Keynote Speakers

Confirmed Keynotes


ALEXANDRE CASTRO CALDAS (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)

When the Brain Goes to School

Alexandre Castro Caldas is currently Director of the Institute of Health Sciences of Universidade Catolica Portuguesa and was Full Professor of Neurology at the University of Lisbon and Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences of the Hospital de Santa Maria, in Lisbon, Portugal. He obtained his MD and his PhD at the University of Lisbon – School of Medicine, where he started his career in 1974. He has been responsible for the Language Research Laboratory until 1998 and organized the Centre for Neurosciences of Lisbon in 1990. He was President of the International Neuropsychological Society (2000-2001).

His publications include several textbooks of Neurosciences in Portuguese, papers in international journals, as: Brain, Neurology, NeuroImage, Journal of Cognitive Neurosciences, JINS, and multiple chapters in national and international books. He is member of the editorial board of several national and international journals. His current research interests include several topics in Cognitive Neurosciences and in particular, the modulatory effect of environmental stimulation in the human brain.

His work has been recognized, having received several awards, from where we choose to mention the Great Price of Medicine from Bial Foundation and more recently the Distinguished Career Award of the International Neuropsychological Society. 




FRITZ BREITHAUPT (Indiana University Bloomington)

The Dark Sides of Empathy

Fritz Breithaupt is provost professor at Indiana University Bloomington. He teaches in Germanic Studies, Cognitive Science, and Comparative Literature and has published widely on empathy, narrative, intellectual history, and German and European literature. His current research focusses on empathy and the narrative mind. His latest book is The Dark Sides of Empathy, Cornell UP 2019. The German version (Die dunklen Seiten der Empathie, Suhrkamp 2017) was listed on the German bestseller list (Spiegel-Bestseller). He founded and directs the Experimental Humanities Laboratory at Indiana University ( to study narratives empirically. Recently, the lab concluded the largest study to date of narrative serial reproduction or more simply telephone games with above 20,000 story retellings. He is a frequent contributor to the press, including Die Zeit and Philosophie Magazin.




GONZALO DE POLAVIEJA (Champalimaud Foundation)

Using AI to Study Behaviour

Dr. Gonzalo G. de Polavieja did a D.Phil. in Physical Sciences as ‘Marie Curie’ fellow (Oxford, UK) working in quantum geometric phases, a postdoc in Neurobiology as ‘Welcome Trust’ fellow in Mathematical Biology at the Laughlin Lab (Cambridge, UK). He was then Junior PI as ‘Ramon y Cajal’ fellow (Theoretical Physics, UAM), tenured at Cajal Institute (CSIC, Spain). In 2014 he moved to the CNP to work in collective behavior.



Mark Turner

MARK TURNER (Case Western Reserve University)

Cognitive Science, the Humanities and the Origins of Creativity

Mark Turner is Institute Professor and Professor of Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University. Before joining the faculty at Case, he was Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland and Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. He is Founding Director of the Cognitive Science Network and Co-Director of the Red Hen Lab™, a global big data science laboratory and cooperative for research into multimodal communication. He is Founding President of the Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts and Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study and the National Humanities Center among other institutions. He was awarded the Anneliese Maier Research Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Prix du Rayonnement de la langue et de la littérature françaises from the French Academy. Doctor Honoris Causa by the Université de Haute-Alsace.

Mark Turner has published widely in the field of Cognitive Science and many of his books became important landmarks in the field: Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science (Princeton 1991), The Literary Mind (OUP 1996), The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities (with Gilles Fauconnier, 2002), The Artful Mind (OUP 2006) and The Origin of Ideas (OUP 2014).



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PER AAGE BRANDT (Case Western Reserve University)

Art, Technique, Cognition, and the New World

Per Aage Brandt, b. 1944 in Buenos Aires, Danish citizen. Ph.D. from the University of Copenhagen 1971, Thèse d’Etat in Semio-Linguistics from the Sorbonne, Paris, 1987: La Charpente modale du sens, (J. Benjamins, 1992). Professor of semiotics and founder of The Center for Dynamic Semiotics, University of Aarhus (1993); Research Fellow at CASBS, Stanford, CA (2001-2202); Professor of Cognitive Science and of Language and Literature at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Cleveland, OH (2005 – 2011).  Adjunct Professor at CWRU (2011 – present).

Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, French Ministry of Education 2002; Officer of the Order of the Dannebrog, Queen of Denmark 2004; Grand Prix de Philosophie de l’Académie Française 2002; Otto Gelsted Prize, Danish National Academy; Life-long Merit Award, Danish Ministry of Culture, 2009. The Aarestrup Medal of Poetry, awarded by the Minister of Culture of Denmark “in appreciation of his poetic oeuvre”, 1993. Prize award by the Danish National Fund for the Endowment of the Arts for the poetry book Pamplona, 1971.

Founder of the journals Poetik, Matières, Banana Split, Almen Semiotik, Øjeblikket, Cognitive Semiotics (2007 – ). Latest books: Les petites machines du sens, 2019. The World Seen From Within, 2016. Spaces, Domains, and meaning, 2004. Morphologies of Meaning, 1995. Dynamique du sens, 1994. Works in linguistics, semiotics, poetics, cognitive semantics, philosophy. Transl. from the French, English and Spanish: poetry, theatre, philosophy. Jazz pianist and poet.




PÉTER FORGÁCS (media artist and independent filmmaker)

Péter Forgács (1950) is a media artist and independent filmmaker based in Budapest, whose works have been exhibited world wide. Since 1978 he has made more than thirty films. He is best known for his “Private Hungary” series of award winning films based on home movies from the 1930s and 1960s, which document ordinary lives that were soon to be ruptured by an extraordinary historical trauma that occurs off screen. 

In 1983, Forgács established the Private Photo & Film Archives Foundation (PPFA) in Budapest, a unique collection of amateur film footage and has made this material the raw data for his unique re-orchestrations of history.

In 2002 The Getty Research Institute held an exhibit of his installation The Danube Exodus: Rippling Currents of the River . His international debut came with the Bartos Family (1988), which was awarded the Grand Prix at the World Wide Video Festival in The Hague.

Since then he has received several international festival awards- in Budapest, Lisbon, Marseilles, San Francisco and Berlin, where he won the Prix Europe for Free Fall.

In the last decade, Forgács exhibited in Antwerp, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Prague, Bochum, Sao Paolo, New York, Rome, Graz, Fellbach, Warsaw, Krakow, Amsterdam, Newcastle, Ostrava, Mardid, Barcelona, Karlsruhe, Brugge, Los Angeles, Den Hague and Vienna. Various public collections, museums and universities keep Forgács highly recognized works.




PETER HANENBERG (Universidade Católica Portuguesa) 

Cognitive Culture Studies. Humanities, Science and Critique

Peter Hanenberg studied at the Universities of Tübingen and Bamberg, Germany, where he obtained his Doctoral Degree in German Literature. He was assistant at the Institute of Modern German Literature at the University of Bamberg between 1988 and 1995 and coordinator of German Studies at the Faculty of Letters, UCP, between 1995 and 2006. He is Associate Professor at FCH-UCP and Director of the Research Center for Communication and Culture Studies, CECC. He was vice-dean of the Faculty from 2016 to 2019. Between 2006 and 2010, he was President of the Portuguese Association of German Studies. He has published widely on the relations between History and German Literature and on the literary representation of Europe from the 16th to the 21st century. Currently he is working on the intersection of Culture Studies and Cognitive Sciences.




RUI VIEIRA DA CUNHA (Católica Porto Business School / University of Porto)

Neurosciences Beyond the Hype: What the Brain Tells Us About Our Selves

Rui Vieira da Cunha’s first degree was in Law (2003) and he practiced as a Lawyer for 5 years before concluding his licentiate degree in Philosophy (2008). He has a post-graduation in Forensic Medicine and another one in Teaching. He is a member of MLAG (Mind, Language and Action Group) at the Institute of Philosophy, University of Porto, where he is a Research Fellow. He has published several articles on personhood, personal identity, and connected topics that constitute the bulk of his thesis’ area of specialization and is currently interested in a number of related but different issues in the intersection of philosophy and law (free will, human dignity, human enhancement, punishment, etc.). He worked as a science communicator at IBMC and was part of IBMC’s Science Communication Unit from 2013 till 2016, being part of NERRI (Neuro-Enhancement Responsible Research and Innovation) FP7 project. Rui Vieira da Cunha currently teaches courses on ethics, culture and argumentation and critical thinking skills at Católica Porto Business School, where he is a Teaching Assistant. Since 2017, he has also beena member of ARGH – Argumentation Hub Lab, of University of Porto Media Innovation Labs.



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SEMIR ZEKI (University College London)

The Neurology of Beauty

Semir Zeki is a British neuro-biologist who has specialized in studying the primate visual brain and more recently the neural correlates of affective states, such as the experience of love, desire, and beauty that are generated by sensory inputs within the field of neuroesthetics. He was educated at University College London (UCL) where he was Henry Head Research Fellow of the Royal society before being appointed Professor of Neurobiology. Since 2008 he has been Professor of Neuroesthetics at UCL. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, London and a foreign member of the American Philosophical Society.