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Course date
July 12–17, 2021
Application deadline
Application for this course is closed
ECTS Credits
Cognitive science
Developmental psychology
SUN Packages
Tuition Waiver

How does the developing mind come to represent the world? Young infants have been proposed to use similar sources of information than adults in their object-based attention. From the development of memory over executive function, number cognition, and action understanding to Theory of Mind, studies have assumed that infants have a stable representation of objects, which they enumerate and track according to the perceptual input and maintain despite occlusion.

On the other hand, a number of limitations of early object cognition exist. These limitations, differences between earlier and later abilities, and contextual influences on the representation of objects are highly informative for the characterization of the cognitive mechanisms involved. A focus of the summer school will be how object representations may be influenced by context, such as language or social interactions.

How the continuous perceptual environment is parsed into units also has an impact on how objects are represented and remembered. The summer school will explore how infants perceive and parse the temporal structure of their environment, what role language may play in this, and how this influences their object representation.

The last decade has seen an immense advancement of methodologies in neuroscience, contributing to a better understanding of how mental representations map onto brain function in the adult brain. Very recently, researchers have started to apply these methods to infants, yielding promising avenues for understanding the neural signatures of infants’ object representation, the influences of context, and the developmental trajectories of object cognition.

The summer school aims to discuss the interaction between different factors contributing to object perception and memory, from theoretical and empirical perspectives. The course will bring together different fields of research with the ultimate goal to advance the understanding of how infants form representations of their environment, and how these representations develop throughout childhood. 

Key topics:

Topic 1: Development of object representation - Faculty: Melissa Kibbe, Gergely Csibra
Topic 2: The influence of language on object and event representations - Faculty: Teodora Gliga, Anna Papafragou
Topic 3: The effect of social context on object representation - Faculty: Ágnes Kovács, Stefanie Hoehl
Topic 4: Neural object representations - Faculty: Stefanie Hoehl, Radoslaw Martin Cichy
Topic 5: Theories of mental representations - Faculty: Josef Perner, Brent Strickland

Session titles:

Radoslaw Martin Cichy: Object representations in the infant brain
Gergely Csibra: Tracking objects and tracking symbols
Teodora Gliga: Learning object representations with language
Stefanie Hoehl: Object categories and social attention in the infant brain
Melissa Kibbe: On the format and flexibility of object representations
Ágnes Kovács: Belief files in infancy: representing and attributing underspecified or false content
Anna Papafragou: Language and Event Representation
Josef Perner: Mental files: from object to perspective.
Brent Strickland: From object perception to object cognition: Philosophical and empirical perspectives
Details in the course schedule may be subject to change due to online format.


Target group

This course is intended for early career researchers (PhD level and higher) from related fields (psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience). We also invite advanced undergraduate and MA students from related fields who have adequate prior study or engagement experience on the subject and make a compelling case in their application/statement of interest.


Course participants are expected to have a training in a related discipline (see above). Previous study or research on topics related to early cognitive development, object cognition, or representations is desirable.

Language requirements 

The language of instruction is English; thus all applicants have to demonstrate a strong command of spoken and written English to be able to participate actively in discussions at seminars and workshops. 


Please read the following directions carefully.
Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission:

  1. Completed online SUN Application Form   

  1. Full curriculum vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any  
    Please upload your Curriculum Vitae or resume, including a list of publications, if any.  

  1. Statement of Purpose (max. 1 page) 
    In the Statement of Purpose, please describe how the course is relevant to your teaching, research or professional work, in what way you expect to benefit from it, and how your expertise would contribute to the course. Please list relevant courses in the field you have taken previously during your studies.

    Please provide a name, contact email and phone number of a person (a faculty member, job supervisor, etc.) who can be contacted by the course directors to attest to your abilities, qualifications, and academic/professional performance.  

Optional attachments: 

You can upload further optional documents on the Qualifications page such as academic documents that you think may be relevant to support your application in the ‘Other Supporting Documents’ section. All documents should be merged into a single PDF file not exceeding the size 2 MB. No passwords and encryption are allowed. 

Completed CEU Summer University Application Form

We strongly advise the use of Google Chrome to enable the full functionality of the form.


  • You may apply to a maximum of two summer courses. In case of being admitted, you can only attend both if the two courses do not overlap in time. Financial aid, if available, is only granted to attend one course.
  • If you applied to CEU before, please use your existing login and password to start a new application. If you do not remember your password from last year click on Forgotten Password. With technical problems, bugs, or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
  • Right after login, please select ”Summer University” radiobutton from the "Type of course" list, and leave all other fields empty.
  • All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail, or fax are not considered.
  • The maximum allowable file size for upload is 2MB per file and the acceptable file formats are PDF, JPG, and JPEG. Ensure all security features (e.g. passwords and encryption) are removed from the documents before uploading them.
  • Applications cannot be edited after submission. Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete.
  • Further user instructions for the online application are included in the form itself. Should you have questions regarding the application form, check the relevant Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


If you need help or more information during the application process, please feel free to contact the SUN staff via email.


The SUN Office will notify applicants about the selection results in April. Please check the 'Dates and deadlines' section on the relevant course websites for notification deadlines planned earlier or later. The final decision is not open to appeal.