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26th International Meeting of the Spanish Society for Comparative Psychology

The meeting exceeded the expectations of the local organization, with more than 90 participants arriving from more than 30 different research institutions located around the world.

By Marco Vasconcelos and Armando Machado

The 26th International Meeting of the Spanish Society for Comparative Psychology (SEPC) was held abroad for the first time, Sept. 10-12, 2014. The host institution was the University of Minho, in Braga, a city located in northern Portugal in a region known for its hospitality and gastronomy. Braga was founded in Roman times (279 BC) as Bracara Augusta and was the perfect setting for those looking to combine up-to-date comparative psychology research with a sumptuous history surpassing 2,000 years.

The meeting exceeded the expectations of the local organization, with more than 90 participants arriving from more than 30 different research institutions located around the world including countries such as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.

With 50 oral presentations and 34 posters, the three-day meeting was gone before we noticed. We heard about such diverse topics as cue competition, discrimination learning, evolution and optimization, latent inhibition, learning and health, mathematical models of learning, polydipsia, predictive learning, taste conditioning, other topics in Pavlovian conditioning, timing and many interesting problems in comparative cognition. The meeting also included a tribute to Nestor Schmajuk led by Alex Kacelnik and Eduardo Alonso. The three keynote addresses were the icing on the cake: Alex Kacelnik told us why and how form and function go hand in hand in behavioral research; Cecilia Heyes illustrated how mirror neurons can develop from simple associative learning principles; and Peter Urcuioli discussed his new theory of emergent relations and stimulus class formation and how, depending on the training protocol, it can predict reflexivity, symmetry and transitivity or their opposite (e.g., anti-symmetry).

All in all the meeting was a definite success.  Of course, it also included a social program, but you know what they say about Vegas...as it turns out, it applies also to Braga.

If you would like to know more about the meeting and the society please visit the Spanish Society for Comparative Psychology website, but above all we would be honored to welcome you in our next meeting, this time back in the society’s homeland, in Seville, Spain.