In Fall, 2013, Cognitive & Information Sciences welcomes two new faculty, Dr. Carolyn Dicey Jennings and Dr. Ramesh Balasubramaniam. We asked both about their backgrounds, research interests, and what they are excited to teach at UC Merced. See their responses below. Welcome Carolyn and Ramesh!

Dr. Ramesh Balasubramaniam

Dr. Ramesh BalasubramaniamWhat is your background?

I am an experimental psychologist/cognitive neuroscientist/raconteur. I studied at the University of Connecticut. After postdoctoral stints in Montreal and Birmingham, I have been teaching/researching neuroscience in Canada for the last 9 years.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in understanding embodied cognition through the study of human movement. I use motion-capture, robots and transcranial brain stimulators to understand the physical basis of action, ranging from playing the piano to balancing a hula hoop. More recently, I have been fascinated by the relationship between music and movement, especially the study of rhythm.

What are you excited to teach?

I love exciting people about how we can understand the mind by understanding the body and its interactions with the environment. I teach courses on the control of movement/motor cognition, perception and cognitive neuroscience. I greatly enjoy teaching and working with students.

Other thoughts about joining the University of California, Merced

I am very excited about joining a great group of people at Merced. The existing strengths in embodied cognition, language and complex systems were a huge attraction for me. I hope to explore more about the movement dynamics underlying human interactions in linguistic and musical environments. I will be leading UC Merced’s new efforts in creating a Center for Human Adaptive Systems and Environments (CHASE).

See the Ramesh Lab website

Dr. Carolyn Dicey Jennings

Dr. Carolyn Dicey JenningsWhat is your background?

I started out as an undergraduate at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and completed my Ph.D. in Philosophy and MA in Psychology at Boston University. For the past year I have been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

What are your research interests?

My research aims to bring together philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In some cases, this means trying to understand classic philosophical problems through the lens of cognitive science. In others, this means trying to use the tools of philosophy to make sense of the phenomena yielded by cognitive science. Either way, my research is essentially interdisciplinary. My work so far has focused on attention and its relation to other functions of the mind, such as perception and action.

What are you excited to teach?

I am especially excited about teaching courses at the intersection of philosophy of mind, psychology, and neuroscience. This coming spring I hope to teach an interdisciplinary course on attention, perception, memory, and action. I have plans for classes in the near future on consciousness and neuroethics.

Other thoughts about joining the University of California, Merced

It is inspiring to become part of a university that is so committed to interdisciplinary work, especially in the cognitive sciences. There are some very cool projects being done by my new colleagues and I can’t wait to be a part of the action. I am also fond of hiking and think that UC Merced’s proximity to Yosemite is a big plus.

Click to visit Dr. Jennings' website