A two-day conference titled “Cognition and Human Development- A Transdisciplinary International Conference” was organised at the University of Hyderabad on the 12th and 13th of February, 2023 by the Centre for Neural and Cognitive Sciences. This conference was sponsored by the IOE Grant awarded to the convenor, Prof. Ramesh Kumar Mishra. With the aim of creating a platform to explore the role of cognitive sciences in human development, the conference hosted many renowned scientists that deliberated on how the mind-brain sciences can be utilised to further aid human development efforts being undertaken across the world. It was attended by many early career researchers and students from various institutes across the nation.

Prof. Mishra, Head of CNCS, welcomed the gathering and set the agenda for the conference. He emphasised on the importance of bringing multidisciplinary findings from the various areas under cognitive science to aid the progress of humanity. The Guest of Honour, Prof. R C Sharma, who has been affiliated to the School for many years, expressed his happiness at the growth of the department and congratulated the gathering on their ongoing research endeavours. He explained how Cognitive Science would usher in a new era of transdisciplinary studies that were sure to create lasting impacts on future generations. Prof. Geeta Vemuganti, Dean of the School of Medical Sciences, brought forth the importance of integration of the mind-brain sciences, emphasising on the need to study the brain and its various functions that make up the very basis of human behaviour.

The first talk of the conference was delivered by Prof. B J Rao, Vice- Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad. He spoke about the mysteries of the mind and cognition that need to be unravelled by examining their connections with experiences and the environment. He explained that from his vantage as a geneticist, he found that the brain was a complex physical organ that manifested non-physical phenomena and needed to be delved into deeply to be understood. He concluded his talk by stressing on the importance of and encouraging many multi- and trans-disciplinary studies that would push science forward into a new era. The next talk was by Prof. Bernhard Hommel, Professor of Psychology at the Shandong Normal University. He delivered a lecture on metacognition and control, detailing the different kinds of control strategies that people utilise to deal with problems in their everyday life. Prof. Lorenza Colzato, Professor of Psychology at the Shandong Normal University, delivered a talk on the neural basis of metacognitive control, further explaining the impact of brain stimulation techniques on the various cognitive processes that impact control in human beings. Prof. Narayanan Srinivasan, professor at IIT-Kanpur, delivered a lecture on metacognition of perception and emotion. He showcased multiple experiments as examples to support his ideation of the metacognition of emotion being similar to any other perceptual faculty.

The next talk was delivered by Prof. Ramesh Kumar Mishra, who emphasised on the importance of the incorporation of context specific variables that are true to the population being studied, while bringing in examples of his experimental work with bilingualism. Prof. Brigitte Röder, Professor for Biological Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Hamburg, delivered the next talk on retinotopic mapping that detailed experimental work with EEG and explored the role of the Cortical Magnification Factor using alpha activity as a base measure. The penultimate talk of the first day was delivered by Prof. Bhoomika Kar,head at CBCS, University of Allahabad. She explained the role of training on social emotional learning and social emotional competence. Day one concluded with an online talk by Dr. Meesha Warmington, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield, who emphasised on the importance of testing different levels of hypotheses developed for the study of Bilingual populations.

Day two of the conference began with a talk by Prof. R C Sharma, professor at the University of Delhi, who spoke about the various features of language that allow us to express knowledge and emotions like pain. He described the design features of language that make it an uniquely human faculty. The next talk was delivered by Biju Dominic, Chief Evangelist at Fractal Analytics. His talk focussed on applications of cognitive science, and how experimental and theoretical findings can actually be translated to solutions for problems in real life. Porf. Pia Knoeferle, professor at Humboldt University at Berlin, gave an online lecture describing the importance of social context on bilingualism. She described various experimental studies that showcased the role of an individual’s environment and social surroundings on their language activation. Prof. Geeta Vemuganti gave a lecture on how we perceive the brain as opposed to how the brain perceives us. She spoke about how eye health can be an early indicator for Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disorder. The second day of the conference concluded with a symposium on Language and Cognition, chaired by Dr. Ark Verma, IIT Kanpur. Dr. R K Biswal, NIT Rourkela, Dr. Himanshu Yadav, IIT Kanpur, Dr. Shivram Male and Dr. Verma gave lectures on various topics on the study of language including the study of colour perception, sentence processing in various languages and the utilisation of psycholinguistic studies to improve the quality of education.