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About Compcog

 

The history of CompCog:

 

Zsófia Virányi and Ádám Miklósi organized the ESF LESC-SCSS Exploratory WorkshopTowards “real” comparative social cognition: Integrating theories, terminology and methods across a wide range of human and non-human animal species” that was held in Alsóörs, Hungary on 4-8 October 2006.

 

Thank to the active and constructive contribution of the 24 participants the workshop was very successful, and the participants decided to continue their collaboration in a long-term project.

 

Further labs joint the European members of the Exploratory Workshop, and a proposal for an ESF Research Networking Programme was submitted in 2007 with such great principal applicants as György Gergely, Nicola S. Clayton and Michael Tomasello.

 

The proposal was approved by the ESF, and member organisations of 11 countries decided to support CompCog financially.

 

In May 2008 the ESF hosted the first meeting of the CompCog Steering Committee where Ádám Miklósi was elected to be the chair of CompCog. With this meeting the 5-year-long programme of CompCog began.

 

CompCog OBJECTIVES:

 

- to facilitate the development of coherent theoretical background, scientific terminology and methodology in the field of comparative social cognition by forming a European network of several laboratories with different scientific backgrounds and experiences related to various non-human species and humans,

 

- to assist in training a new generation of researchers who are already endowed with the knowledge and experiences that are needed for designing real comparative studies,

 

- to establish a unified, easy to use depository database for the available comparative results, and consequently

 

- to make the field more transparent to and integrated into the main stream of biological research aimed at understanding the mind at various levels of biological organisation ranging from genetics to neuroscience, and

 

- to make it accessible and informative to other disciplines such as robotics and social sciences by providing a comprehensive approach.

 

THE METHODS TO ACHIEVE THESE AIMS:

 

1) Regular discussions and complementary research activity throughout Europe: CompCog provides regular forums to exchange views, to gain novel input and to discuss both long-debated and newly-emerging problems of comparative cognition. This is the most effective way to facilitate research on theoretically highly relevant topics in various species in a truly comparative way.

CompCog finances both bigger transfer-of-knowledge conferences and smaller workshops of two kinds.

 

2) Systematic collection of research results: CompCog develops the Comparative Mind Database which is a unified system to collate terminology, research methods and results across various species. The systematic collection and interpretation of data require standard methods, terminology and coherent theoretical background, and enhance the study of social cognition in an operationally comparative way.

 

3) Training of future researchers: CompCog provides the opportunity to PhD students and young researchers to gain their own experiences with different species and first hand information from experts and peers either on short term research visits or intensive lab visits. This will hopefully contribute to raising a new generation of researchers who have broader insight and knowledge about a wide range of species as well as about various research methods, theoretical and applied approaches.