foundations, Logic and Structures at the University of Oxford, where he heads the multi-disciplinary 50+ member Quantum Group in the Depertment of Computer Science. His pioneering research includes categorical quantum mechanics and meaning composition in natural language. More recent interests include quantum causality, cognitive architectures and diagrams in education.  Most of his work uses the language of tensor categories and their diagrammatic representations.  He co-authored the book `Picturing Quantum Processes. A First Course in Quantum Theory and Diagrammatic Reasoning’.


Dusko Pavlovic was born in Sarajevo, studied mathematics in Utrecht, taught at McGill, and then turned to computer science at Imperial College. He left academia in 1999 and worked in Silicon Valley for 10 years. He gradually returned to academia, first as a Visiting Professor at Oxford 2008-2012, then as a Professor of Information Security at Royal Holloway University of London 2009-2013, and Extraordinary Professor at Twente. He founded ASECOLab (Adaptive Security and Economics Lab) in 2011, and moved together with several members of the Lab to University of Hawaii in 2014, where they launched the SecSci (Security Science) Track. Through years, Dusko’s publications covered a wide area of interests, from mathematics (graphs, categories) and quantum computation (toy models, graphic formalisms), through theoretical computer science (semantics, symbolic computation) and software engineering (behavioral specifications, adaptation), to security (protocols, trust, strategies) and network computation (concept analysis). In his ample free time, Dusko enjoys providing strategic consultancy to his three kids and writing about himself in third person.

Anne Schlottmann studied at the Ruhr University Bochum in Germany and received her PhD from the University of California, San Diego, in 1992. She is now a Reader in Cognitive Development at University College London.  Anne studies cognition in children and adults, typically the intuitive or perceptual bases of our understanding and how they interact with more reasoned conceptions. Her work has focused on development of some of our core concepts, causality, animacy, goal-direction, probability, utility and substance/matter. Most recently she has been looking at young children’s pre-chemistry reasoning and   their implict understanding of intensive properties of matter.

After a PhD from University College London in Quantum Information, and before becoming a lecturer in computer science at Goldsmiths, University of London, Matty Hoban have worked at the University of Oxford, ICFO-Institute of Photonic Sciences, and the University of Edinburgh. Matty's interests have been in the intersection between the foundations of physics and quantum information, especially in the study of non-local causality as a resource in information processing.


David Lagnado is Professor of Cognitive and Decision Sciences at the Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL. His research focuses on the psychological processes that underlie human learning, reasoning and decision-making. A major theme is the central role played by causal models in cognition: how people learn models from uncertain data, and use these models to draw inferences and make decisions. He has applied this work to investigative and legal reasoning, showing how people use causal models to interpret evidence and make decisions. He also explores the interplay between causal thinking and judgments of responsibility and blame.


Jonathan Barrett obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2002, and held an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship from 2008-2013. He is currently Professor of Quantum Information Science at the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, and a Visiting Fellow at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Canada. His work focuses on developing new ways in which quantum systems can be used for tasks such as computation and cryptography, and on the use of tools from information science to address the conceptual problems of quantum theory. Notable results include the first protocol for device independent quantum key distribution, and a theorem concerning the interpretation of quantum states known as the PBR theorem. He is currently working on a framework for understanding causal relationships in quantum theory.