MARCS Afternoon Colloquiums (MAC): Nori Jacoby

Event Name MARCS Afternoon Colloquiums (MAC): Nori Jacoby
Start Date 8th Aug 2023 12:00 pm
End Date 8th Aug 2023 1:00 pm
Duration 1 hour

Dr Nori Jacoby is the Group Leader of the Computational Auditory Perception group at Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt.


Characterizing internal representations through integration of human decisions into computer algorithms.


Over the past decade, research in psychology, sociology, and economics has begun to incorporate large scale online participant pools. These online pools allow experimenters to increase the sample size and diversity of their participant groups, while also enabling experiments that would be nearly impossible to conduct in the lab. By rethinking experiment design as algorithm design we propose new ways to integrate human decisions inside computer algorithms. Through this approach, we demonstrate how to implement a variety of human-in-the-loop algorithms, including sampling (e.g. Markov chain Monte Carlo), optimization (e.g. genetic algorithms), and simulation (e.g. message passing). We will begin by describing the online platform that we developed called PsyNet (, which enables these types of experiments. We then describe research projects enabled by PsyNet that aim to characterize humans’ high-dimensional internal representations.  We will show how it can be used to address a variety of core problems in perception research such as: characterizing semantic representations (e.g., why does a voice sound happy?), effective semantic mining (e.g., what associations are made when people experience a set of videos?), and simulating cultural evolution of complex aesthetic artifacts (e.g., how do sung melodies evolve in structured societies?).


Level 4 Seminar Room, Innovation Quarter, 160 Hawkesbury Road, Sydney, NSW 2145, Australia

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