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Call for Paper Proposals: The Tracking and Identification of Human Agents

A forthcoming issue of Topics in Cognitive Science edited by Nicolas J. Bullot and Anina N. Rich.

Call for Paper Proposals: The Tracking and Identification of Human Agents: A Forthcoming Issue of Topics in Cognitive Science edited by Nicolas Bullot (CCD, Macquarie University) and Anina N. Rich (CCD, Macquarie University).

image of man with child

Submission Deadline: The deadline for submission of proposals for this issue of TopiCS is 01 July 2012.

The Journal: Topics in Cognitive Science (or TopiCS) is the newest official journal of the Cognitive Science Society. Based on intensive peer-reviewing, Topics in Cognitive Science is a creative forum for new communities of researchers, new controversies in established areas, debates and commentaries, and reflection and integration.

Aims of the Issue: The editorial board of TopiCS is inviting proposals for contributions to a forthcoming issue on "The Tracking and Identification of Human Agents." The ability to track human agents' identities and persistence over time is a core cognitive competence. It is linked to well-studied abilities like recognizing faces, memorizing autobiographical and social information, experiencing emotions directed at individuals, using proper names, or understanding people's actions and attitudes. Furthermore, tracking human agents' identities is a prerequisite of numerous social practices such as authenticating the alleged identity of someone, attributing moral and legal responsibility, enforcing contracts and rights, or gathering data about individuals from information distributed on networks. Though this tracking is of paramount importance to understanding human cognition, cognitive science has offered little integrative research on agent identity-tracking. Most of the relevant studies have developed from within disconnected accounts of agency, biometrics, face recognition, identification, mindreading, singular reference, or social cognition. We therefore lack a unified conceptual framework for investigating the multifaceted dimensions of agent identity-tracking. The first aim of this issue is to address the problem of this disconnect. The issue will foster integrative theories and frameworks for advancing the cognitive science and philosophy of the tracking of human agents' identities. The second aim of the issue is to develop experimental or theoretical studies that address novel questions about agent identity-tracking.
We invite integrative accounts that draw from philosophy in cognitive science, cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and other fields related to cognitive science broadly understood.

Contributors may wish to address a subset of these questions: What is the functional organization (cognitive architecture) of the most typical mechanisms involved in the tracking of persons' identities, such as mechanisms for face recognition and reasoning about identity? What are the typical operations performed by these mechanisms? What is the evolutionary history of identity-tracking mechanisms? Does the perception of persons provide a reliable foundation for the tracking of their identity over time? Are memories and causal knowledge essentially involved in the way we track human agents? What are the functional roles of memory systems in agent identity-tracking? Are theories of mental files relevant to explaining identity-tracking? Can we track the identity and persistence of persons without tracking their mental states? What are the adequate methodologies for developing an integrative cognitive science of agent identity-tracking? What should be the role of philosophy and social sciences of personal identity in the scientific inquiry of agent identity-tracking?

Guidelines for submission, reviewing, and selection criteria: Scholars interested in this call are invited to send an extended abstract of their proposal to trackinghumanagents@gmail.com and Kellie Williamson, Research Assistant of the project. The email should have "Submission for TopiCS" as main title. We invite the submission of extended abstracts of around 1000 words followed by a bibliography (no words limit) and an optional resume of the lead investigator's research (or a link to an Internet page with relevant publications). We will encourage submission of original integrative and experimental research papers. Integrative papers will have to provide integrative frameworks for unifying research on the tracking of human agents' identity across time. Experimental papers will have to address novel questions or provide interesting novel data about the identification and tracking of human agents.

Selection criteria for this issue of TopiCS and companion project: From the initial submissions (deadline 01 July 2012), we will invite papers for full-length submission (7,200 words) to be submitted to the Editorial Manager of TopiCS before 5 January 2013. These full-length submissions will undergo two phases of peer-reviewing in 2013. The editorial policy of TopiCS specifies that publication can only be confirmed at the final stage of the peer-reviewing process. The primary selection criteria will be (1) topicality of the submission, (2) relevance for cognitive science understood as an interdisciplinary endeavour, and (3) novelty of the proposal. The Editorial Board of TopiCS will make compulsory the respect of topicality and word limit, and of any other points stated in the guidelines of TopiCS. Outstanding submissions that cannot be included in this issue of TopiCS will be automatically considered by the editors for another related publication project on the tracking of persons. This companion project will be discussed in due time with the concerned authors.

Contact for further information and institutional support: Kellie Williamson (Research Assistant of the project, Macquarie University) or Nicolas Bullot (Macquarie University). This project is supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Project DE120102055).

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